Uganda won the bid to host the biennial International Conference on AIDS and sexually transmitted infections in Africa (ICASA) due to the local research on the disease and the willingness of political leaders to combat the pandemic over the years. Uganda was announced as host ICASA 2021 Conference during the just-concluded 2019 ICASA conference in Kigali-Rwanda.
Uganda beat her neighbour Kenya and others like Nigeria, Zambia and Tunisia to host the prestigious conference slated for December 6-11, 2021.
According to the minister for Presidency, Esther Mbayo, Uganda submitted the bid in 2018 to host the biggest meeting of all stakeholders in HIV/AIDS and STDs on the continent. The conference is held every two years.
The conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as leaders, people living with HIV and others committed to ending the epidemic.
Minister Mbayo said the conference is a tremendous opportunity for researchers from around the world to share their latest scientific advances in the field, learn from another’s expertise and develop strategies for ending AIDS as a public health threat.
“Uganda has continued to provide groundbreaking research on HIV and AIDS both in Africa and the world. The country continues to be the number one attraction for leading global researchers wishing to work with our research centres such as the Uganda Virus Institute,” she said.
The conference is expected to convene around 10,000 delegates from nearly 150 countries including 200 journalists.
“Some of our leading scientists like Dr Sam Okware were the first researcher to discover that the HIV virus was mainly transmitted through heterosexual intercourse and not by mosquitoes or witchcraft as earlier thought by many,” she said.
She said Dr Okware’s research in Rakai in the early 80s enabled the world to design interventions that managed to prevent new infections.