OUT to highlight groundbreaking projects at 21st International Aids Conference

Located in Hatfield, Pretoria, TEN81 is a free medical clinic for key populations: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people; Men who have Sex with Men; Sex Workers; and People Who Inject Drugs. These communities are recognised as being amongst the “most at risk” of HIV infection.

Based at TEN81, the Pretoria StepUP Project provides HIV prevention and harm reduction services to people who inject drugs (PWID) in Tshwane. Services include: needle and syringe distribution, collection and disposal; HIV counselling and testing; and initiation onto antiretroviral therapy and HIV management and support.

TEN81 and StepUP will be featured in the Gauteng Department of Health’s stand at the conference, which is expected to convene over 18,000 delegates from around the world.

The two projects’ presence at the event is particularly apt in light of this year’s theme: “Access Equity Rights Now”. This is described as a “call to action to work together and reach the people who still lack access to comprehensive treatment, prevention, care and support services.” 

“The goal is to tell the world about this coloration between the department and OUT; it’s a first of its kind and a best practice model on how government and civil society can work together,” said OUT Health Manager Johan Meyer.

“The conference will also be an opportunity for our staff to network and to learn more about the latest developments in the ongoing fight against HIV, stigma and discrimination; including new models, new approaches and the latest research from around the world,” explained Meyer.

First convened during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in 1985, the International Aids Conference provides a unique forum for the intersection of science and advocacy, and an opportunity to strengthen policies and programmes to ensure an evidence-based response to the HIV epidemic.