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AIDS responses in Eastern and Southern Africa reach a number of important milestones this year as  progress, strengths and ongoing challenges are assessed against a number of agreed international targets and promises. In 2001 UN member states signed a Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS which included a series of ambitious targets and reports on progress against these targets are submitted every two years. The deadline for submission of the latest country progress reports was the 31st of January. These have been published on UNAIDS web sites as they were received and without any alteration. Civil society organizations and other partners have been involved in compiling many of the reports.

The AIDS epidemic update reports on the latest developments in the global AIDS epidemic. The 2007 edition provides the most recent estimates of the AIDS epidemic and explores new findings and trends in the epidemic's evolution.
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African media personality Gaetano Kagwa has been appointed as a Special Representative for UNAIDS. In this role, the popular host of the M-NET African lifestyle television program Studio 53 and former Big Brother Africa contestant will raise awareness and carry out advocacy work on AIDS. [more]

Credit: UNAIDS/G. PirozziAs the global advocate on AIDS, UNAIDS leads, strengthens and supports an expanded response. It is dedicated to preventing the transmission of HIV, reducing the suffering caused by HIV/AIDS and countering the impact of the pandemic on individuals, communities and societies.

To improve coordination and harmonisation of national responses to the epidemic, UNAIDS advocates for the 'Three Ones' principle, i.e. one agreed framework of action, one national AIDS coordinating authority with a broad-based multisectoral mandate and one agreed country level monitoring and evaluation system.

The Regional Support Team

The UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa (RST ESA) provides timely and effective support to UNAIDS Country Offices, while working with regional partners to coordinate and provide programming and technical support to strengthen national responses.


The RST's overall goal is to catalyse and facilitate an expanded response to HIV in the region, aiming to:

  • Halt the epidemic by preventing new infections
  • Expand access to treatment, care and support for people living with HIV and AIDS
  • Expand care, protection and support for orphans and families affected by HIV and AIDS


The RST's main clients are:

  • At country level the UNAIDS Country Coordinators and through them support for the UN country team's HIV response through the UN Theme Groups on HIV (UNTGs). In countries with no Country Coordinator the RST provides direct support through the UNTG
  • At regional level the regional UN entities, intergovernmental organisations, donors and nongovernmental organisations
  • At global level the UNAIDS-Headquarters in Geneva and the interface with global partnerships


The RST's work is structured around four key areas:

  • UN country team support for an expanded national response to the epidemic that seeks to improve the strategic quality of UN system support for HIV responses at country level
  • Regional level partnership development and coordination that mobilizes and facilitates regional leaders and partners to expand and better coordinate their support for country level HIV responses
  • Facilitation of access to technical and programming support for national AIDS responses to support the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of national AIDS responses
  • Evidence-based advocacy and generation of strategic information on trends and the response to the epidemic

The Region

The RST covers the following countries:

Angola Botswana Comoros Eritrea
Ethiopia Kenya Lesotho Malawi
Madagascar Mauritius Mozambique Namibia
Rwanda Seychelles South Africa Swaziland
Tanzania  Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe


SOUTH AFRICA: Tender Mavundla: "I'm loud and he likes that"
JOHANNESBURG, 13 February 2008 (PLUSNEWS) - Tender Mavundla, 26, is an aspiring singer about to release her first album. She was diagnosed with HIV almost seven years ago and knows what it feels like to be constantly rejected by men after disclosing her status. But she's finally found someone who's accepted her and her virus, and this is how it happened. [more]

SOUTH AFRICA: Johanna Ncala: “People now are living their lives - they want to have babies.”
JOHANNESBURG, 13 February 2008 (PLUSNEWS) - Johanna Ncala, 40, has been seeing the father of her 2-year-old daughter for four years, and admits that distance isn't the only thing complicating her love life. Since she was diagnosed positive in 1993, Johanna has had to rethink relationships and what her status might mean to the men in her life. [more]

AFRICA: A positive guide to dating
JOHANNESBURG, 13 February 2008 (PLUSNEWS) - Love in the time of HIV/AIDS [more]

SUDAN: Too scared to tell - sexual violence in Darfur
EL FASHER, DARFUR, 12 February 2008 (PLUSNEWS) - People working in the vast humanitarian operation in Sudan's western region of Darfur are more than willing to talk about rebel attacks and the need for civilian protection, but when asked specifically about sexual violence against girls and women - reported to be rife - they fall silent. [more]

MOZAMBIQUE: Art imitates life
MAPUTO, 12 February 2008 (PLUSNEWS) - "I don't know why you had to go to the hospital," the woman's husband yells furiously. His pregnant wife defends her decision to go to the hospital instead of just trusting the traditional healer. "But I had to know about my health and the health of my baby," she argues. At the hospital, the wife discovers she is HIV positive. [more]

SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE: Condoms anytime, anywhere
PRINCIPE, 11 February 2008 (PLUSNEWS) - Bars, restaurants and stores in the archipelago of São Tomé and Príncipe now have a new attraction: small brown wooden boxes containing 144 condoms each, placed in highly visible locations. Condoms have traditionally been distributed at healthcare centres, but under the government's new prevention campaign they are gradually becoming more accessible. [more]

MOZAMBIQUE: A golden voice in AIDS prevention
MAPUTO, 8 February 2008 (PLUSNEWS) - She has been mesmerizing fans for three decades. [more]

GLOBAL: WHO narrows down second-line ARV options
JOHANNESBURG, 7 February 2008 (PLUSNEWS) - As developing countries scale up their antiretroviral (ARV) treatment programmes, more and more people living with HIV are expected to develop resistance to their drug regimens and will need second-line medicines. [more]

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