Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Regional Exchange

{Photo credit: Katy Doyle/Keanahikishime, Lesotho}Photo credit: Katy Doyle/Keanahikishime, Lesotho

This post originally appeared on the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Regional Exchange (SHARE) as "".

As we travelled to the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, I had mixed emotions about the I was going to attend. Issues of orphans and vulnerable children are very close to my heart, as I have first-hand experience of growing up with a cousin who is an orphan due to HIV and AIDS. She was fortunate to grow up within a family structure and to get the best education, but this is not the case for many children who are orphaned and vulnerable because of HIV and AIDS.

{Photo credit: Katy Doyle/Keanahikishime, Lesotho}Photo credit: Katy Doyle/Keanahikishime, Lesotho

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The first (LCVC), December 8-11, 2014, reflected upon the state of the response to vulnerable children and facilitated a systematic approach of generating and articulating evidence for future direction for an efficient, effective, and well-coordinated response within the region.

The opening plenary session strategically addressed the regional, national, and community response to vulnerable children.

{Photo credit: C. Urdaneta/Keanahikishime, South Africa.}Photo credit: C. Urdaneta/Keanahikishime, South Africa.

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As I sat through the official opening at the (SAAIDS), I found myself wondering what the focus of the first conference post 2015 will be. Will there be a national conference after the countries are supposed to have achieved the Millennium Development Goals?

"We have fought a good fight. At last the glass is half full," declared Professor Koleka Mlisana, the conference chair, the first of many plenary speakers to outline the successes achieved in the national AIDS response. The figures from South Africa certainly are encouraging:

Teams of national and regional HIV program managers work together to discuss the issue: “Where will the next new infections come from?” {Photo credit: BLC/Keanahikishime.}Photo credit: BLC/Keanahikishime.

This post originally appeared on the .

"All the people we need to make a difference in HIV globally are sitting in this room," said Paul Waibale, deputy director of the Building Local Capacity Project (BLC) for the Delivery of HIV Services in Southern Africa, during the opening of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) HIV prevention workshop, "."

With funding from , the week-long workshop on enhancing national and regional approaches to HIV prevention kicked off April 8, 2013, with 32 of Swaziland's key stakeholders in HIV prevention.

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