PUTTING PREVENTION ON THE AGENDA

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by Rentia Agenbag and Khopotso Bodibe
Rentia Agenbag is the Government Support and Programme Review Manager at SANAC

One of the goals of the current NSP is to reduce the rate of new HIV infections by 50% by 2016. To achieve this objective, it is crucial to place prevention at the heart of the country’s AIDS response. SANAC, tasked with overseeing the implementation of the NSP, has convened the Prevention Technical Task Team (PTTT), a special committee to review and guide the development of the country’s prevention arsenal.

The PTTT seeks to strengthen Strategic Objective 2 of the National Strategic Plan – to prevent new HIV, STI and TB infections. The long-term goal of attaining zero infections beyond 2016 will only be achieved through a targeted, evidence-based combination of scientifically-proven and tested, and peer-reviewed prevention interventions.
The PTTT is one of four technical task teams that are part of the structure of the SANAC Secretariat. People serving on the task team are the ‘brain trust’ of SANAC; it brings together a selection of South Africa’s biomedical, behavioural, and structural intervention experts on the latest evidence and international best practice. The importance of addressing every method of HIV prevention is evident in the construction of the task team’s leadership. It is led by biomedical expert, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim from the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) and social scientist, Dr Shereen Usdin of the Soul City Institute for Health Communication and Development.
The PTTT has been carefully selected to advise on the characteristics of the HIV epidemic and the population groups most affected or most-at-risk, for example, sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM), mobile and migrant workers, and so on.

The core mandate of the PTTT is to:

  • Actively participate in efforts to develop a national HIV, STI and TB prevention strategy for South Africa
  • Provide evidence-informed policies, operational and technical guidance on national, provincial and districtlevel planning, management and implementation of HIV prevention strategies and interventions
  • Advise on the monitoring and tracking of country-led prevention strategies and inform further programming
  • Ensure that the necessary prevention strategies are in place and support more effective and coordinated responses
  • Offer coherent technical assistance and approaches through commissioning of technical work
  • Review relevant biomedical, behavioural, and structural interventions concept papers, proposals and other documents and provide technical and scientific comment and input
  • Ensure linkages, coordination and information-sharing with other stakeholders working in the fields of biomedical, behavioural, and structural intervention

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