The eThekwini Declaration 2019: A Radical Call to Action - Reinvigorating and Revolutionizing the HIV Response


The second Durban Declaration of 2016 affirmed the remarkable progress in response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Noting that South Africa remains the epicentre of the epidemic, that the drivers fueling the epidemic still persist, and that not everyone who needs care and treatment is receiving it, there is again a need to revive the sense of urgency, political will, compassion, transparency and accountability towards reinvigoration of the HIV response embedded in human rights principles and ethical values. Investing in HIV is investing in the health, development and future of our country

The 2019 SA AIDS Conference confirmed the following:[1]

  • About 7.9 million people in South Africa are currently living with HIV
  • Over 4.4. million people in South Africa are on treatment
  • Whilst the HIV incidence is declining, new infection among youth, particularly adolescent girls and young women remain persistently high  
  • Progress towards the 2030 global epidemic control targets is not adequate
  • Key population and vulnerable groups remain underdiagnosed and undertreated with higher mortality and morbidity rates
  • The health system is overburdened resulting in service delivery challenges

The response to the epidemic is not yet equal to its magnitude. In line with this, we collectively commit to the following principles to take effective epidemic control agenda forward:

  • Sustain and strengthen support for unprecedentedinnovations, technologies, and strategies to control the epidemic as we move into the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution
  • Strengthen the focus on HIV prevention as a pivotal aspect of epidemic control in continuum with HIV treatment
  • Invest in ongoing evidence generation and research efforts for epidemic control        
  • Develop, encourage and support active participation of young people in the HIV response
  • Address inequalities including gender inequality and empower young women and girls
  • Position the community at the centre of epidemic control for a sustained, inclusive and successful response
  • Ensure government leadership, ownership and safeguarding of agreed upon country priorities and ethical principles in epidemic control irrespective of donors changing their funding decisions
  • Reawaken the urgency of HIV and AIDS as a devastating public health crisis still requiring an emergency responseMobilize local and international resources towards epidemic control
  • Ensure that the HIV response is embedded within human rights principles and values, including accountability, transparency, fairness and justice
  • Ensure adequate access to ART and other related care
  • Increase efficiencies in the utilization of government HIV resource allocation
  • Strengthen health information management systems to allow for better tracking, tracing and retention of patients for adequate reporting and program accountability  

Please support this declaration by adding your signature.


Professor Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya

9th SA AIDS Conference Chair


[1] (UNAIDS Report, 2019)/HSRC Report, 2019)

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