CALL FOR ABSTRACTS!
You are invited to submit an abstract for consideration by the SARSYC Committee for participation at the Southern African Regional Students and Youth Conference on Reproductive Health. The conference is scheduled to take place at the University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus from 12 July – 16 July 2017. The theme of the conference is:
“Building a business case a solid future: Access to Youth Sexual Rights and Health services and com-modities”
- Track 1: Stigma and Discrimination
- Track 2: Sex and Sexuality: Shining the light on Marginalised Groups LGBTI+, Women, PWD & PWHIV
- Track 3: Sex and The College: SRH Programing in Higher Education Institutions
- Track 4: Social Drivers impacting SRHR
- Track 5: Abortion and The Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Debate in The African Context
Deadline for submission: 30 April 2017
Please draft your abstract according to the headings listed above in no more than 250 words in total. You may draft your abstract in text format only using a word processing software i.e MS Word.
For further information Tracks are listed below.
Track 1: Stigma and Discrimination – The Mitigation of HIV Stigma.
HIV-related stigma and discrimination remain major obstacles to meeting the target of universal access to HIV prevention, care and treatment. This track will focus on discussions on initiatives taken at country level to fight stigma and discrimination, through participants sharing experiences and best practice. This track is motivated by the reality that protection of human rights assists the attainment of positive health outcomes for both affected and infected populations. The denial of sexual and reproductive rights which encompass equality, information, and the access to health services, increases vulnerability to infection and augments the negative impact of the disease. Stigma and discrimination relating to HIV and AIDS (AIDS stigma) undermines public health efforts to combat the epidemic (Malcolm et al. 1998; UNAIDS 2000a, 2000b). AIDS stigma negatively affects preventive behaviours such as condom use, HIV test-seeking behaviour, and care-seeking behaviour upon diagnosis, quality of care given to people living with HIV and AIDS, and perception and treatment of PLHA by communities, families, and partners (Gerbert et al. 1991; Herek 1990; Herek and Glunt 1988).
This track aims to facilitate conversations on the above and ways in participants and policy actors can mitigate AIDS stigma, while also framing a specific plan for students, governments and other stakeholders to combat AIDS stigma in tertiary institutions, as part of investing in youths towards meeting the demographic dividend.
Track 2: Sex and Sexuality- Shining the light on Marginalized Groups LGBTI+, women, People With Disabilities (PWD) and People With HIV (PWHIV).
People with disabilities (PWD), women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) community are usually the most affected and least catered for by SRH services due to the specificity of their needs. This track will facilitate conversations that illuminate and attempt to address the numerous challenges which inhibit these vulnerable groups access to SRH services. It will seek to share experiences in programme design based on living no one behind through inclusive program design that incorporates vulnerable and marginalised communities.
The track is informed by the reality that, although significant work has been done to support people with HIV in general, stigma remains an issue which affects vulnerable and marginalised groups the most, leading in some instances to people refusing to access services which have availed, thereby affecting the outcomes of designed programmes. This track seeks to provide an opportunity for conference attendees to examine and share progressive initiatives and ideas on addressing issues relating to marginalised communities.
Track 3: “Sex and The College”- Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Programming in Tertiary Institutions.
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Programming in Tertiary Institutions
While commendable initiatives have been undertaken by tertiary institutions, governments and civil society organisations to address the sexual reproductive health and rights challenges that confront students in tertiary institutions. These efforts have significantly contributed towards raising awareness of the magnitude of difficulties that students face. However, the majority of these efforts have not led to students taking the lead in addressing their challenges.
This track seeks to promote student leadership and participation in problem identification, and in designing appropriate interventions to address the identified opportunities and challenges towards sustainable results. Student empowerment lies at the center of such initiatives, and makes them partners, and not beneficiaries, in interventions meant to benefit them. Activities and discussions under this track will focus on sharing experiences that illuminate challenges and how others overcame them in the different country and institutional contexts.
Track 4: Social Drivers of SRH – Factors that are key determinants of the spread of the HIV epidemic.
Track 4 focuses on dealing with multiple factors that influence behaviour change amongst students. Effective preventive strategies reduce actions that put students at risk and may also have beneficial effects by providing students with the life skills and the supporting environments that enable them to take care of themselves (i.e. by choosing healthy behaviour). Social, biological and structural drivers are key determinants of the spread of HIV epidemic, as such, a multi-prolonged approach to prevention of HIV, STI and TB needs to drive change. This may include biomedical, behavioural, social and structural approaches to reduce new HIV, STI and TB infections (SA NSP 2012-2016).
This track will focus on sharing and information on initiatives that deal with issues related to social drivers of SRH including but not limited to Sexual debut’s, Multiple sexual partners, Condom use, Age-disparate sexual (intergenerational) relationships, Gender-based Violence, Alcohol and substance abuse, and Prevention knowledge and risk perception.
Track 5: Abortion and The Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Debate in The African Context – Deliberation on decriminalisation of abortion and the provision of safe abortion services.
In Southern Africa, 24% of all pregnancies end in abortion (Guttmacher Institute, 2016). However, the laws on abortion in many countries in the region are restrictive and only permit abortion in circumstances which include rape, incest and when a pregnancy endangers the life of the mother. The rising number of abortions in countries where abortion is legally, culturally and socially unacceptable reflects an increasing reliance on the services of backstreet abortionists, mostly by young women who face pressure to complete their education. Zambia, which permits abortion on socio-economic grounds, and South Africa, which allows abortion by request, are currently the only two countries with relatively liberal abortion laws (Guttmacher Institute, 2016). But even where abortion is not restricted and young women do meet the criteria to undergo legal abortion the inaccessibility of safe abortion services due to bureaucracy and a lack of safe abortion service providers remains a challenge.
This track seeks to debate the decriminalisation of abortion and the provision of safe abortion services. It will locate the pro-life and pro-choice debate in context, and share challenges and opportunities that different legal regimes on abortion present in the African context. The organisers will primarily solicit lessons from Zambia and South Africa for this track, as learning points (both positively and negatively) for the rest of the region.
Exhibition and networking Space
An exhibition space will be provided at the conference venue for organisations, companies and international agencies to exhibit their work and run information booths over the three days of the conference. The space will provide exhibiting institutions with the opportunity to showcase their work and products to the delegates and members of the public, and also allow for one on one engagement between exhibitors and the participating public. The exhibition space, which will also act as a networking zone, will be just outside the main conference area and accessible to the public.