Protest disrupts AIDS conference

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Durban - Proceedings at the Southern African AIDS Conference were disrupted for more than an hour on Thursday.

A disgruntled group consisting of HIV positive people and some members representing non-governmental organisations
stormed the conference demanding to know why they had not been given an opportunity to voice their concerns at the conference.

They claimed the event organisers had not give them a chance to make a presentation during the opening of the four-day conference on Monday, despite them being scheduled to make a presentation on the last day.

The 4th Southern African AIDS Conference is taking place in Durban.

Speaking to BuaNews, Nonkosi Khumalo said that the declarations which will be made on Friday should also include inputs from people living with HIV.

Chairperson of the AIDS Conference Professor Linda-Gail Bekker said they had many community slots on the agenda for community members, including HIV positive people. She said during these times, people were able to send messages and voice their challenges.

"We had a little boy on Tuesday living with HIV, who was telling people about the challenges of living with the disease. I am not sure what more they want to say and why they did not voice these concerns before the conference started," Professor Bekker said.

She added that the conference, which aims to find out ways on how to strengthen the Nationals Strategic Plan, would continue as soon as possible.