Event overview

World Aids Day @ITM: Let communities lead

This year, we will celebrate World AIDS Day in line with the global WAD theme “Let communities lead”. Register now to attend.

Aula Janssens, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Campus Rochus

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World Aids Day 2023 at ITM

Let communities lead

This year, ITM and SHARE (ITM’s interdepartmental research platform on HIV and sexual health) will celebrate World AIDS Day in line with the global WAD theme “Let communities lead”. We will highlight and discuss the role of community leadership in the HIV response with ITM students, staff and the interested public.

Community organisations of people living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV play a crucial role in reaching global HIV targets. They reach out to create awareness and trust, fight stigma and discrimination, link people to prevention and treatment services, contribute to research, policy and practice, and hold service providers and policy makers accountable. While the slogan “Nothing about us without us” has been heard on a global scale, the full potential of community leadership is not exploited.

At WAD 2023, we want to present positive Flemish and international examples of how to engage and recognise communities, and discuss barriers and leverages to include all affected communities, including marginalised populations, to advance the global HIV response.

Who should attend?

Community organisations, care providers, students and all interested in community-based HIV prevention.


  • 1 December 2023, 13:00-16:15, followed by a reception.

  • This event will be live (no online participation) and held in English.

  • Participation is free, but registration is required.

Register now

Preliminary programme




13:00 - 13:30

Arrival & registration

13:30 - 13:40

Welcome and introduction to the WAD theme

Christiana Nöstlinger (ITM, Dep. of Public Health)

13:40 - 14:00

Global HIV situation and the significance of community-led responses

Tom Decroo, Ibiloye Olujuwon (ITM, Dep. of Clinical Sciences)

14:00 - 14:35

Global perspectives: Peer-led initiatives among different key populations

  • sex workers in Zimbabwe

  • adolescents and young people in Zambia

  • people who inject drugs in Myanmar

Sikhululiwe Mkwananzi, Zimbabwe
Melleh Gondwe, Zambia
Ni Ni Tun, Myanmar

14:35 - 15:05

Patient-group Vhiva as a “safe space”

Cora Lamonte, Wenne Mertens (ITM, HIV clinic)

15:05 - 15:25

The Belgian situation: “HIV-SAM” as a best practice example

Charles Ddungu (ITM, HIV-SAM)

15:25 - 15:40

HIV-SAM: towards the future within Sensoa

Sandra Van den Eynde (Sensoa)

15:40 - 16:00

Panel discussion

Moderator: Gert Scheerder (ITM, Dep. of Public Health)

16:00 - 16:15

Closing remarks

Lut Lynen (director ITM)

16:15 - 17:30


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U=U campaign for World AIDS Day

On the occasion of World AIDS Day, our social nurses have been organising an annual campaign since 2019 to fight against a major challenge in HIV care: stigma. This year, with #lovemysafespace, we raise awareness around safe spaces for people living with HIV.
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