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International conference on HIV/AIDS, food and nutrition security

Durban, South Africa

April 14-16, 2005

Call for Abstracts

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The HIV/AIDS pandemic is a global crisis with impacts that will be felt for decades to come. In 2003, HIV/AIDS killed 2.9 million people and an estimated 4.8 million became infected -bringing to 38 million the number of people living with the virus around the world. Nearly 25 million of these people live in Sub-Saharan Africa, where over 12 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. The situation is becoming increasingly serious in other parts of the world too, notably Central and South Asia. By the end of 2003 over 5 million people in India alone were estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS.

Against this backdrop, HIV/AIDS and food and nutrition insecurity are becoming increasingly entwined in a vicious cycle. Food insecurity heightens susceptibility to HIV exposure and infection, while HIV/AIDS in turn heightens vulnerability to food insecurity.

There has been a major upsurge in research in this area in recent years, though knowledge gaps remain. We have now arrived at a watershed. Researchers and practitioners urgently need to collectively review what has been learnt, and what this means for future policy and programming in areas where HIV/AIDS and food insecurity co-exist.

In order to do this, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), with the active involvement of the partners listed below, is organizing this international conference.

Goal of the conference

To stimulate more effective, large-scale action that addresses the links between HIV/AIDS and food and nutrition insecurity.

Objectives of the conference

  1. Enhance learning about the interactions between HIV/AIDS, food and nutrition security;
  2. Enhance learning about the types of policies, programs or interventions that may effectively address these interactions, under different conditions;
  3. Develop tools, mechanisms, guidelines and processes for ensuring the relevance and effectiveness of food and nutrition policy in the face of HIV/AIDS;
  4. Forge links a) between African organizations and those in other regions where HIV prevalences are rising, especially Asia; b) between different sectors (particularly public health and agriculture) and c) between humanitarian and development perspectives and actors in this area. The emphasis is thus on learning how agricultural and other rural livelihood systems, policies and programs can contribute -- first, to reducing people's risk of being exposed to the virus, and second, to strengthening their resilience in the face of its impacts. The primary focus will be on household and community level dynamics and what these mean for institutions, policies and programs.
Prior to this conference the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners will be holding a Technical Consultation on Nutrition and HIV/AIDS in Africa at the same venue. The two conferences are complementary in their scope and organizers are working together to maximize synergies. It is hoped that stronger links will thus be forged between those working on individual-level nutritional aspects of HIV/AIDS and those focusing at the broader level of household and community level food and nutrition security.


The conference will provide a forum for scholars and practitioners to share and present research and operational experience. It will feature several different types of session including keynote papers, a methods workshop, an open forum as well as the presentation of selected papers submitted in response to this Call for Abstracts. The Call has three main themes as follows:

Theme 1: Interactions (25%)

What is known about the interactions between agriculture and other rural livelihood systems and a) the spread of HIV and/or b) the impacts of HIV/AIDS at different levels?

Theme 2: Local responses (35%)

What is known about the capacities and strategies of households and communities to a) reduce infection risk and b) to respond effectively to the impacts of HIV/AIDS? What do these strategies imply for the types of support needed from governments, civil society, the private sector and international agencies?

Theme 3: Policies, programs, interventions (40%)

What is known about the processes and impacts of food and nutrition-relevant policies, programs or interventions that have sought to prevent the spread of HIV and/or mitigate the impacts of HIV/AIDS? Interested researchers and practitioners should submit abstracts specifically relating to one of these themes. Interdisciplinary and operational research is encouraged, as are examples of innovations, so long as these are well documented. The percentage weightings applied to each theme reflect the balance to be applied in the conference itself. Research that addresses the following questions is also encouraged:

  • how to assess vulnerability in the context of HIV/AIDS?
  • how to ensure the food and nutrition security of particularly vulnerable groups (e.g. orphans and vulnerable children, female-headed and elderly-headed households)?
  • how to link short term (e.g. targeted food aid to address acute food insecurity of affected households) with longer term livelihood-oriented approaches?
  • how to effectively scale up from small-scale innovations to maximize impact?
  • how to ensure sustainability in an environment of eroding capacity?
  • how can policy be made more HIV-responsive for those affected by HIV/AIDS without having significant opportunity costs for those not affected?
  • what can Asia learn from Africa, and vice versa?

IFPRI is collaborating with a range of partners in shaping the format and content of this conference. These include the following: FAO, WFP, UNAIDS, RENEWAL, UNICEF, UNDP, WHO, SCN, USAID, WARDA, ICRISAT, ICRAF, the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, CARE International, Micronutrient Initiative, Rockefeller Foundation, University of Natal and Michigan State University.

Submitting an abstract

Abstracts conforming to the guidelines below may be submitted for oral presentation or poster. Presenters of accepted abstracts will be informed of the date, time and mode (oral or poster) of presentation three months prior to the Conference. Abstract submission is limited to one per first presenting author and only unpublished work should be submitted. All abstracts must be submitted electronically in English. They will be published as received so please check typing. Please use Word 97 or higher; Arial font size 11, with single-spaced text. The whole abstract must not be longer than 300 words including title, designation, etc. Type the title in CAPITAL LETTERS, followed by the name(s) of the author(s). Underline the presenting author. Initials must precede the surname. Include the affiliation of all the authors. Leave a one-line space between the author's institution and the beginning of the text. The abstract should clearly state objectives, scope, methodology, results, conclusions and any recommendations. No illustrations or references may be included. Please indicate the specific theme number (1-3) in your submission. Details regarding the requirements and set-up of posters will be communicated later to successful applicants.

All abstracts received by the deadline will be reviewed by a selection panel comprising representatives of the UN, CGIAR, NGO and academic communities. Funds are available to support the travel and accommodation of one presenter per selected abstract, depending on their institutional affiliation. Papers presented at the conference will be published with wide international distribution. Abstracts that are not selected for presentation as a paper will be considered for publication in the proceedings.


Submission of abstract: 14 December 2004
Notification of decision: 14 January 2005
Receipt of completed papers: 14 March 2005


Stuart Gillespie, IFPRI (
Please e-mail abstracts to Ginette Mignot, IFPRI (
14 October 2004

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