HIV/Aids experts from five continents have come together in Cape Town to discuss the epidemic.
One million people died as a result of Aids-related illness in 2016 alone.
Experts say while a lot has been done in terms of treating the epidemic, there are still global concerns whether enough is being done with preventative measures.
Seven million people in South Africa are living with HIV – that’s more than 12% of the total population and the experts say the figure is increasing.
HIV/Aids researchers have come together from across the globe to share their knowledge and research findings.
Researcher at the Medical Research Council, Professor Glenda Gray, who is an expert in HIV vaccines says while great strides have been made with Antiretrovirals, and increasing the life span of people living with the epidemic, more needs to be done to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids and to change the mind set of people who are fearful of being stigmatised because their diagnosis.
Gray says the stigma surrounding HIV remains a global challenge.
“Even though we have been very good at preventing people from dying from HIV, and we have been very good at putting people onto treatment we have still not stopped HIV infections and that should be our next step. So there are two things outstanding; one is to stop people from getting HIV and the other issue is to stop the stigma and discrimination and so, until we address stigma and discrimination HIV is never going to be controlled. People are still ashamed of being HIV infected and they are treated very poorly by the health system.”