The number and nature of violent conflicts in Africa, coupled with the HIV/AIDS pandemic, are negating many of the development gains achieved in Africa over the last 50 years. This briefing note summarises the rationale behind a symposium held in Pretoria, South Africa, on March 27-29 2001 on ‘Preventing and coping with HIV/AIDS in post conflict situations: gender-based lessons’. It states the meeting’s main objectives, describes the planned procedures, and outlines the logic behind each of the topics.

The objectives of the symposium were: to provide a quick overview of gender-sensitive practices which have been effective in preventing and coping with HIV/AIDS in communities in the aftermath of violent conflict; to identify strategies that empower men and women recently affected by violent conflict to engage more effectively in HIV/AIDS prevention; and to explore the practical implications of HIV/AIDS prevention for building sustainable peace. Expected outputs included the strengthening of African women’s networks in the field of peacebuilding and HIV/AIDS prevention, and the development of a framework for guiding NGOs, government and international donors in the identification of policy and programmatic linkages between conflict, the pandemic and women’s empowerment.