08
Jan
08

A Young Man Learns to ‘Embrace’ His HIV Status

This article is part of the Washington Post’s “A Living HIV Quilt”.

Carl, a 19-year-old Prince George’s County resident, spoke with reporter Susan Levine about finding out that he was HIV-positive — and about his life after the diagnosis. Excerpts from that conversation:

I’ve now been diagnosed for two years. Well, not two years, going on two years. January 13th. I found out on January 13th, 2006. It was Friday the 13th. I never forget, Friday the 13th, what a horrible day to find out . . .

I do not know when or where I was infected. . . . All I can give is a time period, an estimated time period anywhere between the ages of 15 and 16.

If you are what they call an at-risk person, the average teen, you kind of know, you’ve got to know, you have a feeling, look, I’m doing certain things, I’m living a certain lifestyle that can be damaging in the future.

So kind of by the age of 17, I started thinking, you know, all my friends kept saying, we’re all gonna go get tested, and we should all get tested together, but I lived with a certain fear because, a fear of knowing. You know, I kind of said to myself, I think I might have it, but I’m not sure.

To me, at the time, at the time, not knowing was waaaay better than knowing. Because if I didn’t know, I did not have to deal with the pressures or, for lack of understanding at the time, you know, ending my life. You know, it was like a death thing, what I thought at the time.

I was very uneducated about the subject. You know, when things came up on TV about AIDS or HIV, when they talked about it in school, I kind of ran away from it. You know, cut the channel, cover my eyes, ’cause I was scared of, I was scared of the facts, I didn’t want to know the facts, I wanted to stay ignorant to the subject . . . because as long as I was ignorant to the subject, I thought, Okay, I’m fine.

That kept me sane. I’m thinking, If I don’t know anything about it, I’m fine. But if I knew what was going on, it made me feel more and more guilty about the things I was doing as a teenager.

I was afraid my mom was going to throw me out, she was going to disown me as her child. . . . I did not know what the outcomes could be, you know. We didn’t grow up with the best of relationships, so I didn’t know how she was going to feel if I was positive.

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08
Jan
08

Malawi to raise pay of civil servants with HIV

LILONGWE (Reuters) – Malawi plans to start paying civil servants suffering from HIV/AIDS about $35 a month extra to help them buy more food, Health Minister Marjorie Ngaunje said on Monday.

Malawi, with a population of about 13 million, ranks among the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, home to two-thirds of those infected with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

Ngaunje told Reuters the government had sent out a circular urging all civil servants affected by the disease to come forward.

“We thought an extra 5,000 Malawi kwacha on top of their monthly salaries would go a long way in improving their nutritional requirements which are essential to their well-being,” Ngaunje said.

Civil servants in Malawi earn an average $200 per month.

Official estimates show that AIDS kills about 10 people an hour in the impoverished southern African nation, which is increasingly unable to cope with the crisis.

Health officials estimate that a million Malawians are infected with HIV and about 640,000 have died of AIDS-related causes since 1985.

Malawi spends about $13 per capita on health annually, far below the $36 recommended by the World Health Organization.

Mary Shawa, Principal Secretary for Nutrition and HIV/Aids in the president’s office, said the monthly payment would help prolong the lives of many affected civil servants.

“We know that thousands are infected in the civil service and with the new system we expect to have exact numbers when people enroll as beneficiaries,” she said.

04
Jan
08

Young Sisters Join Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Seven-year-old Vineeta Hennessey and her five-year-old sister Sevilla are in the spotlight for a documentary called “Please Talk to Kids About AIDS”.

In it, experts and activists face questions that only a child would ask.

Vineeta asked, “How does AIDS get into your body?’” A doctor responds, “Well, AIDS gets into your body in ways that can be complicated to explain to little girls!”

That gets a laugh from the audience at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health.

But the girls also elicit frank responses from leading experts, such as prize-winning science writer Laurie Garrett. She explains, “What’s sneaky about the AIDS virus is that, guess what it infects, what kinds of cells it goes inside of? The immune cells. So, the army you have inside of you to protect you is exactly where this virus goes….”

That sort of jargon-free language has drawn attention to the film. There is also praise for the way it breaks taboos about discussing sex. A doctor explains what a sex worker is. She says, “A sex worker is someone who gives sex services to another person in exchange for money…”

In spite of the film’s subject matter involving prostitution or condoms, the girls are supported by their parents — both international public health advocates.

The family’s efforts have won praise from a prominent figure, who appears in the film. Dr. Anthony Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and heads up all U.S. government-funded research into HIV/AIDS.

“To have children, in their innocence, ask those questions and really force people to give a straight answer to this, I think really exemplifies why we need to talk straight about HIV,” Dr. Fauci said.

The documentary’s young stars are promoting the film and discussing the answers they got.

Vineeta offering her reaction, says, “Some of them were real difficult — like sexual. I was like, ‘Whoa, what is that?’”

Sister Sevilla adds, “And like this sex worker, they…”  Vineeta interrupts, “Yes, she was, like, it’s not a real job!”

The sisters’ film has already attracted interest from various non-governmental and international organizations keen to use it as an educational tool in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

Source: VOA News

02
Jan
08

Shift in HIV infection among men

New data from six U.S. sites show a dramatic shift by men acutely infected with HIV to choose to have unprotected intercourse only with other HIV-infected partners.

“While the findings showed condom use was up and the number of partners was down, the most startling effect was seen in men choosing to have unprotected intercourse almost exclusively with other HIV-infected individuals. This reflects a systematic shift by men, most of whom are gay, following HIV infection to behaviors that protect their sex partners,” said lead author, Wayne Steward, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at UCSF’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies.

The findings, presented today (December 5) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta, were from clinics that enroll newly HIV-infected study participants in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, New Haven, San Diego, and Providence. Over 90 percent of the 27 participants in this study were men who have sex with men. Continue reading ‘Shift in HIV infection among men’

01
Jan
08

Pregnant Women in New Jersey must be tested for HIV

Washington Post reports that New Jersey this week launched one of the most ambitious efforts in the country to control mother-to-child transmission of HIV, making screening tests mandatory for all pregnant women in the state beginning next year.

A bill signed into law Wednesday by the Senate president, Richard J. Codey, in his capacity as acting governor, requires two tests for pregnant women, at the beginning of the pregnancy and again in the third trimester, unless the mother objects. If the mother objects, the objection will be noted and the newborn will then be tested for HIV, with the only exception being on religious grounds. Newborns will also be tested if the woman tests positive.

Just four other states have mandated testing for pregnant women, and three more– including New York — require screening of newborns. But New Jersey’s law appears to go further by requiring both.

The mandatory screening has raised privacy concerns. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and the state’s chapter of the National Organization for Women both questioned whether the mandated tests violate a woman’s right to privacy and the right to make her own medical decisions.

Riki E. Jacobs, executive director of the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, a New Jersey nonprofit helping people living with AIDS, said the law is unnecessary and comes when the state should be focused on expanding care for pregnant women. “I am adamantly opposed to this bill. New Jersey already reduced the perinatal rate of transmission with mandatory counseling of pregnant women,” she said. “The issue is getting those women who are not in prenatal care in for services and testing.

“I definitely think it is an invasion of privacy,” Jacobs said. She said women choose to test their babies in 98 percent of cases, so the new law’s mandatory provisions for testing children are not needed: “The fact that we assume women won’t choose to test is ludicrous and wrong.” Continue reading ‘Pregnant Women in New Jersey must be tested for HIV’

30
Nov
07

World Aids Day, Dec 1: What’s going on??

Here is a round up of links with news and events about the upcoming World Aids Day for 2007.

Rock group Queen to release new single to mark World AIDS Day

AIDS Action Council Statement on World AIDS Day 2007

SIRIUS: Honors International Day of AIDS Awareness

World AIDS Day in India

Grab your free condoms on World Aids Day

Proclamation by the President: World AIDS Day, 2007

CNN Student News Learning Activity: World AIDS Day

World Aids Day Campaign to Shine a Light of Hope on the HIV/AIDS

Global vigil for AIDS orphans begins in Toronto

Zambia: ON December 1, Country Will Join the World AIDS Day

Experts Available to Discuss World AIDS Day, HIV/AIDS Issues

26
Nov
07

HIV/Aids at Epidemic Levels in Wash DC, Afr Americans Impacted

I read the synopsis version of this article on the cover of the Washington Post Express this morning on the train…DAG.  It’s not a secret, just something people don’t want to admit is true.  I’d like to say I’m surprised, but I’m not.  1 in 20 have HIV…that is sub-saharan Africa level, huh?  This info is based on just a sample…I wonder what a real study would find? Here’s some info from the article.  Everyone should find themselves supporting a grassroots effort or event for World Aids Day 2007 on December 1!!!!  HIV/Aids is something that we all should address and own.

The first statistics ever amassed on HIV in the District, released today in a sweeping report, reveal “a modern epidemic” remarkable for its size, complexity and reach into all parts of the city.

The numbers most starkly illustrate HIV’s impact on the African American community. More than 80 percent of the 3,269 HIV cases identified between 2001 and 2006 were among black men, women and adolescents. Among women who tested positive, a rising percentage of local cases, nine of 10 were African American.

The 120-page report, which includes the city’s first AIDS update since 2000, shows how a condition once considered a gay disease has moved into the general population. HIV was spread through heterosexual contact in more than 37 percent of the District’s cases detected in that time period, in contrast to the 25 percent of cases attributable to men having sex with men.

“It blows the stereotype out of the water,” said Shannon Hader, who became head of the District’s HIV/AIDS Administration in October. Increases by sex, age and ward over the past six years underscore her blunt conclusion that “HIV is everybody’s disease here.”

The new numbers are a statistical snapshot, not an estimate of the prevalence of infection in the District, which is nearly 60 percent black.

Read the rest of this article – Washington Post





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