Archive for June, 2007


AIDS: No longer a stranger in Tibet


AIDS is no longer a stranger in Tibetan community, as the number of people with HIV infection leaving behind the figure of 31, reported last year, has soared up to the mark of 41. This increase, reported within a year, points to quite a critical situation waiting ahead for Tibetan people and authorities as well.

It is quite sad that HIV/AIDS is raising its hood not only in the urban areas but in rural areas as well. However, it is good that authorities are trying at their level best to tackle the situation as earnestly as possible despite the fact that two factors vast region and spare population are posing to be a stint in this way.

Under the efforts being made to bring the situation under control, two state-level outposts are monitoring the spread of HIV/AIDS. And stoking this mission further Tibet government has come forward setting up a HIV/AIDS prevention and control center along with counseling and testing services. Telling more about the arrangements made, especially to curb the rising tide of HIV/AIDS Yuzhan Lhaco, deputy director of the local institute for prevention and control of AIDS and sexually Transmitted Diseases revealed:

Testing is free of charge and HIV carriers are treated with free medicines.

Here it is worth mentioning that unsafe blood transfusions in hospitals and injections have served as the main carrier for this disease as the government statistics show that out of the 650,000 of the Chinese living with HIV/AIDS, 443 per cent were infected through drug injections, 10.7 per cent through blood transfusion. However, unsafe sex is also one of the key factors behind this boom in HIV/AIDS cases.

Keeping in mind these facts, we could say that adoption of safer methods of blood transfusion and the spread of the importance of safer sex among the masses would prove a key in this fight against HIV/AIDS.


Via: Spirit India


June 27th 2007 – Get tested for HIV – National HIV Testing Day

National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is an annual campaign produced by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA-US) to encourage at-risk individuals to receive voluntary HIV counseling and testing. NAPWA distributes campaign kits to community groups and health departments of all sizes to help create NHTD campaigns and events targeting their local communities.

Your first resource for National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is the NAPWA website. You can order more copies of its posters and flyers, link to the CDC’s database of voluntary HIV counseling and testing locations throughout the U.S., and download campaign materials to adapt and use. Please come back to the website throughout your campaign.

“Founded in 1983, the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA-US) is the oldest coalition of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world and the oldest U.S. national AIDS organization. We advocate on behalf of all people living with HIV and AIDS in order to end the pandemic and human suffering caused by HIV/AIDS. HIV-positive people have a unique role to play in HIV prevention and promotion of voluntary HIV counseling and testing. This is the tenth year of National HIV Testing Day.” – NAPWA

For questions about NHTD contact NAPWA via email: Kits, posters and fact sheets as well as other resources and materials are available on their website. For other materials and information you may also call the CDC’s National Prevention Information Network at 1-800-458-5231.


HIV/Aids in Egypt


Things seem to be getting better for people living with HIV/AIDS in Egypt, unlike how it was few years ago. According to a slideshow published by the Egyptian Ministry of Health’s National AIDS Program:- HIV/AIDS prevalence in Egypt remains “low (<0.01%)”.

  • There are “835 cases” of people living with AIDS in Egypt, by the end of 2005.
  • 83% of those infected with AIDS are men, 17% are women.
  • A recently-established HIV/AIDS toll-free hotline service is available at 0-800-700-8000.
  • Free HIV testing, counseling, and medication are now available.
  • National AIDS Program now has support groups where people with AIDS meet and share experiences in different aspects. Support groups are made of 10-15 people each.

Face to face with HIV: Meet those who know


Each of these individuals comes face to face with HIV on a daily basis. Listen to their hearts as they share openly what it’s like living with HIV or serving those who have HIV and be challenged to open your heart and mind to God’s plan for your ministry in the HIV/AIDS community.

‘It’s like living with the Sword of Damocles over your head’

Jerry and Sue Thacker

“What’s it like to live with HIV? It’s like living with the Sword of Damocles over your head. If you remember the story, Damocles’ sword was attached by a hair to the ceiling, and he was made to stand under it. If that hair broke, the sword would go right down through his head. That’s the way you feel living with HIV. Everything is filtered through that knowledge. When you get a cold, you wonder if it’s going to develop into pneumonia and you’re going to die.

“… The one thing that we have to remember about living with HIV is very simply this: It’s God who determines the day of our birth and the day of our death and all the days in between. Our job is to trust him, and glorify him, and serve others.”
— Jerry Thacker

‘My family: AIDS times three’ – Learn more about Jerry and Sue Thacker >>

‘It’s important for you to know there’s a lot of fear’

“And I think it’s important for you to know that there’s a lot of fear. I’m afraid; I’m afraid my meds will fail. I’m not afraid of dying; I’m afraid of being sick, and I think that’s true with most of us. When I die, I’ll go home to heaven, and that will be great. But what about in the meantime? And how long will it take? I’m very healthy now, thanks to God, but physically taking the pills every day – the cost, … the nausea, and I have neuropathy now because of the medication. That’s nerve ending damage in your feet, and it’s very painful. I take medication every three hours so I can walk.” — Kathi Winter

Learn from Kathi how to begin an HIV/AIDS support group >> | Hear Kathi’s heart-felt prayer for those with HIV >>

‘Don’t be afraid to talk to me’

HIV/AIDS Caring Community Reader

“I would hope you will not be afraid to talk with me or ask how I am doing or how God is using me; because he is, and the life I have now, as strange as it seems, I would not trade for the world. So don’t feel as though you have to tiptoe around me or hesitate to ask me to be involved or just hang out and talk.” – A reader shared this with us. Because of concerns for his family, he asked that his identity not be revealed.

Read this reader’s letter to pastors >> | Share your story >>

‘God doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve’

John Forbes

“It wasn’t until 2001 when I developed AIDS that the reality of my time on this planet was coming to an end. I knew I was going to die and have to stand in front of the One who spoke this world into existence. I was fearful of meeting Jesus. I had fallen from a place of ministry and service in the Body of Christ. I had been involved in sexual immorality. I knew I had a call on my life, and I certainly had not fulfilled it.

“In a moment of revelation, I saw the Lord on his throne and me approaching him. I just began to weep. I suddenly became aware of God’s love for me at that moment. Not with head knowledge but with an incredible sense of his presence. It overwhelmed me. I could not stop crying. God really is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love – he doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. After all I had done, I was still met with his mercy.” — John Forbes

Read John’s story >> | Hear his passionate prayer for the Church >>

‘Could we shift the way we do church?’

“Is it possible that we can be a safe place for individuals to just talk about the worst things that live in them? The intimate conversations that keep all of us from each other? Is it possible that people can get that they are worth fighting for in the midst of where they’re at? Is it possible that we could shift the way we do church – where we are all things to all people? [Where we say,] ‘I care enough about you. You are worth fighting for. Please teach me who you are. I want to know who you are.'” Becky Kuhn, a physician who works with HIV positive individuals

Download “Building a Bridge to Someone with HIV: Friendships that Heal,” Dr. Kuhn’s presentation at the 2005 Disturbing Voices HIV/AIDS Conference >> 


News on needle exchange in Washington, DC

From Kaiser Daily: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on Tuesday will consider a Washington, D.C., appropriations bill that includes language preventing the city from financing needle-exchange programs, the Washington Post reports. According to the Post, some health advocates are hopeful that the language will be removed from the bill because of the “changed balance of power on Capitol Hill” (Levine, Washington Post, 6/5). The ban was first imposed under a federal law signed by former President Clinton in 1998 that prohibits the district government from using local tax money to fund any organization that operates a needle-exchange program (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/29). According to the Post, the House has added the ban each year to the district’s appropriations bill (Washington Post, 6/5).

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), chair of the subcommittee, recently said he will make it a priority to push for the removal of the language. District Mayor Adrian Fenty has said that he will provide funds for needle-exchange programs as soon as Congress removes the language.

Injection drug use is the second most common mode of HIV transmission among men in the district and the most common mode among women in the city. Prevention Works!, the district’s only needle-exchange program, is financed through private donations and reaches about one-third of the estimated 9,700 injection drug users in the city (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/29). Walter Smith, executive director of the DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, said that there is a connection between the high number of HIV/AIDS cases in the district and lack of a city-funded needle-exchange program, adding that it’s “time to uncouple” the connection.

Serrano said that although it is unclear whether the ban will be lifted, he is ready to push the issue. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) called the ban “abuse of the city,” adding that “countless deaths have occurred” because the city lacks a government-funded needle-exchange program. More than two dozen medical, public health, social service and philanthropic organizations last month sent a letter to Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), chair of the subcommittee that initially handles the district’s budget, urging that the restriction be lifted, the Post reports. Chuck Knapp — a spokesperson for Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), the original author of the ban — said that Tiahrt likely will try to continue the ban but added that “it’s a different political environment” than when it originally passed (Washington Post, 6/5).


Scientists expose HIV weak spot

BBC NEWS | Health | Scientists expose HIV weak spot
Scientists have shown what happens when an infection-fighting antibody attacks a gap in HIV’s formidable defences. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-led team say the work could aid HIV vaccine development.

They have published an atomic-level image in Nature showing the antibody, b12, attacking part of a protein on surface of the virus (Photo: Antibody (green) locks onto a key site on the virus).

HIV avoids attack by constantly mutating, but this protein segment is a weak spot because it remains stable.

Dr Elias Zerhouni, director of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), said: “Creating an HIV vaccine is one of the great scientific challenges of our time.

“NIH researchers and their colleagues have revealed a gap in HIV’s armour and have thereby opened a new avenue to meeting that challenge.”

Slippery foe

Developing a vaccine for HIV has proved extremely difficult.

The virus is able to mutate rapidly to avoid detection by the immune system, and is also swathed by a near-impenetrable cloak of sugary molecules which block access by antibodies.

But certain parts of the virus must remain relatively unchanged so that it can continue to bind to and enter human cells.

A protein, gp120, that juts out from the surface of the virus and binds to receptors on host cells, is one such region, making it a target for vaccine development.

Previous analysis of the blood of people who have been able to hold HIV at bay for long periods has revealed a rare group of antibodies – including b12 – that seem to fight HIV with a degree of success.

The latest study has revealed the detailed structure of the complex, which is formed when b12 docks with gp120.

Until now this has proved impossible, because of the flexible nature of some of the chemical bonds involved.

But the NIAID team were able to stiffen up the key protein enough to capture a picture of the complex.

They hope that revealing the structure of this bond in such precise detail will provide clues about how best to attack HIV.

Challenge ahead

Researcher Dr Gary Nabel said the work had revealed a “critical area of vulnerability on the virus”.

He said: “This is certainly one of the best leads to come along in recent years.”

Keith Alcorn, editor of the website, said vaccines based on antibodies had so far failed to produce promising results.

“These findings are very important because they show what sort of antibodies are likely to be most successful in neutralising HIV.

“Now the challenge is to develop vaccine products that can be tested in humans.”


IAS conference in Sydney will go ahead despite Howard’s latest comments on HIV-positive migrants

by Michael Carter, Monday, June 04, 2007,
Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, repeated his belief on June 1st that HIV-positive migrants and refugees should be barred from entry to Australia. His comments brought a swift condemnation from the International AIDS Society (IAS), whose biannual conference will be held in Sydney this July. However, in a press statement, the IAS said that it will not be cancelling the conference, and hopes that the event will act as a focus of opposition to Howard’s plans. Dr Pedro Cahn, president of the IAS said Howard’s comments were “a blatant disregard of basic human rights, and only serve to compound current HIV prevention and treatment efforts.

Howard initially said he supported a ban on HIV-positive migrants entering Australia in Australia in April. At the time, his comments were prompted by a report showing that there had been a significant increase in HIV diagnoses in the Australian state of Victoria. Although some of these new HIV cases involved immigrants, most were due to internal migration. It is thought that Howard either confused internal migration with immigration, or that his comments were a political move, designed to underline his anti-immigration credentials, in advance of the Australian general election later this year.

Read the rest of this article at


Indian Network For People Living With HIV/AIDS Launches Campaign Against Illegal Clinics

The Indian Network for People Living With HIV/AIDS has launched a national campaign against illegal clinics whose workers claim to cure HIV/AIDS with herbal remedies and homeopathic treatments, Reuters reports. According to Reuters, many HIV-positive people in the country go to the illegal clinics because they cannot afford private treatment. In addition, the government health system often is seen as offering inadequate treatment. Discrimination and stigma against HIV-positive people at hospitals also have caused some people to visit the clinics, which advertise in newspapers, posters, fliers and graffiti. – Visit for the full article


HIV/AIDS education in Botswana is in the workplace

From the Nata Village Blog

HIV/AIDS education in Botswana is in the workplace
Originally uploaded by natavillage.

All government agencies and nearly all large businesses in Botswana have IV/AIDS committees. Many agencies and businesses have trained peer educators to help employees face the challenges of HIV/AIDS. Moshe standing right) is the chairperson of the HIV/AIDS committee for the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) in Nata. He invited Melody to the office to give a presentation about HIV/AIDS in Botswana. The eight employees learned that Botswana is second only to Swaziland for HIV infection rates. We talked a lot about how people are still using traditional doctors and paying them hundreds of dollars to treat HIV/AIDS. With almost 80,000 people in Botswana taking ARV’s and doing well, we discussed why some people are still in denial. Everyone present (like everyone in Botswana) has lost someone to AIDS. Vino (the supervisor, standing left) encouraged his staff to participate in “zero grazing” which means to stick with one partner.

Congratulations to the employees of BPC Nata for their willingness to participate in the workshop and their efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. Well done!


Video: Myths about HIV and AIDS and why they are not true


There has been a tremendous amount of progress in increasing worldwide awareness about HIV and AIDS, and massive education and prevention efforts are ongoing. However, many people remain ignorant to the facts about HIV and AIDS and to how they can prevent the spread of the disease. In this video, Dr. Becky Kuhn, an HIV treatment specialist, talks about the top 10 myths on HIV and AIDS and explains why they are not true.

Dr. Becky Kuhn is the co-founder of Global Lifeworks, which is a not-for-profit organization with the goal of “Bridging Diverse Communities in the HIV/AIDS Pandemic”. The vision statement of this organization is: “to pioneer new and unique methods for HIV/AIDS awareness, education, and care for the purpose of improving the quality of life of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS”. The website is full of information; it contains articles, blogs, videos, and photo galleries. I recommend that anyone interested in the worldwide AIDS pandemic visit and explore this worthwhile site. (from