Archive for July, 2007


The first animated series about people living with HIV

‘Live With It’ is the world’s first of animated series about people living with HIV. In episode 3, Bobbie learns that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Bobbie ’s outer beauty can’t compete with her inner demons, and now she’s finding out what HIV can do to someone’s self image.


Canadian inmates have higher rates of HIV, hep C News Staff – June 30, 2007Prisoners doing time in the jails, detention centres and youth centres of Quebec and Ontario have startlingly high rates of hepatitis C and HIV, find two new studies that suggest the need for better efforts to prevent inmates from spreading their illnesses.

Dr. Liviana Calzavara, public health scientist at the University of Toronto and colleagues looked at the health information of 1,877 adult and young offenders admitted to 13 Ontario remand facilities between Feb. 1, 2003, and June 20, 2004.

Among the adult offenders, they found that the rate of hepatitis C infection was 22 times higher than that of the general population, and the rate of HIV infection was 11 times higher.

  • 2.1 per cent of the adults tested positive for HIV
  • 17.6 per cent tested positive for hepatitis C
  • None of the young offenders tested positive for HIV
  • One (0.4 per cent) tested positive for hepatitis C.

Based on these results, the researchers estimate that 1,079 HIV-positive adults and 9,208 hepatitis C virus carriers were admitted to Ontario remand facilities from Apr. 1, 2003, to Mar. 31, 2004.

Those most likely to be infected with either disease were injection drug users. Rates were highest among inmates who reported a history of injection drug use, as well as those aged 30 or more.

A study conducted in Quebec by Celine Poulin found similar results.

  • The rate of hep C infection was 16.6 per cent among male prisoners studied
  • The rate of hep C infection was 29.2 per cent among females
  • The rate of HIV infection was 2.3 per cent among male prisoners
  • The rate of HIV infection was 8.8 per cent among females.

In both studies, injection drug use was the most important risk factor, and the prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection was much higher than that of HIV infection.

Both studies are published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The studies suggest the real the possibility that inmates are spreading these diseases within the correctional system. The authors note that 30.3 per cent of all the adults surveyed and 4.7 per cent of the young offenders reported a history of injection drug use.

And they say that given the fact that many offenders are likely to offend again and return repeatedly to provincial prisons and jails for short stays, the results of their studies have important public health implications.

In a related commentary, Richard Elliott, deputy director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, comments on the continued refusal by federal and provincial governments to bring in measures to prevent HIV and HCV infections in prisons.

For example, he notes that Correctional Services Canada has noted the widespread practice of unsafe tattooing in prisons. As well, many have called for needle-exchange programs in prisons, but notes that no prison system in Canada currently provides access to sterile injection equipment.

He suggests it may be time to put “the evidence of this ongoing denial of human rights” before the courts.


HIV pozitive 2 Year Old Barred from Pool

“A couple says their vacation was ruined when an RV park owner told them they weren’t welcome after discovering their 2-year-old foster son had the HIV virus.

Last week, Dick and Silvia Glover went to the Wales West RV Park in Silver Hill, Ala., with their foster son Caleb. When the boy was banned from using the pool and showers, the Glovers said they were offered an uncomfortable and painful choice: They could either keep Caleb out of the water or leave.”

I can’t say it better so I’m going to have to let this sister tell you the rest – hivaidsandme – “Apparently stupidity knows no bounds. In the backwoods in “Nowheresville,” Alabama people still don’t know that you can’t get HIV from swimming in the same pool with someone who is infected. I’m not sure that they got the memo, but you can’t catch it from a toilet seat either.

Wales West RV Park (yeah that’s right RV Park) told Silvia and Dick Glover that their 2-year-old foster son, Caleb, was not allowed to swim in the pool or use the shower after finding out that Caleb was HIV positive.

The RV Parks response: “We weren’t sure if somebody could get the virus if the child upchucked on them or from blood or what,” said Ken Zadnichek, the park’s owner. “We didn’t know what the risk was. That’s why we asked for something from their doctor or the county health department.”

I have no words. I can’t even being to express how horrible I think this is. Silvia and Dick…or anyone who has HIV, AIDS, or knows anyone who is infected…I’m sorry for all the stupid people in the world.”

Wow…click here for the whole story from ABC News


Dating while postive – Sites for Positive Singles

Many times people assume that if they are HIV positive or have a sexually transmitted disease that they can’t find love…but that’s not true. If you have HIV/Aids you can find love online. There are dating websites dedicated helping positive singles like you find love.– social networking website dedicated to HIV Positive Africans and African Americans sharing and making friends. – A dating site for HIV positive singles that is HIV+ owned. – For singles with HSV, HPV, and HIV – A dating service is for singles with HIV/AIDS, herpes, other STDs. – Exclusively HIV Positive Dating – HIV Dating and and Interactive Database


The Importance of Being Tested / La importancia de la prueba

From The Temas Blog

Did you know that 27 June was HIV Test Awareness Day?  I confess that I didn’t.  But I had wondered why I am suddenly seeing some many television ads these past two weeks about the importance of getting tested, and why Tyra Banks decided to get tested on her syndicated TV show (no, I don’t watch her show — I just saw the commercials for it).

I wonder if the media and health authorities have been equally active in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).  According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), they are.  I’d be interested in hearing from readers in LAC about whether they have matched their promises with visible action.

In my first “Basics” piece, I argued that good diagnosis is usually a prerequisite for good environmental policy.  The same holds true of health policy.  It is difficult for LAC governments to plan, design, budget and implement adequate public health programs to address HIV/AIDS in their countries if they can only guess at the infection levels/profiles in their populace.

For example, if you ask WHO or PAHO or UNAIDS how many people in LAC received AIDS treatments in 2006, they will respond that the estimates range from 55% to 95% (yes, estimates, not records).  Given what I read from NGOs in the field in LAC dealing with HIV/AIDS patients, the latter figure is simply absurd.  Some might even question the 55% estimate as well, particularly outside of Brazil.

Pregnant women tested for HIV vs. those treated in select countries (click to enlarge) (data: WHO/UNAIDS/UNICEF)This gives you an idea of the uncertainty in LAC statistics regarding HIV/AIDS.  If you ask about how many people have been tested, they’ll give you estimates of absolute numbers — but will shy from estimating what percentage of the population at risk this represents.

Then there’s the individual level.  If you have engaged in risky sexual behavior, have a partner you’re unsure of, want to reassure your current or prospective partner, or have received a blood transfusion you have nagging questions about, you only have two basic choices: test and know, or wait and pray.

I agree with health officials that it’s better to get tested.  If you are not infected, it will be a relief to know that.  If you are infected, the earlier you find out the better, since that leaves you with more potential treatment options.  And of course there’s the consideration of others you might unwittingly infect.

The ad depicted at the start of this post, which appears in an innovative Brazilian media campaign profiled in PAHO’s Perspectives in Health magazine (English, Spanish), represents the enormous emotional burden one can carry around when you don’t know whether or not you are infected with HIV.

As the PAHO releases copied below mention, until recently not nearly enough testing was done in LAC nations.  This is in part due to the lack of availability of the right diagnostics — many public clinics did not offer it.  Reportedly Brazil, El Salvador and Mexico have finally addressed fully the public clinic testing problem,  but many of their neighbors have far to go yet.

Another factor was cost of both diagnostics and treatments (after all, some reasoned, why spend money on diagnosis when you cannot treat?), although this is coming down, particularly with the help of initiatives such as the Clinton Foundation’s.

A third factor….(for the third factor and the rest of this article, visit The Temas Blog)


Video: Aids in the European Union

“740,000 people in the EU today have HIV/AIDS. One in three is unaware they have it. There is a rise of new infections in the EU and neighbouring countries. An EU survey reveals that in Europe less and less people know how the disease is transmitted and take the necessary precautions.” – from


Marital Sex Single Greatest HIV Risk For Women Around The World

11 May 2007 – 16:00 PDT – from
For a growing number of women in rural Mexico – and around the world – marital sex represents their single greatest risk for HIV infection. According to a new Mailman School of Public Health Study, because marital infidelity by men is so deeply ingrained across many cultures, existing HIV prevention programs are putting a growing number of women at risk of developing the HIV virus. The findings, indicating that globally, prevention programs that take a “just say no” approach and encourage men to be monogamous are unlikely to be effective, underline the need for programs that make extramarital sex safer, rather than – unrealistically – trying to eradicate it. These findings are published in the June 2007 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The article’s lead author, Jennifer S. Hirsch, PhD, associate professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, is principal investigator on a large comparative study showing that the inevitability of men’s infidelity in marriage is true across cultures. This was borne out in the research conducted in rural Mexico as well as in similar studies she is overseeing in rural New Guinea and southeastern Nigeria, which are published in the same issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Two additional studies underway, in Uganda and Vietnam, are expected to show similar results.

The Mexico study was based on six months of anthropological research, including participant observation, 20 marital case studies, 37 key informant interviews, and document analysis to explore the factors that shape HIV risk among married women in Degollado, one of the Mexico’s rural communities.
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.  Click here for the rest of the story


HIV and Aids on Myspace

It’s great to see the social networking powerhouse that is being used to spread awareness about HIV/Aids and give activists a voice. If your organization/advocacy group doesn’t have a presence on Myspace, you are missing out on a tool that gives you instant, global reach within the illusive young adult demographics.

Check out these examples – AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati

MySpaceTV: Treatment Action Campaign — documentary HIV AIDS South Africa


Microcredit program for HIV positive entrepreneurs in Thailand

Microlending gives hope to the HIV positive
A microcredit program created by Thailand’s ‘Mr. Condom’ allows the HIV positive to start businesses and earn a living.

By Robert Horn, Fortune | from
May 21 2007: 6:03 AM EDT

(Fortune Magazine) — When Narisara Panya’s husband died of AIDS seven years ago after returning to Thailand from a construction job abroad, it was devastating. With only a small plot of land that didn’t always yield enough food for their two children, 44-year-old Narisara – who became HIV positive herself – needed an income.

But because she was stigmatized in her community, even after starting antiretroviral therapy, no one would hire her. And no banks, or even loan sharks, would lend her money to start a business. “They were afraid of the illness and thought I would die before being able to pay them back,” she says.

An experiment in microcredit came to her rescue. With a 24,000 baht ($685) loan from a program called Positive Partnership, Narisara was able to set up a small business selling ginseng tonic and herbal supplements in roughly 100 neighboring villages.

Now she and her business partner earn 8,000 baht ($228) a month each, more than twice the average income in their village in northeastern Thailand. “My customers know I’m HIV positive,” Narisara says, but they don’t care. “They are surprised at how healthy I look.” – read the rest of this article at