Archive for September, 2007

26
Sep
07

Mexican court: HIV-positive soldiers may serve

In a landmark decision, the Mexican Supreme Court has ruled that the forced expulsion of soldiers from military bodies because they are HIV-positive is unconstitutional:

“Being HIV-positive does not in itself imply an inability to serve in the armed forces,” the judges wrote in the ruling issued Monday. “Therefore it will be up to the military to determine, case by case, if the degree of effect on the soldier’s health makes it impossible to remain in active service.”

The ruling was made by the Supreme Court after hearing five consecutive cases with the same charge: that soldiers had been discharged from the armed forces because of their HIV status. Back in February, the Court ordered the Mexican Army and Marines to readmit four soldiers who were discharged because they were HIV-positive. – Univision

20
Sep
07

Personal Responsibility

14
Sep
07

Cambodia and Ethiopia: Real life stories of people living with HIV & hunger

2006 WFP/A K Kimoto Chea and her husband Hom receive a WFP food ration, which helps ensure that their TB and anti-retroviral treatment is as effective as possible.

Cambodia: Chea, Hom and Nob Nem

11 August 2006 – Chea, 36, worked as a construction laborer in Phnom Penh. “I don’t know when I became HIV-positive but we were both tested in 2005 during Hom’s pregnancy.”

“I am on anti-retroviral therapy but now I have TB. At the moment I am too ill to work, though I am slowly improving and want to work again,” said Chea.

Normally he earns roughly $US7.50 per month.

Making ends meet

Hom brings in a small income by recycling rice bags into ropes for leading cattle.

It is labour intensive work and she manages to make 100 to 200 ropes per month, which sell for $US1.50 per hundred.

“Both our families sold their land and cattle in order to pay for treatment and food for us,” she explained.

After giving birth to their daughter, Hom required blood transfusions which finished the money completely.

Reflecting on the future

“We have nothing except our healthy baby,” she added. The baby’s grandmother, Nob Nem, is visibly upset as she contemplates the family’s future.

The baby is her first grandchild and she has spent much time with her while Hom was ill.

“We are accepted in the village. Whenever anyone needs anything we are there,” Nob Nem says.

The family relies on Partners in Compassion, a local non-governmental organization for assistance.

The package of care they receive includes a food ration from WFP, which helps ensure that the TB and anti-retroviral treatment that Chea and Hom receive is as effective as possible.

Ethiopia: Tsehai Tesfaye

My name is Tsehai Tesfaye. I’m 37 years old and come from a very poor family.

I have never worked other than being a sex worker. Any guy who would pay me for love was welcome. This was how I earned a living.

As I was going out with different men, I was often sick with sexually transmitted infections.

Poor health

I have a feeling I got the virus from the one man I fell in love with. The guy was handsome, had a good job that paid him well.

We had a decent life for some time. But I started getting sick, so we separated.

Three years ago, I was tested and told that I am HIV-positive. Now my health is sporadic. I have an aching chest, a sore throat and a cough.

In this clinic where you found me, there were some 30 of us who were taking treatments for HIV.

Surviving

Most have died and the few of us still alive survive thanks to the Community Based Integrated Sustainable Development Organization.

I’m also receiving food. Thanks to the organization, I’m receiving 30 kilo grammes of wheat and some cooking oil.

I’m actually well fed and am not induced to go the other way to earn a living.

Family infected

I head a family of nine, seven of whom are my children. Three in the family – my youngest daughter, my brother and myself – are living with the HIV virus.

My youngest daughter was almost always sick and losing weight. So I took her to the health center where they told me the reality. I think she got it from me.

I’m doing my part for my 20-year-old daughter to prevent her from falling into the miserable life I led.

Young as she is, I’m advising her to be careful in her life. I don’t know to what extent I’ll be successful.

Good nutrition vital

Now I see one big problem. If I fall ill for a longer period of time, that may force my three young kids to look after me, which will eventually affect their schooling.

I openly tell to all I have the virus in my body and advise them they should be watchful not to be infected.

I even warn those who have the virus that they should eat nutritious food as much as possible so they live longer.

When I don’t eat well, the illness becomes worse; all my body becomes full of rashes. Had it not been for the food I am still getting, you wouldn’t have seen me talking to you now.

World Food Programme 

12
Sep
07

HIV Comeback: Young Gay Men in New York

The New York Daily News is reporting that HIV is making a comeback among young gay men in NY.  New cases have increased by a third in those younger than 30 and doubled among teens in the past six years, health officials said Tuesday.  “In 2001, there were 374 new HIV diagnoses among gay men younger than 30; last year, there were 499, a city report said. In gay males ages 13 to 19, cases increased from 41 six years ago to 87 last year.

“A generation of men is growing up having not seen their friends die of AIDS, and maybe having the impression that HIV is not such a terrible infection,” Frieden said.

Unless they practice safer sex, he said, “We will face another wave of suffering and death from HIV and AIDS.”

Gay black and Hispanic youth are most profoundly affected by the growing number of infections, with 81 of 87 new cases last year occurring in those groups.”

I think that young gay males should look to the examples of their gay forefathers in the 80s who championed HIV/Aids activism.  They gave HIV a face (Unfortunately that has now become a stigma and assumption).  They took up the cause when it was not popular or chic.  They watched their friends die and did something to keep others from getting infected instead of standing idly by.   These young gay men in NY will have to be the ones to take up this cause a new if there is going to be a change, and if the trend is going to lessen.

10
Sep
07

Nepal: ‘HIV infection is not end of life’

KATHMANDU, Sept 7: It is double trouble for women infected with HIV/AIDS. Already being the victims of the deadly disease, they face rampant discrimination from the society mainly because they are women.

Speaking at an interaction organized by Shakti Milan Samaj (SMS), Goma Rai, who is in the terminal state of HIV, said the society about change the perception of looking at women with HIV/AIDS.

SMS is a non-government organization established by women infected with HIV for the protection, promotion and empowerment of women and children having HIV.

Rai and all the members of the organization are infected by HIV as a result of trafficking and drugs abuse. Initially, the organization was established by two persons infected with HIV/AIDS. Now, it has more than 40 members.

She said members of SMS, who were shunned by their families and society, are now involved in income generating activities and leading an independent life.

The SMS provide financial help to members who are willing to do get into income-generating activities.

Another victim Sarita Shrestha said she got the virus from her husband who was a drug addict. Her husband is dead now and she has been living under the care of SMS.

“When I knew that I was infected with HIV all my dreams were shattered. But now I have realized that to be infected with HIV is not the end of life and this has boosted my confidence,” Sarita said.

Chairman of National Non-Government Organization Network against HIV/AIDS. Hari Awasthi, said the awareness campaign should reach out to all over Mid-and Far-Western Regions from where many youths have migrated abroad for employment during the conflict making them vulnerable to the virus.

Rajiv Kafle, the anti-AIDS campaigner, said the anti-HIV/AIDS programme should be expanded to Far-Western Region in order to collect the actual number of women infected with HIV and AIDS. He also stressed on the need for awareness programme in the remote part such as Darchula, Achham and Doti of the region.

President of National AIDS and STD Control Padam Bahadur Chand said that the government and NGOs working for the elimination of HIV/AIDS should distribute the resources equally all over the country.

He said the real problems of women and children infected by HIV and AIDS could not be brought out to the open unless the government and NGOs reach out to the far-and mid-western parts of Nepal.

09
Sep
07

Senate votes to approve funds to fight HIV/Aids

The Senate on Thursday voted 81-12 to approve the fiscal year 2008 foreign aid spending bill (HR 2764) that would increase funds to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria worldwide, the AP/International Herald Tribune reports. The $34 billion measure would increase President Bush’s $4.2 billion request for funds to fight HIV/AIDS globally by $940 million (Taylor, AP/International Herald Tribune, 9/6). The measure would increase the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to $590 million (HR 2764 text, 9/7). The bill would allow President Bush and future presidents to waive the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief’s abstinence spending requirement.

By law, at least one-third of HIV prevention funds that focus countries receive through PEPFAR must be used for abstinence-until-marriage programs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/22).

The spending bill also would allocate $1.2 billion for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a program meant to encourage economic and political reforms in developing countries. Bush requested $3 billion for MCC, according to the AP/Herald Tribune (AP/International Herald Tribune, 9/6). “A reduction of this magnitude is unacceptable and would severely undermine MCC’s efforts to reduce poverty in countries that practice good governance, particularly in Africa, and make it more difficult for the United States to meet its commitment to double aid to Africa by 2010,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement (Pulizzi, Dow Jones/Nasdaq, 9/6). Similar legislation passed the House in June, and the Senate bill must be reconciled with the House-approved measure (AP/International Herald Tribune, 9/6).

04
Sep
07

Alabama: HIV positive Caleb Glover gets to swim after all!!

We posted about lil Caleb being banned from an Alabama RV park serveral months ago, as well as news of the protest to follow..etc.  Many blessings and thanks go out from HIVAidsandMe to The Campaign to End Aids for organizing the Family Reunion Event!!!!!!  I think this was a wonderful demonstration of how education and understanding are key to bring people together to support and celebrate HIV positive people.  Here’s an article about the event.

AIDS activists visit Silverhill RV park
RV park proprietor hosts AIDS activists months after barring HIV-positive toddler from swimming pool
Tuesday, September 04, 2007By RYAN DEZEMBER

SILVERHILL, AL — In an effort to raise AIDS awareness, about 45 activists, most of them infected with the virus that causes the disease, traveled from locales as far-flung as Delaware, Dallas and San Diego to the Wales West Light Railway & RV Resort, where they had a Labor Day picnic.

Tucked off a rural highway east of Fish River, the resort was not chosen because of its visibility, but rather because two months ago, the 20-acre park made national news when a Saraland couple, Dick and Silvia Glover, accused the park of discriminating against their 2-year-old, HIV-positive foster son, Caleb.

The Glovers decided to vacation at Wales West in early July because the park features, among the amenities typical of an RV resort, a life-size replica of the small, coal-fired locomotives once used in Welsh mining. But when the couple tried to take their foster son for a swim, the park’s owner, Ken Zadnichek, told his employees to bar him from the pool and showers until he could confirm that there was no health hazard in letting the boy swim with other guests.

The Glovers promptly left the park for accommodations at another RV resort and called reporters.

Since then, Zadnichek has taken a lot of heat over that July day. Besides being the subject of reports on national television and radio, blogs and other online sounding boards have blasted the park owner.

“Everyone wants to call me the mean old guy that kicked the HIV baby out of the swimming pool, which is nuts,” Zadnichek said Monday before hosting a reporter on a train ride through his burgeoning 20-acre park. “We were concerned as much about what he would catch from the other kids as what they would get from him.”

The activists — most of whom are affiliated with the Campaign to End AIDS, a national network of people living with the disease — said in a news release that they originally intended to surprise Zadnichek, reserving several of the park’s 76 sites under the guise of a family reunion.

To hold an angry protest, however, wouldn’t have accomplished the activists’ aim of raising awareness about the disease and erasing the stigma faced by people living with AIDS and HIV, said Larry Bryant, an HIV-positive resident of Washington, D.C.

“It would have been oversimplifying to have an angry mob show up with pitchforks and torches,” Bryant said, adding that Zadnichek and his wife, Ann, had been helpful in arranging the activists’ stay.

“We’re glad to see them,” said Zadnichek, who is generally more keen to talk about the train he had built four years ago in England than he is about AIDS. “We don’t want to turn anyone away.”

Dick Glover, who suffers from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, wasn’t able to make it Monday. But Sylvia Glover, who has been foster mother to more than 60 children, brought Caleb and other family members.

Caleb, now 3, finally went for that swim. However, possibly because of his appetite-ruining drug treatments, he wasn’t much interested in the barbecue or the celebration of his return to the resort. Instead, the skinny boy dressed in a diaper, T-shirt and plastic sunglasses spent much of the time he was being feted playing on a swing set.