Archive for the 'activism' Category

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

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

31
Oct
07

T.D. Jakes Challenges Black Churches to End Silence on AIDS

Nationally renowned pastor, Bishop T.D. Jakes, in a strongly worded commentary written exclusively for the Black Press of America, appealed to black churches around the nation to join a unified strategy to deal with the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in the black community.

“We are on the roof again,” stated the pastor of more than 30,000 at the Potter’s House in Dallas, recalling the long wait of African Americans to be rescued during Hurricane Katrina. In that crisis, blacks largely had to save each other and themselves as many died.

Jakes called for black churches to join with other caring organizations to force the federal government to release tax money to help end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in which blacks are dying at least seven times faster than whites.

“I realize that as Sen. [Hillary] Clinton stated, if this were killing whites in the way it is killing blacks, it wouldn’t be their pastors who would have to take on such a daunting task and it would not be tithe money but tax money that would be used for resource.”

The Congressional Black Caucus has committed to drafting a bill that would help fund programs to end the AIDS epidemic in black America.

“These funds would include all of our tax dollars that have been directed elsewhere while we die,” Jakes wrote.

The commentary, released by the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service, is part of a series of 25 all-star op-editorials written exclusively for the Black Press as part of the Center for Disease Control’s “Heightened Response” to HIV/AIDS in the black community.

“This time we must not wait,” Jakes wrote. He commended many churches for having spent thousands of dollars to address the rising rate of HIV/AIDS. But he calls upon those who may have resisted involvement due to long-held stigmas and prejudices about the disease that once appeared to predominantly plague homosexuals. Stats outlined in the commentary shows that HIV/AIDS is now ravaging black heterosexuals—particularly black women—at astronomical rates.

“We must work to get all groups to a healthy condition,” wrote Jakes. “We cannot care just for those we agree with. We must help all hurting people to safety and then debate later the many complications of our times.

The first two were written by Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute, a partner in the op-ed series, and actor/activist Danny Glover.

Source: Frost Illustrated

08
Oct
07

Hope’s Voice: Does HIV Look Like Me?

Hope’s Voice is a national HIV and AIDS organization committed to promoting the education and prevention of HIV and AIDS to young adults. Hope’s Voice uses open dialogue and peer-to-peer education, through both speaker appearances of young adults living with HIV and AIDS and progressive programs to send this crucial message: HIV and AIDS does not discriminate. Hope’s Voice aims to raise awareness and help young adults create the social change that is needed to end this epidemic.

The organization represents a group of talented and diverse young adults, all living with HIV and AIDS. Their speakers prove, the disease shows no preference towards gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, demographic or economic status.

05
Oct
07

Aids Walk Washington This Saturday!!! Oct 6th, 2007

AIDS Walk Washington is October 6, 2007

1 out of 20 District residents is infected with HIV. That’s 5% of the population
1 out of 50 District residents is already living with AIDS
If DC were a country it would rank in between The Republic of Congo and Rwanda in terms of HIV infection rates!

Put Your Foot Down – Register Today!

Show your support for Whitman-Walker Clinic at the 21st annual AIDS Walk Washington on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Freedom Plaza. The goal is 25,000 walkers, one for each person living with HIV in the District of Columbia. You can register as an individual walker or build a team of 10 or more people.

For more information on AIDS Walk, call 202-332-WALK or visit the AIDS Walk website . Check out the TV PSAs produced by NBC4!

PSA 1
PSA 2

The Grand Marshall this year is Chip Arndt. You may remember Chip Arndt from his stint on the TV show The Amazing Race. Chip and then-partner Reichen Lehmkuehl won not only the big prize, but also plenty of attention for being the first same-sex couple to do so. Even before the show, Chip Arndt was known for his support of LGBT and HIV/AIDS causes. Since the show, however, he has been able to do even more.

Come out on this Saturday and show your support!!!