Archive for the 'stigma' Category

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

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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

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.

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

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.

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.