Posts Tagged ‘hiv

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

02
Jan
08

Shift in HIV infection among men

New data from six U.S. sites show a dramatic shift by men acutely infected with HIV to choose to have unprotected intercourse only with other HIV-infected partners.

“While the findings showed condom use was up and the number of partners was down, the most startling effect was seen in men choosing to have unprotected intercourse almost exclusively with other HIV-infected individuals. This reflects a systematic shift by men, most of whom are gay, following HIV infection to behaviors that protect their sex partners,” said lead author, Wayne Steward, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at UCSF’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies.

The findings, presented today (December 5) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta, were from clinics that enroll newly HIV-infected study participants in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, New Haven, San Diego, and Providence. Over 90 percent of the 27 participants in this study were men who have sex with men. Continue reading ‘Shift in HIV infection among men’

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’

31
Oct
07

Cascade AIDS Project: $1.2 million for positive people in Oregon

The Oregon Department of Human Services will receive a $1.2 million federal grant to support persons living with HIV/AIDS who also suffer from mental illness.

Oregon DHS was one of four applicants nationwide selected for the grant, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Cascade AIDS Project and Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare will partner with the Department of Human Services to implement the project. Clients located in the five-county Portland metropolitan area and the eight counties along the Interstate 5 corridor will be eligible to receive assistance. These areas have the highest concentrations of Oregonians living with HIV/AIDS.

“For people living with HIV, having a stable place to live makes a huge difference in helping them stay as well and independent as possible,” said Dr. Susan Allan, state health officer for the Oregon Department of Human Services Public Health Division.

The Oregon Department of Human Services HIV Care and Treatment Program already receives funding through three other HUD grants that provide stable housing and other services to low-income persons living with HIV and their families who are, have been, or are at risk of being homeless. The new grant will fund housing and supportive mental health services to persons living with HIV/AIDS and co-occurring mental illness.

Cascade AIDS Project is the largest community-based provider of HIV services, housing and education in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare is Oregon’s largest provider of community-based outpatient and residential mental health and addictions treatment services and housing for low-income individuals and families.

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

25
Oct
07

Second Condom Recall in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — South Africa is recalling millions of locally manufactured condoms after tens of thousands failed an air burst test, dealing a further blow to the country’s campaign to prevent the spread of AIDS.

The Health Ministry said Tuesday the recall involves condoms distributed free by the government.

It follows a scandal in which the South African company Zalatex was found to have bribed an official of the South African Bureau of Standards to approve defective condoms. After the scandal broke in August, the government ordered 20 million condoms to be recalled or held at the factory. Only 12 million have been recovered.

21
Oct
07

How HIV man became a proud dad

LIKE a lot of men, Perry Evans had always taken for granted that one day he would become a dad.

But at the young age of 24 his world came crashing down around him when doctors told him that he was HIV positive.

Perry, originally from Aberavon, Port Talbot, was a haemophiliac and had accidentally been infected with the virus by an NHS blood transfusion.

Not only did he think it would end his dreams of starting a family – but he thought he would have just a few years to live.

The 46-year old said: “When I found out I was HIV positive at the age of 24, I felt as if I’d been handed a death sentence.

“My future just disappeared – it was assumed I’d never have unprotected sex, never father children. Worst of all, I was told I’d only have another two to five years to live before dying a painful death.

“And in my head, those few years were going to be sexless and loveless.”

But rather than resigning himself to being ill, Perry put on a brave face and resolutely decided to make the best of his life.

He said: “It was actually my mum who took it hardest though.

“Because haemophilia is passed on maternally, she already felt guilty for my health problems.

“But I’ve always faced things head-on, and I quickly came to terms with it. What choice did I have? I realised HIV didn’t have to stop me living.”

Perry was keen to start a relationship, but was fully aware that a lot of girls might have been deterred by his illness.

But he soon fell for a woman called Heather, who was 22 at the time.

He said: “I dated a couple of girls, but because I’m a Christian sex was always something I was saving for marriage.

“It didn’t become an issue until I met Heather in 1987. I knew straight away she was special – that she could be the one. I told her about my HIV status on our second date.

“I would have been gutted if she’d turned round and said, ‘Sorry, I want a man who can give me kids,’ or didn’t want to know me because of the disease. But it was a risk I knew I had to take.”

Although Heather admits that she was hesitant to begin with, she also believed that the relationship was too special to pass by.

Perry said: “Thankfully for me, Heather was brilliant about it. She didn’t freak out, and she told me soon after I dropped the bombshell that she’d decided she wanted to give things a go.

“A year later, we were married. Thinking I only had five years, tops, to live, there was no point in us hanging round.

“Of course, I worried about leaving Heather a widow and taking away her chance of becoming a mum. But I figured she’d still be young enough to meet someone else after I’d gone.”

From the very beginning Perry and Heather were constantly told by doctors that they would never be able to have children.

But despite Perry’s deteriorating health, the couple were determined to give it a go. They had heard about a pioneering technique called ‘sperm washing’ that looked like it could give them the chance to be parents.

Perry said: “Before I got HIV, I’d always thought I’d be a dad. But it was something I’d learnt not to think about. And so when I heard about sperm washing, I was really excited.”

The process allows doctors to separate the male’s sperm from the HIV virus. The sperm is then injected into the female egg using artificial insemination.

But the couple were told that there was still a three to six per cent risk of either Heather or the baby contracting the disease.

Neither did – and the couple were blessed with not one but two children.

Perry said: “Luckily it worked, and in 2001 Isaac was born. It was overwhelming. Then, in 2005 we were blessed with our beautiful daughter, Cerian.”

The couple, who now live in Worcestershire, will soon celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. And although they don’t know what’s around the corner, they are living each and every day to the full.

Perry said: “My kids are a ray of sunshine. I try not to waste a moment and spend as much time as I can with them.

“I’ve got liver disease now, and I know I won’t be around forever. But just being here, with a wonderful wife and two kids, is a miracle.”

andrew.dagnell@mediawales.co.uk

19
Oct
07

South Africa losing battle against HIV/Aids

BBC News: Unicef’s South Africa representative, Macharia Kamau, said infection and death rates were outpacing treatment.

This was having a devastating effect on children whose parents died of Aids, and sent out a dire message for the future, he said.

Mr Kamau said if present trends continued, there could be five million orphans in South Africa by 2015.

Huge risk

South Africa is one of just nine countries worldwide where infant mortality is rising – from 60 deaths per 1,000 births in 1990, to 95 deaths today.

The main reason, Unicef says, is HIV/Aids.

The average infection rate is almost 30% of the population – and in some regions it is closer to 50%.

Speaking in Geneva, Mr Kamau said the effect on children was devastating, and that infants whose mothers died of Aids were at huge risk of dying themselves.

Older children who have lost one or more parents faced a struggle to survive and to go to school, he added.

In South Africa today there are 1.5 million Aids orphans. If the trend of 400,000 deaths from Aids per year continues, by 2015, the number of orphans will have reached five million.

Mr Kamau said that the numbers of people in South Africa being treated for Aids were constantly being outstripped by the numbers becoming infected and dying.

He described this as a dire message for the future because although 380,000 South African Aids patients were receiving anti-retroviral drugs, 1.2 million were not receiving treatment.

As long as infection and death rates continued to outpace treatment, South Africa would lose the battle against Aids, he said.

Unicef says an aggressive expansion of treatment is needed immediately, alongside a much more open Aids prevention campaign from the government, to challenge the stigma which still surrounds the disease in South Africa.

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.