Tag Archives: HIV positive

Tuberculosis Accounts for 1/3 of AIDS Deaths Worldwide

That’s why the study highlighted in this article, which demonstrates that a new vaccine reduced the rate of tuberculosis in HIV-positive people by 39%, is so important in both fighting tuberculosis and AIDS. Usually HIV-positive individuals cannot get a TB vaccine because the bacteria could re-activate in a weak immune system (for a similar article from last year, read here or here).

“Development of a new vaccine against tuberculosis is a major international health priority, especially for patients with HIV infection,” Ford von Reyn, director of the DarDar International Programs for the Section on Infectious Disease and International Health at Dartmouth Medical School, said.

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Healtcare Reform and HIV/AIDS

Is AIDSTanzania going to go political and talk about the pros/cons of the healthcare reform storm that is sweeping the nation? No. But it is worth thinking about how the healthcare bill will affect those at risk for HIV and those already living with HIV/AIDS. For example, read the following quote from the AlterNet.org article: “Forty-five percent of people with HIV/AIDS in the United States have incomes under $10,000 a year, and 50 percent lack regular medical coverage.” That is a staggering statistic.

With all of the talk about who really benefits from the bill, who doesn’t benefit, and what this will do to our disenfranchised citizens, it is worth thinking about those who are some of the most disenfranchised of all – those living with HIV/AIDS and who are already struggling to get access to affordable, non-discriminatory, and beneficial healthcare. Also, any type of freeze to domestic spending on health and human service programs will hurt both those who are HIV-positive and those who are at risk.

No matter what your political position, something to think about.

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Domestic Action to Fight AIDS Among Women Lacking

March is Women’s History Month. On March 10th, according to AlterNet.org, America “celebrated” Women and Girls’ HIV Awareness Day. But apparently there wasn’t anything to celebrate, since our country has made relatively little progress in awareness or policy around the high HIV rate for women, particularly African-American women and girls. The article laments that our international AIDS relief plans address the gendered issues around HIV prevention and treatment, while our own domestic policy largely ignores the epidemic.

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Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover visits HIV/AIDS programs in Tanzania

Danny Glover, UNICEF Ambassador and famous actor, traveled to Tanzania in July 2009 to support HIV testing efforts, counseling for PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) and the fight against stigma in the country. Mr. Glover’s brother is HIV positive, and Mr. Glover sees the need for youth support clinics, testing, and a reduction in stigma. He also supports PMTCT efforts and the ongoing support for pregnant women who are HIV positive, including the involvement of their husbands or boyfriends.

During his visit to Tanzania, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover talks with a mother who has brought a child to a clinic and is waiting to be attended by a nurse.

During his visit to Tanzania, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover talks with a mother who has brought a child to a clinic and is waiting to be attended by a nurse.

Mr. Glover met with youth from the Zanzibar Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS and talked with people from the Zanzibar Youth Education Development and Environment Support Association, who provide a range of support services. Mr. Glover said that HIV stigma is “one of the most damaging” factors at work in Tanzania. We feel that this is true across the world, and we couldn’t agree more.

Read the full article here.

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UNICEF and ZAPHA+ work to reduce stigma in Zanzibar

Though HIV prevalence is not as high in Zanzibar as in other areas of Tanzania, stigma there is rampant. This UNICEF article, quoting the 2007-2008 Tanzania HIV and Malaria Indicator Survey, indicates that “51 per cent of women and 41 per cent of men would keep it a secret that a family member is infected with the HIV virus.”

During a group exercise in the Young Journalists workshop in Unguja, Zanzibar, the participants discuss different scenarios of HIV stigmatization.

During a group exercise in the Young Journalists workshop in Unguja, Zanzibar, the participants discuss different scenarios of HIV stigmatization.

UNICEF and ZAPHA+ (Zanzibar Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS) work to combat this stigma and encourage people to get tested. ZAPHA+ provides workshops and counseling for young people living with HIV to help reduce stigma in their communities and help them cope with emotional and health issues. Children living with HIV are empowered to tell their own stories and build strategies to change attitudes.

The model of storytelling was effective this week during a 7-day Young Journalists Workshop at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) Children’s Panorama, where 24 children who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS had an opportunity to share their experiences and wrote a newsletter that was sent to other schoolchildren in Unguja and Pemba.

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Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009

“Nothing is as stark, punitive and redolent of hate as the Bill in Uganda,” Stephen Lewis, former UN envoy on AIDS in Africa, addressing the Commonwealth People’s Forum.

The part that is perhaps most disturbing is Clause 2, which states that a person who is convicted of gay sex is liable to life imprisonment, but if that person is also HIV positive, the penalty is death. Whatever your thoughts on homosexuality are, this Bill attempts to deny HIV-positive people their right to live, and that is a blatant violation of basic human rights.

Read the Times Online article or the Bill itself. The Bill is going through Parliament currently, so if you have a petition that readers can sign to oppose the bill or any news about what has happened, please comment on this blog post.

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Anti-Retroviral Drugs Cut HIV Death Toll

BBC News reports that “The World Health Organization and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids) say an estimated 33.4 million people worldwide are infected with HIV,” which is up from 2007’s 33 million HIV infections due to the use of HIV drugs, which are helping people with HIV live longer, fuller lives.

Since 1996, when effective ARVs became available, an estimated 2.9 million lives have been saved, new HIV infections have been reduced by 17% over the past eight years,and mother-to-child infections have been reduced due to access to preventative drugs.

The quote from the Director general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan speaks adamantly and hopefully, “We cannot let this momentum wane. Now is the time to redouble our efforts, and save many more lives.”

However, the figures from Sub-Saharan Africa remain the worst in the world:

  • Total Infections in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2008: 22.4 million
  • New Infections in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2008: 1.9 million
  • AIDS Deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2008: 1.4 million
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HIV Awareness Campaign Yields Results in Tanzanian Village

None of the 2,500 out of 15,000 villagers in Rusaba Village, Kasulu District, Kigoma Region, tested positive for HIV this year between July and September. Local health workers had never come upon such results. They attribute it to an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign conducted by Tanzania Red Cross and Action Aid International, low interaction between villagers and outsiders, and close-knit family structures.

Depending on the size and diversity of the population tested, HIV infection rates can appear distorted. AIDSTanzania, for example, has tested in rural villages during our trips to the Arusha area. In one village, of 100 people tested there were zero positive tests. At face value this is great news. However, a number of factors could be at play: HIV-positive people who know of their infection are usually not going to get tested again; those who suspect they have HIV are afraid to come forward and get tested; and with only 100 tests available, tests go to the aware individuals who show up early because they are already thinking about HIV prevention.

Because the testing in Rusaba Village was of 2,500 of 15,000 people over a period of a few months, we can be confident that it was a representative sample of villagers. These results, and the influential HIV awareness campaign, are something to keep in mind as we work to prevent HIV, encourage testing, and spread education.

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UNAIDS Estimates 5-15 Men Will Need to be Circumcized to Prevent One New Infection

It costs about $30 USD to circumcise one man in sub-Saharan Africa where HIV rates are highest. Using a new mathematical modeling system developed in collaboration with UNAIDS, WHO and the South African Center for Epidemiological Analyses, it is estimated that between 5-15 men, at a cost of approximately $150-900 USD, need to be circumcised in order to prevent just one new HIV infection.

In an article published by AIDSmap News, it is also mentioned that even if newly circumcised men reduce their use of condoms, circumcision can still reduce the risk of HIV transmission from HIV positive men to HIV negative women. Albeit, if men resume sexual activity too soon after the procedure, their HIV negative partners would be placed at higher risk of transmission. Data shows that to circumsise  HIV positive men would lead to no significant decrease of new infections, so primary motivation for cicumsision campaigns should focus on uncircumcised HIV negative men who are risk for infection.

Statistics concerning male homosexual activity is currently unavailable. However, the computer model used is based on Southern African populations, in which heterosexual sexual activity is the primary cause of infection.

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