Tag Archives: HIV

Rising HIV rates in DC is Cause for Concern

DC released its latest HIV/AIDS numbers this month, and they’re high enough to cause alarm among the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, ABC 7 reports. This group came to Capitol Hill to support a bill called HR 1964. The bill would provide funding for massive testing, treatment and education for people with AIDS. In Washington, D.C. 81 percent of the people who have AIDS are black.

A Black Leaders Support HIV/AIDS Bill As DC Releases Latest Numbers

A Black Leaders Support HIV/AIDS Bill As DC Releases Latest Numbers

The good news is that more people are living longer with HIV and taking precautions not to spread the disease, and more people are getting tested. But the rising number of people in DC living with HIV, 3 percent of the adult population, is considered an epidemic by the CDC.

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Kenya acts to stem cross-border HIV spread

Read the full article here.

Kenya acts to stem cross-border HIV spread

Kenyans march in a procession in Eldoret town to mark the World Aids Day on December 1, 2009. Kenya’s fight against the spread of HIV/Aids among people crossing into its borders is on course, a new report by a regional body says. Photo/JARED NYATAYA

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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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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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AIDS has Economic Impacts in Tanzania

“But global crisis aside, Tanzania is in a job crisis of its own characterised by the devastating HIV/Aids pandemic and low competitiveness and productivity, experts say,” Damas Kanyabwoya writes for AllAfrica.com.Read the full article here.

It is important for us to remember that HIV has human and social effects beyond the side effects of the disease itself. Jeffrey D. Sachs, author of The End of Poverty, writes that he was shocked during his first visit to Zambia, when many of his Zambian colleagues were incapacitated by AIDS. In his book, he relays how he had never imagined that an illness could be so economically devastating. Indeed, it seems unimaginable to those living in a country like the United States that a disease could have an impact big enough to cause a drain among the working population, even big enough to hurt the economy.

Tanzania faces a similar problem to the one Sachs recognizes in Zambia, and it is exacerbated by malaria, TB, and cholera. When a country is crippled by disease, there is a viscious cycle of disease and poverty – countries do not have the money to fight disease, and so their working populations and schoolchildren are distracted or killed by illness, and thus there isn’t the education or capital to generate money.

Adding economic impacts to the discussion of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment will help educators, researchers, and leaders fight the disease most effectively.

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A reminder that fighting AIDS should not be the only fight…

A lot of the disease-fighting focus in Tanzania, and in Africa as a whole, is to HIV/AIDS. Many people see this as the overwhelming problem and forget that many people struggle against more basic, more preventable, more treatable diseases – such as cholera.

A cholera outbreak in northeastern Tanzania has resulted in 12 deaths and the closing of schools until November 1 (read more here).

Though AIDSTanzania is primarily focused on HIV/AIDS education and prevention, we have realized the need to broaden our vision. For example, we cannot teach someone about how to prevent contracting HIV when they are struggling with malaria or TB or cholera. Additionally, if someone has one of these diseases their immune system and body are already weakened, and research shows that they may contract HIV more easily while sick. We must start with a comprehensive (or holistic) approach to health and education.

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Truckers Leave AIDS Viral Loads in Namanga Border Town

This article tells a story that is a common narrative in Tanzania about how HIV is spread. This time, the story takes place in Namanga, a border town between Tanzania and Kenya, and the theory is that HIV infections are rising in the town due to heavy trucker traffic and the nomadic lifestyle of the border communities.

Namanga, at the border of Kenya and Tanzania

Namanga, at the border of Kenya and Tanzania

While in Tanzania, our own group heard similar stories about how commuting brings HIV back into the rural villages – men would go into Arusha to work and to seek entertainment, sometimes contract the HIV virus through sexual partners in the city, and then unknowingly bring HIV back to their family and community. This is why some statistics suggest the HIV infection rate growing in rural areas even as it stabilizes or decreases in cities.

This is a similar problem to Namanga’s border town HIV problem. Residents and officials of this area blame in sufficient health and medical facilities both for failing to stop the spread of the virus. The article also suggests that though reported HIV rates are low, the problem is critical – implying not only insufficient medical care, but insufficient testing and potentially a heavy stigma regarding HIV.

Truckers Leave Aids Viral Loads in Namanga Border Town

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AMREF Launches ‘Angaza Zaidi’

The Arusha Times Logo

The Arusha Times

The Angaza Zaidi program aims to address the issue of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania.  As stressed by president Jakaya Kikwete, one of the main issues is testing – if people know their status, the government can help them and everyone can prevent new infections.  Apparently over 5 million people have been tested in Tanzania since 2007, making it one of the world’s leading testing countries.

It is good to see that our programs are aligning with those of AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation) and that testing is becoming a huge priority in Tanzania.  Hopefully the Angaza Zaidi program and AIDSTanzania can work together in the future.

Here’s the full article.

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Free HIV Testing Event

Know Your Status

Know Your Status

On Saturday, April 25 our group is hosting a FREE HIV testing event at the College of William and Mary!

The testing will be provided by WAN (Williamsburg AIDS Network), and will be confidential in the James Room upstairs in the Sadler Center.  There will be entertainment by Passing Notes, Reveille, John Kelly and the Quick Snipes, Irish Dance Club, Clayton Perry, and more in Lodge 1 throughout the day, as well as showings of our documentary.  We will also be selling our jewelry from Tanzania.

The test WAN is using is a rapid test, meaning it only takes 20 minutes for the results and it just takes a cheek swab!

KNOW YOUR STATUS

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