Tag Archives: policy

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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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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Uganda to Revamp its HIV Prevention Message

“We shall use basic facts in the messages to communicate effectively because we have realized that the level of knowledge about basic facts on HIV information is quite limited,” said Saul Onyango, senior health educationist with the Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC).

The UAC, after feeling that Uganda’s messages were less successful than hoped, will re-define high-risk sex from “sex with irregular partner” to “anyone whose HIV status is unknown.” An at-risk population now includes anyone engaged in risky sex. Generic warnings about risky sex will now be favored over targeted messages, such as those about inter-generational sex.

“We have to change the destiny of this country, even if it means putting back the drums of the 1980s that used to frighten people,” said UAC director-general, David Kihumuro Apuuli. The center of a 1980s radio campaign in Uganda featured an ominous drumbeat and “AIDS kills.” Some in Uganda would like to see fear-driven campaigns return, believing them to be successful. The other side of the debate worries that scare tactics do not lead to behavior change but encourage fatalism and discrimination.

Those in Uganda’s leadership also voice a worry rarely heard – that funding for HIV prevention programs largely comes from donors and is unsustainable.

A lot to think about. We recommend reading the full article here to gain the most insight.

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Independent Experts Conclude: Comprehensive Sex Ed Works

“At long last, evidence and common sense have returned to public-health policy,” said James Wagoner of Advocates for Youth. “The task force report endorses the comprehensive approach to prevention that includes condoms and birth control. We should be spending taxpayer dollars only on evidence-based programs.”

AIDSTanzania supports the findings of this study, and it’s good to see comprehensive sex education finally get the credit it deserves. Read the full article here.

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U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi praises Tanzania

Nancy Pelosi commended Tanzania to Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete last week for its transparent and proper use of grants (read the full article here).

“Mr. president…rest assured that you have good friends from both the Republican and Democratic camps,” said Ms Pelosi. Mr. Kikwete responded by encouraging more support for Tanzania: “Help us to mobilise US investors to come to Tanzania and exploit many opportunities available in our country, particularly after the support granted through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).”

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Hopefully, that will happen – and the solid relationship between Tanzania and the U.S. will continue to grow. Case in point, Tanzania just opened its new chancery building in Washington, D.C. (1232 22nd Street, NW) and President Kikwete met with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during his visit to the U.S.

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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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“Behavior Change and HIV Prevention: [Re]Considerations for the 21st Century”

The Global HIV Prevention Working Group published a report in August 2008 about the efficacy of behavior-base HIV prevention and the myths behind HIV prevention efforts in general.  They argue that better and wider application of behavior change strategies are the only way to reverse the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

As our group has recently transitioned from “ABC” to “Behavior Change,” this report is really insightful on how AIDSTanzania can improve our strategies on the ground and campaign for better policies.  The report can be found here.

“The Global HIV Prevention Working Group is a panel of over 50 leading public health experts, clinicians, biomedical and behavioral researchers, advocates, and people affected by HIV/AIDS, convened by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The Working Group seeks to inform global policy-making, program planning, and donor decisions on HIV prevention, and to advocate for a comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS that integrates prevention, treatment, and care. More
information and Working Group publications are available here.”

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Pope: Condoms are not the solution in Africa

From the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/18/world/africa/18pope.html?scp=1&sq=pope%20hiv&st=cse

Dogma becomes dangerous when it is prioritized over human lives. Perhaps even more scary is that the former overseer of the US’s PEPFAR program put forth a similar agenda:

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=ad9380a8-cc6b-423a-8141-6ad34bdd1772

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