Posts from the ‘HIV/AIDS’ Category

LAGOS AIDS WALK!!!


Good news!!!! There’s a ‘Lagos Aids Walk’ coming up! I’m excited because i love activism especially when it is about health issues! And yes, I’m attending!
Obviously, the event will be about raising awareness about stigmatization and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and to advocate for support for prevention, care and treatment programs. Sounds like fun…doesn’t it?
Well, the other reason I’m attending is because Kenneth Kaunda will be there as well. THE Kenneth Kaunda you read about in history books from Zambia…so exciting!!!!
If you wanna join in, you have to go to http://www.lagosaidswalk..org to register and then show up at the playing ground opposite LSPDC Estate, Ebute Metta at 9 a.m (21st April)
Governor Fashola, Tinubu, Funke Adeleke (Jenifa), Pastor Ituah Ighodalo and some other entertainers will be attending!
Remember we will be campaigning for ZERO INFECTIONS, ZERO DISCRIMINATION AND ZERO AIDS RELATED DEATHS!!!!!

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THE LINK BETWEEN THE GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS AND HIV/AIDS!!!


The link between the global food insecurity and HIV/AIDS is a rather obvious one. People living with HIV/AIDS need proper nutrition to help boost their immune system. This is a challenge in Sub- Saharan Africa because of the high level of HIV/AIDS and poverty in the region. This has led food aid organizations such as the World Food Programme (WFP) to change their approach to distributing aid.They have partnered with UNAIDS as part of their response to HIV/AIDS and food insecurity.

It is sad to think of how many people living with HIV/AIDS have no access to food which contains the adequate nutrients they need. Obviously, the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa is now intertwined with every other development issue. It will be difficult to carry out poverty eradication/ reduction programmes without considering that about 22 million people in Sub Saharan Africa have this disease. National governments have to include nutrition in their HIV/AIDS strategic plan because providing ARVs and VCT centres is not enough. They also have to come up with measures to provide sustainable means of access to food with the proper nutrients for people in rural areas because they cannot solely rely on government and NGO handouts.

The High level meeting on AIDS which took place last week concluded that the HIV response should be integrated with broader health and development issues. It is easier said than done and like i said in my previous post I look forward to implementation schemes by various African country and i hope the number of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa can be reduced by 2015.

 

NEW GLOBAL COMPACT FOR HIV!!!


The UN high level meeting on HIV/AIDS began yesterday, 08/06/2011. Its been 30 years since the discovery of HIV/AIDS and many countries have been battling with this disease some a lot more than others. It is common knowledge that Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected. Some days ago, a report which showed that treating TB would reduce the number of deaths among people living with HIV/AIDS and now the new compact as agreed upon from yesterday’s meeting calls for shared responsibility.

Shared responsibility is necessary because the global economic crisis hit many economies hard and as a result funding for HIV projects has reduced. A UNAIDS report shows 70% of funding for HIV/AIDS in 56 countries comes from international donor funding. The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibe acknowledged that we need  to share responsibility based on shared values for a social compact. The new compact calls for:

1. Country responsibility- smart responses and recognition of human rights, increase in domestic investment based on   ability

2. International responsibility -predictable long-term financing, new development partnership and increased support from emerging countries

3. Shared responsibility for innovation- innovating finance mechanisms especially from the private sector, south south cooperation and joint planning of smart responses.

Personally, I like the third call to action, South- South cooperation has not been fully utilised. A lot could be accomplished especially through the use of regional blocs such as ECOWAS, SADC, EAC and ECCAS. Also because of the amount of money needed to carry out HIV projects, involving the private sector is a really good idea. The government cannot do it all. I look forward to seeing how states implement these policies.

 

PREVENTING TB AMONG PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


Recent reports by UNAIDS, WHO and the Stop TB Foundation show that preventing TB among People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) can save up to a million lives. According to UNAIDS, one in four people living with HIV/AIDS dies of TB and this could be avoided because TB can be cured. They have set a goal to reduce the number of TB deaths by half by 2015. It is almost impossible for me to imagine how horrible the combination of TB and HIV is yet many people have to live with this reality. The Stop TB Foundation report shows that even though the poor and disadvantaged are at high risk of getting TB individuals with good incomes living with HIV are also vulnerable to TB.

This report is very timely considering the fact that the UN High Level meeting on HIV/AIDS takes place from the 8th- 10th of June, 2011. The major problem however is inadequate/insufficient action. It is not exactly breaking news that TB is curable, there has been inadequate action in providing sufficient TB medication to PLWHA especially in Africa. This report serves as a wake up call for leaders on nations and organizations involved in providing care and treatment to PLWHA. As a result a new model has been launched and it calls for:

1. Testing for HIV/AIDS should be provided every 3 years in places where the disease is prevalent

2. Active treatment for PLWHA who have TB and preventive treatment for PLWHA who do not have TB

3. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) should be started early because it would prevent TB since the ART would boost the immune system.

4. PLWHA who are diagnosed with active TB should start ART regardless of the status of their immune system.

This does seem workable but also means that national governments should not relent efforts put into campaigns that call for regular HIV/AIDS tests because as the report shows if ART is started early TB could be avoided.

It is 30 years into the AIDS epidemic and the international community is doing what they can- Every one has a role to play in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

AFRICAN DAY!!!


For those who do not know, May 25th is the official African Liberation Day. The theme for this year was ‘Forging closer links between Africa and the diaspora’, this meeting took place only a week before the UN high level meeting on HIV/AIDS which is exactly why I am very much interested.

It is a coincidence that these two important meetings were held during the same time  frame but it is no surprise that Africa ia losing many of its citizens to the developing world. People keep migrating for various reasons: education, economic factors and health reasons just to mention a few. In Zimbabwe for instance a lot of workers in the healthcare sector have moved abroad for better opportunities. How does  this affect Africa especially now that we are waging a war against HIV/AIDS?

To simply state it, the consequences of HIV/AIDS are more when people keep fleeing the continent. Teachers who go abroad to seek better opportunities leave a vacuum in their respective countries and as a result people do not the required education, without education the cycle of poverty continues and poverty is the major reason why more than 22 million people in Sub- Saharan Africa are infected with HIV.

I’m not in any way trying to criticise people in the diaspora, I’m only saying that sometimes people do not really want to leave home but they have to. The issue of brain drain should not be over looked because it is really crucial to Africa’s development. The governments of African countries will have to find ways of ensuring that they don’t lose their educated citizens to the western world.

The theme of the conference depicts that there is a need to build a relationship between Africans in the diaspora and Africans in the motherland. The UN also declared that 2011 is the year for People of African Descent!!!!!

HIV/AIDS- A barrier to girls’ education in Africa


HIV/AIDS is a pandemic that clearly took the world by surprise. Currently, according to UNAIDS 33.3 million people in the world are victims of HIV/AIDS and 22.5 of them are in Africa. Even worse, 2.3 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV . The consequences of living with this disease vary among genders. Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa face the consequences more than their male counterparts because they have to give up a lot.

Education is priceless, where there is lack of education there are a lot of problems. The  second Millennium Development Goal (MDG) set out universal primary education as a goal to be achieved by 2015. In TRADITIONAL African settings, girls have been forced to drop out school for several reasons, one of them being HIV/AIDS. This affects the girl child mostly because of the TRADITIONAL roles girls have to play in TRADITIONAL African settings. In cases where kids are orphaned because of HIV/AIDS, the girls have to drop out of school in order to work to support the rest of the family. In worse cases, the girls get married off in order to secure a better life for the family.Men who marry these young girls pay bride price to the families (bride price is inherently African culture but because of poverty parents literally give out underage daughters so as to get bride price)

Three quarters of all Africans between the ages 15-24 who are HIV positive are female. Already, there is a high level of poverty in rural Africa, getting infected with HIV only lessens the chances of ever breaking the poverty cycle these young girls find themselves in because really in the world of today, lack of education contributes a great deal to poverty.

Aside from HIV/AIDS preventing girls  from attending school, it also prevents their teachers from carrying out their duties. Teachers in rural Africa who have the disease or who have family members affected by HIV are often forced to quit teaching in order to provide care or carry out their duties negligibly as their attention is elsewhere. HIV/AIDS is a disease that attacks the body’s immune system so terribly that without the right medication it is impossible for the affected to carry on life activities like school work.

It has been proven that proper education would reduce the risk and prevalence of HIV because young people who use condoms and engage in healthy sex behaviour have lower chances of getting the virus. Also, with adequate campaigns for education, parents realise that it is important for the girl child to remain in school just as it is important for the male child.

In order to mitigate the impacts of HIV on female education, a safe environment needs to be provided for young girls in school. In this case, a safe environment would mean a healthy or disease free environment including provision of Antiretroviral (ARV)therapy to young girls in school. These have been proven to boost up the immune system of people suffering from HIV/AIDS. A safe environment should also include a stigma free environment where young girls living with this disease can attend school without being made fun of or discriminated against.

Also, HIV prevention education needs to be provided through effective use of Teachers, community leaders and local Faith-Based Organizations. With proper prevention campaigns and education, HIV and its impacts could be mitigated.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown with kids in Soweto, South Africa. [Source: Mail & Guardian Online]

Recently, Gordon Brown warned that failure to place education as a high priority will affect economic growth. Many developing countries do not look at the long-term benefits of education. Care for People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) should include education, it is not all about providing ARVs because ARVs constitute just one aspect of care.

Finally, it is worthy to note that education in itself can prevent HIV, A UN study showed that 7 million new cases of HIV infection could be prevented in a decade if every child completed their primary education. This is because education makes them more aware and they will be able to avoid high risk behaviours. Also, education provides young girls with several economic options which helps them makes responsible choices regarding child-bearing, sex (especially commercial sex) and HIV prevention methods.

“Without education, AIDS will continue its rampant spread. With AIDS out of control, education will be out of reach.” Dr. Peter Piot,
Executive Director of UNAIDS in that statement rightly tells of what the reality young girls living with HIV face. Many NGOs are working hard to make sure that girls living with this disease have equal opportunities with regards to education. With cooperation from more people we could kick HIV/AIDS in young girls through education and vice versa.

SPARE 2 MINUTES!!!!


Hey guys, sorry I have not been here in a while, I’ve been so busy with school work. Hopefully by next week I would keep blogging as usual.

Well, the ‘Call to Action’ campaign is still on and if you have not signed it please just take out 2 minutes of your time to do so.  The campaign simply calls for access to treatment for young people with HIV/AIDS. It is a good cause.

– Over 3000 young people are infected everyday

– 1 in 3 young have knowledge about how HIV is transmitted.

If you sign this document,  your name would be on the list that goes to the United Nations office in New York where world leaders would meet in June to discuss HIV.

To sign go to  http://www.whatabouthiv.org

Thank you!!!

xx