God, AIDS, Africa and HOPE

Thoughts, inside, comments of a Catholic priest

Good to know

As always in between some articles I found worth reading and sharing with my readers:

We hear so often that the fight against HIV has been already won, especially in Europe: read on that the article “European HIV response “falling behind” as Eastern European epidemic grows

Truvada as PreP – especially in the gay scene a hot topic – read the approach of J. Bryan Lowder in “Twenty-one attempts at swallowing Truvada

Money for HIV related NGO’s is getting more difficult to raise – some thoughts about the “HIV Dollars drop” …

We all know about HIV – well, that seems not to be true especially for European countries, read about the British public and the knowledge of people under 30 years of age being “in the dark

Poor weight gain and mortality” in resource limited environments – especially for Africa a topic to consider seriously.

Most HIV infections are past on by “younger gay men unaware of their infection” , are not on treatment and have an ongoing relationship – interesting read

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, HOPE Cape Town Association, Medical and Research, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HOPE reflection

This is a text I came across and it pictures exactly what HOPE Cape Town is about… or better what makes the people of HOPE Cape Town work so hard…

HOPE

Deep within ourselves we carry hope. If that is not the case, there is no hope.

Hope is a quality of the soul, regardless of what is happening in the world. Hope is not prediction or seeing into the future.
It is an attitude of the mind and spirit, an attitude of the heart, anchored beyond horizon.

Hope is this deep and powerful sense and is not the same as joy because everything is going well, or willingness to aim for something that may lead to success.

Hope is working towards a goal because it is good, not because there is a chance of achievement.

Hope is not the same of optimism; neither the conviction that something will end well.
It is the conviction that something is worthwhile,
regardless of the outcome,
regardless of the result

Filed under: General, Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , ,

Year end function

250 000 patient contacts, hundreds of visitors, hundreds of study hours and training sessions – it would be interesting to statistically summarize every aspect of the work of our 36 dedicated staff from HOPE Cape Town – but all these figures would not reflect what is really important: the dedication of each and everybody, the ability to go sometimes through tough times and quite some challenges in the personal and work life. It’s about people, HOPE Cape Town is about people, those working within the organization and those being the beneficiaries of this work.

At the end, before the holiday season starts and the journeys home to relatives and family sometimes far away, before work ceases for the year, there is the year-end function. A time to reflect, to let the year go pass in some speeches, to honor some who have done not only a great job but excelled expectations and to give a hint what lies before the organization in 2015.

The way forward is never easy – HIV and AIDS are not sexy, nor do they attract the necessary attention in Europe where most of our sponsors live and work. It seems that Ebola has beaten HIV awareness and the 35 million people worldwide living with the HI virus can’t count on the attention of the rest of the world. But let’s be frank: HIV is not going away very soon and pulling out of research or development of new medication doesn’t help. Nor the ignorance of governments thinking they have done their bit already. It’s a well know fact but one has to emphasize it again and again: If all the money or even a fraction of it which went into wars, into torture,  black holes and rendition, into spying on each other would have put into research and more meaningful things the world would look better and the HIV crisis might have been come to an end. Instead we push the goals of a HIV free generation and treatment for all more far away and celebrate this at conferences as a success.
Yes, there is success, but it could be so much more, yes there is progress, but it could be so much more, yes we are going in the right direction, but I still wish for more.

Here in South Africa statistics look better and when it comes to children, there is progress: the rate of HIV positive born children declined but let’s be honest: we can do better and every child born positive is one to many. And those being born positive have more challenges to tackle, amongst others often poverty and difficulties in early childhood development.

So, let’s today celebrate and be thankful for all the opportunities we had this year to make this world, to make South Africa and the communities, we are working in a better place. And after a well deserved rest let’s start in 2015 to work hard again towards more life, more hope, more perspective in the lives of those children and families carrying the burden of HIV, AIDS or related illnesses.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Reflection, , , , , , , , ,

World Aids Day

World Aids Day – once in a year the world is obliged to think about HIV and AIDS and all those being infected and affected. When traveling in Europe I mostly encounter a sort of fatigue or ignorance towards the topic. It seems that HIV does not posses any treat anymore, opposite to Ebola which seems to be more threatening and dangerous than any other disease or syndrome. Gays, drug users and prostitutes/escorts – those are the main focus groups so they say and again we are back within the circle having to deal with those at the margins of society. If it would be only that easy: I guess that most of the 34 million people living with HIV are not part of one of these groups – and looking to South Africa, it is indeed women carrying the heaviest burden of the pandemic. Let’s be honest: the talk about healing, about the possibility of healing just around the corner waiting to be discovered soon has added to the perception that all is fine now. Having potent medication, even Truvada as a precautionary remedy – at least for those who can afford them – is another factor fueling the feeling of safety and relive.

From a South African point of view things are different: HIV remains a treat to humanity and the war has not been won yet. The opposite is true: the false feeling of victory has given rise to a relaxation of attention and donations and support are dwindling. It looks to me that all efforts have let to the possibility of turning the tide, only to stop  short before achieving it and falling in back in the mental trap or wishful thinking that having done so much should be sufficient. Hundreds of new infections per day are talking a different language in the country I am living in. And the menace of resistance even calls louder for attention than ever before. We also thought that the Mississippi Baby, treated early would show a success in treatment, only to turn out a failure. Vaccine trials didn’t achieved what we have hoped for and looking into the development of medication – there is not that much new on the horizon, rather combinations or different forms of intake.

The war is not over yet and HIV is not defeated – the goals of the world for 2015 are not achieved and we now hope for 2025 or 2030, pushing the finishing line even further away. I am not sure most people have heard or noticed how fast a Hepatitis C cure was found – and how fast the Ebola trials are moving. Most HIV cases are Sub-Saharan and it seems that this area and it’s people are not worth a more pushy effort to find a cure. It sounds sarcastic but the threat of a resistant heterosexual virus hitting the global village might be the only argument to get those who have forgotten about the danger and feeling save to engage again more actively and turn the tide and achieve zero new infections in the real sense of the word beyond the World Aids Day and some festive events during the year.

For war, oil, fight over resources, terrorism and so-called terrorism billions of Euros and Dollars are spent with ease – why not for the end of the suffering of 34 million people?

 

 

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, Medical and Research, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , ,

End of the year frenzy

It is definitely a Capetonian experience – the almost unstoppable frenzy when it comes to the last 4 weeks of the year before holiday mood kicks in and Cape Town is more or less a holiday resort for the next 4 weeks.  Also HOPE Cape Town can’t avoid to be taken away by this storm of finishing off what is left to do for the year. Not only the last visitors for the year, but also a mountain of meeting requests, not to talk about the invites for Christmas Parties, are making one feel like on the hunt – not exactly sure one is the hunter or the hunted one. Looking at it from far, it seems to me that we are the hunted hunter in these times.
HOPE Cape Town has come very far in this year and has laid ground work in local fundraising and marketing to be followed up in 2015. Travels to Australia, the USA and Europe have fostered new relationships, deepened the one already existing and have shown the vast net of supporters around the world. With new structures coming into effect with the new financial year 2015/16 the HOPE Cape Town Association will have more time to concentrate on the work on the ground and the HOPE Cape Town Trust will take over the management of funds and the marketing efforts. Two entities doing what they do best and the result will be excellent teamwork and more benefits for those in need of our support and help.

Even if it is early, I am simply most grateful for all what I have been able to do this year, I am grateful for all the personal encounters, the goodwill, the efforts, the dedication of staff, co-workers, colleagues and supporters. It never stops to amazes me remembering very vivid the humble beginnings in 2001. Being able to work in the long run in the field that I love and cherish adds to this gratefulness. This feeling makes it also easier to survive the next four weeks of mild madness before the Cape Coma sets in and we are all able to celebrate Christmas and the summer holidays in style – decent but with lots of joy.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Reflection, , , , , , , ,

HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 31st, 2015
10 months to go.

Ball of HOPE

The Ball of HOPE - our charity event in Cape TownMay 16th, 2015
4 months to go.

Stefan Hippler

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