God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

No time to rest in the fight against HIV and AIDS

Coming back from Europe and heading next week to the World Aids Conference in Melbourne, the news about the so-called “Mississippi Baby” feels like a punch in the gut and a damper to the hopes of a functional cure. The child known as the “Mississippi baby” — whose apparent cure was reported in The New England Journal of Medicine last fall — has had the virus return after more than two years off anti-retroviral therapy, according to specialists involved in the case who spoke in a Thursday news briefing. “Certainly, this is a disappointing turn of events for this young child, the medical staff involved in the child’s care and the HIV/AIDS research community,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases (USA), at the briefing. The development “reminds us that we still have much more to learn about the intricacies of HIV infection and where the virus hides in the body,” Fauci said in a statement. “The NIH remains committed to moving forward with research on a cure for HIV infection.”
Not only the NIH, but we all, the activists, researchers and those infected and affected have to acknowledge how bumpy the road to a functional cure or even a vaccine will be. This story ones again reminds us that HIV and Aids are not defeated yet. The easiness of European youth and society in believing that some pills would sort out those being infected – and further believing that this anyhow only applies to those others, those being gay or immigrants from Africa or injecting drug users should be re-evaluated after such news. HIV and Aids are still a treat to humanity and society and as we make progress, we can’t declare victory. Otherwise we look as stupid as then-president Bush declaring victory over Iraq on one of his war ships – look at the situation in the country in our days.
The news about the Mississippi baby should also serve as a warning to donors that withdrawing funding because we have won the battle is an illusion. The Global Aids Fund and all the NGO’s in the field of HIV, Aids and related illnesses need more funding to gain progress in the fight against the syndrome. We have achieved so much but there are still millions dying every year as a result of the pandemic and there are millions out there without treatment. Resistance is growing and we only have to look at TB and South Africa to see what could develop if we not keep watch. The virus is waiting for a re-run if society is not taking it serious anymore. And the dream of a HIV free generation will be blown up in shatters – therefore no time to rest in the fight against HIV and Aids.

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

Politics can produce drug resistance

It will be a hot and contested election year in South Africa – and the heat is starting to be felt with all the manifestos and declarations but also toi-toi’s and service delivery protests. The DA want’s to march towards Luthuli House, Khayelitsha residence fight for better sanitation systems, AMCU is on strike again at the Platinum mines – people are going for their convictions onto the streets and politics one or the other way dictates for a lot of people how they spend their days. The question I would like to ask is whether with all those emotions boiling over are people still taking care of their health? Do people have time to go to the clinics to take their TB medication; do they think of appointments with doctors and nursing staff and do they take their anti-retroviral treatment as prescribed if they are in need of it?

We often hear that in times of unrest, civil war health issues are on the back-burner when it comes to people’s minds – often they don’t have the opportunity to organize their health related obligations to keep fit. But I believe even on the low-level of service delivery protests and strikes and marches we can see the problem arising of not adherence to life saving medication. We pride ourselves to put more and more people on those medication but we seem not to be able to ensure the proper compliance when politics takes over. With 2 million and still counting for example on anti-retroviral treatment, there must be a concern about their well-being in those heated days.
When we saw the poo-protesters on the N2 motorway many times last year – those questions of adherence and compliance were always on my mind. Knowing how big the restrains are already on the health system we can’t effort more resistant bugs. And reading this morning about the thoughts of government officials to let people pay if they self-inflict their health problems – non-compliance because of toi-toi might be also falling soon under that label. It might sound far-fetched – but country and society are in such a crazy mood in many quarters – let’s work together that we care about compliance and adherence, be it TB or HIV or any other of those disease bringing down a person if not treated in a proper way.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Treatment, Politics and Society, Reflection, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

AIDS as disturbance of creation?

English: Freddie Mercury in New Haven, CT at a...

 Mercury in New Haven, CT at a WPLR Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Relaxing a bit after the Berlin Gala, I watch with interest a TV production about 40 years of the rock band “Queen”. Central to the story is obviously the life and death of Freddie Mercury – singer and song writer of the band.  The life of a genius musician cut short through the HI virus. And there is the sudden realization, how much HIV and AIDS has robbed human mankind of the development of art and culture. As St. Paul writes about creation still ongoing, there is surely to consider that HIV might have disturbed creation in cutting down the potential in human beings to become in a lifetime what they were supposed to be. Or is the HIV pandemic part of creation, part of it laying still in labor?
As God and creation are connected, it makes more sense to talk about the body of Christ having AIDS, being in pain and suffering. And even if in Europe HIV is not that much connected to suffering, death and dying any more – worldwide millions of lives are cut short by this virus. The suffering, the stigma, the discrimination continues despite all successes in treatment. And theological, there is still so much more to learn and develop and put into our teaching than we have done before. The climate within my church has changed – at least it is allowed again to think without fear – it would be great to use this time of spring to see, what else HIV and AIDS can tell our theology.

 

 

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, HIV and AIDS, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thank you for your support of HOPE Cape Town – Ball of HOPE

After the ball is before the ball – but first thank you to everybody who supported the Ball of HOPE in Cape Town last weekend. Here some pictures of the event and for those who still want to donate, the link of our online Web Donation page:

 

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Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Internet based health tracker

mobile phone mast

mobile phone mast (Photo credit: osde8info)

My Health Tracker is a webpage under the “thebody.com” and it can help you organize your HIV treatment information privately and securely in one place. This way, you can take better charge over your health and keep track on what you are doing and how you take your medication.Whether with computer or cellphone or mobile tablet – all these items turn into a source of support. My labs keep track of your laboratory blood results, My meds helps you to list all your medication taken. My journal allows for a sort of diary and My reports let one create various graphs and reports to be printed out and take for example with to your doctor. In one word: An amazing helpful website recommended for those anyhow connected to internet via modern communication tools. And frankly: most people even in South Africa have a cellphone which can be used for social networks like Facebook. So it is simple just to add another and this time life-supporting tool for those living with the HI virus. To get to the relevant page click here.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Treatment, Medical and Research, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenNovember 16th, 2019
3 months to go.

Ball of HOPE 2020

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 23rd, 2020
10 months to go.
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