God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

PEPFAR and the Catholic Church

A street in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.

A street in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am visiting Johannesburg and a Catholic institution asking for assistance in a difficult situation. The Catholic Church in South Africa has mainly relied on one big sponsor in the last years: PEPFAR, the US American President’s emergency fund. This was done for several reasons; one being that in the beginning it excluded any condom distribution or work with prostitution as a precondition for receiving these funds. There has been very much debate around it at World AIDS Conferences at times as this resulted in some countries showing a clear increase of infections again. Nevertheless, with the money lots of good was also done, amongst others instituting the distribution of antiretrovirals for thousands of South Africans.
The funds now drying up and so the Church is forced to transfer its patients to the governmental facilities with different results. As specially in Johannesburg also quite a big number of asylum seekers still without papers are among those catered for, these people would anyhow not be eligible for continuation of treatment in a primary health care facility.
So the need for special funding to at least get one doctor looking after those patients is needed and hopefully there is a way to support this for the new year.
From what I have seen and heard it seems that for many patients it is a bitter reality check: coming from church run clinics which really went the extra mile for a patient to ensure his or her health, governmental facilities are mostly overcrowded and not able to cope in this way with their patients. Experts fear, that people will be lost in transition or get lost in transition.This shows once again how important the support of the Catholic Church in providing medical services has been and it is to decry that lack of funding forces closure and that – at least in Johannesburg – the government now refuses to deliver antiretroviral medication as a matter of principle to NGO run medical facilities even if they could continue – forcing so the transfer in a way too often not beneficial for the patients.

With a generation of young people being born HIV positive and with the treat of resistance looming like we have seen it with TB, this country needs the continuation of support from all corners of society. Even if there is the growing impression that we have conquered and beaten the deadly pandemic, it might be too early to come to this conclusion. So it is really to hope that also the churches try their utmost to continue as many services as possible to give those infected and affected all necessary support.

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Filed under: Catholic Church, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, Networking, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

South African HAART programme now open to all

All HIV patients with a CD4 count of 350 or less will now get government HAART treatment, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe announced today during a SANAC meeting. This is indeed good news for South African living with the virus. He also revealed that from 13,5 million newly tested South African, some two million people were tested positive.

More info:

http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/arv-program-open-to-all-now-1.1116850

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

Aids fund cuts a death sentence

Vienna – Cutbacks in rich-world funding for Aids treatment could sentence millions of sufferers to death for lack of access to anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, Medecins Sans Frontieres warned on Thursday. “Donors have started to shift their support away from HIV/Aids, and funding is not keeping up with the need,” the medical charity warned in a report ahead of a major Aids conference in Vienna next week.

“If nothing is done, most of (those infected with HIV) will die within the next few years,” it said, in a study based on fieldwork in eight African countries. According to MSF, many donors have frozen their contribution to the fight against Aids – partly due to the financial crisis – with the United States planning to cut its support for ARV drugs in Mozambique by 15% over the next four years.

The Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria is trying to raise $20bn for the next three years. So far it has received just a few hundred million dollars, the author of the report, Mit Philips, told journalists. “It is a very frustrating feeling to see that in spite of the achievements that have been made… the international donors, for the moment, show less interest and less resolve to continue to support the fight against HIV/Aids,” she said.  “It’s as if they want to give up the fight halfway through. We want to tell them: ‘you cannot turn back now on Aids treatment, it’s too important’.” While some three million HIV patients now have access to anti-retroviral drugs in Africa, the continent worst affected by the virus, another six million were still without treatment, MSF warned. By reducing funding, donor countries would ensure that even less patients received care, or received it too late, it added in its report. Turning people away from clinics, for lack of staff or resources, would also destroy the sense of trust that took years to build with local communities and make people less willing to come forward and get tested in a region where HIV still carries a strong stigma.

MSF’s study showed that early and sustained treatment of HIV patients had born fruit in several regions, including Malawi’s Thyolo district where the overall death rate dropped by a stunning 37% between 2000 and 2007, thanks to universal access to ARVs. Where patients get treatment, “there is an overall reduction of mortality in the community, there is also less tuberculosis and we start to see, where there is a high coverage of ARV, also a reduction in the number of new cases (of HIV/Aids),” said Philips.

Source: http://www.news24.com/World/News/Aids-fund-cuts-a-death-sentence-20100715

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

13th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 27th, 2018
10 months to go.

Ball of HOPE 2018

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 12th, 2018
5 months to go.

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