God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

PrEP – what you need to know…

Conversation around HIV prevention breakthroughs in pill form has permeated brunch tables, newspapers, and doctors’ offices. But even though pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) have been approved as methods to prevent the transmission of HIV through sexual intercourse or intravenous drug use, some of those who could benefit from PrEP and PEP are still not quite sure how they work. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about PrEP.
What is PrEP?
Can I take it only on days I have sex?
Do I have to take it forever?Who should start a PrEP regimen?
Is it OK to use PrEP as the only method of HIV prevention?
What are the side effects of PrEP?
Read about all this on the informative page of HIVplusmag here.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Medical and Research, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

And another thought of being undetectable & on treatment

Chronic Disease

Chronic Disease (Photo:tamahaji)

Dave R. from TheBody.com is reflecting on the question of undetectable and what it would mean for those being infected. There are recommendations but there is no certainty. There might be certainty after further studies and in the moment it looks good for those who say that being undetectable, on treatment and no STI’s are not infectious anymore. Have you ever thought what this would mean for those being HIV positive? It would mean that HIV treated proper would be equal like having cancer, being a diabetic and having any other chronic disease.  If, after indisputable proof, it would be widely reported that people on successful treatment are not in danger of passing on the virus, then there is no reason for every sexually active person on the planet not to get tested and if necessary treated because treatment will make you a safe person to have sex with. It would be a great argument for getting tested and on treatment. And it would diminish the stigma attached still to this condition. Undetectable = not infectious: this would change perception and consequences of HIV and AIDS. To read the interesting reflection of Dave R. click here.

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

Treatment, Viral Load and (un-)protected sex

Since the early days of treatment there are questions about treatment being a cornerstone of prevention. What does it really mean to be “undetectable” – how much does this translate into being not infectious? Is there a difference between heterosexual and homosexual encounters in this context? Or more precise: Is there a difference when it comes to anal sex versus vaginal intercourse? Is the amount of virus particles in the blood and semen or vaginal fluid the same?  What is the risk by not using a condom, if somebody is on treatment and the viral load is undetectable? What does it mean to have one permanent partner versus several partners? There are so many questions and one hears so many different answers and it seems the debate is ongoing. The Body.com has tried to bring together all the information about these questions and it makes an interesting reading. To read their findings please click here.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

Using the term “HIV negative” as a substitution for “not being tested”

An attempt at a discrimination graphic.

An attempt at a discrimination graphic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently came across an opinion piece from Preston Mitchum, a policy analyst for LGBT issues. He reflects on the question how people use the wording” HIV negative” almost as a hideout for not getting tested. But telling his own story about dating a person being HIV positive and rejecting him, he touches on the whole question of maturity and discrimination. We as church always emphasis not being judgmental and not discriminating against somebody being positive. I remember a talk in a Secondary School for girls here in Cape Town where I discussed with the students the question of stigma and discrimination in the context of HIV and AIDS. And being assured from all present that discrimination would never be an option for themselves, especially being students in a Catholic school,  I dared to ask who of them would have the courage to take a boyfriend who is HIV positive. There was silence and from more than 200 girls only one hand was raised.

I am convinced that we start tackling stigma and discrimination when starting to deal with our own fears, when we confront ourselves with all our hidden anxieties and when we are able to be honest about it looking into a mirror. The honest testimony of Preston might be helpful to reflect on our own standing when it comes to stigma and discrimination in our own midst.

Using ‘HIV-Negative’ as a Substitution for ‘Haven’t Been Tested’

by Preston Mitchum

A policy analyst for LGBT issues confronts his fears about HIV testing.

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

More therapy = more unprotected sex?

Scenery around KLCC park at night

 KLCC park at night (Photo: Wikipedia)

There is the argument, that antiretroviral therapy seen as prevention could lead to more unprotected sex in the future. That, so argue the people following this line,  will jeopardize treatment success and discourage from using a condom or taking other measures of protection. On the 7th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Kuala Lumpur a study was presented addressing the issue. The results are encouraging:  A meta-analysis has found no increase in risk taking in people who are
taking antiretroviral treatment, compared to other people with HIV. In
fact, people on treatment had less unprotected sex and fewer sexually
transmitted infections. For more on this topic please continue reading here.

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

12th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 28th, 2017
9 days to go.

Ball of HOPE 2018

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

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