God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

3. Hamburger HIV – Strategic Forum

Being part of a purely medical symposium is new to me – but it was an interesting one in Hamburg, which ended this afternoon.  Besides my opening talk about the African way in the jungle of Westernized prevention and treatment strategies there were a range of exciting topics  and so much to learn. G Stich from Wuerzburg shared his impression of the treatment work on the continent Africa while K Ochel reported from his experience in working in the fields of E-learning in China. A real eye opener and a complete change of attitude is happening in this huge country, from prevention work via methadone substitute for IV drug-users to treatment options. I realized that maybe we have to review our predictions and thinking regarding China in the fields of HIV and AIDS.
Church, politics and health systems: Is the pandemic under control was the question of a panel discussion I participated then and again: different views how far we have come, but there was nobody seriously thinking we have already reached the Rubicon.

Exciting news from research in the USA: D Ando reported on exciting studies to block the CCR5 receptor and D Margolis from trials to trigger the HIV reservoirs  through HDAC Inhibition. And we learned in the context that there are some interesting developments regarding the Berlin patient. Is functional healing a vision was the overall question of this part of the forum.

The next chapter looked after side effects: Are they really as serious as they sometimes reported? Is there any difference between aging people living with or without HIV or another chronic disease? It seems not according to what I have heard… But I learned that a study about elderly female in Iowa showed that taking too much vitamin supplements actually triggers higher mortality – specially iron. Calcium seems to decrease the mortality rate. Interesting…

Role play about doctor – patient interactions and treatment strategies formed the final part of the forum and I have to admit that the atmosphere, the discussions, the way of giving information, the variety of topics made this strategic forum worth travelling all the way from Cape Town to Hamburg. Thanks also to MSD and the local organisers for making it possible for me to participate, to share my knowledge and to learn so much more.

And good to know that researchers and medics are interested in seeing the holistic picture and eyeing beyond the their own medical portfolio.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Medical and Research, Networking, Politics and Society, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Preparation for Hamburg…

“The African way? Looking after traces in the jungle of Westernized strategies of prevention and treatment”.
This is the title of the opening talk I have to deliver coming Friday in Hamburg for the 3rd Hamburg Strategic Forum  on HIV. And it is a tough one for me, then except me the participants are all connected to the medical field, be it as doctors, researchers or in the pharmaceutical field. What do they expect from me as a priest? O Lord, such a challenge can make one nervous, makes me nervous. On the other hand I love to be challenged and I am looking forward to meet new people and learn new information about the pandemic and the challenges in Germany.

So I am still contemplating and fine tuning the talk while there is enough time to do so. Thursday the plane will bring me via Istanbul to Hamburg for the two days of the gathering. I am awaiting this Forum with quite some anticipation and hope, the traces of African ways, I have found and tracked down in the last days might help to understand the African situation and further the cooperation between Germany and South Africa.

The gathering also includes a discussion about church, politics and the health systems in certain countries – I find it remarkable and exciting to include those questions and to make clear, that turning around the tide of HIV and AIDS requires all quarters of society – it is much more than a medical problem.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Medical and Research, Networking, Reflection, , , , , , , , , ,

Meetings and preparations… – HOPE Cape Town in action…

Friday, 12. August – Full board of trustee meeting in the afternoon. The process of restructuring of HOPE Cape Town is continuing. Now, 5 years into the existence of the HOPE Cape Town Trust, the envisaged future which led to the founding of the trust kicks finally in. The trust is assuming more and more the function it was thought for: looking after the association’s money and to ensure the financial stability and future of HOPE Cape Town Association. It is great to see that what you have dreamt of years ago suddenly comes into reality. So decisions have to be made to make the synchronise trust and association in a way beneficial for the work and people we care for. Exciting times but with two additional trustees duly elected and an expansion of the advisory board the work will bear the necessary fruits.
This week the board of the association is meeting, time is running for the welcome of the first ever director for HOPE Cape Town. This year, the 10th anniversary of the association sees hard work to put into place everything for the well-being of the organisation for the next years to come. It shows also how dedicated the board members are trying to achieve the best possible for the future of our work.

In October, the custom Germany trip is due again and preparations are also on the way for talks, encounters, workshops and all the rest ahead. Frankfurt, Munich, Aachen, Trier, Berlin, Dresden, Koblenz and maybe Hamburg are in the moment on the map, logistic is sometimes difficult, but at the end it will all come together to promote HOPE Cape Town again in Germany.

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

Some impressions…


A personal signature

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Uncategorized, , , , , ,

12.08.2010 Reflection

Today reflection of a different sort: I am presenting to my Rotary Club of Signal Hill a Powerpoint presentation highlighting the history and success of HOPE Cape Town. In 2001, Signal Hill was part of the launch and I remember well the ladies of the Rotary Club preparing the sandwiches and cool drinks after the official act.
For those present in those days in 2001 it was good to hear how the project developed and what has been achieved in the last years. Even if Rotary is sometimes very complicated in their way of donating and supporting in form of a matching grant there is no doubt that a lot of good comes out of the spirit of Rotary and all the activities of thousands of clubs around the world. I am glad to be part of such a great movement.

Also good news from Trier today. The book of Dr. Nebe of the University of Trier about Africa is in the final stages. I was glad to be able to contribute one chapter on HIV and AIDS in Africa. I personally like such contributions as they challenge me also to work in an academic way again.

Otherwise the day was a day of preparation for my next trip to Germany. The Lutheran Community in  Hamburg Blankenese and St. Gerold in the “Walzertal” in Austria will be two locations, where I will be able to talk about the work, HOPE Cape Town is doing. I am looking forward to meet people interested in our work and to exchange ideas and gain new ones as I always do when I engage with people through question and answers after such talks.

I am specially thrilled to participate – even only shortly- at the “Bundespositivenkonferenz 2010” in Bielefeld, the federal conference of people living with HIV in Germany and to contribute to a podiums discussions on the way, HIV is seen in the media and in the public eye.

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

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