God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

From Transgender to PrEP – good to know…

It’s time again to suggest some reading for the interested parties to get more insight in HIV and AIDS related matters:

Violence against women is not only in the USA but also in South Africa a very hot topic. The “Well-Project” has written about it and I am sure we all can learn from the extensive knowledge of these articles:
Violence against women and HIV

The CROI conferences are always a good source of new information. Here are the most important HIV research news from the 2015 conference:
6 important HIV research findings

The Body.Com is providing news and information about HIV on different levels. To download the app go here:
TheBody.com in the palm of your hand

The question of transmission between sero-different partners are often of great concern, read about the results of studies regarding gay sero-different couples:
No HIV transmission between serodifferent couples if undetectable load – preliminary results

PrEP – Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) works very well at preventing HIV transmission. Even if that is from a costing point still utopia for South African it is worth to read about it and its obstacles of perception:
How to overcome the challenges of accessing PrEP

Transgender people are having a difficult time – read about how transgender people fighting stigma and injustice:
How Transgender People fighting Stigma…

Starting early treatment gives you advantages – so get tested in times:
Starting HIV treatment early leads to better health..

Enjoy reading!

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

From Prevention, Polygamy and Crime…

As always in between posts I like to share some of the articles I am reading in between and they are ranging from the blue pill to criminal laws.

US Federal health officials recommended yesterday that hundreds of thousands of Americans at risk for AIDS take a daily pill that has been shown to prevent infection with the virus that causes it. If broadly followed, the advice could transform AIDS prevention in the United States — from reliance on condoms, which are effective but unpopular with many men, to a regimen that relies on an antiretroviral drug. Please read this article here.

In Africa, most people infected are female. In a modest public health clinic behind a gas station here in South Africa’s rural KwaZulu/Natal Province, a team of Norwegian infectious disease specialists think they may have found a new explanation. Not sure it will hold the scrutiny of sciences but it is worth reflecting on it. Read here.

In Kenya, a new law came into effect allowing for polygamy. Men can take several women as wives without the consent of the first or any of the others already married. Does it make sense? Well, questions are asked here.

Uganda was once the example of how to reduce the HIV pandemic. Then came complacency and PEPFAR rules, latter a curse and a blessing at the same time. Now Uganda has chosen to add to the draconian law regarding homosexuality also to criminalize HIV transmission. It is known that this has an adverse effect, but it seems that politicians in Uganda want to go the extra mile to do the wrong thing.  Click here to read the story.

Enjoy reading!

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

From lesbian sex and HVI transmission to the banning of the Red Cross in Catholic Schools- interesting read in between

Going to the high volumes of articles and journals in the field of HIV and AIDS I thought the following could be interesting for you:

Lesbian sex is thought to be the most safe one, but there is a fresh report from Houston in Texas confirming a rare female to female transmission of HIV. It is further reported that this transmission took place between two women in a monogamous relationship. All details of the story are published in “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” – published 14.03.2014. To read a summary please click here

From the Mississippi Baby to the California Baby – we meanwhile know about the benefits of early treatment and the possibility of HIV eradication if treated within the first hours of infection.  Read more on this topic from the 21st Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections here

From the CROI Conference as well there are new about safer sex without condom. Ever since the HPTN Study 052, it was concluded that having an undetectable HIV viral load strongly reduces the risk of HIV transmission. But how safe is condom-less sex if one’s viral load is undetectable? Read about the ongoing PARTNER study here

Hepatitis C – a short while ago a disaster for every person being HIV  has become a center of attention after treatment and cure evolved in a speedy way. The first medications have been retired shortly after introduction to make place for more effective treatment. Read about this exciting and important development here

HIV controllers were always an interesting study group. It was thought that those people could control HIV and were protected from getting sick. New research shows that the situation is more complicated and that such people have higher level of chronic inflammation. An interview with Jonathan Li, MD researching in this field might be giving interesting clues about the benefits and treats for those being naturally controlling HIV and you can read it here

Manila on the Philippines shows quite a rise on HIV infections and obviously the city responsible are trying to reign in with prevention messages and the free distribution of condoms. The dominant Roman-Catholic Church  condemns in the person of Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo this contribution and he calls to follow the example of Africa – where in his opinion only abstinence and fidelity has brought the numbers down. Read more about this interesting point of  view here

The Catholic Church in Belize has banned the Belize Red Cross amongst other organizations from all 200 Catholic Schools in the country. To read the response of the Red Cross click here

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

HIV transmission and questions around it…

HIV Particle

HIV Particle (Photo credit: AJC1)

Even in a world where all information about HIV is out in the public there are still questions around transmission and viral load of people living with HIV. Especially when it comes to couples with one being positive and the other negative  these questions arise. In our South African context where there is a whole generation with many people being born and living with the virus, those questions are essential to be asked and answered properly.
Questions like:

* What is exactly viral load and how is it affected by HIV Treatment?
* What is a normal “viral load”?
* What does it mean to have an “undetectable” blood viral load?
* Is the viral load in the blood associated with a person’s risk of transmitting HIV?
* Does HIV treatment reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV?
* Is HIV transmission possible when the viral load in the blood is undetectable?
* What is the risk of HIV transmission when the blood viral load is undetectable?
* What does this all mean for people who want to use HIV treatment to prevent HIV transmission

The Body published an article from the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange Project on all these questions and it is worth reading for those interested. Click here to read the article.

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

05.08.2009 some general thoughts about prevention work in the fields of HIV/AIDS

“A comprehensive HIV prevention package includes, but is not limited to, delaying sexual debut, mutual fidelity, reduction of the number of sexual partners, avoidance of penetration, safer sex including correct and consistent male and female condom use, and early and effective treatment for sexually transmitted infections.”

This statement of UNAIDS from 2008 is as valid today as it was at that time. What I like on this statement is that it really tries to cover all aspects of prevention without favouring one or the other or to demonise on or the other method of prevention. I guess this is the most important in prevention work as I do understand it: having no fear to discuss and name all aspects of preventing HIV transmission and giving the participants of workshops the tools to decide for themselves what and how they choose to protect themselves. Demonising either condoms or faithfulness or abstinence does not make any sense. And only naming what ones own ideology or faith seems to prescribe to oneself is also not enough. Diversity of prevention possibilities which could fit different lifestyle situations are important.

Doing prevention work, we last but not least must learn that at the end, we cannot change the behavior of the people, everybody can change only him- or herself. And we as activists are not responsible for what people doing, we are only responsible to give the utmost attention to detail to provide accurate and meaningful information.

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

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

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

Ball of HOPE 2020

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