God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

Signs of hope – remission without long-term treatment

At the recent conference of the International Aids Society in Paris it was a topic hotly discussed by academics, researchers and representatives of NGO’s:

A 9-year-old South African child diagnosed with HIV when he was 1 month old has been in HIV remission for 8½ years — without regular treatment. This is the first reported case of a child controlling their HIV infection without drugs in Africa and the third known case globally. The related research was conducted among others by Prof Dr Mark Cotton, board member of our HOPE Cape Town Association.

Soon after diagnosis, the child was placed on antiretroviral treatment, or ART, for 40 weeks, at which point treatment was stopped and the child’s health was monitored. Blood tests in late 2015 revealed the child is in HIV remission, meaning levels of the virus in the blood are undetectable using standard tests. Subsequent testing of samples dating back to the child’s infancy confirm remission was achieved soon after treatment was stopped. Treatment was paused as part of a larger research trial investigating the potential for early ART to decrease infant mortality and cut the need for lifelong treatment among newborns infected with HIV. “This is really very rare,” said Dr. Avy Violari, head of pediatric clinical trials at the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. Violari is the child’s doctor and presented the findings at the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in Paris

The child, not identified, was part of a study known as the Children with HIV Early Anti-retroviral Therapy, or CHER, trial, conducted in the years 2005 to 2011. More than 370 infants infected with HIV were randomly assigned to immediately receive ART for either 40 weeks or 96 weeks. A third group received no immediate treatment, but instead was looked after according to standard guidelines at the time. The CHER trial set out to investigate whether mortality rates could be reduced, but also whether earlier treatment could keep children healthy enough to enable them to come off treatment for certain periods. “We were hoping to make it a slower-progressing disease,” said Violari.

The study found mortality decreased by 76% and HIV disease progression reduced by 75% among the infants who received treatment immediately, for 40 or 96 weeks. The group receiving standard treatment saw an increase in mortality based on interim results, so that arm of the trial was stopped early. But virus levels in the 9-year-old case remained and remain undetectable. “The child is the only child showing remission,” said Violari. “We cannot see virus in the blood … we can see fragments of the virus in the cells,” she said, adding that these fragments appear not to be able to replicate, for now.

The South African child is the third reported case of long-term HIV remission in a child after early, limited treatment with antiretroviral drugs.

The first case was a Mississippi baby, a girl born in 2010, who received ART just 30 hours after birth until she was 18 months old, at which point HIV remission was achieved. The baby sustained remission for 27 months, until 2015, when she rebounded and the virus was found in her blood, crushing hopes that this approach could be the route to a “functional cure” for HIV. Next came the 2015 case of a French teenager, now 20, whose mother was HIV positive. The French child was given antiretroviral treatment soon after birth, stopped treatment at age 6 and has maintained undetectable levels of the virus in her blood since.

“We are delighted and excited by what happened with this child … we need to extrapolate from this to the benefit of other children on antiretroviral drugs,” said Prof Mark Cotton, Professor of Pediatrics at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, who co-led the study. “Africa is still the epicenter of the epidemic and more babies are acquiring HIV than anywhere else.”

Cotton hopes his team presenting these results will boost morale, both among cure researchers and those managing treatment programs for children across the continent.

More links:

Hope for future HIV cure revived
It is really very rare
Without drugs

Filed under: Africa, HIV and AIDS, HIV Treatment, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Medical and Research, South Africa, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Job offer: HOPE Doctor in Cape Town – South Africa (part-time)

HOPE Cape Town Association – HOPE Doctor

HOPE Cape Town, a local non-profit Organisation providing outreach and education in the field of Paediatric HIV and AIDS and related illnesses seeks a part-time medical doctor to co-manage the HOPE Doctor portfolio. Responsibilities of this position include, but are not limited to:

• Clinical work
Provide comprehensive clinical care to HIV infected children at community based state health care facilities.
Interact and liaise with the Tygerberg Paediatric Infectious Diseases doctors
•Research
Identify translational research opportunities; plan and implement formal and informal research
•Training
Manage the medical elective student program
Train and support the HOPE Community Health Workers
Provide external training and awareness as required
•Project management and support
Assist in planning, initiating and executing HOPE Cape Town Association projects and programs.
•Other
Interact with donors and media as required
Participate in HOPE Cape Town events
Oversee resistance testing and liaise between requesting doctors and the lab.

The HOPE Doctor will be based at the HOPE Cape Town offices at Tygerberg Campus, University of Stellenbosch, but will be required to travel to health care facilities and community based projects. The successful candidate will form part of the senior staff team and will report to the Program Coordinator. This is a part time position (20 hours per week).

Requirements:
•M.B.Ch.B (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery)
•Valid Registration with HPCSA (Health Professions Council South Africa)
•Registration with MPS (Medical Protection Society)
•Excellent interpersonal skills
•Superior Communication Skills: Fluent in English (spoken and written); other languages an asset
•Advanced computer skills (Microsoft Office)
•Drivers licence with independent transport
•No criminal record
•Work permit (if not SA resident)

The following experience and skills would be advantageous:
•At least one year’s experience in managing HIV positive patients on ARV treatment (including children)
•Diploma in HIV Management of college of family physicians of South Africa (Dip HIV Man (SA))
•Research experience

Applications should include a covering letter detailing each of the identified qualifications and skills, proof of qualifications, a current CV and a minimum of two references. Completed applications may be forwarded to:
Dr Izane Reyneke
HOPE Cape Town
Phone 021 – 938 9930
Fax 021 – 938 6662
Email program @ hopecapetown.com
Suitable candidates will be invited for an interview
Closing date for applications: 29 June 2015

 

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ball of HOPE 2015

The Ball of HOPE 2015

Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry
&
HOPE Cape Town

Join us again for this prestigious event and play a significant role in the lives of many needy children and their families in the Western Cape.
The Ball of HOPE 2015 takes place on
Saturday, 16th May 2015 at 18h30 for 19h00
at the WESTIN CAPE TOWN
Dress Code: Black Tie

Enjoy fantastic entertainment, delicious food, extraordinary people
and support the good cause at the same time!

Stand the chance to travel to Europe, compliments of :
Lufthansa & edelweiss

KATLEGO MABOE – MASTER OF CEREMONY
In his career as a television presenter, Katlego started his venture into the industry at the age of 21 when he was selected to be one of the leading presenters of “DEKAT TV”, an Afrikaans lifestyle program launched on SABC 3. After only a few months on the show he was approached by CMP (Clive Morris Productions) to audition as a presenter on the well renowned nature program, 50/50. He was subsequently head hunted to be one of the hosts of SABC 3’s breakfast show Expresso, SABC 3: 2010 – Present, Studio and field presenter on 50/50, SABC 2: 2010, Head presenter on DEKAT TV, SABC 3: 2009 – 2010
THE HOSTS
THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN-GERMAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY
130 offices in 90 countries. One network, one objective, one design. The Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC is part of the German Chamber Network and has therefore a lot to offer to its members and customers. With offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, the SAGCCI is the official authorized representative of German industry and trade for the Southern Africa. As a private, non-profit organization, its primary goal is to offer the best service for building bilateral business relationships between Southern Africa and Germany.
HOPE CAPE TOWN
HOPE Cape Town is a non-profit organisation providing outreach, education and counselling at the community level, focusing on HIV/AIDS and TB in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. HOPE Cape Town is co-located and associated with Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town and is linked to the University of Stellenbosch. HOPE Cape Town cooperates with “KID-CRU”, the Tygerberg Hospital research unit for paediatric infectious diseases. The offices of HOPE Cape Town are located at the Medical School of the University of Stellenbosch – Tygerberg Campus in close vicinity of the Tygerberg Hospital.
THE VENUE
THE WESTIN CAPE TOWN
Set in one of the most popular destinations in the world, directly linked to the Cape Town International Convention Centre, The Westin Cape Town is a deluxe city centre hotel dedicated to providing world class facilities and services. Classified as the preferred luxury establishment for heads of state, business leaders, celebrities and those who simply seek an oasis of comfort at the end of a busy day.
Relish in spectacular views overlooking the vibrant city, Table Mountain and harbour. The Westin Cape Town is ideally positioned for business and pleasure, located within easy walking distance from cultural and commercial attractions. The hotels offers a variety of food and beverage options, including The Westin Executive Club Restaurant on the 19th floor with unsurpassed views of Cape Town, the contemporary Thirty7, Raleigh’s cigar lounge and Louis B’s Bar.
THE ENTERTAINMENT
ADOLF THELEN – MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Adolf Thelen is a freelance musician and producer in Cape Town and also works as a music educator at Holy Cross Brooklyn. He has been in charge of the entertainment at the Ball for 15 years.
For each Ball he has conceptualized and conducted different musical acts from opera to West End musical to rock-shows.
HOLY CROSS CONVENT SCHOOL BROOKLYN
The Holy Cross Convent School is a catholic private school in Brooklyn. Their Senior Choir has performed at the Ball of Hope for more that 10 years. May of the children live in neglected areas of Cape Town. For these children, the participation at the Ball is an important event in the school’s calendar.  The choir is conducted by Mrs Josey Oranzie.

All proceeds are once again for the HOPE Cape Town Project at Tygerberg Children’s Hospital; one of the major HIV outreach programmes in the Western Cape.
visit: http://www.hopecapetown.com
For bookings please contact:
SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Tel. (021) 418 3311,
Email capetown@germanchamber.co.za

THE GUEST OF HONOUR

JUSTICE EDWIN CAMERON
Edwin Cameron has been a Justice of South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, since 1 January 2009. Previously, he was a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal for eight years, and a judge of the High Court for six. He was educated at Pretoria Boys’ High School, Stellenbosch and as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford.
During apartheid he was a human rights lawyer. President Mandela appointed him a judge in 1994.
He was an outspoken critic of President Mbeki’s AIDS-denialist policies and his prize-winning memoir, Witness to AIDS, has been published in South Africa, the UK, the US and in translation in Germany and in China.
His latest book, Justice: A Personal Account, was published in February 2014.
He is involved in many charitable and public causes, and has received many honors for his work.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Society and living environment, South Africa, , , , , , , , , ,

End of the year frenzy

It is definitely a Capetonian experience – the almost unstoppable frenzy when it comes to the last 4 weeks of the year before holiday mood kicks in and Cape Town is more or less a holiday resort for the next 4 weeks.  Also HOPE Cape Town can’t avoid to be taken away by this storm of finishing off what is left to do for the year. Not only the last visitors for the year, but also a mountain of meeting requests, not to talk about the invites for Christmas Parties, are making one feel like on the hunt – not exactly sure one is the hunter or the hunted one. Looking at it from far, it seems to me that we are the hunted hunter in these times.
HOPE Cape Town has come very far in this year and has laid ground work in local fundraising and marketing to be followed up in 2015. Travels to Australia, the USA and Europe have fostered new relationships, deepened the one already existing and have shown the vast net of supporters around the world. With new structures coming into effect with the new financial year 2015/16 the HOPE Cape Town Association will have more time to concentrate on the work on the ground and the HOPE Cape Town Trust will take over the management of funds and the marketing efforts. Two entities doing what they do best and the result will be excellent teamwork and more benefits for those in need of our support and help.

Even if it is early, I am simply most grateful for all what I have been able to do this year, I am grateful for all the personal encounters, the goodwill, the efforts, the dedication of staff, co-workers, colleagues and supporters. It never stops to amazes me remembering very vivid the humble beginnings in 2001. Being able to work in the long run in the field that I love and cherish adds to this gratefulness. This feeling makes it also easier to survive the next four weeks of mild madness before the Cape Coma sets in and we are all able to celebrate Christmas and the summer holidays in style – decent but with lots of joy.

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

Reflection on a trip to Europe

2 weeks of promoting HOPE Cape Town are coming to an end and I am sitting at Frankfurt airport waiting for my flight back home to South Africa. Time was flying as usual and sitting here and waiting gives some time to reflect on all what was happening in the last 14 days.
Faces of students are crossing my mind whom I met while giving a talk in one of the more rural schools in the northern part of Germany. People, who have never seen a HIV positive person were subjected to a talk about the danger of HIV. And not only that: how to bring the South African reality of crime, corruption and toi-toi to those who never experienced anything else than the orderly running of day-to-day life. Filling the gap, this is what HOPE Cape Town is doing in the fields of HIV and AIDS when it comes to government involvement, filling the gaps applies also when bridging the well-protected realities of a student attending school in rural Germany and those living in Manenberg or Wallecedene.
Press conference in Dresden in preparation of the HOPE Gala – another crowd of people, journalists, wanting to know the progress of HOPE Cape Town’s work in the Western Cape and how money is spend in a responsible way. Pre-recording for a German radio broadcaster – HOPE Cape Town’s story and some private talk included – the moderator wants to know the person behind the project including the seemingly ever hot topic of church and HIV and the famous “c” question…Bridging worlds means also knowing different people – a wedding in France was another highlight on this trip to Europe – diving into the world of stars and VIP’s and playing a small little role in the romance of two people. It’s more on the private side but also serves some networking for HOPE Cape Town on a very different scale.
So from the small town student to the previous chancellor of Germany – the scale of people I met was quite amazing and so have been the interactions and chats in between. Being able to touch the lives of so different people in so many different ways – this is the beauty and the blessing of the work, I am allowed to do. And so remains gratefulness as the essence of the reflection I was able to do before Cape Town and HOPE Cape Town and all the others waiting for me demand again all my time and energy. Life is good.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12th HOPE Gala Dresden

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

Ball of HOPE 2018

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

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© Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE.
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