God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

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

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

HIV infections down in children, U.N. says

Reducing HIV infections in children is a very important step towards a zero infected generation to come. This figures of Africa are encouraging.

 

FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV | News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) — The number of children living with HIV is slowing down in areas of the world that typically account for the most new infections, the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS said Tuesday.

That’s proof, organizers said, that a program it created to get antiretroviral medications to pregnant women is working.

The program is known as “The Global Plan Toward Elimination of New HIV Infections Among Children by 2015 and Keeping Their Mothers Alive.” It was created by a joint effort between UNAIDS and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The initiative targets 22 countries that account for 90% of the world’s new pediatric infections.

The program gives antiretrovirals to pregnant women who are infected with HIV in those countries. The medicine prevents the transfer of the virus to their babies.

Seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa — Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Ghana and Ethiopia — have…

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

Cure Is On The Way

There is indeed hope on the horizon and it is good to express this hope for the millions infected and affected.  And yes, we should not be overenthusiastic but there is light at the end of the tunnel. And light gives life..

 

lynneaispositivelybeautiful

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/health/new-hope-of-a-cure-for-hiv.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/04/health/for-first-time-baby-cured-of-hiv-doctors-say.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.thebodypro.com/content/71343/12-year-old-boy-receives-cord-blood-transplant-in-.html?ap=1100

It started with Timothy Brown AKA The Berlin Patient AKA The first Person to be cured of HIV. He found out he was HIV positive in 1995. His life was saved by the medication that made living with HIV a reality. In 2006 he received a new threat to his life, leukemia. he under went chemo therapy just the same as many cancer patients but the leukemia came back. the next step was a bone marrow transplant.

Many years ago there was a documentary on people who were resistant to HIV. It was late one night and I couldn’t sleep so I flipped through the channels and stopped on one with a graphic showing how HIV entered a cd4 cell. I remember them following a man who described how he began to lose all his friends due to complications of AIDS and he noticed that many of…

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

13th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 27th, 2018
more info www.hopegala.de and admin@hopecapetown.com

Ball of HOPE 2018

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 12th, 2018

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