God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

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

Speaking up… that’s what we need in our work to combat the pandemic, and not to forget the blessings coming along with a fight like this one…

 

Speaking Up!

Dear HIV,

Today is 16 years I have learnt that I share my life with you. What a shock it was. At the time, it was difficult to imagine I would be alive today. Here we are in 2013 and it looks like we will have many more years together. It is pointless to think what would my life had been without you.I will never know.

I know that thanks to you I had to take a very good look at myself, and the world. I had to look straight in the eyes of death and illness. Thanks to you I stopped taking my life for granted. I had to ask difficult questions to myself. Recognise my fragilities, and my responsibilities. What was most painful: I had to question the possibility of love and intimacy. How difficult closeness becomes, when your body is a potential threat to your loved one…

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Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

Good news from Swaziland…

The results from a nationally representative HIV incidence study in Swaziland indicate that the national rate of new HIV infections is 2.38% among adults ages 18-49. This figure, comparable to the 2009 UNAIDS estimate of 2.66% for Swaziland adults ages 15-49, suggests that the HIV epidemic in Swaziland may have begun to stabilize in the past few years. To read more about the interesting research go to:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/248404.php

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

Sometimes it hurts… Another day @ the conference

Today, the second day of the conference, is my focal point more on HIV and faith-based organizations. So the day starts early with an interview for the Catholic “domradio” in Cologne. Next to networking with people of this field I also read some comments about the conference and one got my attention immediately. It is written by Dr P. B. and published not only on his blog but also on the internet news of kath.net, a more right-wing Catholic news website in the German language.
The headline “what really helps against new infections” got as said my attention and already the first sentence of the article gave the answer: “With the simple approach to live chaste till marriage and then be faithful to the partner within marriage 99% of all risk factors are eliminated”.
Wow, I thought really impressive. And I guess with a similar strategy can we can empty our prisons as everybody has to remain honest and non-violent instead of stealing or murdering someone and the problem is 99% solved. The logic of the article culminates in the argument, that people become infected because they don’t listen to the pope – and mentions Africa and specially Catholic areas on the continent where such prevention work has great success.

Such argumentation makes me speechless, but I was comforted through a podium in the afternoon where a pastor from Malawi told us about his experience in seeing HIV and AIDS as a challenge to come out of our comfort zones church normally provides and to give answers needed ending stigma and discrimination. He also was very critical of certain forms of development aid European or US style: “Africans can think of their own” , so the pastor and the audience underlined it with laughter and applause. An US American pastors wife told us from her experience working in Rwanda and a Thai monk about the great work, he is doing on the level of interfaith. He and his fellow clergyman, monks and imams are also looking for those caring for people living with HIV and AIDS. A humbling experience just to listen how those people gave witness about their calling to get involved in the battle against the pandemic.

This is what we need in our churches, mosques, synagogues and temples: people who believe honestly that HIV and AIDS is a challenge, not only for a personal life, but for the way we believe, we pray, we worship, we see our brothers and sisters. Yes, we need those people in our churches, mosques, synagogues and temples who are not afraid to open up, network beyond the borders of faith and denomination or religion. We need people who are simply not afraid to listen to their calling which overcomes human boundaries and is driven by the unconditional love towards their fellow neighbors.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HIV figures around the world

A major international conference on AIDS starts in Vienna on July 18, when thousands of scientists, health workers, activists, and government officials will gather to discuss the latest advances against the disease.

An estimated 33.4 million people worldwide are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, according to figures issued by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Here are some AIDS figures from around the world:

THE GLOBAL PICTURE:

* Global deaths from AIDS reached an estimated 2 million in 2008, the same number as in 2007. Since the AIDS pandemic started in the early 1980s, almost 60 million people have been infected with the virus and 25 million have died of HIV-related causes.

* In 2008, around 430,000 children were born with HIV, bringing to 2.1 million the total number of children under 15 living with HIV. Young people account for around 40 percent of all new adult (those aged 15 and over) HIV infections worldwide.

* The annual number of new HIV infections remained the same in 2008 as for 2007 at 2.7 million. This is down from 3.0 million in 2001.

* Although 33.4 million people had the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 2008, more of them are living with HIV than ever before, at least in part due to the beneficial effects of AIDS drugs known as antiretroviral therapy. There are currently 26.3 million adults over 25 living with HIV.

AFRICA & ASIA:

* Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most heavily affected by HIV, accounting for 67 percent of all people living with the virus worldwide, 71 percent of AIDS-related deaths and 91 percent of all new infections among children.

* An estimated 1.9 million people were newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa in 2008, bringing to 22.4 million the number of Africans living with HIV.

* The nine countries in southern Africa continue to bear a disproportionate share of the global AIDS burden. Each of them has an adult HIV rate of more than 10 percent.

* With an adult HIV prevalence of 26 percent in 2007, Swaziland has the most severe level of infection in the world. Lesotho’s epidemic seems to have stabilised, with an adult HIV rate of 23.2 percent in 2008.

* South Africa continues to be home to the world’s largest population of people living with HIV — 5.7 million in 2007. More than 250,000 South Africans died of AIDS-related diseases in 2008 and almost 2 million children there have lost one or both parents to the epidemic.

* Asia, home to 60 percent of the world’s population, is second only to sub-Saharan Africa in terms of people living with HIV. An estimated 4.7 million people were living with HIV in Asia in 2008.

* India accounts for roughly half of Asia’s HIV cases. With the exception of Thailand, where HIV affects 1.4 percent of adults, every country in Asia has an adult HIV infection rate of less than 1 percent.

OTHER REGIONS:

* Rates of HIV in eastern Europe and Central Asia are on the rise, with severe and growing epidemics in the Ukraine and Russia. With an adult HIV prevalence of 1.6 percent in 2007, Ukraine has the highest prevalence in all of Europe. In eastern Europe 1.5 million people were living with HIV.

* In Latin America, new HIV infections totalled an estimated 170,000 in 2008 bringing to 2 million the number of people living with HIV there. An estimated 77,000 people died of AIDS-related illnesses there last year.

* There were 2.3 million people living with HIV in 2008 in North America and western and central Europe.

Sources: Reuters/UNAIDS
yahoo news: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/22/20100713/tsc-uk-aids-figures-factbox-011ccfa.html

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

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