God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

From Internet worries to gay conversion – moments of a week’s work

Often when people make contact with me or it comes to a meeting they ask what a  typical week looks like for me as a priest and AIDS activist and the only thing I can say is: There is no typical week. A lot of time this week was spent on HOPE Cape Town affairs: we getting used to a new computer system which records every meeting, every result thereof and to do so, one needs some training and motivation to get used to it. How much bits and pieces of information gets lost when one not religiously records encounters, offers and follow-ups during the day? I can tell, it is amazing and the older one gets, the less one remembers with all the information streaming in every day. But HOPE Cape Town also changed this week service providers for the internet, email, web hosting etc. and as expected, there are some problems arising until everything is settled. Not being able to access email and information is very disruptive in our days and once again one is reminded how much we depend on it. Connected with this was a meeting with TBWA – a well-known marketing / advertising company in South Africa which does pro bono work for us. After re-designing our flyers it shifts now to our webpage which will be the next object of reflection and changes. All has to do with branding and getting the brand “HOPE Cape Town” known and identifiable in using all instruments available in this department. Doing good and getting the message across is so important , from an informational point of view as well as from the fundraising aspect. Another aspect of work this week was to go through the new employer handbook for HOPE Cape Town – we have to adhere to the South African labor law and this is indeed changing again and again. So the newest version was checked by labor lawyers and now we have to finalize it before it is handed out to the employees of HOPE Cape Town and forms then part of the work contract. On Wednesday I also met with all HOPE Community Health Workers on the issue of the “bonus” to be paid out at the end of the year. Obviously everybody likes a bonus to shop for all the Christmas presents, but a bonus is always at the discretion of the board. It also is a result of merit assessments – and once in a while one has to remind employees that a bonus is paid for exceeding expectations at work; not for doing what one is paid for anyhow. On the other hand it must be clear-cut how an assessment is done and what tick boxes are important to receive a bonus. Surely all important discussion points. HOPE Cape Town also secured it’s first official HOPE Cape Town Ambassador – watch the space, I will not tell here and now who was chosen and accepted gladly.
What else happened the last week?
The Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a luncheon with MEC Alan Winde. As a member of the Regional Council I attended this event and listened carefully what Alan had to say about the state of affair when it comes to business and investment in the Western Cape and in South Africa. As new legislation comes into effect regarding BB BEE coming year it is also important for HOPE Cape Town to know the next changes we are BB BEE approved and we would like to keep it that way.
Bavaria and the Western Cape celebrating 20 years of partnership next year, so a meeting to find out how HOPE Cape Town can participate in these events in Bavaria and showcase its contribution towards the partnership.
A meeting with Rev Ryan from the Philippines saw discussions about HIV / AIDS support groups in this part of the world.  I learned that the Catholic Church in the Philippines supports conversion programs trying to get gay people straight – quite shocking for me – as this runs counter all academic research and adds to the burden to people anyhow threatened by HIV and AIDS and the difficulties to come out in a very Catholic environment. It surely adds to the shame people feel as being HIV positive and gay at the same time as it implies that there is something wrong with them besides the punishment of HIV. Somehow the expression “dark middle ages” came to my mind. Conversion as a possibility to get rid of being who I am is on an ethical level as bad as criminalizing is on a legal level. I once again realized how much is still to do….
Exhalation of the Cross – the Catholic Feast celebrated with the Catholic Community in Belgravia ended a week – being reminded of all the crosses people carry and are burdened with and celebrating our believe that the good message of the kingdom of God is told to all and everybody – unconditional love, that’s what we are called for.  And that is a good starting point for the coming week which will bring me to Europe again for a couple of days.

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reading day…

There are so many articles and blogs about HIV and AIDS that one could read for days without getting through all of them. Here is a selection of what caught my eyes in the last days:

A dream to end AIDS – a short notice about one of the researches who discovered the HI virus. It reminds us of the long way still ahead for millions of people to be able to live with HIV

Truvada as PrEP lowers Herpes infection – a new study suggests the drug can also lower infection rates of genital herpes, despite opponent concerns that use of PrEP would lead to an increase in STDs including herpes

What spirituality really means – we all talk about it in our days and most people living with the virus discover it for themselves as a source of meaning and stability in life

8 ways to find your spirituality – putting the word into practice for those interested

What’s your long term risk in transmitting HIV – an interesting question and some maths has been applied in this article more for those into sciences and mathematical models

And always pop onto our website www.hopecapetown.com and get the newest information on what we are doing..

Enjoy reading!

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

PreP – one does not hear a lot about it…

“We don’t know the side effects of this drug. It’s too expensive. Insurance won’t cover it. It hasn’t been studied enough. It will encourage slutty behavior. And why the hell don’t people just use condoms?”
Sounds familiar? That has been the objections raised to the oral contraceptive progesterone (“The Pill”), approved by the FDA 54 years ago. And it seems that with Truvada as an alternative method to prevent a HIV infection it started similar. Pre-exposure prophylaxis would add to more sexual contacts, critics claimed and they painted the picture of orgies and inhibited sex lives. In an article at TheBody.com Mark S King tries to tackle all those concerns and to come up with a new assessment about the drug and its benefits and disadvantages as a prophylaxis.
To read more go to TheBody.com.

Damon L Jacobs from New York tackles this topic from a more practical side. He decided to take Truvada as PrEP since 2011 and reports on his findings in an article on this blog. As he is also a psychotherapist and safe sex educator in NY and SF it is indeed an interesting read. For more go to the blog.

The question is obviously whether PrEp would also function in South Africa and what the financial implications would be, if insurance companies and even government would consider this to be offered on a wider scale. This is certainly up to a debate which we have to start sooner than later.

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

ARV pill prevents HIV – so a study tells…

In Uganda, a trial concluded that taking anti-retroviral treatment as a prevention measure on a daily base means to get almost total protection of HIV. This was reported by the online journal Plos these days.750 Ugandans, being themselves negative but with a positive life partner, were observed for one year while taking Truvada as a prevention tool and nobody of them was infected after one year. In the control group of 404 individuals, 14 persons became infected in the same time-frame.
“This is very exciting and compelling and confirms other studies in which people who took their tablets got almost total protection”, so Wits Reproductive Health and Research Institute Prof Francoise Venter. The question remains whether it is enough to treat only the infected partner or both to achieve such a result on the long run.

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

HOPE Cape Town is developing…

Tomorrow is the Annual General Meeting of the HOPE Cape Town Association, the working arm of HOPE Cape Town which consists of two arms: aforesaid HOPE Cape Town Association which is combining all the project work on the ground and HOPE Cape Town Trust, which is leading in fundraising and marketing of the work done. Together with the German AIDS Foundation, the HOPE Cape Town Trust has a common “child”, called HOPE Kapstadt Stiftung, a dependent trust governed by German law.  To complete the picture the HOPE Cape Town family has also very close relatives:  the Kuratorium Deutschland, which relates to the HOPE Cape Town Trust and is looking together with Viola Klein to support the HOPE Gala Dresden (26.10.2013). The Freundeskreis HOPE Cape Town Trust Olching e.V. is another German and Bavarian support group of the HOPE Cape Town Trust. Not to forget HOPE & Future e.V. in Münster (Germany), which is an essential part of our supporting family. And we HOPE to give birth in the near future also to an US American entity relating to HOPE Cape Town.  And locally our brainchild is also the Ball of HOPE together with the Southern-African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, next year taking place on the 11th of May 2014.

There is the idea of spreading the word about the “friends of HOPE Cape Town” and if you think, you can get some people together forming a small group supporting the goals of HOPE Cape Town, then feel free to contact me for further information. HOPE Cape Town depends like any other public benefit organization on the support of many – so HOPE Cape Town understands itself as much more than a local organization – we are a network of people trying to better the lives of South African’s living with HIV and TB and everything related to it.
Sometimes I am asked why TB and why we not concentrate on HIV? The answer is very simple: TB is the twin-sister of HIV in South Africa and to combat only HIV would not making sense. They are interlinked, and so are the other social problems attached to it. Studies have shown that poverty, unemployment and unfavorable conditions lead to early death even if treatment is available. So there is so much more to HIV and AIDS. And there is so much more to do – whatever we can do as HOPE Cape Town depends on resources, manpower and funds. We have grown to 31 employees and our portfolios range from the vegetable garden in Blikkisdorp to academic research @ the University of Stellenbosch. It will depend on the ongoing and additional support of people like you, the reader of this blog, whether we can enhance our work and do more to give people hope and future.  We are willing to go the extra – mile; come and join us in one of the many ways possible:

* Donation: All our donation options are summarized on our website under donation

* Tell friends about HOPE Cape Town and ask them to have a look at our website

* Maybe you consider to donate to capital (Zustiftung in German language) and make you money work for a good cause for eternity…
* Find a circle of friends to become ambassadors of HOPE – we can assist you in this…

* Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Cause, share the links and stories and follow us

For all donations and donations to capital applies in Germany and South Africa: We are able to issue a tax-deductible receipt for the respective county.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, Medical and Research, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blog Categories

Follow God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE on WordPress.com

15th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 31st, 2020
4 months to go.

Ball of HOPE 2021

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 15th, 2021
11 months to go.

You can share this blog in many ways..

Bookmark and Share

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,059 other followers

Translation – Deutsch? Française? Espanol? …

The translation button is located on each single blog page, Copy the text, click the button and paste it for instant translation:
Website Translation Widget

or for the translation of the front page:

* Click for Translation

Copyright

© Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

This not withstanding the following applies:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

%d bloggers like this: