God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

From April 2013 1 pill per day..

Antiretroviral drugs

Antiretroviral drugs (Photo credit: DFID – UK Department for International Development)

 

This week the national Health Department of South Africa announced another major change in the treatment of HIV. Gone will be the days when AIDS patients will have to sort through a combination of pills every day – morning, day and evening – to control their HIV infection. As from April next year, patients will have the convenience of taking just one pill a day, which contains all three antiretroviral drugs that they need. This “fixed dose combination” – packaged in a single tablet will assist over 80% of the 1.8 million patients taking antiretrovirals in making their life and intake of medication much easier. Read here more about this great development in an article by Khopotso Bodibe.

 

 

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

World AIDS Day around the corner

Once again it is short before World AIDS Day and as usual on such a day and before, the media and the politicians have their say about success and failures of HIV and AIDS treatment, prevention work, vaccine studies and all the rest. Once a year the world is made aware of the syndrome killing still scores of people and triggering despair, tears, hopelessness, desperation but also a willingness to fight and not to give up. Have we done enough in the time since the last World AIDS Day? Has research been successful in coming closer to a vaccine? Have fewer people been exposed to the virus? Is there more prevention willingness and treatment options in the global village? Well, according to UNAIDS yes, we have done major steps in the right direction, but we also know how close we are to fail millions of people because of lack of funding. The economic meltdown, the financial crisis, the Euro battle captures our minds and hearts and I wish one would worry as much about those suffering from HIV or TB or Malaria or any other of theses for poor people mostly life threatening diseases. While the USA and other Countries spend millions and millions a day for the war in Afghanistan or undercover in Syria or elsewhere research and the good thing s for live have still to struggle for funding. The world has indeed not learned the lesson of holding up the dignity of people, instead it pays for the destruction of land, people and material goods.

While I appreciate the progress and worry about the still high numbers of non-treated people and new infections, I cannot be silent about the injustice which is reflected in the battle against HIV and AIDS. And this pandemic is only an example that we are as human mankind still far away from getting the values right we proudly proclaim in our national constitutions: that life and dignity is to be protected at all times and all costs as it is the highest value we have.

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

Potential Vaccine Breakthrough for HIV

HIV Particle

HIV Particle (Photo credit: AJC1)

A new discovery related to South Africa could prove a major stepping-stone toward developing an effective HIV vaccine. In this country, two women’s immune systems reacted to changes in  HIV cells by producing potent “broadly neutralizing antibodies” that could kill 88 percent of HIV found throughout the world. To read more about this very interesting news click here.

To read the University of the Witwatersrand news announcement click here.

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

Visitors to HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust

 

Today,  Mrs. Elke Ferner, Deputy Chair of the SPD party in the German parliament and Mrs. Evelyne Gebhard, member of the European Parliament will visit our project. Together with members of the diplomatic staff of the German Embassy and the German Consulate General we will visit a township clinic and observe one of our HOPE community health worker before heading to have a look at the community of Blikkiesdorp and our involvement there. Before going to lunch and answering all open question a visit to the Ithemba ward will round-up the visit.
For HOPE Cape Town Association and Trust it is always a pleasure to have members of various parliaments and to give insight for those in the political arena. It is important that decision maker are informed about what is going on on grass root level. European visitors learn about the health system of South Africa first hand and experience the achievements as well as the shortcomings of our local system. That helps to assist in the bilateral talks between in this case Germany and South Africa and shapes the decision-making process how best to assist this country.
Also in this sense HOPE Cape Town Association and Trust is like a bridge bringing together and in touch two worlds which are quite apart from each other looking at the health system. Germans living here in South Africa know how to appreciate the health insurance Germany is offering to them and not surprisingly a lot of people making their living now in South Africa remain members of their respective health insurance company based in Germany. It is to hope that South Africa one day is ready to install a similar system. According to government sources such a system is considered and somehow in the pipeline, even nobody knows what it will cost to implement it.

Besides that the visitors will learn to know the variety of portfolios HOPE Cape Town Association and Trust is involved in: from grass root level to academic research.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

… what an insight…

Coming closer to the World AIDS Conference, you can read in all Catholic and specially more right-wing Catholic articles about the conference that the expert of Caritas Internationalis, Msgr Robert Vitillo proclaimed that condoms don’t solve the problem of AIDS.  I am amazed and it reminds me lots of sermons I have heard in my life where questions are asked or statements are attacked which nobody really ever had in mind. So I am not sure what drives the media to repeat in sensational ways a statement nobody is anyhow interested in or has ever claimed to be the only solution to the pandemic. Well, it might be that there is the intention to show that the anti-condom Catholic teaching is at the end the right point of view when it comes to AIDS. And it seems that repeating this “insight” makes it one day coming true…
The battle against the pandemic needs all tools we have at hands and when we will look back at the pandemic once the tide is turned we as the church will feel ashamed for rejecting one of the most important tools for “here and now” to prevent new infections. And we might even laugh to see how important that little bit of rubber was, so much so that moral theologian could get into trouble because of it. And I am sure God might laugh too…  –  but we all in the church have to take responsibility for those having followed the rules of the church and got into deadly trouble as a consequence. Life is precious and we are not allowed to bargain with it as cost for a teaching which we all know can and will and has changed over times.

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

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