God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Not shy to sell “milk not for sale”

Some spaza shop owners in Khayelitsha are selling formula milk that is marked “Not for resale”. TAC reports. This milk is supposed to be given free to HIV-positive mothers to give to their babies instead of breast milk to avoid infecting the newly born. The brand name for the state’s formula milk is Melegi. It is manufactured by Aspen. In August 2011 the Ministry of Health in South Africa announced that exclusive breastfeeding will be replacing the formula feeding throughout South Africa. The reason for the change of heart: clinical trials over the last few years have shown that if women take anti-retroviral treatment they can breastfeed with very little risk of passing on the virus.

A consequence of this is that the milk is now being sold illegally because some mothers still want to use it and it is not available free anymore. The question is now: How got the free milk “not for sale” into the spaza shops where mothers have to pay for it. And the next question is whether mothers, who use the formula milk and breast-feeding are aware that mixing the two methods is more dangerous to their baby than exclusively either breast-feeding or formula feeding.

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

AIDS Gestapo…

Sometimes, discussions are getting out of hand – and this one has certainly gone out of hand. Offering cash prizes for getting tested is a decision, one surely can debate and argue about. But the question of criminalization of HIV transmission is a much deeper going one and Helen Zille, premier of the Western Cape (SA)  and TAC (Advocacy group) should avoid to debate it in a wording and style which does not help the cause. What is meant by “willing infecting” somebody – does it mean, that everybody, who has not done a test and having sex without protection is “willing” to pass on the virus. Or must there be a real intention, so consideration before the act? Fact is, that criminalization is not a tool for HIV prevention – common sense is also that I always expect from both persons engaging in sex to prevent a possible transmission in any case – be it HIV or any other STI.  Both have the responsiblity to either clarify it or protect or decide to take the risk in a responsible way. It can never be one-sided. Being on HAART for 6 month, undetectable and no STI means that the risk of transmission is likely to be the same like a broken condom.
Word like “AIDS Gestapo” or “racist” have no place in such a serious debate. It is about responsiblity, ending stigma, avoiding discrimination and protecting the rights of each and everybody even in the privacy of their bedrooms. A very sensible place – and a very sensible topic which deserves wording living up to the seriousness of the topic.

Read more: http://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/zille-slams-aids-gestapo-1.1192047

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

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