God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

From Prevention, Polygamy and Crime…

As always in between posts I like to share some of the articles I am reading in between and they are ranging from the blue pill to criminal laws.

US Federal health officials recommended yesterday that hundreds of thousands of Americans at risk for AIDS take a daily pill that has been shown to prevent infection with the virus that causes it. If broadly followed, the advice could transform AIDS prevention in the United States — from reliance on condoms, which are effective but unpopular with many men, to a regimen that relies on an antiretroviral drug. Please read this article here.

In Africa, most people infected are female. In a modest public health clinic behind a gas station here in South Africa’s rural KwaZulu/Natal Province, a team of Norwegian infectious disease specialists think they may have found a new explanation. Not sure it will hold the scrutiny of sciences but it is worth reflecting on it. Read here.

In Kenya, a new law came into effect allowing for polygamy. Men can take several women as wives without the consent of the first or any of the others already married. Does it make sense? Well, questions are asked here.

Uganda was once the example of how to reduce the HIV pandemic. Then came complacency and PEPFAR rules, latter a curse and a blessing at the same time. Now Uganda has chosen to add to the draconian law regarding homosexuality also to criminalize HIV transmission. It is known that this has an adverse effect, but it seems that politicians in Uganda want to go the extra mile to do the wrong thing.  Click here to read the story.

Enjoy reading!

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

Worth reading..

Another look into the world or print today with worthwhile news and interesting articles:

The scares of Manhood tells the story of “proving manhood, alcohol and peer pressure of a South African youngster. Click here

Statistics about condom distribution, vaccinations and TB in South Africa are found here

Read about the reduction of bacterial vaginosis and other vaginal threats here

LGBT to be killed like mosquitoes – so the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh in an televised address. More here

Outrage about the imminent enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda which will also undermine HIV prevention. Read more here

Motsoaledi announces free new contraception in South Africa – more info here

The Roman Catholic Church is starting to reflect on families – read here what blunt assessment the Japanese bishops have on this topic

Enjoy the read.

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

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

Uganda failings..

Topographic map of Uganda. Created with GMT fr...

Topographic map of Uganda. Created with GMT from SRTM data. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Uganda was once the example for successful combating HIV. The first knock in the statistics came when the PEPFAR fund did not allow for condom distribution and working with prostitution. But even since the US donation money has changed it’s framework of reference there are alarming numbers of new infections. 20.000 babies are born HIV positive in the country every year. Why this is the case, Andrew Green reflects in a comment to be read here.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

No time to rest…

It is amazing – after 24 hours at airports and in the air back in South Africa and it takes not even minutes to receive the first phone call. How do they know that one is back in the country, just switching on the cell? This week is occupied a lot from work with HOPE Cape Town. The transition phase is ongoing but I get the feel that we are getting there. The website need an update and all the news about the new cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Neu-Ulm must be beamed up. We started research in the fields of E-learning: How do our people learn best? With paper documents, computers or handheld devices? A 6 months study will hopefully tell us more about it.
But it was great to see the enthusiasm of the students and lectures from Neu-Ulm coming to Cape Town for a week of extensive work. And it was good for our HOPE Community Health worker to see how networking is functioning and how important it is to learn from each other.
Other meetings with fellow priests and friends complemented the week and there was also a second meeting regarding founding a European Club for Cape Town. A club, where one can do networking; but also intellectual and spiritual exchange should take place. And not only once a week or once a month. The club should provide a venue to be accessible every day, just to bump in for a drink and a chat or a business meeting. To make such an idea working one has to look at existing clubs to liaise and form an additional grouping using the facility. I find it an exciting idea and I have the impression that all involved like to work hard to get it off the ground and going.

Ending a time as chaplain at sea means also to write a report about your work, the church wants to know what one has done in this swimming vineyard and even some guests have already taken the opportunity to send greetings from home to their “ex-chaplain”.

Church wise the appointment of Bishop Mueller from Regensburg in Germany to be “God’s watchdog” has created some debate and yeah, I guess, it is debatable. He has a diversity which leaves one sometimes guessing in which direction it explodes. On one hand he is a friend of one of the most acknowledged liberation theologian in South America; on the other hand he dealt with laity in his diocese in a way which is more than questionable. And for the Pius-brothers he seems to be a heretic – denying the virgin birth of Jesus and the teaching of transubstantiation. So it seems nobody is really happy – except the pope I guess and I think we just have to wait and see what is happening. Even if the past might be difficult, there is always the hope that people can change or grow into a job in a way serving God and the people.  All the hasty judgements,be it positive or negative are too early. Let him start and we will see…

Reading also the news on AIDS I see that Uganda starts to have problems related to resistance. This comes not as a suprise, this is indeed one of the biggest challenges we have to keep the virus far away from turning into a nasty resistant one. But the chances are high that it will happen if we don’t watch out very carefully, also here in South Africa.
I also note that the OraSure HIV home kit test is now FDA approved. I remember sitting with the representative of this company quite some years ago and at that time I felt that this test could prove good to make testing easier and avoid the pre-test counselling which I believe we have to stop doing as soon as possible. But local government and the hospitals were not keen at that time even to listen to such a test not performed in a hospital setting.

Well, weekend is coming and I hope there is time for some reading. I just have counted: There are 23 books waiting to be read…

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

Ball of HOPE 2020

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 23rd, 2020
5 months to go.

15th HOPE Gala Dresden

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