Health

UNAIDS Praises SA Response to AIDS

The United Nations AIDS Programme (UNAIDS) says South Africa has more people living with AIDS than any other country, but it also has a new government determined to end the crisis.

UNAIDS executive, Michel Sidibe, "If I am not in South Africa for World AIDS Day, I don't know where I should be."

Sidibe maintains that President Jacob Zuma is committed to making change happen, praising the Department of Health for moving quickly to distribute more AIDS drugs and for working with the UN to improve ways of using scarce resources.

Independent Health Watchdog by April – Sefularo

The Department of Health has announced that an independent health watchdog will be introduced by April to ensure clinics and hospitals adhere to quality standards.

Deputy Health Minister, Molefi Sefularo, points out that the National Health Act will be amended to create the watchdog body, which will report to Parliament either directly or through the health minister.

Although there is already a standards office within the Health Department, it is felt the proposed body should not be within the department it is supposed to judge.

Call for Compulsory HIV Testing for Alleged Rapists

Rape victims should be encouraged to apply for compulsory HIV testing of alleged rapists. This is the view of Minister of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya.

Mayende-Sibiya argues that rape survivors should fully utilise the provisions of the Sexual Offences Amendment Act, adding that they [survivors] have a right to request compulsory HIV testing of an alleged offender.

New Recommendations for HIV Patients

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged countries to phase out the use of Stavudine, the most widespread anti-retroviral, because of what it calls long-term, irreversible side-effects in HIV patients,  including wasting and a nerve disorder.

In sweeping changes to its guidelines, the WHO also recommends that people with HIV, including pregnant women, should start taking antiretroviral drugs earlier to live a longer and healthier life.

Anti-retroviral Treatment for Life

'Anti-retroviral Treatment for Life' is a 40-page that has been written for adults who are starting on antiretroviral treatment (ART) or who are already on ART. Authored by the Soul City and Department of Health, the book will also be useful for family members, friends and caregivers of people who are going to take anti-retroviral medicines. Anyone who wants to learn more about ART will also find it useful.

N36 Million for NGOs to Fight HIV

Delta State Action Committee on AIDS (DELSACA) will disburse N36 million to 12 NGOs in Delta as grant for fight against HIV.

DELSACA project coordinator, John Osuyali, says that more than 140 NGOs applied for the second trench of the grant to carry out HIV related activities in the state.

"We have about N36 million for NGOs to carry out HIV related activities and only 12 NGOs will be eligible for the funding," explains Osuyali. 

Meet Joe

'Meet Joe' is a story booklet that complements a one-minute animated television public service announcement (PSA). The booklet forms part of the regional Onelove campaign and is being distributed across all countries involved in Onelove. Meet Joe highlights sexual networks and how having more than one sexual partner at the same time puts one at risk of HIV and AIDS. The concept behind the comic and the PSA is to represent people without showing identities or specific racial or cultural groups.

Reduced AIDS Funding Will Hurt the Poor

Lives of AIDS patients in poor countries could be severely compromised if donors and rich nations continue reducing their funding commitments to AIDS programmes. This is according to an independent humanitarian agency, Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

MSF urges major donors not to ‘wipe out gains’ made by the roll out of anti-retrovirals (ARVs) by ‘retreating from their international funding commitments’.

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