Call to Include Circumcision in AIDS Fight

Scientists are calling for the speedy inclusion of male circumcision in the comprehensive HIV prevention package. This despite questions raised about human rights and the confusing message it might send to people.

Studies have shown that male circumcision reduces the risk of contracting HIV in heterosexual men by more than 50 percent if done correctly. Work is being done on the policy to include circumcision in the HIV National Strategic Plan (NSP), but there are ethical issues around it.

Nkosi’s Haven Village Launched on World AIDS Day

The feisty red-head and dedicated HIV and AIDS activist, Gail Johnson, marked World AIDS Day with the launch of a new HIV/AIDS haven.

Johnson says that, “When purchasing this village, the board of directors were adamant that we create a new lifestyle community where our residents will benefit from complete holistic care and contribute to the sustainability of the project.”

She says mothers require capacity-building in order for them to be reintegrated into society.

Zuma Unveils New Push to Fight HIV/AIDS

President Jacob Zuma has announced a raft of policy changes to provide HIV treatment to some groups of patients earlier in the course of their disease, taking South Africa a step closer to new guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation.

The development is significant as it will oblige the government to extend treatment to many more people than it is at the moment, increasing the pressure to manage scarce resources more effectively.

“Let the politicisation and endless debates about HIV and AIDS stop,” says Zuma.

I Smile, Half

I smile, half
at the HIV-Positive
t-shirted fellow
leaning at a pole
on my morning-way
to Lansdowne station

I smile, half
at the 3 motorists
ignoring the stop-street
on their morning-way
quite casual-like

I smile, half
at the smokers-male
on their morning-way
to ruining their health
quite casual-like

I smile, half
grimacing actually
at the fact of December 1
World AIDS Day (again)
quite casual-like


NGOs Warn Against Criminalising HIV Transmission

Ugandan civil society organisations have warned against criminalising the transmission of HIV/AIDS.

Action Aid Uganda’s Stella Mukasa, notes that, “Criminalising the transmission of the disease invokes stigma, discrimination and deters voluntary testing and access to treatment.”

Mukasa argues that applying criminal law to HIV transmission could result in women being disproportionately prosecuted and increase domestic violence.

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.


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