The Ugandan Law Reform Commission formulated a new HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill for 2009, which has recently received widespread criticism from human rights groups across the globe. The Bill is said to be a dangerous approach to already discredited views on how to prevent and control the spread of HIV and AIDS in Africa.
HIV and AIDS
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.
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.
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.
The global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been unparalleled. Between 2007 and 2008, funding increased from US$11.3 billion to US$ 13.7 billion globally (UNAIDS, Fact Sheet AIDS Funding 2008-09). However, the global economic crisis is having dire consequences for HIV and AIDS funding. These effects are felt particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest levels of HIV and AIDS infection in the world, with approximately 25 million people infected.
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.
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.
1 December 2009
United States Announces Additional $120 Million for ARVs in South Africa Pretoria
Pointing fingers at the administration of former president Thabo Mbeki is not helpful in dealing with South Africa's HIV/AIDS problems. This is according to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Tutu points out that, "I just think it's enough to say, we have had a disaster and ... how do we ensure that we don't repeat what we know happened."
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.