African health workers continue to be overworked, underpaid and often unappreciated, despite the fact that they form the foundation of the continent’s fight against HIV/AIDS. Without these health workers, Africa’s efforts to stem the tide of the epidemic would be futile. All plans developed to address the issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa are very much reliant on a well-oiled (or even partially oiled) health system, and the functioning of this system largely depends on the people who are working on the ground, on the front-lines, in the communities and with the people affected by the epidemic.
The high cost of drugs needed to treat AIDS patients is putting the lives of thousands at risk, the medical humanitarian organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Monday.
“Patients needing new drug regimens will return to AIDS death row”, MSF warned in a statement released at the 2009 International AIDS Society conference in Cape Town.
KwaZulu-Natal health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, has given his department a clean bill of health and has rejected reports that the province’s antiretroviral (ARV) campaign is not on track.
Dhlomo was responding to media reports that patients living with HIV and AIDS were being turned away from state hospitals and clinics.
“All our facilities have adequate stocks of medication, nutritional support packs and we have not had an instance of running out of stock,” he said.
The Pope’s comments on 17 March about the ineffectiveness and unacceptability of condoms to fight HIV and AIDS in Africa, and the reactions to them reverberated across the globe.
A national study released this week has found that South Africa's AIDS epidemic appears to be stabilising, with infections among children and teenagers declining.
"There are promising findings of a changing pattern of HIV infection among children and youth," says HSRC chief executive officer, Olive Shisana.
"The good news is that the change in HIV prevalence in children is most likely attributable to the successful implementation of several HIV-prevention interventions," she said.
A study released by medical experts at Germany's University of Heidelberg has found that a chemical found in green tea can inhibit sexual transmission of the virus which causes AIDS.
The study, which recommends using the compound in vaginal creams to supplement antiretrovirals, also concludes that the compound could be a low-cost arrow in the quiver of medical weapons to fight the spread of HIV in research-poor countries.
The 4th Southern African AIDS Conference was held in early April at Durban’s International Convention Centre. This year’s meeting was themed, 'Scaling up for success', and brought together over 4,000 HIV and AIDS researchers, policy-makers and stakeholders from more than 50 countries.
The United States Coalition for Child Survival has warned that diarrhoea might wreak havoc in poor countries in Africa.
The organisation points out that the disease is already killing 1.6 million children a year in these countries.
It says millions of babies between birth and the age of five die, mostly from preventable diseases. It further estimates that over half a million women in poor countries also die from pregnancy-related diseases, due to unsafe drinking water and malnutrition.
It is common knowledge that the African continent has been hit hardest by the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Over the past 25 years, Africa has been the prime victim of a small, but highly intelligent virus, which has infected and killed millions of people, and significantly hampered the growth and development of a land with abundant potential. The epidemic has ravaged Africa far more viciously than any other continent, and the reasons for this continue to be explored in an array of research.
Health Minister Barbara Hogan has called for a regional plan to deal with the HIV pandemic and tuberculosis.
Addressing more than 4 000 delegates at the fourth South African AIDS Conference last week, Hogan pointed out that it is foolish to think that South Africa could scale up prevention and treatment in isolation from its neighbouring countries.