HIV/AIDS Manageable - NGO

The AIDS Foundation of South Africa says HIV/AIDS in the country has become a manageable chronic condition.

The organisation’s chief executive officer, Debbie Matthew, says this can be attributed to the positive leadership from the government, the ground-breaking work by scientists and pressure from advocacy groups.

Matthew explains: "What treatment does, it reduces the viral load in that patient to almost undetectable levels which means they are less likely to transmit HIV to other people that they will come into contact with sexually…”

Zambia Denies Inmates AIDS Drugs

Zambia’s convicted prisoner, George Mwanza, has accused the authorities of violating his human rights and those of other HIV-positive inmates by failing to provide them with adequate care.
Mwanza, who is awaiting trial for statutory rape, told a courtroom packed with HIV/AIDS activists clad in white T-shirts that, "I have been prevented from accessing the anti-retroviral drugs and therapy from the clinic."

NGO Protest Over ARV Shortage

With antiretroviral (ARV) drug shortages persisting in Gauteng, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) embarked on a boycott at a World AIDS Day function at the weekend.

A group demonstrated outside Sethokga hostel in Tembisa on 1 December 2012, where Gauteng Health MEC, Hope Papo, led an AIDS awareness campaign.

TAC’s Gauteng branch reportedly submitted a list of hospitals and clinics battling with antiretroviral drug shortages to the department. 

An End to AIDS in Sight - UN Report

A United Nations (UN) report says that eradicating AIDS is in sight, owing to better access to drugs that can both treat and prevent the incurable human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes the disease.

The report also states that an aim to eventually end the worldwide AIDS pandemic is not ‘merely visionary’ but ‘entirely feasible’.

Acute ARV Shortage Hits Zimbabwe

According to an article by Paidamoyo Chipunza, an acute shortage of anti-retroviral drugs in public health institutions in Zimbabwe is reportedly forcing patients to switch to drug combinations which compromise their health.

Chipunza, who states that some hospitals are said to be offering ARVs meant for children to adults, warns that mixing different regimens can result in treatment failure because the virus is highly mutagenic and becomes drug resistant.

Lipodystrophy, Side Effect of ARVs – Doctor

The condition, known as lipodystrophy, was recognised through changes in fat reduction or redistribution, often in one area, leading to abnormal body shape transformations.

In 2008, a 29-year old woman’s breasts started growing rapidly and got heavy, making life difficult for her. The woman said that in 2009, she was supposed to go for a breast reduction but could not because she was anaemic and had a bone marrow deficiency.

New HIV Drugs Partnership Announced

The South African government has announced a joint venture to reduce the cost of anti-retroviral drugs with a Swiss company.

Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, points out that, the joint venture will establish the first pharmaceutical plant to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients [APIs] for anti-retroviral medicines in the country.

Pandor says that the purpose of producing the APIs locally is to try and reduce the cost of drugs to combat HIV that causes AIDS.

AIDS Patients Likely to Die – MSF

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has warned that some 15 000 AIDS victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo are likely to die, waiting for lifesaving drugs in the next three years.

Medical coordinator, Anja De Weggheleire, says that the estimate of 15 000 dead in three years is horrifying but represents only the tip of the iceberg, since most victims don't even know they are infected.

Corruption Blamed for Lack of Services

Swaziland’s Minister of Finance, Majozi Sithole, has told the Senate that each year the country loses nearly double the annual social services budget to corruption, and NGOs are not being spared.

Sithole estimates that about R80 million a month is disappearing - amounting to about R960 million annually - while the government’s 2010/11 budget allocated R562 million to social services, including R182 million for education and R252 million for health.

Call for Africa to Invest in ARVs

International researchers have urged African governments and donors to increase HIV treatment programmes on the continent dramatically.

This follows the release of a landmark study released at the Sixth International Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Rome, which shows infected Africans on antiretroviral (ARV) drugs now live almost as long as those who are HIV negative.


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