As the world today recognises the importance of the female condom in the HIV prevention basket, perhaps it is time for us to take a fresh look at the potential of this life saving tool in stopping the spread of HIV, especially for women and girls.
According to an article Richard Lee, everyone knew that the crisis at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria will have a serious impact across Southern Africa, which is still the epicentre of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Lee, who says that no one knew how serious the crisis will be and/or what will be most affected, notes that new research from Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe highlights how devastating the cancellation of Round 11 funding has been on the HIV and TB response in the region.
Substantial increases in behaviour, the use of condoms, HIV counselling and testing, and voluntary male circumcision, that reduces the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, have been found, according to Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi.
Motsoaledi, who together with Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, released findings of a survey conducted by Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa, LoveLife and Soul City, at the International Aids Conference in Washington.
The Joint United Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) believes a cure for AIDS will be found within 10 years.
Speaking at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington in the United States, UNAIDS executive director, Michel Sidibé, says that the current research studies have shown great progress in finding a possible cure for this disease.
Preparations are underway for a trial testing new beefed-up versions of AIDS vaccines among heterosexuals in South Africa and men who have sex with men in Thailand.
The trial will use a Sanofi vaccine, but instead of AIDSVAX, researchers will use a different vaccine candidate with a boosting agent from Novartis.
A 2009 clinical trial in Thailand was the first to show it was possible to prevent HIV infection in humans and since then, discoveries have pointed to even more powerful vaccines using HIV-fighting antibodies.
The African Union (AU) Commission and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have combined efforts to combat the spread of a disease that threatens Africa's food supplies.
In a press statement, the commission states that, "In this agreement the AU and FAO have agreed to work together in mobilising and coordinating activities aimed at increasing the control of animal African trypanosomiasis."
Zambia has successfully secured approximately US$100 million from the Global Fund, an international aid NGO dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
The country’s Minister of Health, Joseph Kasonde, says government will put in place a system or mechanism that will ensure transparency and accountability in the application of HIV and AIDS, TB, and Malaria resources.
Zambia was awarded this large tranche of funds following under Round 8 Phase 2 of the Global Fund’s allocation process following a long delay due to accountability concerns.
The Gauteng Health Department aims to test three million people for HIV and to put almost one million people on to treatment in the new financial year.
As provinces action to align themselves with the implementation of the new National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS came into effect this week, Gauteng will intensify efforts to test more people for HIV infection.
The province states that it will continue with the health counselling and testing campaign that was launched in 2010 and the main focus of which is to test people for HIV and TB.
For nearly a decade the programming of the only tool available for women to initiate safe sex has been dogged by maladministration, procurement troubles and difficulties in social marketing a product whose supply is erratic at best. The advocacy landscape around the female condom has changed significantly and is this year expected to focus on a key component of programming that is often overlooked, that of logistics management.
Global access and availability of female condoms have increased dramatically in recent years, but with rates of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy among women still high, providers of female condoms may need to consider marketing them more to couples and men to increase uptake.
While there is no deliberate bias to focus HIV prevention programmes on women, there is widespread acknowledgement that women are among the worst affected by HIV and therefore require tailored programmes and products to help them beat the pandemic.