World AIDS Day Gala Dinner for Cape Town

A star-studded line-up will honour unsung heroes and salute individuals and organisations in Cape Town tonight during a World AIDS Day gala concert.

The first United Nations AIDS Special Goodwill Ambassador to South Africa and international recording artist, Jimmie Earl Perry, is the director of the gala event at the Convention Centre.

It is being presented by the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management at Stellenbosch in collaboration with the provincial Health Department.

TAC Welcomes New AIDS Plan

AIDS lobby group, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), has welcomed the expected launch of a new strategic plan to fight HIV.

In a press statement, the TAC has described the plan as ‘bold’, adding that, “South Africa is showing leadership at a time when many other parts of the world are retreating from their commitments on HIV."

The organisation, which states that already there are over a million people on treatment, warns that by the time the plan is complete that number must be three million.

From the Mouths of ‘Non-Incentivisers’

In recent days there has been a big stir about the political stint of Helen Zille’s “take an HIV test and win big money.” An article published on 28 November 2011 lamented an opinion where politicians, when it comes to the issue of AIDS, have fallen short. Earning brownie points in the political arena, the article laments, has become more important to politicians than finding a solution to our current trajectory of HIV/AIDS.

NGO Calls for Family Planning

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) says that women need access to family planning and contraception services if HIV/AIDS among pregnant women is to be reduced.

Catherine Tomlinson, a senior researcher at TAC, points out that it is crucial to address the need for family planning and contraception services.

“We need to expand services for women to become pregnant safely without risking becoming HIV-positive. To do this, women should be given the knowledge and services to plan their pregnancies,” she explains.

Country Loses HIV/AIDS Funding Over Gay Rights

The Global Fund has denied Uganda US$270 million needed to put over 100 000 more people on lifesaving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) because the country's policies are deemed harsh on sexual minorities.

Minister of Health, Zainab Akol, points out that by the time the department is through with one group's rights, Uganda will be having 130 000 new infections.

Call for Botswana to Legalise Prostitution

Former Botswana President and head of that country’s National AIDS Council, Festus Mogae, has called on the country to legalise prostitution to make it easier to help sex workers prevent the disease.

Mogae, points out that, "Decriminalising sex work does not mean encouraging it, but it would rather pave way for policies that protect those who have been forced into the trade."

Govt Officials Slammed Over HIV

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has accused male government officials of ‘running from one woman to another’ and spreading HIV.

Speaking at a national HIV/AIDS conference in Harare, Mugabe pointed out that, "Our men are not satisfied with one woman even if they know that they are HIV-positive."

The comments come after the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe announced plans to have all male cabinet ministers circumcised in a bid to encourage men in the country to undergo the minor operation.

HIV Infections Outpace Prevention – Motlanthe

Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, says that the rate of new HIV infections continues to outpace prevention efforts.
Replying to questions in the National Council of Provinces, Motlanthe, told members there are now an estimated 5.38 million people with HIV in South Africa.
He says this translates into a HIV prevalence of 10.6 percent for the overall population, and 16.6 percent for the 15 to 29 year age group.

NGO Warns Government on Circumcision

A medical advocacy group, Medical Rights Advocacy Network, has warned that the KwaZulu-Natal health department's decision to allow circumcisions at state hospitals will fuel an illicit trade in foreskins.

The group’s Dr Uttam Govind has written to Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, KwaZulu-Natal premier Dr Zweli Mkhize and health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo, urging them to stop the planned circumcision programme, which starts in April 2012.

HIV Counselling and Testing Campaign - The Way Forward?

On 1 April 2010, a massive government campaign in the fight against HIV was launched. The revamping of the National Strategic Plan on AIDS and STIs (2007-2011) was developed by various stakeholders, including government, civil society and private sector, to reach 80 percent of those needing antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) by 2011 and contribute to a 50 percent reduction in HIV infections within the same timeframe.


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