IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 162, 2 January 2004
Saturday 13 March 2004


East Africa
Great Lakes
Horn of Africa
Southern Africa
West Africa


Country Profiles
Conferences / Research
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News Briefs

ZAMBIA: Stronger anti-AIDS focus on women - First Lady
UGANDA: AIDS drug roadblock as hundreds die daily
DJIBOUTI: AIDS drug rollout kicks off
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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 162, 2 January 2004


SWAZILAND: AIDS toll leads to flood of bogus "miracle" cures
MAURITANIA: Imams join low-key campaign against AIDS
UGANDA: Companies slow to respond to epidemic


1. Healthlink International
2. Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV/AIDS in Africa
3. International HIV Treatment Access Coalition



SWAZILAND: AIDS toll leads to flood of bogus "miracle" cures

The authorities in Swaziland are doing little to stem a flood of bogus "miracle AIDS cures" in a country with one of the world's highest HIV infection rates.

"In a blink of an eye, it seems, Swazis have gone from deep denial of the existence of AIDS to panic as they realise all the people they are burying are not dying of witchcraft. The plethora of AIDS 'cures' is a product of that," AIDS activist Thembi Dlamini told PlusNews.

According to press reports, the supplier of one "AIDS vaccine" in pill form, manufactured in Thailand, is providing the Swazi army with the drug, although there is no proof of its efficacy.

Neither the army nor the drug's distributor, Sutitangwe Medical Services of Mbabane, owned by two Thai nationals and a Swazi, would comment when PlusNews contacted them.

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MAURITANIA: Imams join low-key campaign against AIDS

HIV/AIDS is still a taboo subject in staunchly Islamic Mauritania, but awareness of the disease is growing. The authorities have recently persuaded religious leaders to start preaching about the dangers of AIDS and the need to stop its spread.

While refusing to endorse the use of condoms through sermons in the mosque, Muslim clerics have agreed to spread the message that fidelity in marriage can help to protect people from infection.

The government has also pledged to make antiretroviral drugs available in 2004 to the 500 Mauritanians registered as living with AIDS to improve their quality of life.

According to the National Council for the Fight against AIDS (CNLS), which was only created last year, one percent of the desert nation's 2.5 million population is HIV positive.

However, voluntary AIDS testing of pregnant women has shown an HIV prevalence rate of 2.6 percent and some activists reckon the real figure for the nation as a whole is much higher.

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UGANDA: Companies slow to respond to epidemic

The success of the Ugandan government's response to the country's HIV/AIDS pandemic is now well recognised, but the corporate response to the disease is still lagging behind, according to a recently released AIDS country profile.

The AIDS Profile Project, undertaken by the University of California San Francisco's AIDS Policy Research Centre, found that despite financial contributions to existing HIV/AIDS interventions, companies were still not doing enough.

"There is largely a paucity of sustained and systematic corporate leadership in providing comprehensive HIV/AIDS programmes for their employees," researchers noted.

According to the report, in September 2003 the Uganda AIDS Commission found that "until now, the corporate response has been rather limited."

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1. This organisation's resource centre contains more than 20,000 health and disability information resources. These include published and unpublished materials, many from developing countries. This can be searched online at Healthlink Worldwide's Resource Centre Manual is a comprehensive and practical guide to setting up a resource centre. The full text is available on the Website.

2. The Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV/AIDS in Africa was officially launched during the 1998 Africities Summit in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire and was established to promote an expanded, multisectoral response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic at the local level.

3. The International HIV Treatment Access Coalition (ITAC) is a coalition of partner organisations including people living with HIV/AIDS and their advocates, NGOs, governments, foundations, the private sector, academic and research institutions and international organisations. Their shared goal is expanded access to HIV treatment for all people living with HIV/AIDS who need it.



Recent AFRICA Reports

IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 172, 12 March 2004,  12/Mar/04
Global Fund calls for bold proposals,  5/Mar/04
PlusNews Web Special - Gender and HIV/AIDS,  5/Mar/04
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 171, 5 March 2004,  5/Mar/04
Anti-HIV programme fails rape victims,  4/Mar/04


PlusNews is produced under the banner of RHAIN, the Southern African Regional HIV/AIDS Information Network. RHAIN's members currently include:


  • IRIN

  • Inter Press Service (IPS)



  • Health Systems Trust

  • Health & Development

  • GTZ/Afronets

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