IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 163, 9 January 2004
Saturday 13 March 2004


East Africa
Great Lakes
Horn of Africa
Southern Africa
·South Africa
West Africa


Country Profiles
Conferences / Research
Job opportunities

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 163, 9 January 2004


SOUTHERN AFRICA: Yearender - ARV rollouts in 2003 bring rising hope
ETHIOPIA: New film depicts the plight of women living with HIV
ZIMBABWE: High costs hamper access to ARVs
ZIMBABWE: Action needed to aid mentally ill


1. YouthShakers
2. HIV/AIDS Impact on Education Clearinghouse
3. Kenya AIDS Watch Institute



SOUTHERN AFRICA: Yearender - ARV rollouts in 2003 bring rising hope

The year 2003 saw several African governments rolling out national anti-AIDS drug treatment programmes, suggesting a significant shift towards improving access to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs.

In a dramatic finish to the year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) unveiled its much anticipated "3 by 5" plan to treat three million HIV-positive people by 2005.

Government officials are hoping the WHO target will strengthen existing treatment initiatives and accelerate what has been regarded as a slow response to the pandemic by African countries.

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ETHIOPIA: New film depicts the plight of women living with HIV

Ethiopia's first-ever film depicting the real-life tragedy being brought about by HIV/AIDS was broadcast across the country on Monday. The documentary is a powerful portrayal of the lives of women in Ethiopia who have become victims of discrimination and stigma because they are infected with the virus.

"It is a very depressing film," said Meaza Ashenafi, who heads the Ethiopian Women's Lawyers Association, after seeing the premiere of Siwir Enba, or Hidden Tears. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has had a crippling effect on Ethiopia, where, according to government estimates, some 2.2 million people are living with HIV.

The 45-minute film was first shown to government ministers and AIDS activists at a special screening in the capital, Addis Ababa. It was then broadcast on state television. As yet there are few laws within Ethiopia's constitution being enforced to protect victims of stigma prompted by HIV/AIDS, such as those losing their jobs or homes.

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ZIMBABWE: High costs hamper access to ARVs

Almost two years after Zimbabwe's government declared a state of emergency over HIV/AIDS to allow the importation and manufacture of generic anti-AIDS drugs, accessing antiretrovirals (ARVs) remains a pipe dream for almost a million people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.

With an estimated HIV prevalence rate of 27 percent, Zimbabwe is one of the countries worst hit by the epidemic.

A recent survey conducted by the Southern Africa HIV/AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS) revealed that most single-drug therapies cost more than US $122 a month (Zim $100,000 at the official exchange rate of Zim $824 to US $1) in a country where a substantial number of those in formal employment take home less than that every month. ARVs have not yet been made available in the public sector.

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ZIMBABWE: Action needed to aid mentally ill

Apart from abandonment by their families and neglect as a result of shrinking spending on health, the mentally ill also risk sexual exploitation and the increased risk of HIV infection as AIDS awareness programmes have bypassed them.

According to the World Health Organisation, most middle- and low-income countries devote less than one percent of their health expenditure to mental health, which means that policies, legislation, community care and treatment facilities are dismally short of resources.

"Mentally ill or retarded people are always left out of national budgets, disease prevention and mitigation policies. The lack of laws and the reluctance of the government in playing its part in the implementation of the national mental health policy exposes the ill or retarded to disease, deliberate neglect, and various forms of abuse, including sexual, which gives rise to the issue of HIV/AIDS," said Elizabeth Matare, national director of the Zimbabwe National Association for Mental Health (ZIMNAMH).

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1. Youthshakers is a global network of youth working on sexual health issues. Designed for peer educators, youth activists and young people looking for information about sexual health and HIV/AIDS, the website provides information on contraceptives and young people's reproductive and sexual health. It also features articles by youth activists from around the world, youth-run and youth-friendly programme profiles, and message boards to chat with other educators and activists.

2. HIV/AIDS Impact on Education Clearinghouse contains HIV/AIDS documents/studies etc. from around the world, and particularly from Africa, where the epidemic is having the greatest effect.

Studies, strategy documents and best practices relating to the impact of HIV/AIDS on education, will be posted on the Clearinghouse website. The site can track down publications and keep you informed of new publications and upcoming conferences and workshops.

3. The Kenya AIDS Watch Institute (KAWI) is an independent monitoring organisation established to gather and disseminate objective information and critical analysis of the effectiveness and relevance of all Kenya's current and future anti-HIV/AIDS programmes. KAWI also provides an open forum for HIV/AIDS-related scientific, economic and social discussions and encourages community-based initiatives and programmes to effectively tackle the AIDS epidemic at all levels.



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


The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
International HIV/AIDS Alliance

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.


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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