IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 180, 7 May 2004
Wednesday 23 June 2004
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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 180, 7 May 2004

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


SOUTH AFRICA: Gender-based violence increases spread of HIV
SOUTH AFRICA: Problems implementing HIV/AIDS caregiver grant
NAMIBIA: Orphan crisis a disaster greater than floods/drought


1. AED HIV/AIDS anti-stigma site
2. Managing Desire: HIV Prevention Strategies for the 21st Century
3. Positively Women website



SOUTH AFRICA: Gender-based violence increases spread of HIV

Women who suffer violence at the hands of their male partners are more likely to become infected with the HI virus, a new South African study confirms.

"Women who are beaten or dominated by their partners are nearly 50 percent more likely to become infected with HIV, compared with women who live in non-violent households," says the study, "Gender-based violence, relationship power, and risk of HIV infection in women attending antenatal clinics in South Africa". The study was conducted jointly by US and South African academics.

To fully understand how HIV, gender-based violence and gender-based inequality relate to each other in intimate partnerships, the researchers captured and compared a range of abusive experiences and explored connections between violence, inequality and risk behaviour.

The cross-sectional study interviewed 1,366 women who sought antenatal care at four health centres in the township of Soweto outside Johannesburg.

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SOUTH AFRICA: Problems implementing HIV/AIDS caregiver grant

As the number of South Africans infected with HIV/AIDS rises, home-based care programmes need to be persistently expanded, but most such projects are run by NGOs using volunteers due to a lack of funding, and without an income the unpaid caregivers have trouble supporting themselves and their families.

In March the Department of Health decided to assist caregivers, rolling out a policy framework for community health workers that makes available grants to volunteers employed by government-sponsored NGOs, while still emphasising that "the spirit of voluntarism should be encouraged".

The scheme is meant to empower communities to improve their basic health status, but in practice the government's funding criteria do not always match the situation of caregivers working in the field.

NGOs may apply for a "minimum stipend" of R1,000 (about US $144) per trained, community-based, generalist health worker in the fields of health promotion, primary health care and health resource networking and coordination.

The amount of the grant depends on the geographical area, the number of health workers and their socio-economic status, the health department explains. To qualify for the grant, a caregiver should cover between 80 and 100 households in rural areas and between 100 and 150 households in urban areas, but may not be responsible for more than 250 households to ensure quality of care.

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NAMIBIA: Orphan crisis a disaster greater than floods/drought

Namibia's orphan crisis is set to worsen as HIV/AIDS continues to rob youngsters of their parents and a normal childhood.

When the Zambezi burst its banks and devastated huge areas of Namibia's Caprivi region over the past few weeks it was a repetition on a miniature scale of the vivid human drama of the Mozambican floods four years ago.

But the people in the region face a crisis far greater than the recurring curse of drought followed by floods and another drought. The true disaster remains largely unseen - it has a young face, sometimes even a smiling face.

Orphans don't photograph as well as floods and are not as dramatic as babies being born in trees. They don't look any different from other children, but they are - children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS often go hungry; are forced to become child labourers or sex workers just to get by; lack money for school and health care; face trauma and depression; and are at high risk of abuse, exploitation and HIV infection.

More details


1. AED HIV/AIDS anti-stigma site

The Centre on AIDS and Community Health at the Academy for Educational Development (AED) in the US has launched a website to focus on HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination. This website is one component of an HIV/AIDS Anti-Stigma Initiative funded by the Ford Foundation.

The initiative is the first major programme to address HIV/AIDS stigma in the US and examines the impact at local level by working with five community-based organisations to create strategies to combat it.

2. Managing Desire: HIV Prevention Strategies for the 21st Century

The goal of this website is to demystify HIV/AIDS prevention knowledge and practice by offering everyone access to prevention resources and discussions in a non-clinical, non-didactic manner.

It openly addresses, rather than silences, the challenges of doing prevention work and staying safe.

3. Positively Women website

This is a British charity organisation that aims to empower women living with HIV/AIDS to make informed choices and to ensure that the voice of HIV-positive women is heard.

It is the only national, registered charity offering peer support to women living with HIV, by women living with HIV, and also provides advocacy, creche facilities and therapeutic services for children affected by HIV, with information and advice, as well as training and volunteering opportunities.


Recent AFRICA Reports
Morris calls for increased effort in AIDS fight, 18/Jun/04
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 186, 18 June 2004, 18/Jun/04
UN welcomes G8 endorsement of HIV vaccine initiative, 14/Jun/04
Church leaders to get more involved in fighting HIV/AIDS, 14/Jun/04
NGO in HIV/AIDS sensitisation efforts, 14/Jun/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 Networks
  • GTZ/Afronets

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