IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 189, 9 July 2004
Saturday 21 August 2004
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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 189, 9 July 2004

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


SOUTH AFRICA: Sex workers to participate in HIV research project
AFRICA: Rise in global HIV/AIDS donations - UNAIDS
SOUTHERN AFRICA: Responding to the challenge of "feminisation" of AIDS
AFRICA: AIDS epidemic continues to outstrip response


1. Report summary of the first Zimbabwean National AIDS Conference
2. Mandela addresses the XV International AIDS Conference



SOUTH AFRICA: Sex workers to participate in HIV research project

AIDS activists in South Africa hope that the inclusion of sex workers in an HIV research project will draw attention to the need for outreach programmes targeting this often marginalised group.

About 600 female sex workers in and around Durban, the capital of eastern KwaZulu Natal (KZN) province, are expected to participate in the study which begins at the end of July.

The project is being conducted by the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), a component of the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KZN in Durban.

The Open Door Community HIV/AIDS Support Centre in Durban, one of the few NGOs in the province that offers HIV/AIDS education and support for sex workers, is assisting CAPRISA in the study.

More details

AFRICA: Rise in global HIV/AIDS donations - UNAIDS

International funding to tackle the global HIV/AIDS pandemic is increasing, according to a new study released by the UN on Thursday.

Titled Analysis of aid in support of HIV/AIDS control, 2000-2002, it presents the first comprehensive overview of aid allocations to AIDS activities by donor and recipient countries.

The report by UNAIDS and the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD's) Development Assistance Committee (DAC), examining aid efforts of major bilateral and multilateral donors, said that US $2.2 billion was allocated in 2002 to combat the pandemic in the developing world.

According to the figures, a 60 and 64 percent increase was recorded respectively in multilateral and bilateral aid over three years from 2000.

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SOUTHERN AFRICA: Responding to the challenge of "feminisation" of AIDS

The laws guaranteeing equality are in place, the anti-AIDS information is out there, the girls are going to school in ever greater numbers, and yet young women in Southern Africa are becoming infected with HIV at an alarming rate.

In South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, more than 75 percent of HIV-positive youth aged 15 to 24 are female. HIV prevalence rates among pregnant women average 25 percent in the region, but remain below 15 percent in East Africa and under 10 percent in West Africa.

This crisis has been examined in 'Facing the Future Together', a recently published report by the UN Secretary-General's Task Force on Women, Girls and HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa. The report, compiled by top feminists and women advocates in the region, explores the link between gender and HIV/AIDS, and suggests some practical responses.

In a departure from the orthodox "practice abstinence" approach, the report points out that the ABC strategy - abstain, be faithful and use a condom - does not fit the particular needs of women and girls. "The messages have been missing the mark," the report said. One reason is the "not only widespread, but widely accepted and endorsed" prevalence of rape and sexual violence.

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AFRICA: AIDS epidemic continues to outstrip response

New global estimates of the AIDS epidemic are slightly lower than previously thought, but HIV continues to spread and outpace the response, said the UNAIDS '2004 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic' launched on Tuesday.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the epicentre of the epidemic. It has 10 percent of the world's population but is home to 70 percent of all infected people - an estimated 25 million. Adult HIV prevalence appears to have stabilised, but this is due to the fact that new infections - more than two million every year - have been offset by a rise in AIDS-related deaths.

There was, however, a real decline in HIV prevalence among pregnant women in Kampala, Nairobi and Addis Ababa, the report said. But "the declines are not on a scale to claim control of the epidemic," noted Mark Stirling, director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Prevalence rates for Burundi, Kenya, Mali, Niger, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe have been revised downwards by UNAIDS, based on improved data collection methods that supplement the information gathered from pregnant women at antenatal clinics with national household surveys and better modelling methodology. "These are far more rigorous and detailed estimates than before," said Stirling.

More details


1. Report summary of the first Zimbabwean National AIDS Conference

Nearly 20 years after the first person in Zimbabwe tested HIV-positive, a coalition of organisations came together to host the first Zimbabwean National AIDS Conference. The conference took place in Harare, from 15-18 June, 2004.

2. Mandela addresses the XV International AIDS Conference

A video webcast of former South African president Nelson Mandela's address and other video coverage of the 15th International AIDS Conference.

Some 15,000 delegates are to be addressed on 15 July by former South African president Nelson Mandela at the International AIDS Conference in Bangkok.

During his address, Mandela will focus on what the delegates can do to help his "46664" campaign, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the International AIDS Society said in a joint statement earlier this week.

Named after his prison number during his nearly 20-year incarceration at the South African prison, Robben Island, 46664 is a phone and Internet campaign to raise awareness and funds to tackle HIV/AIDS in Africa.

The event will be introduced by Richard Feachem, executive director of Global AIDS Fund, supported by Peter Piot, UNAIDS executive director and will be freely available the next morning.


Recent AFRICA Reports
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 195, 20 August 2004, 20/Aug/04
HIV-positive women speak out, 17/Aug/04
Sexual Offences bill raises many concerns, 13/Aug/04
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 194, 13 August 2004, 13/Aug/04
Removal of generic drugs from WHO list a wake-up call, 6/Aug/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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