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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 247, 19 August 2005


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


NEWS:

GHANA: AIDS treatment on rise, but stigma still around
SENEGAL: Even when companies commit to HIV care, getting message across can be difficult
SOUTH AFRICA: Erratic infant formula supply puts PMTCT at risk
SOUTH AFRICA: Camp Sizani: opening the door to life skills
SOUTH AFRICA: Poverty and gender inequality negating anti-HIV/AIDS efforts

CONFERENCES/ EVENTS/ RESEARCH/ RESOURCES:

JOB OPPORTUNITIES:



GHANA: AIDS treatment on rise, but stigma still around

With anti-AIDS drugs becoming widely available in Ghana, thousands of HIV-positive people are living longer, healthier lives but health workers say they continue to hide their status, frightened of rejection by friends, family and colleagues.

The government began heavily subsidising antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS after receiving a US $15 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 2004. This year another US $6 million from the national purse was added.

Some 2,600 Ghanaians are now receiving the life-prolonging medication. "Treatment is so readily available, unlike what pertained a few years ago - people who were on the verge of death are now looking healthy and going about their everyday duties," Eric Pwadura, an official at Ghana's AIDS Commission, told PlusNews.

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SENEGAL: Even when companies commit to HIV care, getting message across can be difficult

The Senegalese Sugar Company (CSS) provides free condoms for its 7,000 workers but there are few takers, with many male employees seeing accepting condoms as an admission of promiscuity or having a sexually transmitted infection.

"The workers can't bring themselves to take the condoms that are at their disposal in the company pharmacy," explained Boubacar Gassama, the head doctor for CSS, the biggest industrial company in the West African country.

"When asked about it, most of them tell me that they are married. They think I'm implying that they are leading the lives of naughty boys," he told PlusNews in Richard Toll, the small town where the company is based that lies more than 500 km from the capital, Dakar.

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SOUTH AFRICA: Erratic infant formula supply puts PMTCT at risk

International food and beverage company Nestlé is to provide a full report to the South African government on how it is addressing the erratic supply of infant formula to public health facilities.

The health department met with representatives of Nestlé in the capital, Pretoria, this week to discuss shortages of the infant formula, Nan Pelargon, provided by the state to the babies of HIV-positive mothers.

The company holds a government tender for providing infant formula to 2,525 sites countrywide for the national prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programme.

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SOUTH AFRICA: Camp Sizani: opening the door to life skills

Under a clear blue sky, a snake of young boys holding each other by the waist winds its way around an empty swimming pool, dancing and stamping their feet in unison to the drums.

The boys, ranging in age from about nine to 12, are at Camp Sizani in the Magalies Mountains, about 120 km from South Africa's capital, Pretoria.

They are vulnerable children from Soweto near Johannesburg, the country's largest township, whose parents have died of AIDS-related illnesses, or are sick, unemployed, dysfunctional or just too poor to care for them properly.

At Camp Sizani, based on the United States "summer camp" model and run by HIVSA, the psychosocial support group of the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, the children go on a 10-day crash course on how to survive in a world that has thus far brought them mostly pain and disappointment.

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SOUTH AFRICA: Poverty and gender inequality negating anti-HIV/AIDS efforts

Poverty and gender inequality are hampering South Africa's response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, researchers have found.

World-renowned paediatrician Hoosen Coovadia, Professor of HIV/AIDS Research at the Nelson Mandela Medical School of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), said high unemployment rates, poverty and lack of access to basic services, such as electricity, running water and housing, had thrown South Africa into a "huge crisis", causing "serious unhappiness" among its population.

Speaking in KwaZulu-Natal at a recent HIV/AIDS forum organised by the HIV/AIDS networking organisation, HIVAN, and the World Council of Religion and Peace (WCRP), Coovadia warned: "As long as we cannot control poverty, we [won't be able to] control the HIV/AIDS pandemic."

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[ENDS]




 
Recent SOUTH AFRICA Reports
Global Fund withdraws support for loveLife ,  19/Dec/05
National survey finds young women most at risk of HIV/AIDS,  1/Dec/05
AIDS activists take government to court again,  29/Nov/05
Poor governance blamed for US $10 million unspent in HIV/AIDS budget,  1/Nov/05
NAPWA partners with controversial Rath Foundation,  20/Oct/05
Links
Le portail d'informations générales de la Côte d’Ivoire
Sida Info Services
Le Fonds mondial de lutte contre le SIDA, la tuberculose et le paludisme
Le Réseau Afrique 2000

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