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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 261, 25 November 2005

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


AFRICA: HIV prevention working in some countries but big picture bleak
SWAZILAND: Relief for the elderly as pensions go up
SWAZILAND: Hospitals run out of ARVs


AFRICA: HIV prevention working in some countries but big picture bleak

Despite new evidence suggesting that prevention efforts are having a positive effect in a small but growing group of countries, the big picture remains bleak, a joint UNAIDS and World Health Organisation report revealed on Monday.

The 'AIDS Epidemic Update 2005' showed that worldwide the number of people living with HIV rose to an estimated 40.3 million during the year, an extra five million new infections had occurred, and more than 500,000 children were among the estimated three million who died from AIDS related illnesses.

These startling figures are forcing senior UN officials to reiterate the need for greater prevention efforts to slow the pandemic.

"It is true that some prevention campaigns are hitting the point and others are missing it altogether. These campaigns should be more intensive in addressing the various information needs of people, while also being sustained over longer periods of time," Mark Stirling, director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa, told PlusNews.

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SWAZILAND: Relief for the elderly as pensions go up

Gogo ("Granny") Mkwanaze, 72, knows what she is going to do with the extra money she will be getting when government revamps its pension system for the elderly.

"My grandchildren need shoes and new school uniforms - the schools open in just two months. I am raising those children all by myself, you know," she smiles.

Her generosity toward her seven-year-old grandson Sipho and her 11-year-old granddaughter Imbali may be admirable and even necessary, given the absence of the children's parents, but the government's decision to raise by 60 percent the amount of money given to each Swazi over the age of 60 was based on the growing needs of the elderly.

Their welfare has deteriorated with the dwindling number of traditional multi-generational Swazi homesteads, which used to provide for all family members, and a declining economy.

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SWAZILAND: Hospitals run out of ARVs

Swaziland is facing a serious breakdown in the supply of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for patients with HIV, and some hospitals acknowledge that stocks ran out weeks ago.

Sporadic ARV shortages have been reported at the main government hospital in the capital, Mbabane, and at the provincial government hospital in Siteki in eastern Swaziland.

The Hlatikhulu Government Hospital in the southern Shiselweni District has reportedly not had ARV drugs since October - for three weeks, HIV patients arriving to refill their prescriptions have left empty-handed.

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Recent AFRICA Reports
Govt adopts more focused approach to help orphans,  21/Feb/06
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 271, 17 February 2006,  17/Feb/06
Armed forces to tackle impact of HIV/AIDS,  13/Feb/06
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 270, 10 February 2006,  10/Feb/06
Year in Review 2005 - Uneven progress in treatment provision,  3/Feb/06
· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
· International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
· International HIV/AIDS Alliance

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