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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 268, 27 January 2006


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


NEWS:

AFRICA: Uninterrupted ART vital to longevity - new study
SOUTH AFRICA: Concern as MSF starts handover of HIV/AIDS treatment
ZIMBABWE: More children abused as situation worsens
NAMIBIA: Poor access to treatment hampers fight against TB
ZAMBIA: Promising new combination therapy reduces MTCT
SWAZILAND: Campaign to inform women of their legal rights underway

EVENTS:

JOBS:



AFRICA: Uninterrupted ART vital to longevity - new study

Staying on antiretroviral therapy (ART) to keep viral loads low is better than taking structured breaks from the drugs, a study by the US's National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has revealed.

Treatment interruptions became a topic of much debate amongst HIV researchers after a handful of people who had previously taken anti-AIDS treatment maintained very low levels of viral load, even when they stopped their treatment.

Although antiretroviral medication improves the chances of living longer, the side effects and costs of the complex life-long regimes and the threat of drug resistance with long-term use has made doctors and patients look for alternative ways of using them, especially in developing countries.

More details



SOUTH AFRICA: Concern as MSF starts handover of HIV/AIDS treatment

After five years of groundbreaking work in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, medical humanitarian agency Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) are preparing to pull out of their most successful South African programme.

They began offering antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the poverty stricken Cape Town township of Khayelitsha in 2001, when the provision of anti-AIDS drugs in the public sector was still illegal. The South African government deemed the rollout too complex and expensive to implement.

"Doctors within MSF were frustrated by the positive impact antiretroviral therapy (ART) was having elsewhere, while thousands continued to die prematurely in South Africa," explained Dr Eric Goemaere, head of mission for MSF South Africa.

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ZIMBABWE: More children abused as situation worsens

The worsening humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is making children more vulnerable to abuse, according to child rights NGOs.

"For instance, because of the hike in school fees many children are visiting schools [trying to negotiate payment] - it makes them more vulnerable at the hands of teachers who exploit them," said Witness Chikoko, acting director of the African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect.

Staff at a boarding primary school near Marondera outside the capital, Harare, were recently charged with abusing 52 girls, while 14 primary school girls were also allegedly abused by staff members at a school in the capital.

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NAMIBIA: Poor access to treatment hampers fight against TB

Despite its status as a middle-income country, Namibia has a high incidence of tuberculosis (TB), a poverty-related disease.

Poor geographical access to health services has hampered the treatment rate of TB, the country's second biggest killer, said Alfons Babie, an official at the recently created directorate for special diseases in the health ministry. Instead of the international target of 85 percent stipulated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the TB treatment rate in Namibia is only 64 percent.

More details



ZAMBIA: Promising new combination therapy reduces MTCT

Zambia's government has begun using a new drug in its prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programme, in an effort to reduce drug resistance in both mother and infant.

Dr Miriam Chipimo, reproductive health specialist at the Central Board of Health (CBoH), told PlusNews that Nevirapine was now being used in combination with the anti-AIDS drug, Zidovudine, also known as AZT.

Although a single dose of Nevirapine reduces the rate of HIV transmission, scientists have found that a combination of antiretrovirals (ARVs) can result in lower rates of Nevirapine resistance.

More details



SWAZILAND: Campaign to inform women of their legal rights underway

The Swaziland branch of Women in Law in Southern Africa has launched an awareness campaign to teach HIV-positive women about their legal rights.

"There are three issues: acquainting HIV-positive women with their protection under existing laws, finding legal representation for women when they have a case to make and, finally, changing antiquated laws that need to be reformed to take into consideration gender rights and AIDS," president of the women's law society, Lomcebo Dlamini, told PlusNews in an interview.

In a country that only elevated the legal status of women from minors to adults at the beginning of 2006, where the estimated HIV prevalence is 40 percent and widespread stigma and discrimination are ongoing problems, few have turned to the legal system for relief.

More details

[ENDS]




 
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
Links
· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
· International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
· AEGIS
· International HIV/AIDS Alliance


PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.


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