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AFRICA: IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 325, 09 March 2007

JOHANNESBURG, 9 March 2007 (PlusNews) - NEWS

AFRICA: Report bashes one-sided AIDS policies
INDIA: Generic medicines walk the plank
LESOTHO: State-of-the-art treatment centre but children still die
AFRICA: Women's rights groups push for more AIDS funding
BURUNDI: Outrage and concern over national ARV shortages


1. Young children and HIV: Strengthening family and community support


1. ICASA 2008 - change in venue
2. Nigeria HIV/AIDS Summit


1. Global HIV and AIDS Programme Advisor - Pretoria


AFRICA: Report bashes one-sided AIDS policies

People with same-sex preferences are still a largely ignored and underserved community in the design and execution of HIV-prevention programmes throughout much of Africa, gay rights activists charged recently.

In its report, 'Off the Map: How HIV/AIDS programming is Failing Same-Sex Practicing People in Africa', the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), reveals for the first time to what extent African governments and funding communities have been denying basic human rights to this community as a result of "one-sided" global AIDS policies.

"Take the US government's anti-AIDS strategies in Africa for example," Musa Ngubane of Behind the Mask, a gay rights group in South Africa, told PlusNews. "It fails to address the impact of AIDS on homosexual people, especially those living under discriminatory rule in countries like Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Kenya."

More details:

INDIA: Generic medicines walk the plank

A controversial legal challenge by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis to India's patent laws was postponed on Monday, but still casts a shadow over the future of the country's generic drugs industry. A verdict is expected in about a month.

Some of the company's drugs are manufactured and sold as generics in India, and it is hoping for greater protection of its patents. But setting such a legal precedent could simply make life-saving drugs unaffordable to the millions of patients who depend on the cheaper copies.

Novartis wants patent protection for its leukaemia drug, Gleevec. Indian authorities rejected the request in January 2006, on the grounds that Gleevec was not a new drug, but simply a new formulation of an old product.

More details:

LESOTHO: State-of-the-art treatment centre but children still die

Fidgeting in a small, plastic chair outside her grandmother's house in Ha Makhoathi, a village near Maseru capital of Lesotho, Limpho Matthews, 7, looks like an ordinary, healthy child. In fact, the first six years of her life consisted of a miserable series of colds, asthma and other illnesses. By the time her mother died in 2005, she was too weak to walk and had to be carried on her grandmother's back.

"Doctors were saying, 'it's just a common cold'," said her grandmother, Manthabiseng Matthews. "I was running up and down, trying to get help."

Help finally arrived when a Lesotho Red Cross care facilitator gave Matthews transport money to take her granddaughter to the newly opened Baylor Children's Centre of Excellence in Maseru.

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AFRICA: Women's rights groups push for more AIDS funding

On International Women's Day, local and international women's and human rights groups urged donors to devote more funding to HIV/AIDS programmes aimed at reducing women's vulnerability to infection.

A report released on Tuesday by 'Women Won't Wait', a new international coalition of women's groups, cited the sexual violence and coercion women experience at the hands of their male partners as a leading factor in the increasing "feminisation" of the AIDS pandemic.

But the report, 'Show Us the Money: Is Violence Against Women on the HIV and AIDS Funding Agenda?', noted that while funding for HIV/AIDS programmes has increased dramatically in recent years, the main donor agencies have failed to address the link between violence against women and HIV infection.

More details:

BURUNDI: Outrage and concern over national ARV shortages

AIDS activists in Burundi are up in arms over a nationwide shortage of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, and are demanding immediate action from the government.

Health workers said delays in the government's procurement process had caused the shortages.

"With funds available, it's unbelievable that we can run short of drugs for these simple administrative procedures," said Jeanne Gapiya Niyonzima, a leading AIDS advocate and president of the National Association to Support HIV-positive People (ANSS).

More details:


1. Young children and HIV: Strengthening family and community support

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance, a global partnership of nationally-based organisations working to support community action on AIDS, has released the 'Young children and HIV' toolkit.

It aims to help local organisations and service providers to strengthen family and community support for HIV infected and affected children under eight years of age by providing practical guidance on how to meet their developmental, care and treatment needs.

Download the complete kit at:


1. ICASA 2008 - change in venue

The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) has announced a change in the venue and date of the 15th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA), which was originally scheduled to take place in Libreville, Gabon from 8 to 11 December 2007.

Wwing to logistical problems that could not be overcome by December of this year, the next ICASA is now scheduled to be held in Dakar, Senegal from 8 to 11 December 2008.

For more information, please visit the SAA website at

2. Nigeria HIV/AIDS Summit

Scheduled for 1 to 5 April 2007, at the International Conference Centre, in Abuja, the purpose of this summit is to review and assess the impact of the national HIV/AIDS response and build consensus on effective programming in Nigeria.

The local organising committee of the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Summit is also calling for abstracts.

For more information on the objectives, outcomes and abstract guidelines for the summit please check the website:
or e-mail: [email protected] / [email protected]
or call: 09-4613723 / 09-6710055 / 09-6700547


1. Global HIV and AIDS Programme Advisor - Pretoria

International relief organisation, Oxfam, seeks a suitably trained individual to take up the role of Global HIV and AIDS Programme Advisor in South Africa's capital city, Pretoria.

Duties include working from Oxfam's Global Centre of Learning on HIV/AIDS and helping programme managers develop and deliver strategic and high quality anti-AIDS programmes.

The successful candidate will also help ensure that individual country and regional strategies directly address the local situation and are aligned to the overall Oxfam approach.


- Proven programme management and strategic planning experience and programme monitoring abilities;
- Excellent analytical and critical thinking, capacity building and financial management skills;
- Ability to design creative programme plans and activities that offer practical solutions;
- An advanced understanding of HIV and AIDS within a broader global perspective;
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English and preferrably French, Portuguese or Spanish.

To find out more and to apply online visit quoting ref: INT2109.

Application deadline: 12 March, 2007

Theme(s): (IRIN) Gender Issues


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