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AFRICA: IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 63, 25 January 2002


NIGERIA: The customer is king
ETHIOPIA: FOCUS on AIDS and the elderly
ETHIOPIA: Church leader warns against spread of AIDS
SOUTH AFRICA:Defiant province to give AIDS drugs to mothers
SOUTH AFRICA:Sex workers still don't use condoms - study
AFRICA: Cheaper HIV/AIDS monitoring tools needed


1. Women at Barcelona website

2. New on-line support group for HIV+ clergy

3. CORE Initiative Resource Centre

4. AIDSMark



NIGERIA: The customer is King

Despite high levels of awareness about HIV/AIDS and condoms among Nigerian sex workers, their knowledge of transmission and risk factors surrounding the disease was low, a new study has found.

Researchers from the Society for Family Health (SFH) discovered that only one in five of the 2,634 women working in brothels that were interviewed was aware of asymptomatic transmission. Consequently, many of them assessed risk by looking at the physical features of the client.

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ETHIOPIA: FOCUS on AIDS and the elderly

They are the forgotten victims of the HIV/AIDS virus that is devastating Africa. Amid the terrible social and economic destruction, all too often it is the elderly who are left to pick up the pieces.

Mullnesh Alemu is 69 and looks after four orphaned grandchildren. A year ago the virus killed her unmarried daughter. "It is so hard to survive," she told IRIN. "If it was just me I could live on begging and bread but I have to feed the children."

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ETHIOPIA: Church leader warns against spread of AIDS

The head of the Ethiopian Orthodox church has warned about the spread of AIDS in a sermon marking the country's holiest day. Patriarch Abune Paulos, in an address to celebrate Ethiopian Epiphany, urged the community to provide support and show compassion to those living with the virus.

Ethiopia has the third highest number of people in the world living with HIV. The disease has orphaned a million children. He said that all Christians should support efforts being taken to prevent further spread of the virus.

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SOUTH AFRICA: Defiant province to give AIDS drugs to mothers

HIV positive pregnant women in KwaZulu Natal state hospitals will soon receive the antiretroviral drug Nevirapine, the provincial government announced on Monday.

KwaZulu Natal is now the second province to defy government policy by making the drug available. The Western Cape led the way in 2000 and has launched a rollout campaign that will eventually reach all clinics and hospitals in the province.

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The national government reacted with surprise at KwaZulu Natal Premier Lionel Mtshali's announcement earlier this week. "He has taken me by surprise, but I am not upset. I am just hoping that as time goes by he will understand," Health Minister Manto Tshabala-Msimang was quoted as saying.

Adequate back-up systems were not yet in place to administer Nevirapine said Zweli Mkhize, health minister of the province, in a statement on Wednesday.

KwaZulu Natal has secured Nevirapine free of charge from pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim for a period of five years. The Red Cross has offered assistance in distributing the drug while NGOs from a number of countries have offered counselling to mothers.

Nevirapine could be supplied to all hospitals in the province within 72 hours if need be, the South African Press Association quoted Mkhize as saying. But, the provision of counselling and other staff and infrastructure needed to run the trial programmes was also problematic and needed to be addressed, he added.

"I reiterate for the whole to understand clearly, that I stand resolutely by the announcement I made on Monday that we as the government of KwaZulu-Natal will supply Nevirapine to the HIV-positive pregnant mothers of this province," Mtshali said in a statement on Wednesday.

SOUTH AFRICA: Sex workers still don't use condoms - study

Health education programmes and free condom distribution have not stopped South African commercial sex workers from having unprotected sex, a study has found.

A study conducted by the London School of Economics found that 69 percent of local commercial sex workers (CSWs) in the South African gold mining community of Carletonville are HIV positive. The study investigated whether sex workers' working and living conditions undermined their ability to insist on condom use.

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AFRICA: Cheaper HIV/AIDS monitoring tools needed

Poorer countries need faster and cheaper HIV/AIDS monitoring techniques, as most tests used for managing the virus are out of their reach, according to a new report.

African physicians attending a recent meeting on "Monitoring and Diagnostic Tools for the Management of Antiretroviral Therapy in Resource-Poor Settings", called for a "no-tech" minimum standard for diagnostic and treatment evaluation that lays out basic criteria for clinical testing

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1. A working group calling itself
"Women at Barcelona"
,made up of scientists, activists, service providers, women living with HIV, has been formed to work on a Women's Satellite Meeting and other women's events at the International AIDS Conference at Barcelona in July of 2002.
Women at Barcelona:

2.PozClergy is an email support list for HIV+ clergy or those who have been diagnosed with AIDS. This is a moderated list for HIV+ clergy of all denominations. The purpose of this email list is to provide emotional and spiritual support for each other in a safe place and to share the latest scientific information.

To subscribe to the list, send an email to with the following written in the FIRST LINE of the message body:
subscribe pozclergy

3.CORE Initiative Resource Centre is a comprehensive information resource for community and faith-based organisations (C/FBOs) working to address HIV/AIDS throughout the world.

4.AIDSMark - a global project that uses social marketing to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. AIDSMark is designed to be flexible and to respond quickly and on an individualised basis to reach people with the products, services, and information they need to protect themselves from AIDS.

Theme (s): Other,

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

Other OCHA Sites
United Nations - OCHA
DFID - UK Department for International Development
Irish Aid
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation - SDC