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ART on the frontline - October 2006

Providing HIV/AIDS treatment and care in countries at peace is hard enough; extending those services to people on the run from conflict or disaster seems, on the face of it, hopelessly complicated.

But even during the height of the fighting in war-wracked eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the medical relief group Médecins Sans Frontières was doing it in two clinics in Bukavu, capital of South Kivu Province, developing a model that has been replicated in other conflict areas.


South Africa - The world’s biggest ARV Programme? - September 2006

To be HIV positive and living in South Africa is to be part of a national lottery that puts your current chances of accessing antiretroviral (ARV) treatment at about 25 percent. If you cannot afford private healthcare, make that just under 20 percent. Aside from your income bracket, the next best indicator of whether you will get your hands on those vital drugs is the province and the district in which you live.

If you are lucky enough to be living in the Western Cape, the first province to defy national government and begin providing treatment, your odds improve considerably. Gauteng, the wealthiest province, is also not a bad bet.


Beyond ABC: The challenge of Prevention - November 2005

In theory, preventing HIV/AIDS seems simple enough: give people information on how the disease is spread, and the desire for self-preservation will, naturally, make them adopt safer sexual behaviour.

The reality has proved much more complex. Almost 30 years after it was first diagnosed, ignorance about HIV/AIDS still persists. Even more challenging is the realisation that some of those who are aware of the message are ignoring it, or are powerless to negotiate safer sex.


The Treatment Era: ART in Africa - December 2004

[Photo Credit: IRIN]

As a result of falling antiretroviral (ARV) prices, new sources of international funding and growing political commitment, providing treatment for Africa's HIV-positive citizens is, for the first time, an achievable goal.

In sub-Saharan 3.8 million people need treatment now, but as of June 2004, only 150,000 were on ARVs - less than four percent of that total. The remaining 96 percent - those parents, workers, lovers and children denied access to the life-prolonging drugs will, unless there is urgent intervention, inevitably join the other 30 million people worldwide that the pandemic has claimed.


Web Special on International Women's Day - Gender and HIV/AIDS

[Photo Credit: IRIN]

"Women empowerment key to global response to HIV/AIDS" - Annan

As we mark this year’s International Women’s Day, we look at the devastating toll the global HIV/AIDS epidemic is taking on women, and the critical role of women in fighting AIDS.

At the beginning, many people thought of AIDS as a disease striking mainly at men. Even a decade ago, statistics indicated that women were less affected. But a terrifying pattern has since emerged. All over the world, women are increasingly bearing the brunt of the epidemic. Today, in sub-Saharan Africa, more than half of all adults living with HIV/AIDS are women. Infection rates in young African women are far higher than in young men. In the world as a whole, at least half of those newly infected are women, and among people younger than 24, girls and young women now make up nearly two thirds of those living with HIV. If these rates of infection continue, women will soon become the majority of the global total of people infected.


Web Special on HIV/AIDS in Southern Sudan - October 2003
[Photo Credit: UNICEF]

With real progress in peace talks [Negotiators discuss contested areas] offering hope of an end to almost 20 years of conflict in Sudan, an emerging HIV/AIDS epidemic could prove to be even more devastating than the civil war.

"AIDS is [now] more dangerous than the Arabs," said Mary Biba, a senior official of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M), which has been battling the Arab-dominated government in the north for the right to self-determination for the people of the south.


Web Special on HIV in prisons - June 2003
[Photo Credit: IRIN]

The jail doors that slam behind a newly arrived inmate are likely to open again at some point in the future and release the ex-convict back into society. The problem of HIV/AIDS in prison, and the wider issue of penal reform, are therefore questions that should concern us all.

Prison conditions in most countries of the world are ideal for the transmission of HIV. "They are frequently overcrowded. They commonly operate in an atmosphere of violence and fear. Tensions abound, including sexual tensions. Release from these tensions, and from the boredom of prison life, is often found in the consumption of drugs or in sex," a UNAIDS "Best Practice" report noted.


Web Special on World AIDS Day - November 2002

AIDS threatens our very raison d'etre; our ability to live and our instinct to create life. Little wonder, therefore, that HIV and AIDS are so feared.

As the articles in this IRIN World AIDS Day web special illustrate, fear is at the heart of much of the stigma and discrimination that surrounds HIV and AIDS: fear of death, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, and, as Eric Nachibanga, an HIV-positive Zambian points out, "fear of helplessness".



For the first time there are signs that HIV incidence in Africa may have stabilised - albeit at still harrowing levels. After two decades of experience combating the disease, at least the key elements of an effective response are now clear. Armed with these measures, the hope is that the march of the HIV/AIDS epidemic can be halted, and reversed. But there is still an awfully long way to go.



BURUNDI: Outrage and concern over national ARV shortages
MOZAMBIQUE: Tropical cyclone Favio sparks concerns about ARVs
SWAZILAND: Community gardens flourish to feed the vulnerable
SOMALIA-KENYA: Making headway with the HIV message in refugee camps
SWAZILAND: Orphans get more than a helping hand


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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