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Today’s News
Tuesday, 11 September 2012



Africa and Middle East







Date

Headline

Publication




10.09.12

KENYA: Study shows HIV stigma a barrier to health facility births

According to researcher, health messaging is key to correcting misconceptions about health facility delivery




IRIN PlusNews




10.09.12

Global Scientists Meet Over HIV Vaccine

AIDS Vaccine 2012 is the world's only and largest scientific meeting dedicated exclusively to HIV vaccine research




The New Times, Rwanda




10.09.12

Stronger SRH and HIV/AIDS links proves high in Malawi

“It has proved to be convenient, economic efficiency and promoting human rights,” disclosed a UNFPA National Programmes Coordinator




Newstime Africa




11.09.12

Government launches new plan to prevent mother-to-children HIV/Aids

The plan codenamed ‘Option B+” is expected to save the lives of millions of children




UGPulse, Uganda




05.09.12

South Africa: When Sex Is Work

Surveys in South Africa's major cities show an HIV prevalence rate of between 44 and 69 percent among sex workers




All Africa News



Asia and Pacific







Date

Headline

Publication




11.09.12

Combination Prevention: Can it turn the HIV tide?

Combination prevention has already shown to work, experts say




Asian Tribune




10.09.12

A deadly dating game

A boom in the popularity of gay dating Apps for smart phones has contributed to record high levels of HIV infection in Hong Kong




China Daily




10.09.12

Taskforce to help HIV-affected in Achham

The taskforce aims to help HIV infected people to receive the relief and facilities provided by the government at central and grassroots level




My Republica, Nepal



Europe



Date

Headline

Publication

10.09.12

Tuberculosis explosion in South Africa blamed on weak public health system

Urging TB patients to attend clinics for regular treatment is doing more harm than good, says leading health economist




The Guardian, UK

11.09.12

Why non-communicable diseases must be part of any new development goals

Progress on millennium development goals will be wiped out without targets and action on diseases like cancer and diabetes




The Guardian, UK

10.09.12

Vaccine trial reveals chinks in HIV's armour

Analysis identifies target for immune response that could improve AIDS vaccines




Nature

09.09.12

Une mission sur la lutte contre l'homophobie ordinaire

Une mission sur la lutte contre les discriminations liées à l'orientation sexuelle et à l'identité de genre a été lancée par la ministre des droits des femmes




Le Monde, France

10.09.12

Taubira annonce les "mêmes conditions" d'adoption pour homosexuels et hétérosexuels

"Le projet de loi va étendre aux personnes de même sexe les dispositions actuelles du mariage, de la filiation et de la parenté", déclare la ministre




Le Monde, France

10.09.12

Un estudio explica por qué fracasan las vacunas contra el VIH

Las propuestas probadas no consiguen mantener la respuesta inmune sin ser peligrosas




El País, Spain

Latin America and Caribbean







Date

Headline

Publication




04.09.12

Nueve departamentos presentan tasas de VIH por encima de la media

A nivel nacional la tasa de VIH es de 3,38 por 100 mil habitantes, según información del Centro Nacional de Epidemiología




Prensa Libre, Guatemala




03.09.12

Hondureñas se han convertido en esclavas sexuales en México

El 80 por ciento de las mujeres que trabajan en bares, cantinas y centros de tolerancia son de origen hondureño




El Heraldo, Honduras




06.09.12

Engullidos por la urbe. Indígenas en la Ciudad de México

Las y los indígenas también viven en las grandes ciudades y enfrentan riesgos de salud sexual como cualquier otra persona




La Jornada, Mexico




10.09.12

'Cruzada' tenta vetar exigência de teste de HIV em concursos

A exigência do teste de HIV em concursos públicos de corporações policiais vem sendo contestada em diversos Estados do país




Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil






North America




Date

Headline

Publication

10.09.12

Maryland man faces rarely used HIV transmission charges

In recent years, the federal government has modified its HI and AIDS policy, recommending against HIV criminalization




The Washington Post

10.09.12

Tuberculosis: Taking High Doses of Vitamin D Speeds Recovery, Scientists Report

Vitamin D seems to prevent lung damage by slowing down inflammatory responses to the TB bacterium




The New York Times

10.09.12

Burmese AIDS Patients Face Treatment Obstacles

In a country where homosexuality remains illegal, finding and treating gay patients is a challenge




Voice of America

10.09.12

AIDS still a crisis despite new advances

The end of the epidemic is not the end, those living with HIV and AIDS need our continued support




San Francisco Examiner

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Africa and Middle East

1

KENYA: Study shows HIV stigma a barrier to health facility births

IRIN PlusNews

10/09/2012


NAIROBI/KISUMU, 10 September 2012 (PlusNews) - When the time came for 24-year-old Jane Atieno to deliver her second child, she sought the services of a traditional birth attendant rather than the local clinic so she wouldn't have to be tested for HIV or agonize over how to tell her husband that health workers wanted him to attend her antenatal check-ups.
"At home, nobody will bother to test your HIV status, but when I go to the clinic, they tell me they want to test for [HIV]. And they want my husband to come with me, yet I can't convince him to do so," she told IRIN/PlusNews from her home in Kisumu, a city in western Kenya's Nyanza Province.
Atieno is too afraid of being stigmatized to get tested for HIV, and has never taken her child, now one year old, for testing. "When I go to the clinic, I just lie to them [that] I was tested where I gave birth," she said.
Stigma

According to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study recently published in the journal PLoS Medicine, HIV-related stigma could be keeping Kenyan mothers away from crucial skilled childbirth services. The study found that "health facility birth is commonly viewed as most appropriate for women with pregnancy complications, such as HIV".


"The belief that childbirth in a health facility is only necessary for women who have problems and complications and is not needed for a 'normal' birth seems to be very widespread in the region," Janet Turan, the study's lead researcher, told IRIN/PlusNews.
The study examined factors associated with anticipating and experiencing HIV-related stigma among pregnant women and their subsequent utilization of maternity services. It was conducted in Migori, a rural district in Nyanza Province where the HIV prevalence of 13.9 percent is more than twice the national average. Some 35 percent of respondents reported giving birth at a health facility; 78 percent of those who did not said they delivered with the help of a traditional birth attendant.
According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008-09, 92 percent of expectant mothers attend antenatal clinics, but only 44 percent receive delivery care from a skilled provider.
Health messaging

The authors said widespread public communications campaigns to boost the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) may be partly responsible for the perception that skilled childbirth services were more suitable for HIV-positive women.


"Community mobilization efforts aimed at increasing the use of PMTCT services...may have inadvertently strengthened the perception that women who give birth in such facilities are likely to be HIV-positive," the authors stated.
According to Turan, health messaging is key to correcting misconceptions about health facility delivery.
"Health messaging should emphasize that childbirth in a health facility with a skilled healthcare provider is important for all women," Turan said.
The study found that women with more negative attitudes about people living with HIV were less likely to deliver at a health facility than those with more positive attitudes towards HIV-positive people. Women who had higher levels of education, had discussions with their male partners on the place of birth and attended more than four antenatal visits were also more like to give birth at a health facility.
"Combining known HIV stigma-reduction strategies with maternal health and PMTCT interventions has the potential to reduce some of the most pressing health problems for women and children throughout sub-Saharan Africa," the authors concluded.
Health workers say the government must also address the other barriers to the utilization of skilled childbirth services. "Distance from a health facility, the cost of delivering there, and the perception health workers will abuse or force you to undergo certain surgical procedures are some of them," Nicholas Okeyo, a clinical officer at the Maseno health center, told IRIN/PlusNews.
2

Global Scientists Meet Over HIV Vaccine

The New Times, Rwanda

10/09/2012


Scientists worldwide gather in Boston this week to present more than 400 new research studies updating global progress in the search for a safe and effective HIV vaccine.

AIDS Vaccine 2012, the world's only and largest scientific meeting dedicated exclusively to HIV vaccine research, runs from September 9-12 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The annual AIDS vaccine meeting is hosted by the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, a unique collaboration of HIV vaccine research, funding, advocacy and stakeholder organizations.

Local hosts are the Harvard University Centre for AIDS Research and the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

"HIV vaccine research is in its most promising era since the epidemic began," said Bill Snow, Director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise.

"With sound and well-financed implementation, new HIV prevention strategies could produce important reductions in the 2.5 million HIV infections occurring each year.

At the same time, the development of a safe and effective AIDS vaccine remains central to efforts to bring us significantly closer to the end of this epidemic."

Array of hope

A landmark 2009 HIV vaccine study known as RV144 in Thailand demonstrated the first proof of concept that an AIDS vaccine can prevent infection.

AIDS Vaccine 2012 will follow up with new research exploring potential mechanisms on how and why that vaccine candidate may have worked, present new data on the workings of the human immune system that can help steer future vaccine design; and share updates on new neutralising antibodies that protect against a wide range of HIV strains, which are driving new technologies.

Under the theme New Minds, New Ideas, New Approaches, AIDS Vaccine 2012 will host, for the first time, sessions exploring synergies between the most promising areas of HIV biomedical prevention research including HIV cure, microbicides and treatment as prevention and HIV vaccine research.

The conference program also includes other, potentially more powerful emerging immunological approaches to enhance HIV vaccine delivery and development.

Boston is at the forefront of global technological innovation and is home to scientific collaborations that are accelerating HIV biomedical prevention research. AIDS Vaccine 2012 is the result of collaborations between the Ragon Institute and three independent Centers for AIDS Research (CFARs) in New England.

Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre and chair of AIDS Vaccine 2012Dan Barouch, says "recent progress has also inspired new ideas and new approaches to the design and testing of next generation HIV vaccine candidates.

We are pleased to welcome researchers from around the world to AIDS Vaccine 2012 to share their recent discoveries and to engage in these important discussions."

The AIDS Vaccine 2012 will also showcase the work of young and early-career investigators, the generation of researchers who are emerging to carry HIV vaccine research and development forward faster.

More than 45 percent of the conference program includes presentations on the latest cutting-edge research by early-career investigators.

"Past approaches to vaccine design and testing have not yet yielded a safe and effective vaccine that the world so urgently needs.

New ideas and novel perspectives are therefore eminently needed to achieve an HIV vaccine as soon as possible," said Galit Alter, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and chair of AIDS Vaccine 2012.

"At AIDS Vaccine 2012, we will hear how scientists, many who are new to the field, are using novel technologies and out-of-the-box approaches to take HIV vaccine research to the next phase of discovery to help end this epidemic", says Galit Alter.


3

Stronger SRH and HIV/AIDS links proves high in Malawi

Newstime Africa

10/09/2012


By Peter Chipanga
Stronger linkages between Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and AIDS programmes have proved to have multi benefits to both the clients and the health sector in Malawi, health experts and the project beneficiaries have confirmed. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UNAIDS, the joint United Nations Programmes on HIV/AIDS along with the European Union (EU) are strongly advocating for closer linkages between HIV/AIDS interventions and SRH care having observed that the initiative is making sense in terms of public health benefits. “It has proved to be convenient, economic efficiency and promoting human rights,” disclosed a UNFPA National Programmes Coordinator for SRH and HIV/AIDS Thandiwe Mijoya. And an official in the ministry of health reproductive health unit, Hanz Katengeza, disclosed that in Malawi the project is under pilot in some 15 health centers in Mangochi (southern region), Dedza (central region) and Nkhatabay (northern region). Said Katengeza: “We are very impressed with what is happening. It has proved to be a success and the lessons learnt from the pilot project will eventually be used to replicate to medical facilities across the country.”

According to the health experts, some of the benefits of the integration are improved access to and uptake of key services, better access of people living with HIV to services tailored to their needs, reduced Aids-related stigma and discrimination. “There is also improved coverage of undeserved and marginalized populations, greater support for dual protection against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, improved quality care and enhanced programme effectiveness and efficiency,”added Katengeza. In Mangochi at Mkumba health centre, where the project rolled out, a Nurse/Midwife Technician (NMT) Thokozani Chaona disclosed that there is an increase in the uptake of HIV services. “Before we adopted the project we could close all other services at the clinic for one day in a week to carry out antiretroviral (ARV) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) services. “There was no guarantee and this was not working well because many clients would find it stigmatizing because the whole community knew which people were coming for to the clinic to seek HIV services. Un fortunately they would shun the clinic even if they were very sick,” lamented the NMT.

Now that the health centre conducts ARV and ART services routinely together with SRH services, a community leader in the district explained that Mkumba is becoming popular, renowned and distinguished for its good and effective practices in linking HIV/AIDS services with sexual and reproductive health rights services, further narrating that the initiative has also brought much bond in families. “The linkages project is good. It is friendly and has proved to be effective. We have even seen men accompanying their partners when they are coming for ante-natal care,” he said. A senior surveillance assistant at the centre, Francis Kalunga revealed that previously people could be seen loitering around the health centre as they could not gather courage to come and seek HIV services. “They were avoiding finger pointing which usually happens to people living with HIV in the communities, but now nobody is exposed to that kind of situation because the provision of services is well integrated,” said Kalunga. The medical staff indicated that at the clinic post-natal care and youth friendly services for reproductive health are also promoted by integrating in the other services provided at the health centre. It has been observed that linking HIV and AIDS interventions with the general reproductive health services also strengthen both types of services as they face the same health system challenges.

Some of the notable challenges are shortages of trained staff, essential supplies and equipment, adequate facilities, and management skills. “Both face similar obstacles in dealing with sensitive taboo subjects. They both require similar supplies and the same types of health provider skills,” observed an official at the ministry. In Malawi it is reported that 26 percent of women have an unmet need for effective contraception, and consequently a high proportion of unintended pregnancies. Many of these women, reports the ministry, do not know their HIV status, have limited access to information and services, and thus risk passing the virus to their children. “Under these circumstances, access to even a minimal integrated package of care-including family planning, management of sexually transmitted infections, Hi prevention and maternal health- can enable the women to protect themselves from both unintended pregnancies and HIV and also prevent HIV transmission to their children,” narrated Mijoya of UNFPA. Initiated two years ago by the ministry of health, the project is financed by the EU with technical support from UNFPA and UNAIDS.


5

Government launches new plan to prevent mother-to-children HIV/Aids

UGPulse, Uganda

11/09/2012


Government is set to launch a new plan to prevent the transmission of HIV virus from mother to child.

The plan codenamed ‘Option B+” will be launched today in Kampala by the minister of health Christine Ondoa. The plan is expected to save the lives of millions of children.

Under the new ‘Option B+’ plan, pregnant women living with HIV, the virus which causes Aids, will receive treatment early enough to prolong their lives and help them prevent transmitting the virus to babies.

According to statistics from the ministry of health, at least 25,000 babies get infected with HIV from their mothers every year. It is estimated that the new plan will save at least 23,000 babies from getting infected.

The Option B+ will involve mothers being given treatment at 14 weeks of pregnancy to six weeks after the baby has been delivered.

Immediately after the baby is born, they will be given the syrup, which is also under the Mother/baby package for another six weeks, after which treatment for the baby will stop but the mother will continue with normal antiretroviral treatment.

The plan however, will not cover the whole country. It will be piloted in Kampala and other sounding areas before it is rolled to other areas.
6

South Africa: When Sex Is Work

All Africa News

05/09/2012


By Sue Valentine,
Johannesburg, South Africa — Linda is a small, soft-spoken woman. She takes out her passport and in a matter-of-fact voice explains, "This thing reminds me of my journey, from the time my husband died."

Linda, who asked that her last name not be used, is a provincial media co-ordinator of Sisonke, the South African sex worker movement. She was one of a long list of speakers at South Africa's first ever, national symposium on sex work held in Johannesburg recently, which brought together officials from the South African National Aids Council, the Department of Health, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and non-government organizations, including the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) and Sisonke.

As Linda told her story, conference delegates sat in rapt silence. Occasional murmurs of empathy rippled through the room as she explained that although she had hoped to finish school and go to university, her family circumstances had prevented it.

"My father was a peasant farmer, he had two wives and we were 15 children," she said of growing up in Zimbabwe. "He did not have enough money to send all of us to school. My mother was the second wife, and so my brothers from the first wife were the ones to go to school. I could only go up to Grade 9."


At the age of 19, Linda married. Her husband was a medic in the Zimbabwean army. Six years after their marriage he was sent on a peacekeeping mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo where he sustained severe head injuries in a plane crash, leading to his death.

"I was only 25," said Linda. "I had two sons. We had a fully equipped seven-room house in the city, but my husband's family wanted this for themselves. They said I should marry my husband's brother, because this was according to their culture and tradition."

Linda was adamant that she was not married "to the whole family". The only solution she saw was to leave Zimbabwe for South Africa where she could earn a living and avoid the pressure from her in-laws.

But first, she had to get a passport. "When my husband was still alive he used to say, 'I don't want you to work for the family. I will work for you and the kids. And I don't want you to have a travel document, you'll be here with the family and I will always come back to you.'

"I had to go against his wishes to get this document," said Linda. "So every time I look at it, I feel like I have broken his wish, as if I was betraying him, but there was nothing I could do because I wanted to support the family."

The following year, Linda applied for a passport. "At that time, things were very difficult in our country. You needed a lot of money to get a travel document - and it took two years. I applied for it in 2006 and I got it in 2008."

"When I came to South Africa, I was dropped in Musina," said Linda. "I didn't know anyone. I was wondering how I would find someone who wants a domestic worker. I was sitting with my bag next to me, then this truck driver approached me."

In a country where more than five million people are living with HIV, and sex workers account for one in five new HIV infections, public health workers say it is imperative that South Africans engage in a frank and honest conversation about sex work. Surveys in South Africa's major cities show an HIV prevalence rate of between 44 and 69 percent among sex workers, whereas in the general population the prevalence is around 17 percent.

However, because South Africa criminalises sex work, bringing with it a general stigma, there is little incentive for sex workers to seek out health services at government clinics where they are treated with disdain or worse.

The World Health Organisation identifies three key risks for those involved in sex work:

Forced sex increases the risk of transmission of HIV due to physical trauma.

The threat of violence limits the ability of people to negotiate safer sex.

Disclosure of HIV test results or the disclosure of a person's HIV status may also entail an increased risk of violence.
Sex workers generally are well-educated when it comes to safer sex and HIV prevention, but their outlaw status puts them in a weak position if they have to argue with clients to persuade them to use condoms. Furthermore, police frequently harass outdoor sex workers - and if women are found to be carrying condoms, the police use this as evidence that they are sex workers.

Under current South African law both sex workers and their clients are guilty of an offence. However, a report by the South African Women's Legal Centre published in August 2012 that documents the experiences of more than 300 sex workers found that 70 percent experienced some form of abuse at the hands of the police.

This was acknowledged by the deputy minister of police, Makhotso "Maggie" Sotyu, who, in her address to the National Sex Work Symposium said she was moved by the many complaints of police abuse that she had received in a recent meeting with sex workers….continued

See full text: http://allafrica.com/stories/201209051342.html


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