Posts tagged: HIV/AIDS

Pregnant Women Reluctant to Be Tested For HIV/AIDS

Knowing beforehand whether or not a pregnant women is infected with HIV/AIDS is a key factor in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of the disease. Nothing can be sadder than watching children slowly and painfully wither away. It becomes heartbreakingly painful when taking into consideration the fact that with the help of HIV/AIDS testing, this needn’t be the case. However, an alarming number of pregnant women in Africa have been found to be reluctant to take an HIV/AIDS test1.

It has been known for quite some time now that pregnant women that are tested for HIV can be treated with a regimen that prevents mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). The latest guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that should a pregnant mother be diagnosed with HIV, she should start her PMTCT regimen as early as 14 weeks into her pregnancy and follow it strictly until the birth of her child. If these guidelines are strictly adhered to the chances of a baby being born infected are very low.

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Human Trafficking and HIV/AIDS – Double Jeopardy

Human trafficking is defined as the illegal transportation of people from one country to another. The victims are, more often than not, young girls or women who have either been forcefully coerced or deceived by promises of a better life and/or income. While human trafficking is a global phenomenon, it is more widespread in the developing countries of Africa and Asia.

As if being the victim of human trafficking is not enough hell for the victims, they are finding themselves pushed into its furthest corner by simultaneously being exposed to the scourge of HIV/AIDS. This is because the harsh reality that awaits the women once they reach their destinations (or are abandoned midway there) is one that is filled with the savagery of sexual harassment, rape and being forced into either working long hours for little to no pay, or worse: slaving away in the commercial sex industry.

Many of the trafficked women end up in refugee camps. What should be a place of sanctuary usually opens the door to another level of misery. If they are not raped by men in or outside the camp, they fall victim to the same authorities that are supposed to protect them. While it is quite obvious that the exposure to HIV/AIDS is very high once they have reached their, albeit unintended destinations, it is not limited to just that one ordeal. Read more »

Our Kids Are Our Future – Let’s Give Them A Fighting Chance

In this world of wars and economic crisis it is easy to think that we have it really bad. We might think that our woes are the worst; and we might even think that just because we’ve lost our jobs the world is coming crashing down on us. Those of us with offspring to nourish and nurture will think that we are failed parents and go on to paint a gloomy future for our children.

Yes, that is not a good thing for our children to have to live through. And yes, no parent would want to live a life where his or her child had to suffer for lack of a square meal, a roof overhead or an education to get ahead in life. A parent faced with these obstacles in life, caused by matters he or she cannot control, would find it hard to excuse him- or herself. And yet, there is one big obstacle that is put in children’s lives before they are even born, giving them an unfair start to life: they are continuing to be infected with HIV/AIDS, usually transmitted from their mothers.

The deadliest weapon HIV/AIDS has  Read more »

Study Reveals HIV-Positive Women Uneasy in the Consulting Room

When people go to see a doctor it is usually to seek help and advice. To find that help, patients overcome some of their fears and pour out their hearts. They never give it a second thought knowing that what is said in the doctors’ office should stay there under the doctor-patient confidentiality. These are based on the fact that doctors should maintain a professional and highly ethical rapport with their patients, uphold their dignity and respect their privacy.

Yet sadly, when it comes to women living with HIV, things aren’t so peachy. Results from a study indicate that many of them do not discuss issues pertaining to their HIV status and important issues like HIV management before or after pregnancy1. Apparently, clinicians have a lack of experience, comfort or knowledge when it came to discussing gender based matters. In the cases that this wasn’t true it was found that the attending clinicians expected these matters to be dealt with by other physicians. Read more »

Campaign (RED) Fights HIV/AIDS

Founded in 2006 by U2 frontman Bono, the Red Campaign combats the effects of HIV AIDS in Africa by channeling the energy and attention of today’s eager consumers towards a priceless cause. The Red Campaign simply utilizes the financial expenditure of consumers in order to help people affected by HIV AIDS.  (RED) produces (PRODUCT) red items with influential partners including the likes of American Express, Apple, Bugaboo, Converse, Dell, Emporio Armani, Gap, Hallmark, Nike, Penfolds, Penguin, and Starbucks .  Generally, these items pass on up to 50 percent of their profits to the Global Fund in order to invest in HIV AIDS support programs [I].

By examining the Gap, the internal processes of Campaign RED can be broken down into three easy to understand steps [II]:
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Vitalwave™ – An Overview

Vitalwave™ is the application of photodisinfection to the birth canal. It is a therapy currently under development by OrGenX Biopharma Corporation and Ondine Biomedical Inc. for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. More than 90% of HIV infections in children are caused by mother-to-child transmission. This is the equivalent of 1,600 children becoming infected with HIV every day, or one child every minute1, affecting 1 out of every 4 babies born. Vitalwave™ is intended to bypass the stigma associated with AIDS, and designed to be safe, instantly effective and inexpensive to allow for universal deployment in resource-poor counties.

It is estimated that 13-38% of all pregnant women in South Africa are HIV positive1. Current estimates indicate that 90% of HIV-positive women in resource-poor settings do not have access to antiretroviral (ARV) medication on a regular basis and often reject treatment due to fear of the stigma-related threats of violence and abandonment. In the absence of ARV treatment, a pregnant woman has a 14-42% chance of passing HIV on to their child during labour and delivery2. A higher HIV vaginal viral load in the mother is associated with an increased risk of transmission to their unborn child. Vitalwave™ is currently being designed to safely and immediately reduce the HIV vaginal viral load to low levels.

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Global Business Coalition 2011: Reflections On The Past Decade

It has been just over a month since the Global Business Coalition (GBC) met in New York for their 10th anniversary conference and awards dinner! Several things about that conference continue to give me pause for reflection. The big news was the Coalition’s name and scope change. The GBC on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria has changed its name to GBCHealth with a new logo and the tagline ‘Mobilizing Business for a Healthy World’. As I reflect on this change it strikes me as a natural progression that may NOT have been so predictable. So often in the developed world we generously provide dollars and service through non-profit organizations to aid with crisis’ in developing countries. This model appeared to work well for disaster relief or other acute circumstances that arose; then the HIV/AIDS health crisis appeared on the scene. After decades of spending billions of dollars and millions of man hours annually, we have still not been able to contain the HIV/AIDS health crisis.

One outcome from the, so far unsuccessful fight against HIV/AIDS is a better understanding of what is really required to aid developing countries in the field of health care. The evolution of the GBC reflects this growing understanding. In 2001 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called for greater action from the business sector in response to HIV/AIDS. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke led the response taking the helm of the non-profit, GBC on HIV/AIDS. It soon became clear the scope of GBC on HIV/AIDS needed to expand to include tuberculosis and malaria because these two diseases were so prevalent in countries where HIV/AIDS was most prolific; often occurring as co-infections or as the root cause of mortality after AIDS had compromised the immune system. Outcome: GBC on HIV/AIDS became GBC on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

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Fighting HIV/AIDS – From A Different Angle


New study reveals that people living with HIV can reduce the risk of transmission by up to 96%

The conventional method of fighting HIV/AIDS has mostly been from a ‘prevention is better than cure’ perspective. Whole health policies, in almost all countries in the world, have been drafted and implemented to concentrate on preventing HIV infection– until now.

New findings have been revealed that indicate that the chances of sexually transmitting the HIV virus to a healthy partner can be reduced by almost 96% if the infected partner strictly follows an early anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs regimen1. This is a unique and very effective way of fighting HIV/AIDS. Methods like abstinence, being faithful and using a condom (together known as the ‘ABC’ methods) have been used in the past to curb the disease before it infects more people. But now even infected people can help in the fight. Read more »

Living with HIV/AIDS – A Story From Ethiopia

"It is the hope that people gave me by befriending me, accepting me and letting me know, with kind words, that I too could be happy"

Looking at Sarah* today, it would be hard to imagine that she is a person living with HIV/AIDS. Her lively, bubbly outlook belies the stigmatization that most of the people living with HIV have to endure day after day. The healthy look that she now exudes belies the fear that used to come when people saw her rapid loss of weight.

People tended to talk when they saw someone lose weight drastically. Before the disease was named ‘HIV/AIDS’ by western medicine, Africa had different names that were usually variations of the rapid weight lose that ensued once patients were infected. For example, in Uganda it was called ‘Slim Disease’ and in Ethiopia it was ‘Amenminé’ (Amharic for ‘that which shrivels’). Read more »

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