HIV in SA improving slowly

first_imgThe 2009 HIV gauge reveals that progress is being made, especially among South Africa’s youth, but more needs to be done. (Image: MediaClubsouthafrica.com. For more free photos, visit the image library) MEDIA CONTACTS • Fareed MohammedloveLife public relations+27 11 523 1102 or +27 79 597 9374RELATED ARTICLES • Loving life, fighting Aids • HIV in South Africa stabilising • Powerful HIV antibodies found• Hunger strike against HIV • HIV/Aids in South AfricaJanine ErasmusNational youth HIV prevention programme loveLife, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in October 2009, has released its second annual publication on the status of HIV in South Africa.The publication shows that in some areas there has been marked improvement, but a lot more needs to be done to control the spread of the epidemic and save lives.The 2009 Gauge of HIV Prevention in South Africa is written by Dr David Harrison, former loveLife CEO, and freelance researcher Ruth Scott. Harrison now heads the national youth empowerment programme Connected! – a loveLife initiative.“The publication will give us a sense of where progress is, and is not being made,” said Harrison, speaking at the launch on 2 November 2009.“We’re finding that data such as that from national antenatal surveys are becoming less and less useful – we would prefer that the money be used to better understand the dynamics of the epidemic.”LoveLife CEO Grace Mathlape concurred, saying that the gauge would inform people about what has been and can still be achieved in preventing the spread of HIV and Aids.The publication was funded by the UK Department for International Development, which manages UK aid to poor countries, working to eradicate destitution. It may also be accessed online.Comprehensive informationDrawing on a wide range of published sources, the publication collates all current data about HIV and Aids from both national and regional studies, and presents it in one comprehensive document.The gauge has a threefold aim. Firstly, it reports on the status of the HIV epidemic in South Africa and identifies trends that will assist in halting the spread of the disease. Secondly, it aims to identify areas where knowledge is lacking, and thirdly it makes recommendations that could influence the direction of future policies and programmes.The report noted a number of positive developments. The HIV epidemic has peaked, according to the publication, but the prevalence will not drop for at least five years even if the incidence, or rate of new infections, is slashed in half. This is because antiretroviral drugs help to prolong life, and therefore there are more people living with HIV and Aids.More precise measurements must be implemented to overcome this situation and deliver accurate results, said Harrison. In fact, he added, if the prevalence goes down too soon it could mean that treatment is failing and that too many people are dying.Another significant statistic reveals that in the past five years the prevalence of HIV among 15- to 24-year-olds has dropped, indicating that the rate of new infection has also decreased sharply.Research did show, however, that there is a sharp jump in new infections among people in their mid-20s and early 30s. This means that children in school are relatively protected, but once out of school their lifestyle changes, the future is no longer so certain, and they are more willing to take risks.The report recommends more support structures for new school leavers, and immediate opportunities for personal growth and development.The number of people who have been tested and now know their status has also increased over the past few years, from less than 33% of the population, to about 50%.Preventing infectionThere are a number of areas where firm action could save thousands of lives.Mother-to-child transmission is a key area that could result in fewer new infections. According to the report, every year about 30 000 babies are needlessly infected with HIV in this way, when prevention is possible. Although this number has decreased in the past few years it is still unacceptably high – there should be no more than 4 000 of this type of infection per year.The strategy for preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) does not reach all babies. When successful, the programme reduces transmission to less than 5%, but the report revealed that for various reasons, at most only about 66% of infants who need PMTCT actually benefit from it. The main reason is that testing doesn’t extend to all pregnant women, and many of those who are tested, and found to be HIV-positive, are later neglected by the health system.Testing also falls short with regard to tuberculosis, as incidence of the two diseases are closely related and more than 50% of tuberculosis patients also have HIV. The successful detection of tuberculosis in HIV-positive people must increase.For every two pregnancies in South Africa, there is one HIV infection. This is largely as a result of higher risk in the social environment, since young girls often drop out of school during this time and become insecure about their financial situation. There is also a greater physiological vulnerability to infection.The report recommends a focus on the prevention of teen pregnancy, but failing this, there must be a greater use of condoms during pregnancy as well as the return of new, young mothers to the school system as soon as possible.While condom use has increased among young men between the ages of 15 and 24, the same cannot be said of women in the same age group. Furthermore, not enough condoms are distributed, as seen in the high incidence of HIV in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Free State – the provinces where condom distribution is lowest. Female condoms are expensive and not readily available.Some of the most vulnerable groups, such as prisoners, are not protected by easy access to condoms. This is especially dangerous because each year 25% of all prisoners are released back into society. “We must flood prisons with condoms,” said Harrison.Disabled people, Aids orphans, and commercial sex workers are also at particular risk of contracting HIV. The group most at risk of infection are those living in informal settlements, whether urban or rural. Most-at-risk groups are neglected in general, and this is an area that needs urgent attention.Taking actionAnother strategy that could drastically reduce the infection rate is the introduction of a national male circumcision programme, as this medical procedure has been proven to reduce HIV incidence – when performed properly.Behaviour change and the reduction of risk tolerance must also be addressed. Such programmes do not address all age groups and there is too little focus on high-risk groups.The report recommends that healthcare be improved generally, as well in specific areas relating to most-at-risk groups, men and those with sexually transmitted infections.More funding is needed. Although currently about R1-billion (US$130.6-million) is spent on HIV prevention, the gauge reported that the investment of another billion into a comprehensive national programme will result in three times that amount in annual savings within a decade.Finally, government needs to be firm and clear on how it is tackling the spread of HIV and tuberculosis, and it must form joint partnerships with the civil and corporate sectors to strengthen its work.last_img read more

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Young South Africans, take the test!

first_img1 December 2011Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has called on young South Africans leaving school and those in the country’s colleges and universities to get tested for HIV/Aids.Speaking ahead of World Aids Day on Wednesday, Nzimande said young people should ensure they were well informed about the pandemic and avoid exposing themselves to the risks of contracting the virus.“I particularly want to call upon those who are about to start at institutions of higher learning, who will for the first time in their lives be independent and away from direct parental supervision, to get information and knowledge so that they may behave in a way that does not expose them to the risk of contracting HIV.”World Aids Day serves as an important reminder to all South Africans that HIV/Aids has not gone away. There is still a vital need to increase awareness, strengthen support and improve education.The Department of Higher Education and Training has made a commitment to incorporate the fight against the HIV/Aids pandemic in all its skills development initiatives at colleges and universities.A study released by the Higher Education and HIV/Aids Programme (HEAIDS) last year revealed that, among students who reported having had sex, HIV prevalence was about 4 percent.The study was conducted two years ago using a sample of 17 000 students, 1 880 academic staff and 4 433 administrative and services staff.“We have incorporated the fight against this pandemic simply because as a country, we cannot afford to train our youth and young adults for the grave,” Nzimande said.“We need them for the workplace and effective participation in our society’s social and economic activities.”Nzimande appealed to youngsters to delay involvement in sexual relationships. “However, those who choose to be sexually active should always use a condom, be faithful to their partner, and at all costs avoid multiple and concurrent sexual partners.”Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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Maverick Awards to recognise under-35 business genius

first_imgThe Maverick Awards aim to encourage dynamic young entrepreneurs to help drive South Africa’s job creation and economic growth. (Image: Brand South Africa) 13 March 2014The Maverick Awards, a new initiative by youth development consultancy Under 35 Mavericks in partnership with Brand South Africa, seek to reward the hard-nosed genius of established young South African entrepreneurs with prizes of up to R1-million.Read more on Media Club South Africa: Maverick Awards to recognise under-35 business geniuslast_img

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As the Internet Loses its Way – the Cloud Will Carry the Most Importance

first_imgTags:#cloud#cloud computing Related Posts alex williams A well-respected university professor said at a futurist conference today that the cloud will surpass the web in importance.According to CIO.com, Georgetown University Professor Mike Nelson made the remarks today at the World Future Society conference in Boston.His comments came in the context of a discussion about the Internet, the cloud and its future. Nelson said that in the mid-1990s, the people who developed the Internet had a clear purpose. From their vision came the Web.Today, it’s a question if the focus about the Internet is as sharp as it once was. And if the focus is indeed faltering, will the cloud take its place?The cloud is now more exciting than the Internet. What we are seeing is the evolution of the cloud as a central nervous system for a new universal communications infrastructure that is more important than the Web.This may all seem a bit murky as much of the cloud is accessed through the Web. Cloud-based applications are often called Web apps. And the Internet is often used to describe the Web and the cloud.But the distinction about the cloud does fall into a different category when the discussion turns to all that is capable to do with it. Nelson made the point that cloud computing means developing nations may afford software that once only more affluent countries could provide.As we noted in another post today, the cloud also means that companies may shed its IT resources, saving on capital expenses. That may mean a loss of jobs but it’s clear the upsides may be considerable as the cloud scales.And then there is the Internet of Things (ioT), big data and a mobile universe where information is always accessible, anywhere you may be.The ChallengesNelson said forces could prevent society from getting to this universe of what he calls the “cloud of clouds.”The biggest challenges are vendor lock-in and proprietary technologies. If data gets locked in then the flow of data will be disrupted, disrupting he very nature of the cloud itself.Other challenges include the clamp down on content by media giants, who, in the name of privacy, can have a tendency to inhibit expression and as a consequence, the free flow of information. Government may play it own part as it seeks to regulate and in turn creates an onerous environment for the development of the cloud.We have faith that the people who have fought so hard for the open Web will continue to fight for an open cloud environment and in the process, foster that cloud of clouds that Nelson believes we can attain. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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SC pulls up U.P. govt for poor upkeep of Taj Mahal

first_imgThe Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for the poor upkeep of the Taj Mahal.A Bench led by Justice S.A. Bobde asked the State to file a fresh vision document in four weeks, detailing the manner in which the monument would be preserved and protected.Earlier, the court had said the protection of the Taj Mahal should not be restricted to the world heritage monument alone but everything around it that goes to protect the ivory-white mausoleum commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, in 1632.The court had said that the Taj Mahal was only the “centre-piece”. The forest cover, the river Yamuna and the grounds of the Taj Mahal should also be saved from pollution. The Bench had said the Vision Document for Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) should examine and end the proliferation of hazardous industries, foundries, seepage and emissions which are slowly but steadily destroying the Taj Mahal and the protective cover around it.In its 1996 judgment, the Supreme Court had noted that the Taj Mahal was not threatened by only traditional causes of decay, but also social and economic conditions. Industrial emissions, brick-kilns, vehicular traffic and generator-sets polluted air around TTZ. The monument itself was slowly turning yellow from the collected grime.last_img read more

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Baroda Cricket Association sacks BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel

first_imgSanjay Patel alleged the move as a vendetta politics from Anshuman Gaekwad’s factionThe BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel, was on Wednesday removed from the secretary’s post by his own state association Baroda CA after a city civil court in Vadodara rejected his plea to be reinstated in BCA’s managing committee.While BCCI secretary Patel alleged it as a “vendetta politics” from the other joint secretary Anshuman Gaekwad’s faction, the BCA sent a press release late evening to inform about their decision to remove Patel.The decision effectively means that Patel can’t represent BCA at the BCCI’s AGM right now as per state association’s rules. “The Managing Committee(MC) of Baroda Cricket Association(BCA) had removed Shri Sanjay Patel(MC member and Secretary of BCA) on the basis of Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations of BCA for qualifying a MC member status,” the press release stated.”Today (24.9.14) Honorable Chief judicial magistrate, Vadodara (in charge) Shri Sanjaybhai Thakkar has accepted the application of BCA and Plaint of both the suits of Shri Sanjay patel to reinstate him as MC member as well as secretary of BCA was rejected.”On the basis of the above Judgment of the Court, the decision taken by The Managing Committee of Baroda Cricket Association holds good and Mr. Sanjay Patel (current Hon Secretary of BCCI) is no more a Secretary as well as he is no more a Managing Committee member of Baroda Cricket Association,” the release stated.”If Anshuman Gaekwad is saying that my appointment in BCA’s managing committee is illegal, then I would like to ask as to what is the legality of his appointment in the same committee. Anshuman and his group are doing vendetta politics but they won’t be successful,” a fuming Patel, who is also BCA joint secretary, said today.advertisementHe said he plans to appeal to Gujarat High Court challenging BCA decision after city civil court in Vadodara dismissed his plea. “I will be appealing in Gujarat High Court. The situation is such that there can’t be any out of court settlement with Angshuman and his group,” said BCCI secretary.last_img read more

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