Eat at one of these restaurants Thursday to support AIDS care in Austin
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dozens of restaurants are pledging to donate a portion of sales or a flat amount to AIDS Services of Austin (ASA) Thursday, May 23 during the 27th annual Dining Out for Life.
The event raised $52,000 last year for the group that provides support, access to care, housing assistance, dental work and many other services to those living with HIV and AIDS. This year about a dozen more restaurants have signed on.
See a list of restaurants participating for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner here.
“There’s thousands in central Texas that benefit,” said Mike Trevino, special events coordinator for ASA.
The city of Austin estimated in 2016 there were close to 6,000 people in Travis County living with HIV, either diagnosed or undiagnosed, and experts say about 250 more are diagnosed each year.
Charlotte Simms is one of them. She got her HIV diagnosis about 15 years ago and felt lost. “I didn’t know where to go, what to do,” she said. “I didn’t know anything really about HIV or AIDS. All I’ve ever heard is you die. So…I thought i was going to die.”
The diagnosis is not the death sentence it used to be. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a person diagnosed with HIV at age 20 and taking current medications has an average lifespan of 71, just a few years shy of the average for people not diagnosed with HIV.
But it was still a scary time for Simms. She sought support and found it at ASA, where she connected with a group of women who were going through the same thing. “And just having other ladies in the same boat, somebody else to talk to, makes a big difference.”
ASA relies a lot on grant funding, and this year the organization says it’s losing $250,000 in grants this year that support its food bank and testing services, among other programs. The group can apply for other grants to make up for the loss, but donations they bring in through events like Dining Out for Life can make a big difference.
Each $100 donation ASA received, Trevino said, provides two weeks of food for six clients. The growth in Dining Out for Life is encouraging, but he’d like to expand its reach more.
“I heard there’s about 2,500 restaurants” in Austin, he said, “so that would be the ultimate goal. But we’ll start with hundreds, 200, 300, and just keep getting our community to support us.” Restaurants can still join this year’s program by emailing Trevino here.
Last summer, the city of Austin joined the Fast Track Cities Initiative, an international commitment to ending the global AIDS epidemic by 2030. In order to eliminate new cases in the next decade, education, accessible HIV testing and reducing stigma surrounding the disease will be crucial, experts say.
You can find a clinic that provides HIV testing here.
Simms encourages people she meets to turn to the organization that helped her for those services. “The majority of what I know about HIV and AIDS, ASA is the reason.”
She’s now a grandmother, taking care of her three teenage grandsons. “It’s a handful,” she laughed. But living with HIV is no longer the burden it was when she was first diagnosed.
“I’m going on with my life. That’s just a part of me,” she said. I don’t just live for HIV; that’s not my life.”
The Minister of Health & Child Care Dr O Moyo in his adress at the ongoing World Health Assembly calls for action 0riented Political Declaration to Universal Health Coverage resolutions made by WHO Executive Board in January 2019 calling for access to affordable medicines, primary health care, health financing &support of health workforce.
Download and listen to the video of the address made by the Minister of Health and Child Care on this link https://twitter.com/naczim?lang=en
Abuja, 20 May 2019 – “I first discovered I was HIV positive in 1998 when I was pregnant and attended my first antenatal check-up,” says Mrs Lucia Enyia who has lived positively with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) for 22 years. Adhering strictly to her antiretroviral drug routine and principles of the Prevention of Mother-To-Child HIV transmission (PMTCT) intervention, Mrs Enyia’s three children are all HIV negative.
Reminiscing on her journey to self-acceptance and positive living with HIV, Mrs Enyia says, “Back then, the stigma was too much and there was very little support available for HIV patients in Nigeria. I went to an HIV/AIDs Conference in Durban, South Africa and gathered enough knowledge on PMTCT and living positively with HIV. I take my antiretroviral drugs religiously; I do a lot of exercise and try to eat a healthy diet every day. I’m happy my three children are all HIV negative,” she says.
Owing to her ability to manage the virus without infecting her children or her husband, Mrs Enyia set up a non-governmental organization, ‘Society for Women and Children Living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria’ (SOWCHAN), with the vision to create awareness about positive living and assist HIV/AIDS orphans, vulnerable children and underprivileged women living with HIV.
Poor indicators require all-inclusive intervention
According to the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Nigeria has more HIV-infected babies than anywhere in the world. In 2016, Nigeria accounted for 37,000 of the world’s 160,000 new cases of babies born with HIV. However, since 2017, an estimated 94.9% of infants exposed to HIV by their mothers have been saved from infection through the implementation of the PMTCT intervention under the National AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infection Control Programme(NASCP) and across the 36 States and Federal Capital Territory, there are a total of 6,301 PMTCT sites.
First introduced in 2001 in Nigeria, the overall goal of the PMTCT is to contribute to the reduction of HIV and AIDS incidences. The national PMTCT aims (as set out in the National HIV/AIDS Strategic plan 2017-2021) at ensuring at least 95% of all HIV positive pregnant women and HIV exposed infants have access to effective antiretroviral (ARV) prophylaxis by 2021. It also aims at ensuring at least 80% of HIV positive pregnant women have access to quality infant feeding counselling and 95% HIV exposed infants have access to Early Infant Diagnosis (EID), (Source: NACA Factsheet 2016 – updated 2019).
The Director General of NACA Dr Sani Aliyu says, “Through the PMTCT intervention, prevention of HIV from mother to child has definitely increased, however, we still have a large chunk of women who do not go to primary health care facilities to deliver. Poverty plays a major role in this and I feel the only way we can get around this is to engage traditional birth attendants, train them in HIV testing, provide them with self-test kits and give them incentives to bring HIV positive women to primary healthcare centres for proper attention.”
Combined efforts to end HIV/ AIDs by 2030
In collaboration with other donors and partners, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been at the forefront of re-establishing the National treatment and PMTCT programme (NTPP) and has continued to provide technical support towards achieving set goals. The WHO is providing evidence-based guidance and recommendations to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV and Syphilis, strengthen coordination and build capacity of government for quality HIV service delivery.
Dr Clement Peter, WHO Nigeria Officer in Charge (OIC) revealed, “WHO Nigeria in March 2019 donated a vehicle and refurbished NASCP offices towards strengthening the re-established National Treatment and PMTCT which was launched by the Minister in February 2018 with the aim of fast tracking the achievement of the 90-90-90 targets in Nigeria.”
Dr Peter described the three 90s’ of HIV and AIDs as getting everybody to know their HIV status, getting all infected persons in treatment and reducing the viral load on infected patients. He further stated that “WHO will continue to support the Nigerian Government to end the spread of HIV and promote person-centred HIV service delivery as a way to improve service efficiency and impact.”
UNAIDS extends its heartfelt thanks to the Executive Director of UNAIDS for his outstanding contribution to the global response to HIV
GENEVA, 8 May 2019—UNAIDS congratulates Michel Sidibé on his appointment as the Minister of Health and Social Affairs of Mali. Mr Sidibé served as the Executive Director of UNAIDS for more than 10 years after being appointed as the second Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations in January 2009.
A true champion for a people-centred approach to health and development and a strong advocate for social justice, Mr Sidibé has made a remarkable contribution to the AIDS response, helping to save and improve the lives of millions of people around the world.
Since Mr Sidibé took up his position as Executive Director of UNAIDS, there has been a 170% increase in the number of people accessing antiretroviral therapy, from 8 million in 2010 to 21.7 million in 2017. There has also been a 45% drop in AIDS-related deaths—from 1.7 million in 2008 to 940 000 in 2017—and new HIV infections have been reduced by 22%—from 2.3 million in 2008 to 1.8 million in 2017.
“It has been an honour for me to serve UNAIDS as its Executive Director and contribute to the global AIDS response,” said Mr Sidibé. “I would like to thank all UNAIDS partners and staff and especially community members affected by HIV, who have made our successes possible. With their steadfast commitment and resolve, we have been able to bring life-saving services to millions of people. If we stay the course and do the right thing, always—putting people first and delivering results for people—we will succeed in ending AIDS.”
Mr Sidibé’s vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths, and his tireless advocacy to ensure that all people have access to health services, have kept HIV at the top of the global agenda. His calls for global solidarity and shared responsibility have seen resources for HIV increase by more than one third, from US$ 15.9 billion in 2010 to US$ 20.6 billion in 2017 in low- and middle-income countries. His advocacy for country ownership helped to ensure that 56% of HIV resources in low- and middle-income countries now come from domestic sources, promoting long-term sustainable responses to HIV.
His commitment to the concept of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support meant that the goal of reaching 15 million people living with HIV with antiretroviral therapy by 2015 was achieved seven months ahead of schedule. His focus on the most vulnerable and marginalized has given a voice to the voiceless, including people who use drugs, gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, prisoners and people on the move.
A strong believer that no child should be born with HIV, his leadership in calling for the elimination of new HIV infections among children contributed to a 60% reduction in new paediatric HIV infections since 2009 in the 21 priority countries of the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive.
During his tenure, Mr Sidibé spearheaded two of the most successful United Nations General Assembly political declarations on HIV, which named key populations and included ambitious regional and global Fast-Track Targets. He has successfully advocated to take AIDS out of isolation, encouraging a holistic human-rights based approach to include HIV as part of sexual and reproductive health and integrate responses to interlinked diseases, including tuberculosis and cervical cancer.
“I would like to thank United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres for his long-standing support to UNAIDS,” said Mr Sidibé. “I am also grateful to the United Nations system for allowing me to develop my career, from when I started as a short-term junior professional in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the United Nations Children’s Fund in 1987 to becoming Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations some 20 years later—I am eternally thankful for the opportunities I have been given.”
The countries most affected by HIV have rallied behind Mr Sidibé’s call to reach the 90–90–90 targets, whereby 90% of people living with HIV know their status, 90% of people who know their status are accessing treatment and 90% of people on treatment have a suppressed viral load. Some 75% of all people living with HIV now know their HIV status, and focus has been increased on HIV testing and expanding antiretroviral therapy.
His call with partners to establish an HIV prevention coalition led to a new HIV Prevention 2020 Road Map to strengthen and sustain political commitment for primary HIV prevention and establish accountability for delivering services at scale in order to stop new HIV infections.
His commitment to improving the lives of women and girls galvanized action for Security Council resolution 1983 in 2011, which focused on ensuring access to HIV prevention and treatment for women and girls, on the prevention of, and response to, sexual violence related to conflict and on post-conflict peacebuilding.
Mr Sidibé’s strong belief in the power of communities has paved the way for community-led responses to HIV, which have proved to be a gamechanger in increasing the uptake of HIV services and in creating support networks to improve adherence to treatment and quality of life for people living with HIV.
His undeterred commitment, dedication and passion has allowed Mr Sidibé to engage heads of state, people living with HIV, affected communities, donors, first ladies, parliamentarians, Mayors, civil society, scientists, young people and HIV programme leaders alike, bringing everyone around the same table to galvanize action to end AIDS by developing focused and sustainable solutions that leave no one behind.
Mr Sidibé has been an inspirational leader of UNAIDS and for the global response to HIV, and UNAIDS extends its heartfelt thanks for his years of dedicated service. Mr Sidibé will take on his new role as Minister of Health and Social Affairs of Mali with immediate effect and will be replaced ad interim by UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Management and Governance, Gunilla Carlsson.
Results from a large-scale European study among serodiscordant gay couples show that adherence to effective treatment prevents transmission of HIV
GENEVA, 3 May 2019—UNAIDS warmly welcomes the PARTNER2 study results that show that HIV transmission does not occur when a person living with HIV is on effective antiretroviral therapy. The study, which enrolled nearly 1000 gay couples in which one partner was living with HIV and the other was not, showed that where the person living with HIV was taking effective antiretroviral therapy and had a suppressed viral load, there was no HIV transmission within the couple.
“This is excellent news. People living with HIV now have confirmation that provided they take treatment regularly and are virally suppressed, they are not infectious,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “This gives a strong, positive message that will help to reduce the stigma around HIV and improve the self-esteem and self-confidence of people living with HIV.”
By the end of the eight-year study, 15 people did become infected with HIV. Virus screening showed that none of the new infections were linked to the HIV-positive partners in the study, but came from a sexual partner outside of the couple. The researchers estimate that within the study, which took place across 14 European countries, around 472 HIV transmissions were averted over the eight years.
UNAIDS hopes that the results will encourage more people to get tested early and take effective treatment. In recent years there has been a huge scale-up in the roll-out and uptake of antiretroviral therapy. In 2017, of the 36.9 million people living with HIV, 59% (21.7 million) had access to treatment and 47% were virally suppressed. Concerted efforts are needed to ensure that all people living with HIV have access to and adhere to effective antiretroviral therapy.
A large proportion of HIV transmission still occurs before people know their HIV status. The risk of HIV transmission is highest in the weeks and months immediately after infection, when the viral load is high and the person who has contracted the virus is unlikely to know their status, is not on treatment and is not virally suppressed. This demonstrates the critical importance of continuing HIV prevention efforts, including condom use and pre-exposure prophylaxis—medicine taken by an HIV-negative person to prevent HIV.
President Trump’s recent call to end the HIV epidemic in the United States has turned attention to a domestic public health crisis that has been absent from the headlines for quite some time. And with this bold challenge come critical questions:
Why is the U.S. falling short in tackling HIV?
How feasible is the President’s goal?
What lessons can be learned from the global HIV response?
In a highly relevant new commentary just published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Wafaa M. El-Sadr, ICAP global director, with co-authors Kenneth H. Mayer, Miriam Rabkin, and Sally Hodder, explore the state of AIDS in America, the barriers that stand in the way of ending this persistent public health threat, and, compellingly, propose strategies and tactics that can be adopted from the progress made toward epidemic control in sub-Saharan Africa to bring HIV under control in the U.S.
Nearly a decade ago, Drs. El-Sadr, Mayer, and Hodder wrote a Perspective article in the New England Journal of Medicine about the nation’s “forgotten” HIV epidemic and what it would take to gain control.
Since then, progress has been slow, write the authors—joined in this new commentary by Dr. Rabkin. New HIV infections dropped from approximately 130,000 in 1984 to 60,000 in 1991, but then only to 56,000 in 2009. Today, the U.S. still sees 40,000 new infections each year, and nearly 16,000 people died from HIV-related causes in 2017.
Most new HIV infections occur among people who are economically disenfranchised and among ethnic, racial, and sexual minorities, note the authors. While epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa are more generalized, HIV in the U.S. is concentrated in urban centers along the coasts, with alarming outbreaks reported in smaller towns and rural areas in the South. The latter areas have had historically low HIV prevalence with limited HIV services.
The authors point to four key strategies that have been effective in the global response and could be key to epidemic control in the U.S. First, a public health approach will be critical—one that brings services to everyone who needs them. Effective engagement of the affected communities to mitigate stigma and discrimination is essential, as is adherence to use of scientifically-proven, evidence-informed interventions. The use of epidemic data to drive action with precision, and regular assessments that gauge progress and realign programs as necessary, will ensure that efforts achieve maximum impact where most needed.
Progress will require urgent action, the authors underscore. But with adequate resources, setting of ambitious targets, demonstrating agility and willingness to change course as needed, and with a determination to overcome economic, social, and cultural barriers that stand in the way to access, it is possible.
Read the full article on the website of the New England Journal of Medicine.