NAC: Uncategorized

NAC TAKES MEASURES TO CURB NEW HIV INFECTIONS IN MASVINGO

Lloyd Mubulawa (National AIDS Council)

The National AIDS Council has embarked on a number of strategies to curb new HIV infections in Masvingo Province.

Speaking to editors from different media houses, NAC Provincial Manager Mr Edgar Muzulu said the organization is focusing on prevention anchored on five pillars.

Mr Muzulu said that, this is in line with the  90 90 90 target that is 90% of people living with HIV know their status,90% of people living with HIV to be on treatment and the viral load of 90% of people on ART to be suppressed.

The strategies that have been implemented by the National AIDS Council are targeting all age groups in Masvingo Province and this clearly reveals that no one can be left behind in response to new HIV infections.

“The use of the morning after pill is very high and the university students are scared of being impregnated instead of contracting HIV/AIDS or STIs”,said Mr Muzulu.

In this regard, the province had recently recorded the increase of new HIV/AIDS infections and STIs which had become a cancerous problem which is currently perpetrated by different factors.

He also endorsed the global biggest dream to end new HIV/AIDS infections by 2030 with the idea that, National AIDS Council (NAC) is providing the multi sectoral response to new HIV/AIDS infections in Zimbabwe.

The organization said to embark on condomize campaigns that are piloted using the sex workers to distribute condoms to their fellow partners and friends and also the use of condom dispensers in strategic places so that all the key populations can be easily reached.

“We have some hard to reach stakeholders such as the key populations and we have come with strategies that can address the existing problems and through those strategies we are achieving good results”, said Mr Muzulu.

“ The HIV prevalence for the province is 12,8%, amongst 100 people we are most likely to have 12 people living with HIV and Chivi District has 14,6% recorded case of people living with HIV which made it the highest in the province”, he said.

Since traditional beliefs had contributed much to the increase of HIV cases in the area, the organization managed to convince the traditional leaders in Mwenezi and Chiredzi District to adopt the voluntary medical male circumcision as a safer way and as well as empowering the vulnerable girl child through Sista2Sista program.

“End of September we have recorded a number of 138 208 people living with HIV who are on ART and among those people 9700 are children on ART”, he said.

HIV positive cleric blasts AIDS cure prophets

By Robert Tapfumaneyi


AN HIV-positive cleric has condemned prophets claiming to have found a cure for the condition saying this risks reversing the remarkable gains Zimbabwe has achieved in the fight against the infection.

Reverend Maxwell Kapachawo, leader of he Abandoned Grace Ministries, was one of the first local religious leaders to publicly disclose their HIV+ status.

He revealed that he was living with HIV in 2005.

“It is by God’s grace that ARVs are there and it is a miracle in itself,” said Rev Kapachawo.

“It is the wrong message from the pulpit from these influential pastors which is killing people living with HIV.”

He was speaking in Harare Tuesday at the launch of this year’s World Aids Day theme Harare by the National Aids Council.

The cleric’s remarks come after another influential church leader, Walter Magaya of the Prophetic Healing Deliverance (PHD) Ministry, torched a storm after claiming to have found a cure for HIV and AIDS.

He later apologised after police raided some of his Harare properties.

“Leaders are supposed to be leading from the front but (some) are leading from the back, killing our followers … it’s so bad, especially, when a diluted message is coming a man of the cloth.

“Really, with all the influence that we have over our congregates, it becomes poisonous,” said Rev Kapachawo.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries hardest hit by HIV and AIDs with a prevalence rate of 13.7 percent according to United Nations agencies.

The World Health Organisation WHO) says there is no cure for AIDS but many different drugs, such as anti-retroviral (ARVs) therapies are available to control the virus.

“It is not only taking the ARV but taking them religiously to this day that has saved my life and many others in the country,” said Rev Kapachawo.

According to the cleric, contrary to what some church leaders are saying, the only miracle which has happened with regard to HIV is antiretroviral therapy.

“I wonder when people say they don’t see miracles in ARVs yet someone standing in front of you today is a miracle,” he said.

“I have (often) asked my fellow religious leaders what they pray for at the bed-side of someone living with HIV. Do you pray for healing do you pray for cure?

“We have reversed the gains the Zimbabwean government has done. Sometimes with our bad mouthing we have made a lot of people to default on their treatment which is not good news.

“The church is now full of pastors who are misleading people that they can cure AIDS and this is contributing to the number of people who are dying from the disease.”

The pastor said more needs to be done however to fight stigma.

“The stigma and discrimination in our communities and our places of worship … it’s so pathetic.”

Local commemorations of World Aids Day will be held on the 1st December in Mazowe.

‘No to Magaya HIV and AIDS cure’

SECRETARY for Health and Child Care Gerald Gwinji yesterday said government would find it difficult to license Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries leader Walter Magaya’s alleged new cure for HIV.

BY VENERANDA LANGA/XOLISANI NCUBE

Gwinji said Magaya did not follow due process when he unveiled his Aguma herb, which he claimed could cure the virus which causes Aids.

This came amid reports that the herb was now being sold on the market for up to $1 000.

Gwinji appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care chaired by Emakhandeni-Entumbane MP Dingilizwe Tshuma to speak about the 2019 health budget.

Glen Norah MP Wellington Chikombo (MDC Alliance) asked him to explain if his ministry was happy that an HIV cure had been found, and whether government was threatened by the new territory of herbs that the prophet had now entered into.

“We do not want to quash any new discoveries or innovations, but they have to go through the right processes so that issues of safety are assured,” Gwinji said.

“We will find it difficult to license it, and it will be difficult to authorise it to be sold at pharmacies until these issues are solved, and we are only playing our regulatory role in the pharmaceutical industry.”

However, reports indicate that Magaya has already started advertising his HIV and Aids “cure” despite government’s assertion that the herb had not yetbeen approved by authorities.

30 years in prison for not disclosing HIV status

Amsterdam – Kerry Thomas is in prison in the USA, serving a 30-year sentence for having sex twice without disclosing to his partner that he was HIV positive.

Although Thomas used condoms, had an undetectable viral load and did not infect his partner, he was given two 15-year sentences to run consecutively. He has already served 10 years of his sentence.

Criminalising the transmission of HIV

Joining delegates to the International AIDS Conference by phone from his Idaho prison, Thomas said that while he regretted not disclosing his HIV status, “I worked with my doctor to protect my partner.”

“It is high time to look at the growing move to criminalise the transmission of HIV, which is often based on a misunderstanding of how HIV is and isn’t transmitted,” said Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, president of the International AIDS Society.

Twenty top scientists, including Nobel Laureate Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, released a consensus statement at the conference yesterday after reviewing the best available scientific evidence relating to HIV transmission and concluded:

  • It is not possible for an HIV positive person to transmit the virus in their saliva while kissing, biting or spitting.
  • The risk of HIV transmission from a single act of unprotected sex is very low, and there is no possibility of transmission during either vaginal or anal sex if the HIV-positive partner has an undetectable viral load.
  • It is not possible to establish proof beyond reasonable doubt that one person has infected another, even with the most advanced phylogenetic scientific tools.

Some 68 countries have laws that criminalise HIV non-disclosure, exposure or transmission, while 33 others have applied similar laws in specific cases.

Convicted for breastfeeding

Thousands of people living with HIV have been prosecuted, most of who did not actually pass on the virus. Most prosecutions have taken place in the USA, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and Zimbabwe.

Sarai-Chisala Tempelhoff of the Women’s Lawyers Association of Malawi said that an HIV positive woman in her country had been convicted for breastfeeding her baby.

“This prosecution for breastfeeding was not informed by science, and the magistrate demonstrated stigma not science,” said Templehoff.

Edwin Bernard, global co-ordinator of the Global HIV Justice Network, said there was an urgent need to train and educate judges and magistrates, many of whom operated on the basis of prejudice not fact.

Impact of prosecution

South Africa has not adopted an HIV-specific criminal law, although there was a push to do so in 1999.

“I think we can give credit to our Members of Parliament for that,” said Judge Edwin Cameron, who is attending the Aids conference.

“There was a move in 1999 to make HIV transmission a specific crime, but this was ultimately rejected by our politicians, although HIV status can be considered an aggravation of sentence in rape,” said Cameron.

“The scientific community has spoken and now the criminal justice sytem, law and policymakers must also consider the impact of prosecutions on the human rights of people living with HIV,” said Michaela Clayton of AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA). – Health-e News

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‘No to Magaya HIV and AIDS Cure”

SECRETARY for Health and Child Care Gerald Gwinji yesterday said government would find it difficult to license Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries leader Walter Magaya’s alleged new cure for HIV.

BY VENERANDA LANGA/XOLISANI NCUBE

Gwinji said Magaya did not follow due process when he unveiled his Aguma herb, which he claimed could cure the virus which causes Aids.

This came amid reports that the herb was now being sold on the market for up to $1 000.

Gwinji appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care chaired by Emakhandeni-Entumbane MP Dingilizwe Tshuma to speak about the 2019 health budget.

Glen Norah MP Wellington Chikombo (MDC Alliance) asked him to explain if his ministry was happy that an HIV cure had been found, and whether government was threatened by the new territory of herbs that the prophet had now entered into.

“We do not want to quash any new discoveries or innovations, but they have to go through the right processes so that issues of safety are assured,” Gwinji said.

“We will find it difficult to license it, and it will be difficult to authorise it to be sold at pharmacies until these issues are solved, and we are only playing our regulatory role in the pharmaceutical industry.”

However, reports indicate that Magaya has already started advertising his HIV and Aids “cure” despite government’s assertion that the herb had not yetbeen approved by authorities.

‘Nothing for us, without us,’ hammer young people at AIDS Conference

Sitting on center stage, clutching a microphone, Chinmay Modi along with a dozen young people answered questions about HIV during an all-youth panel session at the Amsterdam 2018 AIDS conference.

The 25-year-old born with HIV described his struggle accessing services. “In India, sex is a big taboo. A 16-year-old cannot buy condoms for example and parents need to give consent to be tested for HIV.” He said educating children and parents is key. His greatest desire involves pushing for specific youth-focused services.

Dany Stolbunov from Ukraine echoed that sentiment, saying “Nothing for us, without us.” He said that in his region stigma and discrimination kept people from even accessing services. He bemoaned the fact that young people in Ukraine have limited information and are not seen as a priority. 


HIV FACTS

In 2017, there were approximately 250 000 new HIV infections and 38 000 AIDS-related deaths among adolescents and 1.8 million adolescents living with HIV globally.

Adolescent girls in sub-Saharan Africa are disproportionately affected by new HIV infections, making up 56% of new HIV infections among adolescents globally.

HIV is a leading cause of death among adolescents (10-19 years).


“We are ready to fight for our rights,” he added, explaining that young people have a voice and want to use it.

Bruna Martinez strongly believes that broad sexual education discussing gender, health issues and pleasure would not only limit stigma, it would also make teenagers fear HIV less.

“HIV should not be in a vacuum,” she said. “We are a generation that can discuss sex and that’s a great thing; so give us the tools that tip things in our favor.”

All agreed that teenagers and young people have the most at stake in ending the HIV epidemic. Their demand is clear: go beyond scholarships by empowering us.

Melodi Tamarzians, the Dutch youth ambassador for sexual and reproductive health and rights, said, “Do not tick the youth box by giving us a token position.” In her view, to enable young people, adults need to invest in them and give them advisory roles.

AIDS 2018 prided itself on giving a greater space to young people in Amsterdam. Youth and junior investigators made up more than one-third of the submissions presented at the conference, according to the conference organizer, the International AIDS Society (IAS.) In addition, young people got the most scholarships than at any other conference. And the Global Village (a free admission space by the conference area) featured the largest space conceived of and run by young people. It included a snack area, a mini-indoor football field, a safe-space theater area and youth-led activities, and booths such as a radio recording area, a youth against AIDS t-shirt stand and even an exhibit about the vagina.

Ms Martinez volunteered and then worked with the Amsterdam Youth Force that mobilized and organized other young people to make the youth space their own. “At this conference, we showed everybody that we could deliver,” she said.

She hopes that this meaningful youth presence will carry over. “It’s important that we are not being catered to but rather that we are recognized,” she said, her AIDS 2018 lanyard laden with pins and stickers. She sees her recent stint with the Youth Force as a way to change things. “There are still so many young people getting infected with HIV and dying. It means we are failing and the system is not working,” Ms Martinez said. In her view, HIV policy has to also come from the ground upwards. She emphasized peer-to-peer education and valuing local knowledge. Standing in front of a huge ‘Let’s face HIV together’ she said, “We speak the language of the young people and we know what we are living, so acknowledge us fully.”

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