NEWS: December 28, 2000
Collected by UNAIDS Philippines
Received through the PinoyRH egroup
percent of condom-users contract HIV
East African Standard, 15 Dec 2000
30 percent of people who use condoms contract AIDS, Catholic Archbishop
John Njenga has said. The Mombasa Catholic head also urged the government
to allocate funds to churches for the campaign against AIDS. Speaking
at his Nyali residence, Njenga said manufacturers of condoms were
unrealistic as they at times made poor quality. "It is for this
reason that the Catholic Church remains stubborn on the issue of
the use of condoms," he said.
recently celebrated 30 years as bishop also claimed the use of condoms
had greatly contributed to the spread of AIDS. He said the advocacy
of the use of condoms by religious leaders were appalling "as they
very well know the effect of their campaign".
said recent statistic by the international health experts made available
to the church indicate that people using the condoms were not completely
secure as some of them were of low quality. Njenga said the Catholic
Church would not revise decision to oppose the use of condoms.
said the advocacy to use condom encouraged immorality as most people
"now indulge in immorality because they know they are using a safety
devise." He said the only way to control the spread of AIDS was
faithfulness among partners, abstaining from premarital sex and
abandonment of "primitive and dangerous" cultural beliefs. He said
the Constituency AIDS Committee's (CACs) funds would have been in
safer hands if they were handled by the clergy. Njenga, however,
lauded the Government for keeping MPs away from management of the
urged religious leaders to be at the forefront in the AIDS campaign
since by so doing they would be exercising direct responsibility
given to them by the Lord. Meanwhile, matatu operators contribute
to over 15 percent of the spread of AIDS in Kenya, a workshop heard
yesterday. This was said during Matatu Touts HIV Sensitisation Workshop
at a Mombasa hotel. Ms. Diana Ngombo, International Centre for Reproductive
Health (ICRH), said matatu men contribute to the spread of AIDS
due their attitude, which she termed as "extremely negative." The
project manager of ICRH, Dr. Mark Hawken, said matatu operators
had been targeted for the spread of the AIDS awareness campaign
because of their constant interaction with various members of the
said matatu operators had been neglected in the campaign against
AIDS "yet they were the best people to use." The workshop was organised
by the ICRH and funded by United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) through Family Health international (FHI) and
Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH). During the
functions, the matatu operators and the ICRH resolved to paint anti-AIDS
message on all matatus in Coast Province by displaying sticker with
the message outside matatus.
measures will include playing AIDS awareness music and lectures
in matatu with touts and conductors communicating personally to
passenger about the dangers of AIDS.
agitates for more condom use
Daily News, 14 Dec 2000
people using family planning needs to know about the added benefit
of condoms as an effective barrier against infection, in order to
make an informed, free choice on their personal contraceptive method,
say the World Health Organization (WHO), the joint United Nations
Population Fund (UNFPA). For those millions of women who already
use effective family planning other than condom, this may mean adding
condom use to their chosen family planning method.
United Nation agencies urge that more reproductive health counselors
clearly communicate to their clients that many excellent contraceptive
methods do not offer any protection whatsoever against sexually
transmitted infections. The promotion of condom as both family planning
and protection for those against infection for those who need it
should be ensured in all family planning programmes. "The successes
of family planning programmes in reducing unwanted pregnancies have
unfortunately not been matched by a reduction in sexually transmitted
infections (STIs), which are on the rise throughout the world,"
said Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtlend, Director-General of WHO.
more than 340 million curable STIs occur each year. To that number
can be added many million more currently incurable viral STI, including
more than five million HIV infections each year. Male and female
condoms are the only family planning methods currently available,
which provide dual protection, when used consistently and correctly.
protection may be particularly important for certain individual
* Sexually active young people;
* Men and women (and their partners) who have
high-risk sexual behaviour;
* Sexually active people in setting with a high
prevalence of HIV and other STIs;
* Sex workers and their clients; and
* Those who already have HIV or an STI, and their
and its partners recommend a number of remedial measures to promote
the condom. Among them, family planning and STI/HIV prevention service
providers and counselors need to be trained about dual protection,
so they can inform clients and promote dual protection when needed.
family planning counselors, concerned about incorrect and inconsistent
use of condoms, favour and promote other contraceptive methods.
One study found that only 12 per cent of new family planning clients
in Kenya and only seven per cent in Zimbabwe heard about the condom
and its unique advantage in protecting against STI/HIV. Even informed
women may not persist with condom use. After the initial stage of
a relationship, some women who use, for instant, both a hormonal
contraceptive and condom, no longer insist on partner's condom use.
In so doing they became vulnerable to infections. In promoting dual
protection, a special effort needs to be made to reach out to and
* Men, the traditional condom users, and
* Young people, especially those aged 15-24 who
account for half of all newly acquired HIV
men are not the usual users of family planning service, creative
ways of reaching them to convey the dual importance of condom will
need to be used, such as sporting events and through the media.
female condom may also be helpful in protecting against both infection
and unplanned pregnancy but its price, nearly 10 times that of male
condoms and lack of availability have limited its use. In order
to ultimately empower women, research is need on ways to make the
female condom more accessible and affordable, as well as to develop
array of products offering dual protection is clearly needed, but
for now significantly more attention and promotion of the one effective
dual protection method currently available, the male condom, is
strongly urged in family planning clinics.
over inmates with AIDS
Daily Nation, 15 Dec 2000
prison act needs to be changed to allow prisoners who contract HIV
in prison to serve the rest of their sentence at home. The new Commissioner
of prisons, Mr. Abraham Kamakil, yesterday said that the new law,
through the act, was dormant and needed to be applied to stem the
spread of the disease in prisons, which he said had overwhelmed
prisons authorities. He said that an overall change in prison policy
was needed to cope with the disease. Prison warders, he said, were
at high risk of contracting the disease due to the nature of their
job. "We have situations where a prison officer is handcuffed to
a prisoner. We have situations where prison officers guard people
with infectious diseases in hospitals, exposing them to possible
infection," he said.
was addressing a workshop on HIV/AIDS information dissemination
at the Agricultural Finance Corporation Training Centre in Karen.
said that whereas there was genuine fear that released prisoners
were likely to spread the disease, prisons in the country were unable
to cope with large number of inmates who had contracted the virus.
said the yearly medical financial allocation give to the 87 prisons
in the country, with a population of 30,000 inmates, was grossly
inadequate in coping with the disease. Most of the prisoners, he
said, go into prison while infected. "Only one percent of the prisoners
contract the disease," he said.
Dr. G.M. Baltazar, an epidemiologist with Ministry of Health, said
homosexuality was rampant in the country's prisons. "Prisoners,
because they are confined together, will continue having abnormal
sexual relations where we like it or not," he said.
said the same was happening in boys and girls boarding schools in
the country. He said that 50-70 per cent of blood donated from prisons
in the country during the national blood donation day was found
to be contaminated. The challenge was to enact laws that could help
minimize the risk of prisoners contracting the disease while in
prison, he said.
Rules Out Condoms For Prisoners
Pana, 15 Dec 00
Kenyan government has rejected calls by anti-AIDS and human rights
campaigners to make condoms available to prisoners countrywide.
Commissioner Abraham Kamakil said that doing so would legalise sex
in the country's prisons.
Prisons Act precludes sexual activities in prison, so supplying
inmates with condoms means we're condoning the activities," he told
an HIV/AIDS workshop in Nairobi Thursday night. Instead, Kamakil
called for a review of the act to allow inmates who contract HIV/AIDS
to complete their terms at home.
said the law under the act is "dormant" on the scourge and needs
to be applied to stem the spread of the disease in prisons which,
had overwhelmed the prisons authorities.
admitted that sodomy and homosexuality are rampant in Kenya's prisons.
G.M. Baltazar, a Nairobi epidemiologist, also admitted that homosexuality
is rampant in the prisons.
because they are confined together, will continue having abnormal
sexual relations, whether we like it or not," he said.
state of affairs, made worse by the appalling conditions generally,
has prompted calls by a number of HIV/AIDS and human rights lobby
groups to make condoms available to inmates. The groups argued that,
with a total of 87 state prisons holding 30,000 prisoners, it was
not possible to contain the spread of the deadly disease in the
contracting the disease while in prison, the inmates would become
a greater health risk once released, they contended.
50 percent and 70 percent of blood donated from the prisons in the
country during the national annual blood donation week is found
to contain the virus," they said.
1 in 4 AIDS Patients May Go Blind
Straits Times, 19 Dec 2000
have a viral eye infection, Cytomegalovirus retinitis, that can
cause them to lose their sight. However, the disease can be treated.
one out of four AIDS patients gets a viral eye infection that leads
to blindness. The disease, Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis, which
is caused by a herpes virus, can be treated, said Dr. Gerard Chuah
of the HIV opthalmology clinic at the Communicable Disease Centre
many patients do not seek treatment because they are afraid of what
it involves and cannot afford to pay for it, he said.
clinic has screened some 350 patients for this disease in the five
years since it was set up and treated about 150 for it.
most common - and cheapest - treatment is to inject an anti-viral
drug, ganciclovir, directly into the eye under local anaesthetic.
you literally inject the drug into the eye, many patients are fearful.
There's a mental block," said Dr. Chuah, 37.
injection costs around $30. Patients need to have one twice a week
during the first three weeks of treatment.
they need it just once a week.
then, treatment can come up to $200 a month easily, a princely sum,
especially if the patients have had to stop working, he said.
is the second most common infection AIDS patients get, after pneumocystis
cariini pneumonia, which attacks usually the lung and could be fatal
if not treated.
infects more than 80 per cent of the population at some point in
their lives, usually causing mild flu-like illnesses or no symptoms
at all, Dr Chuah said.
AIDS patients have so little resistance that CMV can destroy their
retinas, the light-sensitive structure at the back of the eyeball
responsible for vision, and they risk going blind.
the start, they may see black dots floating about, or complain of
Lim Tock Han, who started the clinic in 1995, runs the clinic now
with Dr. Chuah.
anti-viral drug, ganciclovir, can also be injected intravenously.
This costs about $1,500 a month. A third is an eye implant, which
costs about US$4,000 (about S$7,000).
cost convinces those who do get treated to choose the eye injections
despite their fear, Dr. Chuah said.
patients refuse treatment until they go blind in one eye, said Dr.
Chuah. He added: "Once they lose sight in one eye, they will be
very motivated to go for treatment. "Most of them fear blindness
more than they fear death. Many have basically resigned to the fact
that they will die, but no one prepared them that they might go
blind as well."
to educate mothers about not spreading AIDS to children
The New Vision, 19 Dec 2000
long as AIDS remain incurable, educating mothers about how not to
transmit the disease to their children is a key way of halting its
spread, the head of the Unicef children agency said. "We believe
passionately that until a cure is found, the best cure is education,"
Carol Bellamy, executive director of Unicef, said in an interview
with Reuters. Of the five million people infected with HIV/AIDS
each year, around 600,000 of those cases were transmitted from the
mother to child, often through childbirth itself, Bellamy said after
speaking at the launch in Berlin of a United Nation report on the
has been working alongside non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
to develop pilot projects to address the problem of mother-to-child
transmission (MTC). "We've been particularly focusing on prevention
through peer-to-peer counseling and training and getting more information,"
Bellamy said. Unicef is one of the seven bodies, which make up UNAIDS,
the UN agency that spearheads the global battle against AIDS and
which published the report. It showed the disease has infected 36
million people worldwide, including 5.3 million new cases this year,
which was 50% higher than medical experts a decade ago had predicted.
were some signs of stabilization, however. Unicef is particularly
anxious not to roll back years of good work in developing countries
about convincing mothers of the benefits of breast-feeding. They
would not want to cause spread panic among mothers that HIV/AIDS
can be caused by breastfeeding. "The statistics for areas most heavily
infection are that, one third of the mothers may be infected. Of
those, a third might transmit to their child. And a third of the
third might be through breastfeeding,"
order to avoid women in developing countries abandoning breast-feeding
enmasses, a comprehensive system of testing has to be introduced,
but Bellamy said this can be difficult as in many countries there
is no tradition of testing. "How do you explain testing? The main
success story so far has been in Thailand, where the policy of education
and testing is starting to bear fruit. Thailand has really made
an impact in rural and urban areas in terms of reducing transmission
and is probably the biggest success." There are sighs the programme
is working in Botswana and Rwanda, she said. (Reuters)
gay men accused of dangerous 'barebacking'
Press Association, 20 Dec 2000
promotions aimed at the gay community may actually be encouraging
unsafe sex, researchers have claimed. Investigators found evidence
of a backlash against the safe sex message, which had led some gay
men to ignore warnings about HIV and Aids, giving rise to an unprotected
sex craze called "barebacking".
found that one of the chief reasons for the change in attitude was
a desire to rebel against authority. Other factors involved were
psychological feelings of independence and autonomy.
Michele Crossley, from the University of Manchester, presented her
findings today at the British Psychological Society's London conference.
She said: "Simplistic attempts at health promotion may have exacerbated
the problem by failing to bring such psychological dynamics to the
public domain, and thus creating a 'taboo' of unsafe sex."
Crossley's team analysed data from 23 interviews with gay men, 38
interviews with agencies participating in a health promotion project,
a focus group, and internet sites.
study by Dr. Jonathan Elford and colleagues from the Royal Free
Hospital, London, found that gay men who had undergone three or
more HIV tests were more likely to indulge in risky sexual behaviour.
They also had an increased incidence of HIV infection.
HIV test result appeared to make some men lose their inhibitions
and take more risks, said the researchers.
Turner U.N. Grants Target AIDS, Energy Needs
Atlanta Journal, 22 Dec 00
businessman Ted Turner, who has pledged $1 billion of his own money
over 10 years to the United Nations, is directing the bulk of his
latest round of international philanthropy toward reducing the spread
of HIV and AIDS among young people in Africa.
United Nations Foundation - the organization Turner set up three
years ago to disburse the funds - announced Wednesday that it is
investing $16 million in its eighth round of grants, with more than
$12 million of that going to AIDS prevention projects in eight southern
African countries hit hardest by the AIDS pandemic.
are extremely proud of this strong package of com- munity-based
projects addressing the social, economic and health challenges associated
with HIV/AIDS in Africa," said Tim Wirth, the foundation's president.
fall 2000 round of grants - which brings Turner's total donation
so far to more than $317 million - also will provide more than $1.7
million to a cause dear to the heart of the CNN founder and lifelong
outdoorsman: the environment.
foundation will help the U.N. meet the energy needs of developing
countries through three grants and will support energy efficiency
investments in the largest greenhouse gas-emitting nations through
total grant amount for this cycle is considerably lower than in
past cycles, in part due to a smaller number of proposals presented
to the foundation's board.
try to be thematic in our round of grants, and this time we targeted
solicitations strictly from projects working on HIV/AIDS and energy
efficiency," foundation spokesman David Harwood said. "It just so
happened that U.N. projects on energy are just getting started,
so there were fewer proposals submitted. But if you notice the scale
of funding for HIV/AIDS projects, you will see there are a fair
amount that we are supporting." The list of grants includes:
million over 18 months to the U.N. Development Program, U.N. Population
Fund and U.N. Children's Fund for a project to combat HIV/AIDS in
South Africa that involves youth in the design of prevention programs.
million over 18 months to the U.N. Population Fund to improve reproductive
health services for youths displaced by war in Angola.
million over 18 months to coordinate U.N. efforts in Lesotho to
improve reproductive health care and education for adolescent girls
and to reduce by 5 percent the rate of HIV/AIDS in the country's
hardest hit districts by 2003.
million over 18 months to coordinate U.N. efforts in Swaziland to
develop a comprehensive AIDS prevention program in the country's
four regions, improve counseling and testing and provide care for
people living with the disease.
million over 18 months to an Adolescent Program Initiative in southern
Africa run by the U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS that will link nine county-level
projects and attract resources for community-level work on HIV/AIDS.
million over four years to the U.N. Development Program country
team in Brazil to provide renewable energy to poor rural communities
while reducing greenhouse emissions.
over six months to the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs
in China to address the energy needs of the rural poor.
over six months to the World Bank to enable large commercial investments
in energy efficiency projects in Brazil, China and India - three
of the largest greenhouse gas-emitting developing countries.
million over two years to the U.N. Children's Fund to implement
in eight developing countries a project on the feasibility of specific
drug regimens to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mothers
over two years to the U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS for its worldwide
initiative to close the gap between the global need and the resources
available to combat AIDS.
over two years to the World Health Organization, which, through
its Global Polio Eradication Initiative, aims to eliminate the transmission
of the polio virus and certify the world polio-free by 2005.
over two years to the U.N. Department of Public Information to produce
news items for U.N. Television to educate the global public about
the organization's worldwide efforts.
over three years to the U.N. Secretariat for its Global Compact
initiative to promote global citizenship by advancing universal
human values in business operations.
and bureaucrats should work in tandem to combat AIDS
Express, 25 Dec 2000
DECEMBER 24: Legislators and bureaucrats need to play a dominant
and integral role in the fight against AIDS. Successful implementation
of HIV/AIDS programmes must depend on the joint efforts of the law
makers and the executors. Elected representatives should take bolder
steps to tackle HIV/AIDS, said renowned HIV/AIDS activist Justice
of the Australian Human Rights Medal and named laureate of the UNESCO
Prize for Human Rights Education, Justice Kirby held a one-hour
talk to sensitise bureaucrats and legislators in the legal and ethical
issues relating to the disease. Addressing a select group of bureaucrats
at Mantralaya on Friday, Justice Kirby spelt out that the bureaucracy
and elected representatives had to work in tandem to combat the
the steps taken by the Australians to reduce the incidence of the
disease, he cautioned the gathering of the worsening consequences
if HIV/AIDS programmes were implemented without fervour.
programme was organised by the Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society
in association with Lawyers Collective (HIV/AIDS unit). According
to the latest statistics more than 14 million people (the world
over) have died due to complications of AIDS while an estimated
47 million are affected with HIV.
of the 35 lakh identified cases of HIV/AIDS in the country, 25 lakh
are in Maharashtra. Mumbai itself has over 50 per cent of the HIV/AIDS
cases in the state. Speaking to Newsline, the minister for Public
Health, Drugs, Medical Education and Family Planning Digvijay Khanvilkar
said, "Our programmes will now target the youth population. These
will be co-ordinated programmes between the various departments.
These programmes aim to educate students from standard IX onwards
and encourage them to have open discussions about HIV/AIDS."
state government have plans to promote its HIV/AIDS awareness drive
in the schools and colleges in the state. The implementation of
the same will commence from New Year's Day, informed Khanvilkar.