Monthly Archives: April 2012

East African Parliament Pushing for HIV/AIDS Bill

As the East African Parliament winds up their term, the members are pushing for the passing of the East African Community HIV & Aids Prevention and Management Bill 2010 so that the new Assembly starts on a fresh plate.

Speaking during the stakeholders meeting in Kampala on Friday, the EALA committee on general purposes said the Bill should be passed before June when their five-year term of office elapses.

The Bill, almost similar to the one handled by the Ugandan Parliament, seeks to get interventions to achieve zero new HIV infections, zero Aids-related deaths and zero discrimination taking into account the special needs persons, the most at risk and other vulnerable groups.

Statistics from Burundi show that 3 per cent of the 8.5 million estimated population are living with HIV/Aids. According to the United Nations Aids Service Organisation in Bujumbura, majority of the infected persons are women while the coverage of the Prevention of Mother to Child Infections is very minimal.

In Uganda, there are an estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV/Aids, including 150,000 children. An estimated 64,000 people died from Aids in 2009 and 1.2 million children have been orphaned by the scourge.

HIV/Aids burden
Meanwhile, at the East African National Networks of Aids Organisation, statistics indicate that as of 2009, East Africa had an existing burden of an estimated 4.5million persons living with HIV/Aids, 338,800 annual new HIV infections, 286,000 Aids-related deaths and 4m orphans left due to HIV-related deaths.

Although most partner states already have their own legislations like Uganda’s HIV/Aids Prevention Bill 2009, the regional law if passed, does not criminalise the transmission of the scourge like the Ugandan Bill proposes but offers shelter to people living with the infection.

The Bill is inspired by the successes of the EAC integration which includes the coming into force of the Custom Union and the Common Market Protocols.

The regional Bill also differs from the Ugandan Bill in mandatory testing and mandatory disclosure. The committee led by Margaret Ziiwa was in Uganda to consult on the country’s Aids Bill.

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LASS Craft Group

The therapeutic effects of arts and craft work is known to provide people with opportunities to relax, to feel a sense of accomplishment, to discover pride, to improve fine-motor skills, to develop a meaningful life-long hobby, to maintain an alert mind and so much more.

This is why we’re stating a craft group, and it’s open to anyone who is affected by HIV and would like to teach, or learn new craft skills such as knitting, paper crafts, jewellery making, sewing and crocheting.

We hope our crafts group will allow you to practice a number of skills while building self-esteem in completing projects and socialising with our staff, volunteers and individuals who use our services.

Our first session is this Wednesday, 18th April 2012 from 17:30 – 19:00.  We invite you to bring your crafting projects to show off to the group but don’t worry if you don’t have any as you’ll have the chance to get creative at the group. – We can’t wait to see what you create!

For more information, please contact Rhoda on 0116 2559995

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Aging HIV/AIDS Survivors Create New Class of Patients

Being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS used to be a death sentence.  Today, for many people, the disease is a chronic condition that can be managed with anti-retroviral drugs.  Drug treatment has helped people with HIV infection live long and normal lives.  Now, as the HIV/AIDS population ages, they are facing a unique set of health challenges.

In sub-Saharan Africa, antiretroviral treatment (ART) has reduced the mortality rate among HIV-infected people by 20 percent. Many of the people receiving treatment who are now in their forties are expected to live well into their sixties.

Dr. Till Barnighausen, of the Harvard School of Public Health, says there is a need to recognise this population and their unique health issues, issues which did not exist until recently.

“We are now in a lucky situation that people infected with HIV in Africa and sub-Saharan Africa live to old ages,” said Barnighausen.  “But with this prediction comes the challenge to prepare health and social systems to adequately respond to this new population, which will come into being over the coming decades.”

Dr. Barnighausen says these people will have special disease burdens, and their treatment will require special expertise.  For instance, new clinical trials are needed to learn whether antiretroviral treatments could interfere with drugs that HIV patients might be taking for other chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

“In old age this is really compounded by the fact that the physiology changes over the life course, by the fact that adherence to treatment might become reduced in older age. There are very specialized needs that have to be met in older patients,” said Barnighausen.

Dr. R. J. Simmonds is Vice President at Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, a group committed to fighting HIV and AIDS specifically in women and children. He says the issue of aging has emerged as a new challenge of the HIV epidemic.

“We are seeing that people are developing certain types of cancers at a higher rate – the combination of HIV and the treatment for HIV is leading to higher rates for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Osteoporosis,” Simmonds noted.

These older patients will put new demands on the health care system. Public health experts say that treatment services established in response to the AIDS epidemic will need to expand to address the unique health problems of the world’s aging HIV/AIDS population.

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