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AFRO-NETS> Newsletter: HIV/AIDS weekly from IRIN



Newsletter: HIV/AIDS weekly from IRIN
-------------------------------------

 From the Moderator: The following newsletter from the Integrated Re-
gional Information Networks (IRIN) issued by the UN Office for the 
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is sent out via AFRO-NETS as an 
example and can be individually received via e-mail.

For further information and free subscriptions 
mailto:irin@ocha.unon.org
or go to the IRIN Web site:
http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN

--
IRIN HIV/AIDS Weekly - 25
Africa
04 May 2001

NEWS:
SOUTH AFRICA: SA truckers show high HIV prevalence rate
SOUTH AFRICA: SA and India sign cheap drugs deal
SOUTH AFRICA: AIDS support group celebrates launch
ZAMBIA: Konkola Copper Mines releases HIV report
NAMIBIA: Three HIV/AIDS projects receive funds
BURUNDI: Burundian women soldiers learn HIV prevention
BURUNDI: Burundi forges drug deal under UNAIDS initiative
SOUTHERN AFRICA: Poverty, HIV/AIDS a challenges for southern Africa
AFRICA: Global AIDS fund to push drug firms to cut prices

LINKS:
Secure The Future
UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS
Global-AIDS-Alliance

CONFERENCES/RESEARCH:
Second International Workshop on clinical pharmacology of HIV therapy
11TH Annual Clinical Care Options for HIV Symposium
First IAS conference on pathogenesis and HIV infection treatment
Elisa test less expensive than PCR for diagnosis in infants


1. NEWS: 

SOUTH AFRICA: SA truckers show high HIV prevalence rate

Prostitutes who studied the habits of long distance truck drivers in 
1999 and 2000 found that a third of those surveyed always stopped for 
sex during journeys and more than half tested positive for HIV, AFP 
has reported. The Medical Research Council, which released the study 
results on Tuesday, said it showed that 56 percent of drivers sur-
veyed in eastern KwaZulu-Natal province were HIV-positive, that 34 
percent of them reported always stopping for sex during journeys and 
that 29 percent never used condoms with prostitutes. At one truck 
stop, 95 percent of surveyed drivers were HIV-positive. All 320 driv-
ers who were surveyed travelled to three or more provinces in South 
Africa, and most travelled to neighboring countries. Of the 320, 70 
percent had wives or girlfriends, and few had ever used a condom with 
these regular partners. "The study highlights the urgent need to deal 
with the HIV epidemic across political boundaries in the southern Af-
rican region," the council was quoted as saying. The council called 
for the urgent establishment of mobile clinics along trucking routes, 
co-operation between the government and the trucking industry on AIDS 
awareness and condom distribution to truckers and prostitutes. Coun-
cil researchers recruited 10 prostitutes at five truck stops to 
gather data from their clients. The women were trained to obtain the 
truckers' informed consent to participate in the study, to complete 
questionnaires and to obtain a saliva sample for HIV testing. The 
women were very enthusiastic about the project, Gita Ramjee, one of 
the researchers, was quoted as saying. "For them it was something em-
powering, the ability to become a researcher," Ramjee said. She said 
the council decided to use the women partly because it was unsure how 
accessible the drivers would be to "outside" researchers.


SOUTH AFRICA: SA and India sign cheap drugs deal

South African Health Minister Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and Indian 
Health Minister CP Thakur signed a declaration of intent on Monday to 
co-operate on obtaining cheap drugs for the Southern African Develop-
ment Community, Sapa reported. "We will be discussing further the 
possibility of transferring technology and building the capacity of 
our country and region with regard to pharmaceutical services," Tsha-
balala-Msimang was quoted as saying. The health department would also 
work with India on community-based HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis pro-
grammes, nutrition programmes, research and to combat waterborne dis-
eases. In addition, India and South Africa would share health and 
medical information, the report said. The country was "looking for-
ward to partnerships for affordable medicines" Tshabalala-Msimang 
said. Thakur was quoted as saying that the agreement would increase 
the South African and African market for Indian drug makers. He added 
that the countries would adhere to World Trade Organisation agree-
ments.


SOUTH AFRICA: AIDS support group celebrates launch

The National Association of People living with HIV/AIDS (NAPWA) is to 
launch its branch in North West province on Saturday. The support 
group has invited all those who are interested to the Barolong Rec-
reation Complex from midday. In addition, a fundraising party is to 
be held at 21h00. For more information: 
mailto:20026831@worldonline.co.za


ZAMBIA: Konkola Copper Mines releases HIV report

Eighteen percent of Zambia's Konkola Copper Mines workers have been 
found to be HIV positive. The company's CEO has announced that a 
prevalence survey of HIV in Konkola's workforce, which was published 
recently, had been necessary to help plan future operations. It was 
also needed to improve the health of workers. A total of 8,523 work-
ers were tested. The survey, which was completely voluntary and in-
cluded a counselling component, was undertaken as a first step of 
Konkola's strategy to address AIDS in the company. Approximately 64 
percent of workers agreed to voluntary testing. 
For more information, please contact: 
Ken Ofosu-Barko
Country Programme Adviser
mailto:kofosu-barko@unicef.zm


NAMIBIA: Three HIV/AIDS projects receive funds

US-based drug company Bristol Myers Squibb, in partnership with the 
Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC), announced on 28 
March that they would provide about US $360,000 to fund three 
HIV/AIDS projects. The grants bring to more than US $40 million the 
total amount Bristol Myers Squibb has released through its Secure the 
Future projects in five African countries. For more information, 
please contact:

Mulu Tennagashaw
Country Programme Adviser
mailto:mulunesh.tennagashaw@undp.org


BURUNDI: Burundian women soldiers learn HIV prevention

The Burundian defence ministry recently organised a two-day training 
seminar for women recruits on ways to avoid HIV/AIDS infection, PANA 
reported last Saturday. The report said Burundi had introduced new 
regulations which required young girls to undergo military training 
after completing high school. One of the trainers, Dr Sophonie Niyon-
davyi, was quoted as saying it was important to promote awareness 
about HIV/AIDS among this vulnerable group. The recruits were briefed 
about the different modes of HIV transmission and ways to avoid con-
tracting the virus. The report said between 3 percent and 8 percent 
of the entire population was estimated to be living with HIV or AIDS. 
While the urban prevalence rate had remained stable because of inten-
sive awareness campaigns over the past four years, the number of HIV 
cases had been rising in the countryside due to factors such as pros-
titution by women forced to live in camps for people displaced by 
war, the report said. It also stated that only 300 people living with 
HIV/AIDS were being treated with life-prolonging anti-retrovirals.


BURUNDI: Burundi forges drug deal under UNAIDS initiative

Burundi has signed a deal with drug makers Boehringer Ingelheim, 
Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline and Merck to purchase heavily 
discounted HIV/AIDS anti-retroviral drugs under the Accelerating Ac-
cess Initiative of the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Accord-
ing to the deal, over the next year Burundi would be able to quadru-
ple the number of patients treated in the country, according to 
GlaxoSmithKline, which said in a statement on Monday that it was of-
fering its Combivir product at US $2 per day, or 10 percent of the 
average world price. The announcement of the deal coincided with the 
country's national AIDS day. Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Rwanda, 
Senegal and Uganda have already signed deals under the UNAIDS initia-
tive.


SOUTHERN AFRICA: Poverty, HIV/AIDS a challenge for southern Africa

The Southern Africa Development Community's (SADC) 14 countries face 
great challenges in confronting poverty, HIV/AIDS and discrimination 
against women, according to the SADC Regional Human Development Re-
port launched in Windhoek, Namibia, on Thursday. According to the 
UNDP's Newsfront, the report called for SADC countries to pursue a 
policy of "deep integration" to increase economic growth and job 
creation, to meet these challenges. The SADC should also increase co-
operation in combating HIV/AIDS, strengthen the fight against crime 
and set up effective mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolu-
tion, the report said. The report called the HIV/AIDS pandemic a "ma-
jor disaster" for the region, which has the highest infection rates 
among teens and adults aged 15 to 49 in the world. HIV/AIDS was hav-
ing an impact on life expectancy, which fell in the region from 52 
years in 1995 to 49 years in 1998, and also on economic growth, the 
report said. Women suffered more than men in terms of higher infec-
tion rates and in coping with the burdens of care, it added. The 304 
page report was the second SADC Regional Human Development Report 
commissioned by the UNDP and prepared by the Southern African Re-
gional Institute for Policy Studies.


AFRICA: Global AIDS fund to push drug firms to cut prices

Wealthy nations will use the leverage of a proposed global fund 
against AIDS to pressure drug companies into funding more AIDS re-
search while cutting prices on pills, Reuters has reported. In New 
York to attend a UN Economic and Social Council meeting this week, 
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown flatly ruled out us-
ing the fund to pour money into buying drugs, in effect subsidising 
pharmaceutical firms "to sell drugs at high prices", the report said. 
However, he was quoted as saying there was "a question of us bringing 
them in when we constitute a global fund, so that we can actually en-
sure what we are setting out to do, and that is that the research is 
done in the diseases that are causing deaths and equally that the 
price at which drugs are available for the poorest countries is com-
ing down". Brown and International Development Secretary Clare Short 
also said industrial nations should team up with UN Secretary-General 
Kofi Annan on the new fund so that there would be no duplication of 
effort. "We want one fund. There is a real danger in development that 
you get proliferation in funds and initiatives," Short was quoted as 
saying. "So we are very keen on a joint effort." Annan last week pro-
posed a single super fund capable of halting and reversing the spread 
of AIDS, which has killed nearly 22 million people in Africa alone. 
He told an African summit in Nigeria that another US $7 billion to US 
$10 billion a year would be needed to finance a global assault on 
AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, compared with the approximately US $1 
billion a year spent now. World Bank President James Wolfensohn said 
last Friday that the Bank would shortly provide an additional US $500 
million to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. Speaking ahead of 
the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington, Wolfensohn was 
quoted as saying the fight against AIDS was an ongoing priority for 
the Bank. "I announced a few months ago a US $500 million programme 
for Africa. That's virtually used up. I'm about to do another US $500 
million," he was quoted as saying.


2. LINKS:

Secure the future

Secure The Future is an initiative of Bristol-Myers Squibb, in part-
nership with the African nations of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, 
Lesotho and Swaziland. Its aims is to find sustainable and relevant 
solutions for the management of HIV/AIDS in women and children, and 
to provide resources to improve community education and patient sup-
port. To read all about its efforts, please see:
http://www.securethefuture.com/


UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS

For information on the UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS from 25-27 
June, please see:
http://www.un.org/ga/aids/


Global-AIDS-Alliance

Modelled on the Jubilee 2000 campaign against third-world debt, the 
Global-AIDS-Alliance was formed at the end of March to mobilise po-
litical and social commitment for action against HIV/AIDS. At both 
the national and international level, the GAA will lead three aggres-
sive campaigns. For more information, please see:
http://www.escribe.com/politics/cocbe/m561.html


3. CONFERENCES/RESEARCH:

Second International Workshop on clinical pharmacology of HIV therapy

David M. Burger, PharmD, PhD, reports on highlights, including new 
data on therapeutic drug monitoring, drug-drug interactions, and al-
ternative antiretroviral dosing regimens. For more details, please 
see:
http://hiv.medscape.com/37107.rhtml?srcmp=aids-042701


11TH Annual Clinical Care Options for HIV Symposium 

The 11th Annual Clinical Care Options for HIV Symposium will take 
place in Laguna Niguel, California, from 31 May to 3 June, 2001. Full 
programme details are now available online.

For more details, please see:
http://www.imedoptions.com/


First IAS conference on pathogenesis and HIV infection treatment

The 1st IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment will take 
place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 8 July to 11 July, 2001.

For more details, please see:
http://www.aids2001ias.org


--
IRIN-AIDS 
Tel: + 27-11-880-4633 
Fax: + 27-11-447-5472 
mailto:AIDS@irin.org.za

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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
2001]

---
Dr. Leela McCullough 
Director of Information Services
SATELLIFE 
30 California Street
Watertown, MA 02472, USA 
Tel: +1-617-926-9400 
Fax: +1-617-926-1212 
mailto:leela@usa.healthnet.org
http://www.healthnet.org 

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