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AIDS and The Woman

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26 April 2012
Females in our society are at a greater risk of falling victim to this scourge. SANA RIYAZ reports

What is more important than a healthy life? Life is a blessing bestowed by the Almighty to each individual. Even the nature is bestowed with unseen life. However, there are some hurdles in its course and these often come in the form of incurable diseases such as AIDS.

Acquired Immuno–Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus. The illness interferes with the immune system, making people with AIDS much more likely to get infections, including opportunistic infections and tumours that do not affect people with working immune systems. This susceptibility gets worse as the disease continues.

HIV is transmitted through sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral and anal), contaminated blood transfusions and hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It can be transmitted by contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid that has the virus in it, such as the blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre–seminal fluid or breast milk from an infected person.


Although treatments for HIV/AIDS can slow down the course of the disease, there is no known cure or HIV vaccine. Antiretroviral treatment (ART) reduces both the deaths and new infections from HIV/AIDS, but these drugs are expensive and the medications are not available in all countries. Due to the difficulty in treating HIV infection, preventing infection is a key aim in controlling the AIDS pandemic, with health organisations promoting safe sex and needle–exchange programmes in attempts to slow the spread of the virus.

AIDS Among Women

Women are generally at a greater risk of heterosexual transmission of HIV. Biologically women are twice more likely to become infected with HIV through unprotected heterosexual intercourse than men. In many countries women are less likely to be able to negotiate Condom use and are more likely to be subjected to non–consensual sex.

At the end of 2010 it was estimated by a Government survey that out of the 34 million adults worldwide living with HIV and AIDS, half are women. The AIDS epidemic has a unique impact on women, which has make worse their role within society and their biological vulnerability to HIV infection. The responsibility of caring for AIDS patients is also an issue that has a greater effect on women.


India urged to scale up treatment for HIV positive mothers

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26 April 2012
New Delhi India

Lauding India's efforts in providing treatment to HIV affected people, UNAIDS on Thursday urged the country to scale up its healthcare services for the benefit of HIV positive mothers and children.

"If we want zero AIDS–related deaths, India needs massive scale up of treatment and care services. By 2015, we need at least 15 million people on treatment world–wide," Charles Gilks, country coordinator for UNAIDS, said.

Gilks was speaking at the summit on good practices, innovations and impact of National AIDS Control Programme–III organised by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO).

The second day of the three–day Summit brought together experts and community leaders who stressed on concrete strategies that are required to strengthen care, support and treatment in the next phase of the National HIV programme.

"We have an unfinished agenda. Stigma, discrimination and denial faced by HIV positive people is still very high," Aradhana Johri, Additional Secretary, Department of AIDS, said.

While Gilks said India should focus to improve services for pregnant mothers, Mohammed Shaukat, Deputy Director General of NACO, said though the number of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) centres increased from 107 in 2007 to 355 in 2012, HIV positive people are accessing them at a very late stage.

"It is important for HIV positive people to start ART soon to improve the quality of life," he said.

NACO has directed all ART centres to provide ART for anyone who has a CD4 count of 350 from 250 earlier. The CD4 count determines the immunity levels of a person living with HIV.

Manoj Paradesi, living with HIV for 18 years, said there is an urgent need to listen to voices of the community.


Lack of Protein is Red Light For b’war Peth’s HIV+

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Times of India
10 April 2012
By Gitesh Shelke
• ART gives HIV+ CSWs, their kids side effects due to poorly balanced diet
• Their meals are taken away by brothel keepers, reducing their protein intake

For the past few years, Geeta (name changed to protect identity), an HIV+ commercial sex worker (CSW) in the city’s red light area of Budhwar Peth has been living mostly on fast food, as her daily dabba meal delivered from NGO Saheli’s community kitchen is taken away forcibly by the brothel owner. The lack of protein in her diet has meant that Geeta and 55 other HIV+ patients, including 16 children of CSWs, are not responding to the crucial Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). In a bid to bring their diet back on track, Saheli has now decided to stop delivering meals to doorsteps and has instead asked these HIVaffected CSWs and their children to drop in to the community kitchen and pick up their meals, while giving them additional protein–rich food like milk and eggs.

One In Eight Indians Suffers From chronic Sinusitis

NGO director Tejaswi Sevekari told Mirror that of the 850 CSWs registered with Saheli, 52 women are HIV+ as well as their 16 children. “Out of these total, 12 patients have dropped out of the ART regime but the remaining 40 women and 16 children are on ART. It was found that they were suffering a lot of side effects due to the ART, like nausea, dizziness and indigestion, which was unusual,” Sevekari said.

Saheli workers then decided to study the diets of those showing side effects to ART and consulted doctors, following which they realised that these HIV patients were not getting enough of protein in their food.

Dr Sanjay Pujari, an expert in infectious diseases, said that due to improper dietary balance, the women might not be maintaining the correct Body Mass Index (BMI) and this could be causing side effects. “Otherwise, there shouldn’t be any side effects of ART. Sometimes, due to improper food habits, there is lack in haemoglobin which can also give rise to side effects,” Pujari said.


Soon, Jail for Targeting HIV Patients

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Times of India
09 April 2012
New Delhi India
By: Subodh Ghildiyal

The government has drafted some path-breaking provisions in the longpending HIV-AIDS (Prevention and Control) bill which lays down inviolable rights for the stigmatized group.

Among the provisions drafted in are a person can be jailed for up to two years if his/her spoken or written word leads to hostility or hatred towards an HIV patient and an AIDS-hit person cannot be denied employment or sacked except with a written assessment from an independent healthcare provider saying that there is a risk of transmission of the virus to others at the workplace. Soon, jail for targeting HIV patients


Crime Is Not Having HIV, But Giving it to Someone Else

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02 April 2012
Shain Germaner

Siphiwe Maloyi* and his wife, Vuyo* had been married for only a short while when he filed for divorce after his wife revealed that she was HIV-positive – something she had known for years.

Siphiwe alleged his wife concealed her status until after they were married.

Vuyo had previously dated a famous local singer who died of an AIDS-related illness, and discovered her own HIV status shortly after his death. Now the couple is preparing for a messy divorce, and if he felt he wanted to, Siphiwe could criminally charge the woman he loved.

Siphiwe chose not to disclose his status to The Star, but said his marriage to Vuyo had changed his life forever. He had also not decided if criminal prosecution was the right way to deal with an already terrible situation.

The couple’s story is tragic, but the criminalisation of HIV transmission has been a topic of major debate in SA since 2001.

DA leader Helen Zille revived the debate last year when she called for a more monogamous sexual culture.

“It is fair to require everyone to know their status, and to avoid situations that involve the direct exchange of bodily fluids with others…

“While this precaution applies to everyone, people who are HIV-positive have a particular duty to disclose their status in situations where others could be at risk. No one can be assumed to have had consensual sex in a situation of non-disclosure,” Zille said last November.

According to current legislation, those who deliberately transmit the virus are liable to be charged with murder, assault, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, rape and indecent assault. If the victim dies as a result of the transmission, family members may also sue the person responsible for the infection for negligent conduct.


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