WASHing Up: Making Health Care Facilities Safer for People Living with HIV

This is a special blog on HIV and water written for Blog Action Day 2010. People living with HIV (PLWH) have compromised immunity, which means that they are highly susceptible to waterborne infections. Unsafe water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene can spread diseases that cause such life-threatening symptoms as diarrhea, which can be especially lethal to PLWH. The good news is that, even in the most remote locations, individuals and health care facilities can take simple measures to prevent infections.

Many Hands: How to Reach HIV Positive Youth

In my community, youth are still unable to access youth-friendly HIV services. I believe communities like mine can empower HIV-positive youth who choose to be open about their HIV status by providing self-esteem training; supporting them to establish youth-centered positive prevention clubs; educating them on condom use, then making protection supplies available; and finally by linking them to existing youth centers and youth organizations to access reproductive health and HIV services.

New Media and the 2010 National Gay Men’s Health Summit

Later this month, the 2010 National Gay Men’s Health Summit (GMHS 2010) will take place August 25-30 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. According to the recently released National HIV/AIDS Strategy, “Gay and bisexual men have comprised the largest proportion of the HIV epidemic in the United States since the first cases were reported in the 1980s, … Continue reading “New Media and the 2010 National Gay Men’s Health Summit”

Health systems strengthening: The dichotomy between HIV and non-HIV services

The recent unprecedented investment in combating the HIV pandemic by United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have led to the debate on whether HIV programs have strengthened or undermined national health systems in developing countries. The debate was continued by health system strengthening (HSS) … Continue reading “Health systems strengthening: The dichotomy between HIV and non-HIV services”

Is the family/community model the right way to combat the HIV & AIDS epidemic?

Finally the global community has seen the importance of involving the family & community in the fight against HIV & AIDS. After a number of research studies and project implementations, we have finally realized that HIV is a family issue, and the right way to minimize the effects of the epidemic is to utilize the power of family and community support–the closest source of support for people affected by HIV.

Through Mutinta’s Eyes: The HIV epidemic in Zambia

But, I have also seen hope. I have seen people, organizations, countries coming together, putting resources together to help Zambians. I have seen a disease which was once a death sentence become a disease that can be managed, thanks to all the resources that have gone into providing testing facilities & ART, as well as care and support programs. I have seen the disease itself change from the virulent attacks characteristic of the early textbook description of AIDS, including severe oral thrush, severe Herpes Zoster, other skin manifestations; the AIDS we see now is milder, I think.

#AIDS2010 presentations take closer look at ART Guidelines

What is the lesson learned from this new evidence? Probably, our programs will see more and more frequently the use of CD4 count tests, depending on various national policies and the different degree of compliance with the WHO guidelines. We need to be ready to incorporate this element into our activities that are related to HIV care and treatment. Additionally, we may look into possible alternative options to implement the provision of CD4 tests.

Reaching IDUs & Sex Workers with Comprehensive HIV Workers in Central Asia

You are right, it is both clear and difficult. It is difficult because first you need funding and political will. IDUs and sex workers are rarely considered priority populations from the point of view of governments, but in concentrated HIV epidemics such as there are in Central Asia, these are exactly the populations that need to be prioritized.

Next, the populations themselves are difficult to reach. Because of stigma and discrimination, as well as the criminalization of sex work and drug use, people who engage in these activities are hidden. To reach them, we have to draw them out to drop-in centers that attract them with needed services, or find them with outreach workers who know and understand the population.

TB & HIV Together Must be Evaluated Alone

There is still something missing in the monitoring of TB/HIV activities that would be worth collecting. TB and both ART and pre-ART patients are currently being assessed in cohorts and their outcome measured according to standardized categories. However, little is known about the outcome of co-infected individuals, since their details get mixed with the overall cohort they belong to.