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HIV AIDS

Debates

Sex education: need acknowledged, programme ignored

By Shabnam Minwalla

With 34% of all HIV cases occurring in the 15-24 age group, imparting sexuality education to adolescents could be crucial for containing HIV/AIDS. But in India, where sexual taboos are strong, neither teachers nor parents are happy discussing the facts about sexuality with youngsters, writes Shabnam Minwalla.

The enemy may be tinier than a speck of dust, but the resources gathered to battle it are enormous. Despite the media blitzes, poster campaigns and drug onslaughts, however, the virus remains undefeated—and an estimated 2.4 million people in India today live with HIV.

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Media

How one newspaper thinks positive

By Papri Sri Raman

Positive+, the eight-page bi-lingual free HIV-AIDS newspaperPositive +, a free bilingual newspaper brought out on a laptop from Asma Naseer’s living room is India’s first newspaper on HIV/AIDS. The paper’s commitment to building up a friendship with the reader and its innovative design have made it popular in and around Chennai where it already faces a demand for more copies than the 5000 it can afford to print.

Maragatham, 35, is a daily passenger on the train to Chennai, which stops at Karur, a textile town, 430 kilometres south of the metropolis.

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»From candid camera to condemned By R Induja
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Books & Reports

The tragedies and triumphs of living with HIV/AIDS

By Shabnam Minwalla

Some experiences of HIV-positive people are horribly negative – young children abandoned by families, old men left to die on rubbish heaps – but thanks to better treatment options and public information, there are also stories of lives lived fruitfully and with courage. Shabnam Minwalla reviews three books that tell these stories

“I have a successful career. I enjoy music. I like to work out at the gym. I miss my flights sometimes. I am also-HIV positive for the last 11 years.”

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»Overstating the case for blood-borne transmission By Anant Phadke
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»Ensuring equity in access to ART
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»Report of the Commission on AIDS in Asia
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Response

Friend, guide and councellor

By Rimjhim Jain

Members discussing positive living and nutrition in DLN get-togethersOrganised networks of HIV- positive people have penetrated to the districts where they are active in reaching out to identified positive people. Most prevention and care programmes by both national and international bodies closely liaise now with DLNs to ensure the success of their projects. Rimjhim Jain looks at their achievements in different states.

When the first case of HIV was identified in India in 1986, the infected person, Dominic D’Souza of Goa, was arrested and kept in isolation by authorities. In the 24 years since then, there has been a massive change in the way positive people are treated.

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»Challenges in facing the HIV epidemic in Pakistan By Sandhya Srinivasan
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»'UNAIDS will continue to fight to ensure that laws reflect the rights of people' By Rashme Sehgal
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HIV & Human Rights

If the patients decide not to tell what can we do?

Partner notification is an important component of HIV counseling. However, counsellors are often frustrated by the reluctance of HIV-positive patients to voluntarily notify their sexual partners. Barnabas N Njozing, Kerstin E Edin, Miguel San Sebastian and Anna-Karin Hurtig report on interviews with TB/HIV counselors and legal professionals in Cameroon, to explore their perspectives regarding confidentiality and partner notification.

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»HIV/AIDS Activism Reaches Beyond Health Issues By Sandhya Srinivasan
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»The power of community in advancing the right to health: A conversation with Anand Grover
By Alec Irwin
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»Legalising gay existence: the Delhi High Court verdict By Vivek Raj Anand
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Vulnerable Groups

Children and women with HIV face destitution and violence

By R Meera

Fifteen per cent of India’s 2.5 million HIV-positive are children. That’s 375,000 children, with 50,000 being born infected or becoming infected each year. The government has woken up to the tragedy and held a series of public hearings across the country recently. Sandhya Srinivasan spoke to R Meera who attended the hearings.

“HIV has been addressed for more than 20 years but there has not been enough focus on core areas such as the needs of women and children.”

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»‘Denial of education most common problem faced by HIV affected children’ By Anosh Malekar
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Treatment

When should HIV treatment start?

By Ajithkumar K

Scientific evidence is mounting for ART to be started at an earlier stage than currently recommended by WHO/NACO. But for healthcare systems in the developing world already struggling to meet existing demands, is this a viable option, asks Ajithkumar K

When should a person with HIV be started on anti-retroviral treatment (ART)? The controversy has erupted once more with the publication of studies indicating that starting treatment early will extend a person’s life. These findings question NACO’s current guidelines and also raise some important issues of public health and ethics.  Should we change our guidelines on the basis of these reports?

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» HIV/AIDS in India: The wider picture By Rupa Chinai
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Research

A vaccine for AIDS – hope, caution and opportunity

By Shahid Jameel

Senior scientist Shahid Jameel says the partially successful HIV vaccine trial in Thailand has offered a direct opportunity to understand the correlates of protection in humans. The initial trial results, though modest, will surely energise HIV vaccine research towards a more complete analysis of the successful immune response

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, has been a difficult target for vaccine developers.
Vaccines are substances that mimic a disease-causing agent (pathogen) in order to raise immunity in the host (human), which disables (neutralises) and clears the pathogen from the host in the event of a natural infection.

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»Biomedical research on HIV/AIDS in India By Sheela Godbole and Sanjay Mehendale
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»Vaccine development: Still a shot in the dark By Sandhya Srinivasan
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»What are the challenges of conducting clinical trials for an HIV vaccine? By Sandhya Srinivasan
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Living with HIV

Duped and exploited: Orissa’s migrant workers

Desperate Migrants

Close to 2 million people migrate out of Orissa in search of work every year. Only 50,000 of them are registered with the authorities, making it difficult to protect these desperate migrants from tricksters and exploitative employers.

Thousands of migrant Indian workers landed in New Delhi during the last week of April this year, forced to leave Middle East and North African nations that have witnessed people’s movements for democracy. The unrest in Libya in particular threw many Indian labourers out of work.

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»An HIV epidemic fuelled by drugs, guns and underdevelopment By Dilnaz Boga
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»Elopement adds to the HIV burden in Manipur By Anjulika Thingnam
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»Occupational exposure to HIV: A personal story
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Interventions

Implications of migration on the health of communities

By Manjima Bhattacharjya

Diseases such as HIV/AIDS and the current swine flu pandemic have highlighted the connection between the large scale movement of people and health. With more than 200 million migrants in the world, migration - internal and across borders - is here to stay. It thus makes sense for all countries to put a migrant-friendly health system in place, argues Manjima Bhattacharjya

Over the last few weeks, the panic of swine flu has led to a new addition in the regular ‘check in-security check-boarding’ and ‘disembark-baggage claim-customs’ routine of international air travel.
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»Bridging the education gap By CHitra Ananthem
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»Sexuality, politics and HIV  By Padma Govindan
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»In this powerloom town, knowledge about HIV is power By Pankajkumar Bedi
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Global Scenario

A global assessment of AIDS prevalence

By Agrima Bhasin

According to the 2007 UNAIDS Global AIDS Report there was a 16% drop in HIV cases over the previous year mainly due to revised estimates in several countries.

  • According to UNAIDS' 2007 Global AIDS report, an estimated 33.2 million (30.6 million–36.1 million) people worldwide were living with HIV in 2007. Of these, 30.8 million were adults (28.2–33.6 million), 2.5 million (2.2–2.6 million) were children under the age of 15 years. Of the adults, 15.4 million (13.9–16.6 million) were women.
  • An estimated 2.5 million (1.8 million–4.1 million) became newly infected with HIV in 2007 – of which 2.1 million (1.4–3.6 million) were adults and 420 000 (350 000–540 000) were children under 15 years
  • An estimated 2.1 million (1.9 million–2.4 million) people and lost their lives to AIDS in 2007. Of these, 1.7 million (1.6–2.1 million) were adults and 330 000 (310 000–380 000) were children under the age of 15 years.

Short Notes

Draft HIV/AIDS bill leaves out key provisions

Positive people's networks have protested the deletion of 38 key provisions in the latest version of the HIV-AIDS Bill which is being discussed by the law ministry and health ministry.

The bill was drafted by the health ministry and the Lawyers' Collective in 2006 after discussions with individuals and organisations representing various concerned sections of society, including people living with HIV, sex workers and injecting drug users. It was then sent to the ministry of law and justice for vetting.

In the versions sent back by the ministry, many important provisions were missing. One of the provisions not included is to guarantee emergency health services for people with HIV.

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Resources

Funding

Announcements for funding/aid/grants by various organisations for HIV/AIDS related activities

For home-based care providers

AIDS has changed the fabric of communities around the world and placed a   burden on the lives of many people, especially girls and women, young and  old. With health systems failing and people living longer with HIV thanks to   access to antiretrovirals (ARVs), mainly poor women are increasingly forced   to devote their time, energy, skills and the little resources to care for   their family members at home and provide their services to the wider   community, often at great expense to themselves. This invisible   task-shifting is insufficiently recognised, valued and validated as work.

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»HIV/AIDS Seminar report
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»HIV/AIDS Seminar audio presentation
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»Publications
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HIV in India

Sentinel surveillance and the 2007 HIV estimates

By M Prasanna Kumar

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The HIV/AIDS scenario in India

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