Wednesday, July 30, 2008

UN report on AIDS - Kenya HIV rates rising - Wed 7/30/2009

Progress made in HIV prevention - BBC

There have been significant gains in preventing new HIV infections in a number of heavily-affected countries, a United Nations programme report says.

However, UNAids warns the Aids epidemic is not over in any part of the world.

The report says prevention programmes have seen changes in sexual behaviour, and a drop in infection rates in countries such as Rwanda and Zimbabwe.

Condom use is also increasing among young people with multiple partners in many countries.

Sub-Saharan Africa:
Total infections: 22m
New infections: 1.9m
Deaths: 1.5m

South and Southeast Asia:
Total infections: 4.2m
New infections: 330,000
Deaths: 340,000

Latin America:
Total infections: 1.7m
New infections: 140,000
Deaths: 63,000

Eastern Europe and Central Asia:
Total infections:1.5m
New infections: 110,000
Deaths: 58,000

North America:
Total infections: 1.2m
New infections: 54,000
Deaths: 23,000

East Asia:
Total infections: 740,000
New infections: 52,000
Deaths: 40,000

Western and Central Europe:
Total infections: 730,000
New infections: 27,000
Deaths: 8,000

North Africa and Middle East:
Total infections: 380,000
New infections: 40,000
Deaths: 27,000

Total infections: 230,000
New infections: 20,000
Deaths: 14,000

Total infections: 74,000
New infections: 13,000
Deaths: 1,000

This has been seen in seven of the most affected countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia.

In Cameroon the percentage of young people having sex before the age of 15 has decreased from 35% to 14%.

UNAids reports that since 2005 there has been a tripling of HIV prevention efforts, with a focus on sex workers, men who have sex with men, and injecting drug users.

The report also reveals that the percentage of HIV-positive pregnant women receiving antiretroviral drugs to prevent transmission of the virus to their child rose from 14% in 2005 to 33% in 2007.

In the same period the numbers of new infections among children fell from 410,000 to 370,000.

Dr Peter Piot, UNAIDS executive director, welcomed the progress.

But he said: "Gains in saving lives by preventing new infections and providing treatment to people living with HIV must be sustained over the long term.

"Short-term gains should serve as a platform for reinvigorating combination HIV prevention and treatment efforts and not spur complacency."

Globally, the number of new HIV infections has declined from 3 million in 2001 to 2.7 million in 2007. However, rates of infection are rising in many countries.

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The BBC's Peter Biles reports from an HIV care centre in Johannesburg

There are now an estimated 33 million people living with HIV worldwide, with two million estimated to have died from Aids last year.

Papua New Guinea
Russian Federation

The number of deaths was down for the second consecutive year - 200,000 less than the 2005 figure.

Aids continues to be the leading cause of death in Africa, which accounts for 67% of the total number of people living with HIV.

Six out of ten of those living with HIV in Africa are women.

The UNAids report stresses that the fight against HIV requires sustained long-term financing.

It warns that as more people go on treatment and live longer, budgets for HIV will have to increase over the next few decades.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/07/29 16:41:33 GMT© BBC MMVIII



KENYA: HIV services are scarce on the street
Allan Gichigi/IRIN

It's easier for street people to get drugs than healthcare

MOMBASA, 29 July 2008 (PlusNews) - In the next four months, Rashid Mwaneno Dona will become the father of a baby that he and his girlfriend, Fatma Chelimo, conceived while living on the streets of Mombasa, on the Kenyan coast.

The excited couple have already chosen names: if it is a boy, he will be named DJ, in honour of Dona's dream career; if a girl, she will be named Tamara, after a benefactor of local street children.

Before starting a sexual relationship, Dona and Chelimo went to a local voluntary counselling and testing centre for an HIV test.

"This test changed our lives; we have decided that we have nothing to do with other people, we are going to stick together until we get our baby and think seriously about how to bring it up," Dona told IRIN/PlusNews.

They are an exception rather than the rule; few people living on the street choose to take HIV tests before sexual activity.

"They have become hardened by life on the streets and their main priorities are finding food and day-to-day survival - they rarely think about the implications of unprotected sex," said Dinah Wairimu, a justice and human rights officer for Youth Alive, a Kenyan NGO working with young people.

A high-risk life
"These people have to make a living, so the girls often turn to sex work and will easily have sex without protection; they are also unprotected from sexual violence," Wairimu said. "They are especially vulnerable because many are children orphaned by HIV and have had no real family structures around them when they were growing up."

Illegal drugs were widely available on the streets, and while high on glue and other substances, young people often made unsafe sexual choices or shared needles, putting themselves at greater risk of contracting HIV.

"The majority of the street families in Mombasa and elsewhere have succumbed to HIV due to the 'don't care' lifestyle practiced on the streets," Dona said, adding that people living on the street were extremely sexually active.

A 2004 study on the sexual behaviour of street children in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, by The Society of People with AIDS in Kenya, found that street children began sexual activity between 12 and 14 years of age, and about 80 percent of them were drug users; they also reported being sexually abused.

The researchers found that although most boys and girls knew about the possible consequences of unprotected sex - including pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections - they rarely took this into consideration before engaging in sex, and only a minority used contraceptives.

In Mombasa, child sex tourism is extremely common, and according to a 2006 study by the government and the United Nations Children's Fund, many of the city's child sex workers had spent part of their lives on the street.

Not welcome in hospitals
"There are no programmes directly targeting these people for HIV education - most programmes are geared towards getting them off the street," said Wairimu. "At the group homes they go to they may get HIV education, but not on the streets."

Moreover, street people found it hard to get medical care. "Many hospitals don't accept them; if they get pregnant they give birth on the street and raise their babies on the street," she said.

Many hospitals don't accept them; if they get pregnant they give birth on the street and raise their babies on the street. Many teenagers, children and even families living on the streets found it difficult to access counselling, testing for sexually transmitted infections and treatment, including life-saving ARV [antiretroviral] drugs and the necessary support to ensure that those who were not infected remained uninfected.

"The most common problem street families face is that they suffer TB [tuberculosis], which could be [related to] HIV, but they do not want to come out in the open to seek treatment," Dona said.

Chelimo had learned about HIV before she started living on the streets in early adulthood and sought the help of social workers at the local Tonoka Social Hall as soon as she discovered she was pregnant, and began attending the antenatal clinic.

Soon after, a fire gutted "Maboxini", a construction of cardboard boxes behind a local bank that she and Dona called home, and her clinic records were burnt.

"Since these vital documents were destroyed it has become extremely difficult to receive the care I need because I do not have the records for my pre-natal clinic," she said.

The records are required for attending the clinic. However, she Dona and were lucky; they were able to find accommodation at Tonoka Social Hall, where they get cooked meals every day and have a bed and blanket.

Wairimu said because only a small number of people on the street managed to permanently rejoin mainstream society, there was a need for HIV education among them, and for hospitals to be more sensitive to their needs.

Kenya has an estimated 300,000 street children, 60,000 of whom live in the capital, Nairobi. Mombasa and the western city of Kisumu also have large numbers of children and young adults living on the streets.

Theme(s): (IRIN)
Children, (IRIN) HIV/AIDS (PlusNews), (IRIN) Urban Risk [ENDS]

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