HIV & AIDS

Abubakar Muhammed Kurfi presenting at ICASA, Dec. 7, 2011. Credit: MSH.

Abubakar Muhammed Kurfi presenting at ICASA, Dec. 7, 2011. Credit: MSH.

The Program to Build Leadership and Accountability in Nigeria's Health System (PLAN-Health) -- led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) in conjunction with eight local and international partners -- helped the Nigerian National TB and Leprosy Control Program (NTBLCP) in carry out a capacity assessment. PLAN-Health and NTBLCP defined critical gaps in the program and developed a comprehensive plan to ensure effective tuberculosis (TB) control throughout the Nigeria -- which carries the fourth-largest TB burden in the world.

The 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (ICASA) opened today, December 5, 2011, at the newly refurbished Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with a colorful and lively music and dance production by the Ethiopian National Theatre and Traditional Music Group and the Addis Ababa Youth & Children’s Theatre.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA). Credit: UNAIDS/J.Ose.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé gave an impassioned welcome speech remembering the last 30 years of AIDS and the 24 million African lives lost to the epidemic. He called for solidarity and compassion for the 34 million people currently living with HIV.

A Poem to HIV & AIDS: "Thou hydra-headed restless monster | Killer of millions of my kind | Sower of discord in my nation | I shall fly in thy face until zero"

This year is not only MSH’s 40th anniversary; it is also 30 years since the first reported cases of HIV. Thirty years ago HIV was considered a new, always-fatal disease. ...Today 6.6 million people—nearly half of those in need—will take life-saving antiretrovirals.

Zakia, a nurse in Afghanistan, has become a leader in her health center. After participating in an MSH leadership development program, Zakia led a team of nurses in increasing awareness about family planning, resulting in a doubling of the use of contraceptive pills and an eight-fold increase in the number of condoms distributed in two years. “Everyone here no longer thinks of problems as obstacles in our way, but challenges we must face,” Zakia says.

I am fortunate. I know this from years of experience of reporting about people who have poor or no access to quality health care, from rural areas of West Virginia to Afghanistan to Zambia. But today I feel this deeply, in large part because of an email that I just received.

Only one in twenty cancer patients in Africa receives needed chemotherapy. This is unacceptable. Much needs to be done, much can be done, and much must be done to close the cancer divide.

At age 14, Miriam turned to commercial sex work to provide for her family. Read Miriam's story: sex worker, peer educator, and founder of a community-based organization in Guyana.

We know how to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. But without intervention nearly 40 percent of mothers with HIV/AIDS in developing countries will transmit the virus to their newborns.

Joanie, a woman from Linden, Guyana who is mentally ill, was diagnosed HIV positive in 2005. Her mental illness prevented her from accessing health services and support. Her HIV remained untreated. She rejected the attempts of relatives and friends to assist her, and spent most of the day on the bank of the nearby Demerara River, refusing to wear clothes.

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