This week Mzilikazi wa Afrika, a Sunday Times journalist, was arrested in Rosebank Johannesburg. The circumstances, manner and cause of his arrest all seem to point to intimidation by the state and attempts to suppress freedom of expression. The right to free expression and freedom of the press and other media are essential components of democracy. That is why they are contained in the Bill of Rights. They are one of the essential means by which all people in South Africa, especially the vulnerable, exploited and poor, can hold government and the powerful private business sector to account. We therefore unequivocally condemn the arrest of wa Afrika.
Article by Nonkosi Khumalo, Chairperson of the Treatment Action Campain. Originally published by the Sowetan on 3 August 2010.
In his column published in the Sowetan on 27 July 2010 (“Research on HIV prevention gel put black lives at risk”), Andile Mngxitama viciously attacks South African researchers who recently announced a huge breakthrough in the development of a microbicide, a gel that they hope women will be able to use to reduce their risk of being infected with HIV from sex. Under the guise of black consciousness he distorts facts, takes an opinion on something he knows little about, and makes statements that will cause life-threatening confusion. Steve Biko would never have written in this way. Mr Mngxitama is wrong on every count.
Photo by Jens Schicke
ETV is promoting quackery by airing Christ Embassy’s weekly info commercial at 7:30 on Sunday mornings. During the commercial the pastor who runs the church claims to faith-heal a number of diseases including cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Christ Embassy's website claims that Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, the proprietor of this church, can faith-heal HIV. By claiming to heal life-threatening conditions, Christ Embassy is leading people to believe that they no longer have to adhere to treatment or seek appropriate medical care.
South Africa is facing dual HIV/TB epidemics and therefore South African media outlets have a responsibility to promote correct information about prevention, treatment and care. The promotion of quackery by ETV is undermining these efforts. We call on ETV to cease airing the commercials.
TAC supports medical male circumcision as an effective HIV prevention method. Studies have shown that medical male circumcision can reduce a heterosexual man's chances of contracting HIV by 60%. Medical male circumcision should be rolled out with expanded access to condoms to reduce new HIV infections.
However, TAC is alarmed by the use of the Tara KLamp by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health in performing medical male circumcisions. The Tara KLamp has been shown to be unsafe for use on adult and adolescent males. We therefore call on the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health to recall the use of the device.
To see TAC's flier on the Tara KLamp click here.
Programme director, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen
Let me start by thanking the organisers of the 18th International AIDS Conference for inviting me to address this plenary session. In the past South Africa has been the subject of much criticism at these conferences for being a heavily divided country on its approach to the HIV and AIDS pandemic. However, I can stand before you today and state categorically that in 2010 all of South Africa is united behind our work on HIV prevention and treatment. Through the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) a structure chaired by the Deputy President of our country we have achieved a common purpose and approach to the challenge of HIV and AIDS.
Click on the link to see all of the TAC district newsletters for March - May 2010.
Doctor Arash Alaei and Doctor Kamiar Alaei, two well-known Iranian physicians and HIV/AIDS leaders, were detained in June 2008 by Iranian authorities. The physicians, who are brothers, were held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for over six months without charges or trial. On December 31, 2008, a one-day, closed-door trial was held, in which the brothers were tried as conspirators working with an “enemy government” to overthrow the government of Iran. They were also tried at that time on unspecified other charges which neither they nor their lawyer were allowed to know, see the evidence of, or address.
Joint statement by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), Equal Education (EE) and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).
Regular reports of widespread xenophobic criminal activity began reaching us on Sunday evening. Since then, we have learnt of at least 15 incidents in Khayelitsha, all of which have been reported to Khayelitsha Police and the Disaster Management Centre.
We are most distressed by Government’s failure to acknowledge the xenophobic nature of recent attacks and by extension address the fear felt by countless immigrants who have been threatened or directly affected.
The Southern African HIV Clinicians Society and the Treatment Action Campaign support the implementation of a country-wide voulantary male medical circumcision (VMMC) programme. Male medical circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexual men contracting HIV and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
The success of VMMC is dependent on public confidence in the programme's safety. We are therefore deeply concerned that a Malaysian company, Taramedic Corporation, and its South African partner, Carpe Diem Enterprises, are aggressively marketing a circumcision device called the Tara KLamp (TK) to several sub-Saharan African countries, including South Africa. A randomised controlled trial in adolescents and adults found a very high rate of adverse events and much greater pain associated with this device compared to the standard forceps-guided circumcision technique.
HIV incidence is the measure of how many new HIV infections there are over a period of time. Measuring changes in HIV incidence is key to evaluating the effectiveness of prevention interventions – including the provision of antiretroviral treatment (ART), which has been shown to reduce transmission – as well as for quantifying the need for future services, which is important for planning and budgeting. One of the targets of South Africa’s HIV National Strategic Plan is to reduce HIV incidence by half from 2007 to 2011
Attached is a review of the Human Sciences Research Council's publication A Decline in New HIV Infections in South Africa: Estimating HIV Incidence from Three National HIV Surveys in 2002, 2005 and 2008.