Information on Aids and Hiv virus in Mpumalanga South Africa. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)is a variant virus of HTLV-1 (Human T cell Leukemia-Lymphoma Virus 1) and is the causative agent of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) in South Africa

 

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Information on Aids and Hiv virus in Mpumalanga South Africa. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)is a variant virus of HTLV-1 (Human T cell Leukemia-Lymphoma Virus 1) and is the causative agent of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) in South Africa

HIV / AIDS IN AFRICA

© Article by L-J Havemann - 2005 - reprinted with permission from www.mozambiquehappenings.co.za
Reference from Wikipedia

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a variant virus of HTLV-1 (Human T cell Leukemia-Lymphoma Virus 1) and is the causative agent of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). AIDS first surfaced in June 1981 as result of reports from the Los Angeles area, to the Centre of Disease Control, of a type of pneumonia caused by a fungus in homosexual males.

The virus causing this disease was isolated by a group of French and American scientists in 1983.

The virus makes contact with a host cell, enters it and goes through a process of replication which damages and eventually kills the host cell. The infection begins when the virus binds to a protein receptor called CD4 receptor on the surface of helper T cells. Helper T cells are the cells which combat infections and diseases entering our bodies by combining with B cells to amplify antibody production. Through a very complicated process helper T cells are killed and as the process progresses there is a decline in immune functioning. It can thus be said that technically AIDS does not kill a person but allows other opportunistic infections to enter the system. One of the most serious diseases resulting from AIDS is tuberculosis.

The infection begins when the virus binds to a protein receptor called CD4 receptor on the surface of helper T cells. Helper T cells are the cells which combat infections and diseases entering our bodies by combining with B cells to amplify antibody production. Through a very complicated process helper T cells are killed and as the process progresses there is a decline in immune functioning.
When HIV kills CD4+ T cells so that there are fewer than 200 CD4+ T cells per microliter of blood, cellular immunity is lost, leading to the condition known as AIDS.
When this happens, Aids sufferers are no longer able to fight viruses effectively, and should go on anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) to prolong their lives.
There can be extreme reactions to the antiretroviral treatment itself. Nevirapine, particularly, can trigger Steven Johnson Syndrome, which causes excruciatingly painful burn-like blisters all over the body, while cancer in HIV children runs at 20 times the normal rate. Because of this, babies with HIV have only a 50/50 chance of lasting more than a year.

The disease is spread via body fluids contaminated with the virus. The most common forms of transmission are;

  1. Sexual contact between males to males, males to females or female to male through vaginal or anal intercourse with infected people
  2. Exchanges of infected blood. This can be from infected blood transfusions or infected hypodermic needles. Open wounds or mucous membrane exposure is a risk factor in health workers.
  3. The virus can also be transmitted from infected mothers to their infants before or during birth, or through breast feeding.

Although mosquitoes can carry the AIDS virus there is as yet no evidence that the virus can multiply inside a mosquito, nor that they are capable of transmitting the disease.

Two species of HIV infect humans: HIV-1 and HIV-2.
HIV-1 is more virulent and more easily transmitted. and is the source of the majority of HIV infections throughout the world,
HIV-2 is not as easily transmitted and is largely confined to West Africa.
Both HIV-1 and HIV-2 are of primate origin.
HIV-1originated from the Central Common Chimpanzee found in southern Cameroon.
HIV-2 originated from the Sooty Mangabey a monkey occuring in Guinea Bissau, Gabon, and Cameroon.
It is believed by experts that HIV probably infected humans as a result of direct contact with primates, during hunting or butchering them to eat.
A more controversial theory known as the OPV AIDS hypothesis suggested that the AIDS epidemic was accidentaly started in the late 1950s in the Belgian Congo by researchers trying to find a vaccine for polio. According to scientists the available evidence does not support this theory.

At this present time there are no safe drugs or vaccines to prevent the spread of AIDS. The only means of prevention is to stop the transmission of the virus. Medical science at the moment is mounting what must be the greatest concentrated effort ever, to find a cure for a single- virus disease. The male latex condom, if used correctly without oil-based lubricants, is by far the most effective available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexuallytransmitted infections.(80% effective)
Manufacturers recommend that oil-based lubricants such as petroleum jelly, or butter, and margerine should not be used with latex condoms as they weaken the latex, and makes condoms porous.Manufacturers recommend using water-based lubricants.
Latex degrades over time, making the condoms porous. 

Africa is the hardest hit by this disease and poverty and ignorance are major factors contributing to the spread of the virus. Poverty and unemployment leads to people with nothing to do and so promiscuity increases. This promotes a drift to urban centres looking for employment and as the individual's circumstances get more desperate so prostitution becomes more widespread. Cultural beliefs and customs and a lack of understanding of the dangers of unprotected sex through ignorance leads to the disease being spread more rapidly. The fact that the disease can lie dormant with no outward symptoms showing, belies the urgency of a radical change of attitude towards multiple sex partners and unprotected sex.

Although governments are embarking on campaigns to educate their people, it is very late in the day and more people than is fully realised are already HIV positive and sexually active and therefore still spreading the virus.

The stigma and secrecy surrounding the virus contributes to the rising HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Africa.

The majority of children living with HIV have been infected by their mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Most of them have not had to face the psychological trauma of living with the virus because they died within the first two years of life.

Given the fact that there is no vaccine or cure for HIV or AIDS at present, the only methods of prevention are based on avoiding exposure to the virus.

If after a high risk encounter an antiretroviral treatment called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is undertaken.
PEP has a very demanding four week schedule of dosage. It also has very unpleasant side effects including diarrhea, malaise, nausea and fatigue.

Africa is the hardest hit by this disease and poverty and ignorance are major factors contributing to the spread of the virus. Poverty and unemployment leads to people with nothing to do and so promiscuity increases. This promotes a drift to urban centres looking for employment and as the individual’s circumstances get more desperate so prostitution becomes more widespread. Cultural beliefs and customs and a lack of understanding of the dangers of unprotected sex through ignorance leads to the disease being spread more rapidly. The fact that the disease can lie dormant with no outward symptoms showing, belies the urgency of a radical change of attitude towards multiple sex partners and unprotected sex.

Although governments are embarking on campaigns to educate their people, it is very late in the day and more people than is fully realised are already HIV positive and  sexually active and therefore still spreading the virus.
                                                                         
Children born of HIV mothers have a very high likelihood of contracting full-blown AIDS by the time they are five years old, if they don’t then unless there is a major drive to prevent the disease through education , there is a high risk of them contracting the disease when they become sexually active. This can be around about 10 or 11 years old. 

Given the misinformation on AIDS there are numerous cultural beliefs spread by superstition and so called “Traditional Healers”, for instance, that sex with a virgin will cure the virus. This has led to children being raped at as young as eight months old. There is a culture of  “Non-Accountability” being propagated in some African countries at this time and with no deterrent effects in recourse to law and justice, it would seem that this type of abhorrent crime against children is here to stay for the time being.  This also leads to the inability to contain the disease because of ignorance.

Medical science at the moment is mounting what must be the greatest concentrated effort ever, to find a cure for a single- virus disease.

If this spread of this disease is not stopped then Africa is in danger of losing a whole generation of workers because the children will not live long enough. This impact is already being felt by various chain store groups catering mainly to black buyers. There have been an increasing number of articles in financial publications telling of chain store groups scaling down or closing branches because of the collapse of their customer bases. The financial implications of this can be disastrous to business as well as to agriculture and food production with no market or a dwindling market base.

Malaria makes HIV more infectious.
Malaria could be contributing to the spread of HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa by making carriers more likely to pass it on to their sexual partners.
Scientists have discovered that the amount of virus in the blood, increases by about 10 times when HIV positive people are also infected with malaria, raising the chances of transmission by sexual intercourse.
"The Times London"

Misinformation on AIDS back to top

Big companies are facing an enormously costly and sometimes it appear futile task of training competent and skilled staff as a direct result of AIDS deaths in their working staff. Some of the mining houses have embarked on various schemes to educate their own worker force, with varying degrees of success.

The pressure on cemetery sites is becoming a problem with existing cemeteries being filled and new sites problematical because of all the environmental impact requirements governing the location of new cemeteries. The cultural non-acceptance of cremation is compounding the problem. There are numerous reports of undertakers in small towns catering to fifteen funerals per day.

AIDS Orphans are becoming a major burden to our society. At present it appears that the care of the majority of orphans is falling on the shoulders of grandparents particularly grandmothers. A large number of these grandmothers are poverty stricken and are finding it more and more difficult, if not impossible, not only financially but also physically to care for these orphans.

AIDS is without doubt the most devastating pandemic to hit the continent of Africa, ever, and it will require major funding and education to get this pandemic under control. The problem is that even if a cure or a drug to prevent the spread of the disease is found, the infrastructure to distribute the drug or drugs to the affected people does not exist or is ill-developed in the short term.

Medical Aid programmes are being depleted and stretched to their limits as well as hospital facilities and other health care facilities. This coupled to the fact that there is a dispute between the present government and local as well as international health authorities as to the exact nature and cause of the disease, leads to more confusion especially in the poorer, less-educated strata of the country's population.

Probably one of the worst factors concerning the disease is the denial syndrome. Medical facilities are under strict instruction not to list AIDS as a cause of death, but rather the illness that AIDS allowed to cause the death, of a person.

Until the world can unite and speak and act with one voice on AIDS and come up with sufficient finance to try to combat the ignorance of AIDS, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, the future looks very bleak It will require an enormous amount of money and effort.

Reference from Wikipedia back to top

"Treatment is technically feasible in every part of the world. Even the lack of infrastructure is not an excuse”I don't know a single place in the world where the real reason AIDS treatment is unavailable is that the health infrastructure has exhausted its capacity to deliver it. It's not knowledge that's the barrier. It's political will." Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS
New anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) can slow down and even reverse the progression of HIV infection, delaying the onset of AIDS by twenty years or more. Because of their high cost, however, only 7% of the 6 million people in developing countries who are urgently in need of ARV treatment are able to access them.

Access to drugs is increasingly recognised as a key component to comprehensive AIDS strategies. ARVs play a central role in prevention as well as treatment. People are more likely to come forward for testing if there is some hope of receiving treatment and are more likely to adopt lower risk behaviours to avoid infecting others. ARVs also reduce the amount of HIV in the blood, thus reducing the risk of further transmission. Slowing the onset of AIDS allows people to continue leading a relatively normal life, fully contributing to the social and economic life of their country.

The use of ARVs must be continuous, in order to prevent the number of drug-resistant strains of HIV from spreading. In areas where drug therapy is expensive, such resistant strains have been observed as people have interrupted their treatment at times when they cannot afford to continue purchasing the drugs. There is no available cure for HIV and no prospect of one being developed for a significant time to come. Once ARV treatment has started, it must be continued for the rest of the patient's life.

In Europe, ARV treatment is very expensive: it can cost between $10,000 and $15,000 per person per year (pppy). The key factor in the expense of ARVs is their patent status, allowing drug companies to profit from their costly research and further incentivise future development. However, some international aid organisations such as VSO, Oxfam and Médecins Sans Frontières have questioned whether the revenues generated by ARVs really tally with research costs.

By contrast, in some African countries, ARVs are available for under $140 per person per year(pppy). They are supplied by drug manufacturers in India, South Africa, Brazil, Thailand, and China,who have manufactured generic copies of patented ARV drugs. Fees are not paid to the patent holders and the drugs can consequently be distributed at prices agreeable to the governments and people of developing countries. The reduction in cost has come about from a combination of generic production and 'price offers', voluntary donations by companies. Patent holders began to reduce their prices when faced with competition from politically savvy generic firms.

Another component of the cost of HIV therapy is the need for regular testing of viral load and CD4 cell count in order to prevent cases of drug-resistance. This, however, requires expensive laboratory equipment and good logistics, whose cost per patient in African countries are greater than those for the ARVs. So the total cost of the therapy still amounts to $800, if it is done according to Western standards of excellence.[1]

Consequently, ARV treatment is still relatively expensive for most Africans; for those living below the poverty threshold of a $2 / day income, it is still inaccessible. So the only option for treating especially the poor patients is providing free treatment.

The World Health Organisation's 3 by 5 initiative aims to provide three million people with ARV treatment by the end of 2005. International aid organisations have lobbied for an expansion of generic production in developing countries, for immediate short term and stable, predictable long term financing of the 3 by 5 initiative.

The DREAM (short for "Drug Resources Enhancement against Aids and Malnutrition", which used to be "Drug Resource Enhancement against AIDS in Mozambique") promoted by the Community of Sant'Egidio has proven to be an efficient means of giving access to free ARV treatment with generic HAART drugs to the poor on a large scale: So far, 5,000 people are receiving ARV treatment, especially in Mozambique, but the program is being built up also in other countries: Malawi, Guinea, Tanzania and others. Despite being free, the program aims at excellence in treatment, providing the best existent range of drugs (HAART) and regular blood testing according to European standards. It is linked with a nutrition program as well as guidance and sanitary education by volunteers (other HIV patients taking part in the program), which encourages new patients to comply and come to the appointments. The compliance rate is very high (94%).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aids_in_Africa


Most researchers believe that HIV originated in sub-Saharan Africa during the twentieth century.[2] In 2004, 21.5% of the adult South African population was estimated to be HIV positive[citation needed]. A recent study[3] showed the infection rate starting to level off, from 4.2% to 1.7% infection rate for 15-49 year olds, and AIDS deaths peaking at 487,320 in 2008.

Government action
The government has recently, after much delay, devoted substantial resources to fighting the epidemic. In 2000, President Mbeki publicly questioned the importance of HIV in causing AIDS, controversially suggesting that the main cause was "poverty".[4] In 2001 the government appointed a panel of scientists, including a number of AIDS dissidents (who question the mainstream view on HIV), to report back on the issue. Following their report, the government stated that it continues to base its policy on the premise that the cause of AIDS is indeed HIV. The controversy has not abated, and organisations such as the Treatment Action Campaign continue to mount political and legal challenges to what they claim is the government's slow response to the epidemic.

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