Maid sent to jail for trying to infect baby with HIV/AIDS

By Sania Babirye

A 18year old house maid who allegedly infected her boss’ two year old baby with HIV/AIDS has been remanded to Luzira prison.

Jemima Nasifah alias Tumukunde Zainabu has been remanded to Luzira prison by city hall court grade one magistrate Esther Nahirya and charged with doing a negligent act likely to spread infection or disease.

She however pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Prosecution led by Jackie Kyasimire states that, this house maid between the 30th June and 3rd July 2017 at Kiwatule Kazinga zone in Kampala knowingly or having reason to believe that she was HIV Positive cut herself on the right hand and put her blood on baby’s would around the nose.

The victim’s  mother allegedly  caught the  maid red-handed in the act  after she heard her baby crying.

Documents before court also  shows that the maid’s   blood was found spread allover the banana leaves that she was going to use for cooking.

She has been remanded until the  26th of July when her case returns  for further  mention.

Healthycare organizations worry about growing HIV resistance to drugs

By Wasswa Deo

Healthcare organizations  that are supporting people living with HIV/AIDS which includes People in Need Agency Uganda (PINA-U) and Aids Healthcare foundation,   have urged the Ministry of Health to come out and clarify the government’s plans to initiate third line treatment for patients who have failed  second line treatment.

Moses Nsubuga, the executive director   People in need agency Uganda (PINA-U) says, the exclusive sources shows that the ministry has already setup a technical working committee to work on initiating the third line intervention, but if it’s true, the  ministry should engage them in fighting the cause.

The two years study code named, Managing Using Latest Technologies to Save People Who Have Failed Second Line at Joint clinical research center, has over 270 Ugandans that have failed second line treatment

The organizations also want the government to come up with more innovative ways of ensuring people living with HIV/AIDS adhere to in taking their drugs. They say many of people living with HIV especially children have become drug resistant because they have poor adherence in taking their drugs.

Malawian first lady blames social media for frustrating fight against HIV/AIDS

Malawian first lady, Dr. Gertrude Mutharika, the increased usage of social media among youths in Africa is frustrating the continent’s efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.

Mutharika is the President of the African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) -an organisation that brings together all first ladies in Africa to combat HIV.

Speaking during the during the Africa Health Agenda International Youth Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya over the weekend, Mutharika noted that whereas many youths have used social media such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp among others to create innovations that have promoted good health behavior among their peers, many have misused it to promoting acts that have increased the number of HIV youths infections.

Margaret Kenyatta, Kenya’s First Lady promised the youth that OAFLA is committed to support them against HIV. She notes that African governments need to understand and engage youth to establish youth led interventions to fight the HIV scourge.

Anderson Tsuma, a youth activist and chairperson of Youth Action Movement Kenya, notes that although social media and mobile technologies  have the potential to prevent HIV by spreading awareness, there  is a challenge of control.

He notes that there is need for African governments to sensitize the youth on the proper use of the media, that girls have been reported in the main stream media to have been raped  by strangers they met via social media.
Catherine Chiboola, a youth activist from Zambia says that youth have used these technologies to get online resources, information, and learning opportunities and health information including on HIV/AIDS.

She notes that governments should make establishment of ICT centers in rural areas a priority so that youth in remote and hard to reach areas can also benefit from what social media can provide.

According a 2016 report by Unicef,  an estimated 36.7 million people were living with HIV worldwide in 2015. Of these, 1.8 million were children under 15 years of age and about 17.8 million were women and girls.

The report also revealed that each day that year, approximately 5,700 people were infected with HIV and approximately 3,000 people died from AIDS-related causes, mostly because of inadequate access to HIV prevention care and treatment services.

However, according to the report new HIV infections among children are declining rapidly – approximately 70 per cent since 2001 – largely due to scaled-up efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission.

The toll of HIV and AIDS continues to be harsh, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2015, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for the vast majority of the world’s people living with AIDS, new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths.

 

 

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Orphanage administrator says most abandoned children have HIV/AIDS

By Moses Kidandi
An expert in nursing abandoned children, Catherine Nganda has disclosed that most of abandoned children test HIV positive.
Nganda,  an administrator at Heart of a Child Orphanage-Uganda says that they are nursing about 38 children of which most of them are HIV positive and others are disabled.
She says that some people don’t want to adopt sick and disabled children yet they do also need special care.
She said this while receiving a donations of home use items from StarTimes at Heart headquarters in Namakwa -Mukono district.
However, the Star Times Public Relations Officer Christine Nagguja explains that such home needs support from corporate companies and individuals.
 

Go check your HIV status ; Frank Tumwebaze

As Uganda joins the rest of the world to mark the World AIDS Day today; Minister Frank Tumwebaze is calling upon all Ugandans to take an HIV test. The minister says it is important for one to know their status as it serves as a pointer to the services they can get.

The Global theme for the World AIDS Campaign is “Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths. while Uganda’s theme is “Re-engaging Communities for Effective HIV Prevention. National celebrations are to be held in Kalangala district.

Delete clauses in the HIV prevention and control Act

By Deo Wasswa

More than 60 civil society organizations, Health activists and Human rights lawyers petitioned constitutional court to delete clauses in the HIV prevention and control Act 2014 that are discriminatory.

They say some of these clauses are negatively impacting the lives of persons living with HIV, and discourage voluntary testing which contributes to the spread of HIV.

The clauses are, the forced disclosure of one’s HIV status by medical workers to the people at risk, criminalizing one who attempted or deliberately transmit HIV to another person.

Dorothy Kiconco, the executive director of Led by Uganda Network on Law, Ethics and HIV/AIDS says attaching an HIV response to criminality, punishment, and victimization will take country back ward and will fuel discrimination.


Photo: www.west-info.eu

Over 4000 babies born with HIV are resistant to ARVs

More than 4,000 children born to HIV positive mothers in 2015 have been reported as resistant to anti-retroviral drugs, according to the health ministry.

Dr Cordelia Katureebe, the head of Pediatric and adolescent HIV prevention manager says that more than 8,000 children were born with HIV. 50 percent of these are resistant to nevirapine, a first line drug for treatment of HIV positive babies.

She notes that this is partly because the drug is taken by the mothers during pregnancy to prevent transmission of the virus to the baby. Because of this, the baby’s body is used to the drug leading to resistance after birth, she adds.

Medical research indicates that drug resistance develops when the virus begins to multiply in the body.

“As HIV multiplies, it sometimes mutates and produces variations of itself. Variations of HIV that develop while a person is taking HIV medicines can lead to drug-resistant strains of HIV”

Katureebe says that in order to manage the treatment of such resistant children, they are shifted to the second line drugs which is a combination of nevirapine and lopinavir syrup. So far more than 3000 have been shifted to second line treatment while 48 are already using third line treatment.

But one of the mothers to an HIV positive child who preferred anonymity told URN that lopinavir syrup is also resisted by the babies because of a bitter taste. She says that quite often the child spits it out or refuses to take it.

She adds that they have now opted for the tablets with an intake of 7 pills per day.

In order to address such challenges, Uganda has joined several other African countries in a pilot study of a new HIV drug for children. The new drug is in form pellets that fit into a capsule which caretakers can give to children by adding it to soft food or breast milk.

The pilot study is spearheaded by the Joint Clinical Research Center and will be conducted at JCRC centres in Fort Portal and Gulu, Baylor clinic Mulago and the Epi Research Centre in Mbarara, according to Dr Olawale Salami, the pediatric HIV project manager for Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative-DNDi an organization funding the study. The same study is ongoing in Kenya, Mozambique and Cameroon.

The study targets 350 participants weighing between 3 to 25 Kilograms who were resistant to the first line treatment. The study is aimed at children’s responses to the drug in terms of suppressing the virus, side effects on the child, resistance but also how the care takers rate the drug.

Katureebe says the new drug addresses the challenge that care takers and health workers have been faced with especially with storage of the syrup.

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HIV/AIDS prevalence rate reduces among the sex workers

By Kindandi Moses
The Women’s Organization Network for Human Rights Advocacy has revealed that more sensitization against HIV/AIDs is needed among the sex workers to reduce the prevalence rate.
The Organization’s Legal Consultant Justine Balya says they have discovered the intervention of several stakeholders include religious leaders has reduced on the number of new infected sex workers.
According to the 2008 Reproductive Health Uganda’ survey the HIV prevalence among the sex workers in the city was as high as 47.2%, compared with the national prevalence of 6.7%. The survey also found that HIV prevalence is as high as 60% among sex workers ages 25 to 29 and that 59.6% of sex workers were found to have other sexually transmitted infections, such as syphilis and gonorrhea.

Ugandan female biologist recognized for fighting depression among HIV/AIDS patients

Ugandan Biologist Dr. Etheldreda Nakimuli‐Mpungu is named among the five winners of the coveted Elsevier Foundation Award in recognition of her work in fighting depression among persons living with HIV.

Nakimuli is listed alongside scholars from Indonesia, Nepal, Peru, Uganda and Yemen in honor of their accomplishments in nutrition, psychiatry, biotechnology, women’s health, bio-environmental sciences and epidemiology. They are also celebrated for mentoring young women scientists who are pursuing careers in agriculture, biology and medicine in their respective countries.

Nakimuli is recognized for using psychotherapy as treatment of depression and alcoholism in Ugandans with HIV. She is working with service providers to integrate depression screening with HIV-treatment, as well as to include local communities in discussions of depression to help de-stigmatize the illness.

Depression is a serious problem for HIV patients throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, making it more likely that those patients will stop taking their HIV-antiretroviral medications.

Her innovative model helps people coping with HIV/AIDS to regain their dignity, self-esteem and desire to fully participate and contribute to their communities.

The Elsevier Foundation awards are given in partnership with the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) for the advancement of science in developing countries.

“The determination, commitment and enthusiasm of these five women is an inspiration to us all but especially to other women undertaking scientific research in developing countries. This award celebrates their excellent science and demonstrates that their hard work has had an impact both regionally and internationally, despite the difficult local conditions” OWSD president Fang Xin said.

The recognition helps invigorate the winners’ careers by providing them with new visibility and extended professional networks, allowing them to engage with colleagues and the public while their careers are still at an early stage.

The winners also serve as a source of inspiration for other women in countries where more scientific expertise is a critical need, a statement of award issued by Elsevier Foundation reads.

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People living with HIV/AIDS demand government for more drugs

People Living with HIV have called upon the Government to ensure sufficient HIV/AIDS and TB drugs stocks and viral load testing
services.

Speaking to media the Chairperson of National Forum of People living with HIV Fred Barongo said it’s unfortunate that a number of Districts
have reported sporadic HIV/AIDS and TB drugs stock out and other supplies such as condoms which has put people’s lives at.

Barongo added that currently there 1.6 million people on treatment for HIV/AIDS or TB but there are no drugs in government hospitals.