US Ambassador Commends Nigeria’s Fight Against HIV/AIDS

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has commended the Federal Government and agencies involved in the provision of care and treatment for HIV/AIDS patients.

This is in collaboration with the American Presidential Emergency Plan for Aids Relief.

The envoy gave the commendation after inspecting a laboratory and other equipment donated by the U.S to the Aids Prevention Initiative Nigeria (APIN), a Public Health Initiative in Jos, Plateau state.

Since 2004, the Nigerian government as well as other donor agencies have been involved in providing care and treatment to HIV and AIDS patients in collaboration with the American Presidential Emergency Plan for aids relief.

An estimate of about 3.2million people are living with AIDS in Nigeria, experts say all hands must be on deck to reverse this alarming statistics.


Source: Channels TV

New AIDS vaccine ‘cures’ five patients, report claims.

Three weeks after Prof. Maduike Ezeibe of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Abia State claimed to have discovered a cure for Human Immuno-deficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), Spanish scientists over the weekend said five patients living with the disease are virus-free seven months after taking a new vaccine.

According to a study published in New Scientist but first reported by DailyMailUK Online, the treatment, developed by researchers in Spain, allowed the patients to stop taking regular antiretroviral (ARV) drugs – the current method of suppressing HIV.

Scientists have yet to test the results in a large-scale clinical trial, but they say the vaccine may be a “functional cure.”

Dr. Beatriz Mothe, from the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain, said: “It’s the proof of concept that through therapeutic vaccination we can really re-educate our T cells to control the virus. This is the first time that we see this is possible in humans.”

Mothe and her colleagues used an HIV vaccine made by Professor Tomáš Hanke from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom (UK).

The study included 13 participants, who had taken ARVs for a little over three years on average – all within six months of being infected.
After four weeks, eight of the patients saw the virus rebound. But the other five patients have gone six to 28 weeks without having to restart the treatment.

The virus became temporarily undetectable, but it has never gone above 2,000 copies per milliliter, which is the criterion to restart treatment.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, told The Guardian yesterday that there is no cure for HIV/AIDS as claimed by Ezeibe. “No, there is no cure for HIV. It is important that we do not deceive our people. There is no cure for HIV. However, treatment is available that allows those infected to live healthy and productive lives. We encourage everyone to get tested, know their HIV status and if positive, get treatment in one of many centres in Nigeria. Treatment is free,” he said.

Ihekweazu said NCDC wants to avoid giving false hope to patients who may now abandon their Anti Retro Viral (ARVs) drugs thus leading to an increase in prevalence and mortality from the disease. He said the agency also does not want a situation where the trust of partners and donors in the country’s health system is lost.

How about the claim of HIV cure by Prof. Ezeibe? The NCDC boss said: “Science is universal and there is no place for sentiments when it comes to science. While I would love for this breakthrough to come from Nigeria, there should be no emotional considerations in assessing the validity of scientific evidence.


Source: The Guardian

Nigeria AIDS agency warns against HIV cure ‘publicity’

The Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Sani Aliyu, has expressed displeasure with the publicity given to the claim of a cure for HIV/AIDS by a Nigerian professor.

Mr. Aliyu, in a statement by his office on Monday, said it was a great disservice to the vulnerable group of HIV patients for the media to disseminate such claims in the absence of scientific evidence.

Maduike Ezeibe, who is a Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Virology at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture in Umuahia, Aba State, had claimed he had produced a drug that could cure HIV.

He said the drug he produced with “Aluminium Magnesium Silicate” had been successfully tested on ten persons living with HIV.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, on Monday disclosed that the Federal Government had mandated the National Institute for Medical Research and the College of Medicine, Ibadan to do a proper study of claims of HIV cure in the country.

While responding to questions on the position of government on the claims at a Town Hall meeting in Ilorin, Kwara State, Mr. Adewole said getting a cure would be of public health interest to the country but that any claim would have to be subjected to standard scrutiny.

“We are concerned that the publicity given to these claims will stop patients with HIV from taking life-saving antiretrovirals and give them false hope of a cure,” the NACA Director General said on the claim in the statement on Monday.

“There are long established, tried and tested routes for the discovery, development and validation of modern medicines before they can be registered and used for treatment in humans and animals.

Mr. Aliyu called on academics to follow legal and scientifically-acceptable methods in conducting their researches and to avoid making premature claims that are capable of derailing the huge progress made in the last two decades in the war against HIV/AIDS.

“Millions of lives have been saved as a result of modern antiretroviral treatment and people living with HIV can now look forward to a normal healthy future”, he said.

Aliyu also calls on editors of media houses in Nigeria to seek comments from the leadership of the relevant government parastatals and professional bodies when it receives new research findings related to the agency’s areas of responsibility.

“We assure you that we will respond rapidly and constructively to any queries”, he stated.

He also encouraged people living with HIV to continue to take their medication and to see their doctors if they have any concern or call the NACA helpline (6222) for information.

Nigeria has about three million people infected with HIV, the second highest number in the world after South Africa.

Adequate funding needed to eliminate HIV/AIDS by 2030 – NACA DG

Adequate funding is the only way to meet the target set for the elimination of HIV/AIDS by 2030, the Director General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Sani Aliyu, has said.

Mr. Aliyu spoke in Abuja on Tuesday at the opening of the 3rd National Council on AIDS, with the theme: “Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS Response: Taking Charge of Our Destiny.”

He stressed that if the country must win the fight to eliminate the scourge, it must act now.

He said to meet the target set for the elimination of HIV/AIDS by 2030, it was necessary that all the tiers of government increase funding of HIV/AIDS programme.

Mr. Aliyu lamented the inability of the country to fund HIV/AIDs programme. He said with donor funding, especially by the country’s biggest contributors, PEPFAR, dwindling from $488,614,277 (76 per cent) in 2012 to 358,614,280 (70.8 per cent) in 2016, the Nigerians have to take charge of their destiny

“If we have to achieve the test and treat strategy of ensuring that 90 per cent of the populace know their status, 90 per cent of those tested must be placed on ART and 90 per cent of persons on treatment will have viral suppression to prevent zero AIDS related deaths.”

Mr. Aliyu stressed that state governments have no choice but to take ownership of the programme by providing funds.

“For those of you who have budget line for the disease, I urge you that you keep it up, and for those who don’t have budget line for HIV, now is the time to do so. We should know that donor funds are dwindling”, he said.

While stating his vision for the agency, the Director General stated that people should understand the fact they are not only to survive the transmission, but that the epidemic should be defeated.

The National Council on AIDS is a creation of the Act establishing NACA and the highest technical decision-making body in Nigeria on HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the Council is to provide technical direction on all HIV/AIDS issues in the country.

Supporting Mr. Aliyu’s argument, the President of Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, NEPWHAN, Victor Omoseye, urged government to set up a National Aids Funds like every other countries.

“One way forward is for us to have a National Aids Trust Fund that can take charge of domestic resources.

Citing countries like the UK, Uganda and Botswana where the trust has worked, Mr. Omoseye posited that “whatever any country is bringing to any country will be a support to the National AIDS Trust Fund.”

While commending the effort of NACA, Mr. Omoseye said that a lot people were now accessing treatment than in 2007.

“There is now less discrimination. Today, collectively, we are moving the nation forward.

“Though we still need to put our hands together to do more. One way for us to take our destiny into our hands is for us to sustain the national response,” he said.


Source:  Premium Times

Borno Records 512 New HIV Cases in IDPs’ Camps

The Executive Secretary, Borno Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Malam Barkindo Saidu, says 512 new cases of HIV infections have been recorded in Internally Displaced Persons camps in the state.

He spoke on Sunday in Maiduguri while briefing journalists.

Saidu said that the cases were recorded after voluntary screening in some IDPs’ camps in the state.

He pointed out that two out of the 512 persons were children.

“We are currently conducting voluntary screening on HIV/AIDS in IDPs’ camps across the state to determine the status of the people, especially those rescued from the Boko Haram terrorists.

“As at last week, we have recorded 512 positive cases, among which two are children,” Saidu said.

He said that the state had witnessed rising cases of the virus due largely to the Boko Haram terrorism.

“Currently, 2.4 per cent of the population of the state are living with HIV and AIDS, which translates to 108,000 persons, going by the record of the National Population Commission.

“But only a tiny portion of these people can access treatment because most antiretroviral centres have closed,” Saidu said.

He explained that only 32 out of the 90 antiretroviral centres were still operational in the state.

“Before the Boko Haram terrorism, we had 90 treatment centres across the state, but only 32 are still functional today.

“The rest have been closed down due to the Boko Haram terrorism,” Saidu said.

He called on the Federal Government and donor agencies to intervene in the HIV and AIDS control in the state.


About 500 Nigerians die of HIV/AIDs daily – NACA

At least 500 Nigerians die of HIV/AIDs daily, with an average new infection of 600 people every day, says Sani Aliyu, Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDs, NACA.

Mr. Aliyu gave the figure during an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, about HIV/AIDs, aired on Saturday night.

He said although the country has achieved great heights with the support of government and the international community, a lot of help is still needed from private individuals to address the challenges posed by the existence of HIV/AIDs in Nigeria.

Mr. Aliyu noted that Nigeria is still the second most affected country with HIV/AIDs, globally behind South Africa. He called on government and stakeholders to ensure increased education of the girl child and women empowerment as a means of addressing the challenge.

He added that the global theme for this year’s event to mark the World AIDs day, “Hands up for HIV/AIDs prevention,” was adjusted for Nigeria, to match with the country’s current prevalence rate of 3 per cent.

“You know that for Nigeria the topic for this year is not ‘hands up’; when you say hands up you are giving up. It’s ‘hands on’ for us in Nigeria,” said Mr. Aliyu.

About 72,000 adolescents are reportedly living with HIV in Lagos State, officials have said.

Also according to the Borno State’s coordinator for HIV/AIDs, no fewer than 5,000 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in 27 camps in the state are currently living with the virus.

#WorldAIDSDay: U.S. provides HIV testing, counselling to 12 million Nigerians

The United States Government has provided testing and counselling to over 12 million Nigerians over the last 12 months.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, who disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday at an event to mark the 2016 World AIDS Day, said this was being done through the U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR.
According to the envoy, 726,200 adults and 34,695 children are receiving treatment for HIV under the programme.

He said a total of 1,367,000 adults and children have been helped to live better lives through the U.S programme.

Speaking under the 2016 theme of the commemoration: “Leadership. Sustained Commitment.

Impact”, Mr Symington emphasized the need for Nigerians to be involved in strengthening their country’s health system.

“We can spend billions of dollars literally, tens of billions of dollars around the world and billions of dollars in Nigeria, but if you don’t strengthen your own health system at home and in the office and around the country, if you don’t invest your lives and your love, who else will do it for you? No one can do it for you”, he said.

The Country Coordinator of the programme in Nigeria, Shirley Dady, also spoke about the need to encourage more Nigerians to get tested for HIV.
She likened the disease to other chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes, which can be managed.

Ms. Dady told PREMIUM TIMES she was hopeful that the HIV self-testing kits, which is a new technology, will be available in Nigeria “at some point”.

She, however, said many general hospitals and primary health care centres in the country were offering HIV tests and urged Nigerians to take advantage of them.

72,000 youths live with HIV in Lagos — AIDS Agency

About 72,000 adolescents are living with HIV in Lagos State, Chief Executive Officer of Lagos State AIDS Control Agency, Oluseyi Temowo, has said.

Mr. Temowo made the disclosure on Thursday while speaking in Lagos at a forum on adolescents living with HIV.

An NGO, Positive Action for Treatment, organised the forum in partnership with the AIDS agency to mark 2016 World AIDS Day.

Mr. Temowo urged the people to know their status early, added that drugs for HIV could be obtained free in any government hospital in the state.

He advised parents, guardians, healthcare givers and media to support the government in its effort to stamp out the condition by engaging in massive sensitisation of the public.

Also speaking, Olufemi Onanuga, the Special Adviser to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode on Primary Healthcare, said the state government would sanction any school or organisation guilty of discriminating against HIV patients.

He also warned members of members of public, employers and school owners against stigmatisation of people living with HIV/AIDS.

According to him, the state government on will commence enforcement of legislation prohibiting stigmatisation and discrimination of people living with HIV in the state.

The governor’s aide condemned a school for rusticating an adolescent girl on account of living with HIV.

He said: ’’There is no need for discrimination. HIV is not a death sentence; anyone can live with this condition, like any other diseases like hypertension, for the rest of life.’’

“There is legislation against discrimination, be it at work or school. No one should be kicked out of school or work because of HIV.

“People live well as long as they (the victims) take their drugs; we will commence enforcement of the legislation against discrimination.

“As policy makers, we would do everything possible to make sure that HIV is kicked out of Lagos State and there won’t be discrimination for anyone.”

The Wife of the Governor, Bolanle Ambode, appealed to policy makers across the country for intervention programmes targeted at adolescents living with HIV and AIDS, because of their strategic age bracket.

Ambode, the Special Guest of Honour at the occasion, urged LSACA and all relevant government agencies to continue sensitising the public on the danger of discriminating against people living with HIV and AIDS.

Francis Umoh, Programme Manager, PATA said that the forum was conveyed to sensitise policy makers and key stakeholders on sexual and reproductive health of adolescents living with HIV.

Mr. Umoh said the step became necessary to promote support for PATA’s intervention programmes aimed at improving the quality of life of adolescents living with HIV in the area.

He said that PATA had established the Mary’s Home to cater for the psycho social and Sexual Reproductive Health needs of vulnerable and indigent adolescent girls living with HIV with no anywhere to stay.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), recalls that the United Nations in 1988 declared Dec. 1 as the World AIDS Day.

The theme for the 2016 global event is “Hands Up for HIV Prevention.”

The Day is designed to honour AIDS victims and focus on issues surrounding HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

U.S. disburses $3.4 billion to fight HIV/AIDS in Nigeria — Envoy

The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, on Tuesday said that the U.S. Government had disbursed over $3.4 billion to support the Nigerian HIV/AIDS response.

The Consul-General, John Bray, made the disclosure at an event organised by the Public Affairs and Medical Sections of the Consulate to mark the 2016 World AIDS Day in Lagos.

According to him, this disbursement has been since the inception of its President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2004.

Mr. Bray said that PEPFAR was a U.S. Governmental initiative to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and help to save the lives of those suffering from the disease, primarily in Africa.

He said that before PEPFAR, HIV infection was a death sentence in Nigeria and in Africa in general with entire villages being wiped out in some places.

According to him, at that time, less than 5,000 Nigerians supported solely by the Nigerian government were on treatment.

“The U.S. and Nigeria enjoy a strong relationship based on our many shared interests.

“In the case of HIV/AIDS both countries have pledged to work to eradicate HIV/AIDs and are committed to providing high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.

“Some measures of success show that 600,000 men, women and children which are about 90 percent of the people living with HIV/AIDs are currently on HIV treatment.

“About 8.7 million people have received HIV counselling and testing; more than 55,000 pregnant women have been provided anti-retroviral drugs for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

“Also, 750,000 adults and children living with HIV/AIDs have received care to support quality of life and 700,000 children orphaned by AIDS have received care and support,’’ he said.

Mr. Bray said through the contributions of the U.S. and Nigerian governments, the United Nations family, Global Fund, private sector, faith-based community, civil society and other partners, AIDS epidemic could be eliminated by 2030.

Bisola Olumegbon, Head, Medical Unit of the Consulate, said that the HIV/AIDS epidemic was considered a threat to the peace and security of the nation.

She said there was need to promote awareness, education, counselling, care and support to defeat the scourge.

Oladipupo Fisher, Director, Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), appreciated the U.S. Government for their partnership and support in ensuring the eradication of HIV/AIDS by 2030.

Fisher said collaborative efforts were required to achieve the vision.

Also, Emmanuel Olaoti of the Society For Family Health, identified low use of condoms, poverty, multiple sexual partners, stigma and discrimination as factors contributing to the burden of the disease in the country.

He urged Nigerians to go for regular counselling and testing to know their status and prevent the disease.

In his remarks, Mr Ibrahim Umoru, an AIDS activist in the Treatment Action Movement, said it was cheaper and smart to remain negative than to be HIV positive.

Mr. Umoru urged government at all levels to intensify their AIDS programmes to reduce the burden of HIV/AIDS in the nation.

UN to screen 5,000 persons for HIV/AIDS daily at 2016 Calabar Carnival.

The United Nations Population Fund says it plans to screen 5,000 persons for HIV/AIDS daily during the December Calabar Carnival in Cross River State.


The Programme Officer of UNFPA in Nigeria, Araoyimbo Idowu, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Calabar on Sunday.


Idowu said that UNFPAw would conduct the tests in collaboration with an NGO, Excellence Community Education Welfare Scheme.


He said the fund would organise an awareness campaign tagged “Wise Up Cross River” on a daily basis throughout the one month carnival.


Idowu said: “There is going to be some demonstration by youths and various stakeholders during the HIV/AIDS awareness campaign.


“In the course of the campaign, there will be various activities including one-on-one counseling, music, graphic designs, tattoo inscription and games.


“Also, many young volunteers and other stakeholders will be on stage to entertain people each day at the condom zone.”


The programme officer said that the campaign was aimed at sensitising the youths on the dangers of HIV/AIDS and the need for safe sex.


Idowu said that the programme would also bring together commercial sex workers, students’ organisations and those already living with the virus, to share knowledge on the disease.


He said that the organisation would mobilise youths from the 18 local government areas in the state to participate in the programme.


Idowu also said that condoms would be distributed free during the month-long campaign.


According to him, the UNPF decided to bring the campaign to the carnival because of its popularity and mass participation.

Gaétan Dugas, Man Accused of Bringing HIV/AIDS to US in 1970s Finally Exonerated

Scientists have managed to reconstruct the route by which HIV/Aids arrived in the US – exonerating once and for all the man long blamed for the ensuing pandemic in the west.

Using sophisticated genetic techniques, an international team of researchers have revealed that the virus emerged from a pre-existing epidemic in the Caribbean, arrived in New York by the early 1970s and then spread westwards across the US.

The research also confirms that Gaétan Dugas, a French-Canadian flight attendant, was not the first person in the US to be infected, despite being dubbed “Patient zero” in a study of gay men with Aids in 1984. Based on that study, author Randy Shilts named Dugas in 1987 and wrote that “there’s no doubt that Gaëtan played a key role in spreading the new virus from one end of the United States to the other.”

Characterised by Shilts as promiscuous and irresponsible, Dugas – who died of Aids in 1984 after assisting with studies into whether it was caused by a sexually transmitted agent – was widely vilified.

However, analysis of Dugas’s HIV genome from a blood sample shows that it was typical of strains of the virus within the US at the time and was not the root from which the virus diversified in North America.

The findings, the authors say, tie in with a large body of evidence that shows that Dugas was not the source of the pandemic in North America, and that the mistake may have been the result of a typing error in the original study that referred to Dugas as “Patient 0” – a term now widely used to mean the first case of an outbreak – instead of “Patient O”, the capital letter, which merely indicated that he lived outside California.

“The current study provides further evidence that patient 57, the individual identified both by the letter O and the number 0, was not patient zero of the North American epidemic,” said Richard McKay, historian and co-author of the study from the University of Cambridge, adding that the authors of the original study had already pointed out he was unlikely to be the source. He said a “trail of error and hype” had led to Dugas being branded with the “Patient Zero” title.

“Gaétan Dugas is one of the most demonised patients in history, and one of a long line of individuals and groups vilified in the belief that they somehow fuelled epidemics with malicious intent,” said McKay.

“In many ways the historical evidence has been pointing to the fallacy of this particular notion of patient zero for decades,” said McKay. “This individual was simply one of thousands infected before HIV/Aids was recognised.”

Writing in the journal Nature, researchers from the US, UK and Belgium describe how they developed a new technique to unpick the history of HIV-1 group M subgroup B, the subtype of HIV that is most prevalent in the western world.

Called “RNA jackhammering”, the technique tackles the problem that the genetic material of HIV, which exists in the form of a single-stranded molecule known as RNA, breaks down rapidly over time, making it difficult to extract and piece together. RNA jackhammering allows scientists to selectively copy tiny fragments of the virus’s RNA and stitch them together.


Using the new approach, a technique the team say took around four years to develop, the scientists turned to serum samples that had been collected in 1978 and 1979 from men who had sex with men in New York and San Francisco – samples collected before what became known as Aids was first reported in 1981.

That they were able to painstakingly assemble the complete HIV genome from eight of the oldest-known samples, allowed the team to place them on a sort of “family tree” of the virus. Even though the number of genomes is small, the team say the eight samples not only enabled them to explore the genetic diversity of the virus in North America in the late 1970s but also chart its history, revealing the importance of New York City in the chain of events.

The level of genetic diversity, they say, shows that the virus was circulating in the US for a decade before what eventually became known as Aids was recognised.

According to the team’s reconstruction, based on the new findings as well as previous data, after jumping from non-human primates to humans in Africa, HIV spread to Caribbean countries by around 1967, with the subtype arriving in New York by 1971 and reaching San Francisco by 1976. The conclusions, they add, are also supported by the prevalence of the HIV virus among the collection of serum samples and the spread and timing of later patient cases.

“New York City looks geographically like the key turning point for the emergence of this subtype, and New York City acts as this hub from which the virus moves to the west coast somewhat later and eventually to western Europe and Australia and Japan and South America and all sorts of other places,” said Michael Worobey, co-author of the research from the University of Arizona.

The results back up previous work by the Worobey and others, who have spent years using a variety of approaches to trace the route of the HIV/Aids epidemic and emphasises that the virus travelled from the Caribbean to the US, not vice versa. But Worobey is quick to point out that the idea of culpability is misplaced.

“No-one should be blamed for the spread of a virus that no-one even knew about,” he said. “How the virus moved from the Caribbean to the US and New York City in the 1970s is an open question – it could have been a person of any nationality, it could have even been blood products.”

The mistaken emphasis placed on Dugas that saw him placed as a key link between the spread of HIV/Aids between the east and west coasts of the US in the 1984 study, he said, was likely down to Dugas’s efforts to help researchers.

“Probably what happened here was a case of a guy who was unusually helpful to investigators providing lots and lots of names of sexual contacts,” said Worobey. “He’s just one of many people who is highly sexual active and in this network of people who are popping up as early Aids cases but he ended up looking up as this central character almost certainly just because of how helpful he was.”

The case, adds McKay, also highlights the problems with trying to pinpoint the first person to be infected in an epidemic. “One of the dangers of focus on a single patient zero when discussing the early stages of an epidemic is that we risk obscuring important structural factors that might contribute to its development – poverty, legal and cultural inequalities, barriers to healthcare and education,” he said.

As well as donating blood plasma for analysis for the original study, Dugas had provided researchers with the names of 72 of the roughly 750 partners he had had a sexual relationship with in the previous three years.

“The fact that Dugas provided the most names, and had a more memorable name himself, likely contributed to his perceived centrality in this sexual network,” Dr McKay added.

Gkikas Magiorkinis, a clinical and evolutionary virologist at the University of Oxford, said that the research highlights the power of such genetic techniques in shedding light on how a virus spreads among a population. “They managed to get full sequences of viruses from old samples, and that has been very difficult up until now,” he said. That, he adds, could prove valuable for probing the history of many other viruses, including hepatitis C, and for designing better interventions. “If we want to know how we are going to stop an epidemic we need to know who infected who and how this happened, so it will have important applications with respect to controlling epidemics,” he said.

(The UK Guardian)

Brooklyn & Victoria Beckham Join Forces To Help Fight AIDS In Kenya

Victoria and Brooklyn Beckham jetted off to Kenya for three days to raise awareness of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and promote the global effort to end AIDS with UNAIDS and Born Free. While there, the mother-son duo met with people whose lives have been impacted by HIV as well as government officials and other members from the organizations.

Fortunately, both Brooklyn and Victoria shared touching photos from their trip on Instagram.

In one of the pictures posted by Brooklyn, the 17-year-old is shown holding a newborn baby, which he captioned, “Humbled by the most inspiring family running @newlifehomeke Honoured to meet newborn baby Brooklyn!” Likewise, Victoria uploaded a snap of her and Brooklyn hanging out with a group of teenagers, writing, “Hanging out with teenagers in Kenya. Get tested, know your status, get treatment. NO STIGMA!”

Read More: popsugar

Malawi Again Denies Bail To Man Paid To Have Sex with 100 Girls

A Malawian man accused of having sex with 100 girls and women in a series of ritual cleansing acts, on Monday failed in his second bid to be freed on bail.


Prosecutor Christopher Botoman opposed the bail request for Eric Aniva over fears that he could “intimidate and influence” witnesses not to testify in court.


Given the “nature and seriousness of the offence and the severity of the punishment if convicted” it would “not be in the interest of justice to release the accused on bail.”


The prosecution also said the 45-year-old – who has said he is infected with the Aids virus – was likely to jump bail and cross the border into Mozambique.


But Aniva, whose first bid to secure bail was earlier this month, rejected the idea, saying he was “not scared” to face trial.


Malawi, which has one of the highest HIV infections in the world, criminalises sex with a person under the age of 16.


If he is found guilty of underage sex, Aniva could be imprisoned for life.

The little-known local practice of having sex with adolescent girls to mark their passage to womanhood is performed in southern Malawi by men known as “hyenas” at the behest of a girl’s parents after her first menstruation.


The ritual is believed to train girls to become good wives and protect them from disease, or misfortune could fall on their families or their village.


Aniva is said to have slept with at least 104 women and girls, some as young as 12, in a ritual that lasts three days. He said each family paid him a fee of between $4 and $7.


His two wives were both present at the court house.


“We want him back home. We are suffering because we have no food,” his 25-year-old wife Fanny told AFP.


“When he is around, we don’t suffer because he is a man and he finds means to bring food to the house.”


His second wife, Sophia, said he had long abandoned the “hyena” business.


“Thieves and murderers get released on bail, but what is wrong with our husband?” she said.

US To Give $600m As Assistance To Nigeria This Year – John Kerry

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, says the US government will be giving $600 million as assistance to Nigeria this year. He said this while speaking at the opening session of the U.S- Nigeria Bi-National Commission meeting in Washington DC yesterday March 30th.

“Our development assistance this year will top $600 million, and we are working closely with your leaders – the leaders of your health ministry – to halt the misery that is spread by HIV/AIDS, by malaria, and by TB. Our Power Africa Initiative is aimed at strengthening the energy sector, where shortage in electricity has frustrated the population and impeded growth” he said

More Men Die Of AIDS Than Women In Nigeria – UN Director

Mr Ronald Kayanja, the Lagos Director, United Nations Information Centre revealed on Wednesday at the United Nations International Women’s Day celebration organised by a coalition of non-governmental organisations in Lagos that more men die of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the country, in spite of the fact that women are more affected by the virus.

Kayanja said, “In Nigeria today, women represent 58 per cent of all the people living with HIV. The power inequalities that underline gender-based violence, including physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence, expose young women to HIV.

“I hasten to add that even though women are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic, more men than women die of AIDS every year in Nigeria.

“Of particular concern to the UN is the political will to implement the Nigeria National Gender Policy, which commits to affirmative action and requires that women fill 35 per cent of appointed positions.

“Regrettably, we are far from the target presently. For instance, in the current National Assembly, women representation is at its lowest with only 5.6 per cent of the members of the House of Representatives and 6.5 per cent of the senators being women.”

How To End AIDS By 2030- UNAIDS

Ahead of World AIDS Day 2015, the Joint United Agency for AIDS (UNAIDS), yesterday, released a new report showing that countries including Nigeria are getting on the fast track to end AIDS by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) even as over 15.8 million people are now accessing antiretroviral therapy, compared to 7.5 million people in 2010 and 2.2 million people in 2005.

According to the UNAIDS report, by adapting to a changing global environment and maximising innovations, countries are seeing greater efficiencies and better results.

It noted: “Progress in responding to HIV over the past 15 years has been extraordinary. By June 2015, UNAIDS estimates that 15.8 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy, compared to 7.5 million people in 2010 and 2.2 million people in 2005.”

At the end of 2014, UNAIDS estimates that new HIV infections had fallen by 35 per cent since the peak in 2000 and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42 per cent since the 2004 peak.

Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé said: “Every five years we have more than doubled the number of people on life-saving treatment. We need to do it just one more time to break the AIDS epidemic and keep it from rebounding.”

In Nigeria, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), on Tuesday, kicked off events to commemorate World AIDS Day 2015 with a call on all Nigerians and the country’s partners to renew their commitment to ending AIDS by 2030.

UNAIDS Country Director for Nigeria and UNAIDS Focal Point for Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr. Bilali Camara said: “At the end of 2015, I can say with clarity that Nigeria is among the countries which have halted the spread and reversed the trend of the HIV epidemic. There is no doubt that, with the fast-tracking approach being promoted, Nigeria will end AIDS by 2030.”

Director General of NACA, Prof. John Idoko, at a press conference yesterday said: “Nigeria’s AIDS response has gained a steady momentum in the past four years. We have managed to turn the tide. New infections have reduced by 35 per cent and we now need new commitment and support in order to end AIDS by 2030.”

Credit: Guardian

Magic Johnson Calls Out Charlie Sheen, “We Should Team Up To Fight HIV”

Magic Johnson is putting Charlie Sheen on the spot saying now that he’s gone public about having HIV, they should work TOGETHER to help educate people about it.

The NBA legend tweeted, “I wish @CharlieSheen and his family the best. With the advancement in treatments and medicine he can fight this disease and live a long life.”

“In @CharlieSheen breaking his silence, I hope he joins me in educating the world about HIV/AIDs,” he said in a second tweet.

Johnson has been a force in combating HIV ever since he was diagnosed launching the Magic Johnson Foundation in 1991 which works with millions of people till date.

North Korea Claims To Have Cured Aids, Ebola & Cancer With Single Miracle Drug

North Korea has created a wonder drug which not only cures Aids, but also eradicates Ebola and cancer, if the latest proclamation from the country’s news agency is to be believed*.

An announcement says that the miracle cure consists of ginseng grown from fertiliser and a mix of other ingredients- but did not reveal the special combination.

The dictatorship, which is known for making far-fetched claims about its achievements, says that the medicine will apparently be injectable and will be known by the name of Kumdang-2.

In a statement published by Korean Central News Agency of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to herald the news, Dr Jon Sung Hun said: “The researchers insert rare earth elements (REE) into insam (gingseng) by applying the mico-elementary fertilizers of REE to the fields of insam.”

“The injection is made of extracts from those complex compounds. As a strong-immuno-activator, the injection has been recognized to prevent different malignant epidemics.”


Chinese Village Vote To Expel HIV-Positive Boy

The plight of a Chinese boy with the HIV virus, reportedly pushed to leave his home by 200 villagers who signed a petition, sparked intense online soul-searching in the country on Thursday.

The case has highlighted the stigma attached to HIV in China, where many sufferers face widespread discrimination.

The boy’s guardian, his grandfather, was among those in the southwestern Sichuan province who signed an agreement to expel the eight-year-old to “protect villagers’ health”, the Global Times reported.

The newspaper, with close ties to the ruling Communist Party, said the boy contracted the virus from his mother, and was diagnosed when he received injuries for minor treatment in 2011.

Previous reports said the boy — who was given the pseudonym Kunkun by Chinese media — was refused admission to local schools and villagers would avoid contact with him.

“Nobody plays (with me), I play alone,” Kunkun said, according to a report Wednesday on the website of the People’s Daily newspaper, the official mouthpiece of Communist Party.

The website also said Kunkun was referred to as a “time bomb” in the petition.