Today is World AIDS Day and the 30th anniversary of HIV/AIDS prevention programs.
There’s good news: Young men are no longer attending funerals more than then their grandparents.
But while life-saving medicine hides the physical signs of AIDS, it also masks the ugliness of the politics, infighting and sanitised messages to appease constituents surrounding it. Meanwhile, HIV infections are up 8 per cent nationally.
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There has been a 50 per cent increase in HIV cases over the past decade in Australia. So what are we going to do about it?
The biggest bang for our buck will be getting people who have HIV on treatment. The data suggests only around 50 per cent of people with HIV in Australia are on HIV treatment, yet it is becoming increasingly clear that virtually all people with HIV should consider taking treatment to benefit their health and wellbeing.
Untreated HIV is bad at all stages of the disease. Also, taking HIV treatment can significantly reduce the risk of passing on HIV to others.
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Asking the consumers of porn to vote on whether porn stars should be required to wear condoms during sex scenes is like asking children to vote on whether they should be required to eat dessert after every meal.
It’s like asking consumers whether McDonalds should ban the Big Mac.
It’s placing people’s sexual health in the hands of people who will vote not on their conscience but on their… *ahem* appetites.
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When I told my Australian friends that I was moving to Kenya to work as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development many of them told me not to have sex while I was here because of the country’s high HIV prevalence. Some 280 people are infected with HIV every day in Kenya.
The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is getting to zero, but getting to zero doesn’t mean zero sex. Along with zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths it also means zero unprotected sex with someone whose HIV status you don’t know.
Knowing your HIV status is the first step in prevention; if you are negative then you can take measures to ensure that you stay negative and if you are positive then you can access treatment, care and support services.
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Mothers and girlfriends worldwide have long yelled at errant sons and partners for being overly fixated on a video game.
This week, however, a group of gamers and scientists demonstrated that proficiency in World of Warcraft may be worth more than the geek cred it achieves.
Nature Structural & Molecular Biology has published an advance online copy of a paper that explains how enjoyment of and technical skills in playing video games can be harnessed to achieve remarkable outcomes in scientific research.
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In 2010 Bishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa declared that the time had come, particularly for Africans, to stop the “wave of hate” and to stand up “against wrong”.
He was referring to the wrong to “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people” who are “part of the African family” and who “are living in fear.”
This news from Africa would be bad enough. But the same fear extends far beyond that continent.
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A couple of Sundays ago in Port Moresby, Stephanie Copus-Campbell – the head of AusAID’s program in PNG – invited me and a colleague to accompany her on a regular Sunday activity.
Every Sunday, Stephanie goes to the local supermarket and buys $70 worth of oranges which she then takes to the AIDS ward at the Port Moresby hospital.
HIV infection rates are high in PNG and while antiretroviral drugs are available, people still come to this place to die.
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For one of the world’s most powerful men Pope Benedict has a big problem with clear communication.
Health experts around the world have rejoiced at a hint from the Pope that it kinda, sorta, maybe could be better for a male prostitute with AIDS to use a condom when having sex.
The Vatican has been quick to clear up that it’s not official teaching so headlines such as “Vatican makes first concession on condom use”, in one paper this morning seem a little hasty.
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Welcome to Friday @ The Punch
Today in 1984, scientists discovered the virus responsible for the Aids disease; approximately 24 million people were believed to be suffering from the disease when the virus was found.
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A new front in the immigration debate opened up in the last week as the media grabbed hold of proposed changes to migration law to deliver a sensationalist warning of alleged “loop-holes” that will supposedly lead to an influx of chronically ill foreign workers.
The alarmist reporting on efforts to engage the community in tackling the complex issue of migration policy for people with disability is disappointing on several levels - particularly as there were serious factual errors underpinning the arguments.
Suggestions that the Government had widened a “loop-hole” and “loosened” its grip on migration policy for migrants with HIV and cancer not only played to political fear-mongering that Australia has lost control of its migration policy, it also negatively stereotyped people with disability as non-taxpayers who constitute a drain on society and the economy.
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