Soweto

HIV/AIDS: You, me and HIV

Rising HIV prevalence rates around the world have changed how we date and how we love, at least in theory. The sexual history discussion comes up earlier in dating, and HIV testing as a couple is just a step below becoming "official". Then comes figuring out how to navigate love and also HIV.

For Pholokgolo Ramothwala, media owner and a father of two whose partner is HIV-negative, being an HIV activist made disclosing his positive HIV status easier, but the decision was still accompanied by fear of rejection.

An expanded arsenal against HIV – but money shortages to implement it

For the first time, the global AIDS community is talking about stopping the AIDS within a couple of decades – and it seems possible.

 

After years of toying with a baby’s preventative alphabet – A for abstain, B for be faithful and C for condoms – we finally have some grown-up options.

While modest, this array of new weapons against HIV gives us a fighting chance to stop the virus. The little arsenal goes like this:

Staying alive: Is South Africa's Aids plan working?

South Africa has one of the world's highest HIV rates but for many years was accused of ignoring the problem. Two years ago, President Jacob Zuma introduced some radical changes to the country's Aids policy. To marks World Aids Day, the BBC's Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg asks what has changed.

Moses Sechedi lives in Soweto, one of South Africa's biggest townships.

Outside the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital - the largest hospital in Africa - Mr Sechedi, 62, tells me that he has seen the benefits of the new policy.

"A few months ago, my younger sister became gravely ill and we rushed her to hospital. After a number of tests the doctor told us she had Aids," he says.

Poor children play less sport, so are more susceptible to obesity or illness, study finds

The poorer the child, the less likely he is to do exercise - and the fatter and weaker his body will be as a result. These are the latest findings and deductions from Birth to Twenty, Africa's longest-running study of child health and development, based at the university of the Witwatersrand. Called Mandela's Children, the study began in 1990 and is investigating the same 3 200 Johannesburg and Soweto children and their families from the time of the children's births until they are 20 years old. Its most recent research findings are that: Children from the poorest backgrounds, those from single parent families and those with mothers with a school qualification of matric or a lower grade, do less exercise than others. White children spent an average of two hours and ten minutes weekly playing sport, and 55% of black children participated in no sport whatsoever. The average time spent on sport was 29 minutes weekly. White children spent an average of four hours and 31 minutes weekly watching television, while black children spent almost double this, at a weekly average of 71/2 hours. Children who were the most active were almost three centimetres taller than children in the lowest activity group. The highly active children also weighed almost 2kg more than the inactive children. Further analysis still needs to be completed, but the study raises many questions from the present-day lack of sportsmen from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to how close South Africa has really come since 1994 to closing the gaps, says the study's website. The findings had important implications, said project manager Shane Norris, because poor children were more likely to become obese and suffer ill health as a result. Over 100 scientific documents have been presented at conferences and published about the Birth to Twenty Study. Previous findings included children's experiences of smoking at five and seven years of age, which contributed to tobacco control legislation passed in 2000, and a policy brief on the consequences of high rates of lead in the blood of Johannesburg children. A book about the study, called Mandela's Children: Growing up in post-Apartheid South Africa, was published in 2001. Some of the issues the project is currently researching are whether children are becoming sexually mature at a younger age, what proportion of the study's children will become infected with HIV and whether our population is becoming increasingly sedentary and eating more fattening foods.(The Cape Times, 9 July, 2003).