On Sunday, researchers at the 20th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Atlanta, Georgia announced that they had, for the first time, “functionally” cured a baby born with HIV. A "functional cure" refers to state where a person is AIDS-free without the need for HIV drugs, despite a trace of the virus lingering in the body.
In the early 90s when South Africa's Themba Lethu clinic could only treat HIV/Aids patients for opportunistic diseases, many would come in on wheelchairs and keep coming to the health centre until they died.
Two decades later the clinic is the biggest anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment centre in the country and sees between 600 to 800 patients a day from all over southern Africa.
South Africa is on track to reach its target of supplying antiretroviral treatment (ARVs) to 2.5 million people by the year 2014, says the Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini.
Dlamini was speaking at the launch of the State of the World Population 2012 report in the sprawling Imizamo Yethu settlement in Cape Town. The report, compiled by the United Nations Population Fund, was released worldwide on Wednesday.
The minister said that the fight against HIV and Aids was having some positive results. The mother-to-child transmission rate had declined from 8 percent in 2008 to 3.5 percent in 2011, "ensuring that annually over 30 000 babies are protected from infection and poor health".
“Women bear the brunt of HIV infections due to structures and systems which continue to perpetuate gender inequality.”
Explaining the social structures that leave women more susceptible to infection, Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) spokesperson Javu Baloyi said that limited economic opportunities left women “subservient to their spouses”.
“Inevitably these systems and structures operate in a manner where women are more prone to HIV flowing out of gender-based violence,” said Baloyi.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Stribild (elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), a new once-a-day combination pill to treat HIV-1 infection in adults who have never been treated for HIV infection.
The state has to be held accountable for its failure to limit the spread of tuberculosis (TB) in prisons, the Constitutional Court heard on Tuesday.
TB is South Africa’s biggest killer and thrives in badly ventilated, overcrowded conditions. In South Africa’s understaffed prisons, where overcrowding can reach more than 200%, research has shown a 90% risk of transmission.
The outcome of this case will affect prisoners’ chances of successfully suing the minister if they get TB in prison.
On 28 August, the Constitutional Court will hear a case that touches the depth of what it means to be human and humane in the throes of a TB pandemic that is taking more South African lives than any other cause.
Truvada, manufactured by the American company Gilead Sciences, is licensed as an antiretroviral treatment for HIV-infected individuals in 93 countries, including South Africa. It is used in combination with other ARVs to suppress the replication of the virus.
South African HIV Clinicians have welcomed an announcement that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States has approved the use of an antiretroviral by sexually active HIV-negative men and women as a method of reducing the risk HIV infection in adults.
The debate around the use of ARVs as prevention surfaced several years ago with a number of studies showing it to be effective and safe. In what has been described a possibly a major turning point, the FDA announced this week that it had approved the use of tenofovir disproxil fumarate/emtricibatine (TDF/FTC), also known as Truvada, in HIV prevention.
PROF Salim Abdool Karim, the newly appointed president of the Medical Research Council (MRC), sweeps into his office exuding energy and beaming from ear to ear, hardly the disposition you’d expect from someone who had less than four hours sleep the night before. His ability to thrive under pressure will stand him in good stead as he seeks to turn around an institute in the doldrums: the MRC’s international reputation has slid, its staff are demotivated, and it is chronically underfunded.