News

    WHO Issues New HIV Guidelines for Couples

    Joe DeCapua

    The World Health Organization has issued new guidelines for couples in which one partner is HIV positive and the other is not. The guidelines for so-called “discordant” couples are being praised by UNAIDS, Doctors Without Borders and others.

    The WHO recommends giving antiretroviral treatment to HIV-positive partners, even if their immune systems are still healthy. Studies have shown that such treatment can prevent the transmission of HIV to their uninfected partners.

    Dr. Bernhard Schwartlander of UNAIDS calls it a new era of hope, more than 30 years into the epidemic.

    “I’ve been with AIDS since very beginning and I have seen many of my close, personal friends die because we had nothing in our hands that we could give them. I’ve seen many of my friends become infected before they really knew that it was out there so they couldn’t do much about it. With the recent development I think we have now really many tools in our hands which empower people with HIV. We can empower those who cannot escape risk to protect themselves, to protect their partners from HIV,” he said.

    It also allows for better communication. Often HIV-positive people are afraid to discuss their status with their uninfected partners. Using treatment as prevention, he said, allows infected partners to regain their dignity.

    Schwartlander, UNAIDS director of the Evidence, Strategy and Results Department, said the new WHO guidelines can save lives.

    “We are very happy that these guidelines have been announced. They respond to the scientific evidence that has been accumulated over the past year that the person living with HIV, if that person receives ARVs, then the chance that the person would pass on the virus to a partner is dramatically reduced, which of course is a very, very important finding,” he said.

    Schwartlander spoke from Nairobi, Kenya. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to most of the people living with HIV/AIDS and it’s where most of the HIV/AIDS deaths have occurred.

    “About half of all people living with HIV who live in a regular partnership have a partner who’s not of the same status - a partner who is HIV negative, both for men and for women,” he said.

    The UNAIDS official acknowledged the call for more widespread treatment comes during a time of budget cutbacks. However, he says everyone currently infected will eventually need treatment. Treating people before their immune system collapses, he said, will prevent many opportunistic infections and save money in the long run.

    The World Health Organization guidelines are also being praised by the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders. It calls them a major advance that puts the world on the road to reversing the epidemic.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora