News / Africa

HIV/AIDS Epidemic Still Ravaging African Countries

Pharmacists automatically dispense medicines loaded with anti-retrovirals at the U.S.-sponsored HIV/AIDS clinic at the Helen Joseph hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nov. 15, 2012.Pharmacists automatically dispense medicines loaded with anti-retrovirals at the U.S.-sponsored HIV/AIDS clinic at the Helen Joseph hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nov. 15, 2012.
x
Pharmacists automatically dispense medicines loaded with anti-retrovirals at the U.S.-sponsored HIV/AIDS clinic at the Helen Joseph hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nov. 15, 2012.
Pharmacists automatically dispense medicines loaded with anti-retrovirals at the U.S.-sponsored HIV/AIDS clinic at the Helen Joseph hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nov. 15, 2012.

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Kim Lewis
Major progress has been made in Africa’s fight against HIV/AIDS but one of the major problems remaining is giving the thousands living with AIDS the drug therapies that can let them live a long life.

“In terms of the reality, unfortunately the reality is that while there’s been huge progress made in the fight against AIDS, there still remains a huge amount of more to do,” said Dr. Amir Shroufi, deputy medical coordinator for MSF in South Africa. 

The international medical aid group Doctors Without Borders, also known by the acronym, MSF, recently launched a series of films entitled “See What We See” on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. 

The films highlight the reality that the fight against HIV/AIDS is not over -- despite important achievements.  The film series features first-hand accounts of patients and doctors in South Africa, Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Asian country, Myanmar. The reports describe problems treating HIV in the field, while highlighting innovative tools and strategies that work in combating the disease. 

“Every minute, a young woman is infected with HIV,” said Dr. Shroufi, “and AIDS remains the biggest burden of disease here in South Africa and in many other African countries. And we know that worldwide, it’s thought to be the biggest burden of disease among women in the ages of 25 to 44.” He takes those numbers from a World Health Organization report.

Shroufi emphasized the huge numbers of people still in need of treatment who don’t have access to Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART). , Some countries who have done well in improving access to treatment but others have done poorly in giving access to the drug therapy.

In South Africa, for example, there has been a huge scale-up in the past two years, reaching approximately 2.4 million people.

“It’s been a huge achievement.  It’s not without gaps,” Shroufi said. One of the weaknesses in South Africa is the supply chain. “In a lot of places around the country, there have been stock-outs of essential medicine,” he said. “But it’s a country that’s shown a lot of commitment to the fight against HIV.”

Congo not making HIV drug therapies available

The Democratic Republic of Congo is highlighted in the film series as one country that is not doing well in providing needed ARTs.

“It was estimated in a paper in ‘Science’ in 2012, that only about 12 percent of people in need of Anti-Retroviral Therapy actually have access to it. The job of getting the medicine to people who need it really has not been done in some places,” the MSF doctor explained.

In most countries around the world, new HIV infections are going down.  However, in other countries new infections are rising, such as in Lesotho. 

“Lesotho has one of the highest adult prevalence’s anywhere in the world, and we think the new infections in the country, unfortunately, are rising,” said Shroufi.    

Shroufi said MSF thinks there are a number of community models that can help provide access more effectively than the traditional city hospital.

“For those people to do well, models such as community art groups,… clubs where people living with HIV become experts in the condition (and) work with each other” are a more convenient model. He said community groups help to collect medicine for each other, reducing the amount of time spent going to clinics. Such community models are being adopted increasingly in many countries because they are effective.

“Those kinds of models, we think, are very, very important,” said Shroufi.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid