Risky behaviour

The Durex Global Sex Survey shows that South Africans are careless about AIDS. Fifty eight percent of us have unprotected sex despite living in a country with one of the highest HIV prevalence levels in the world. Health-e spoke to a matriculant living with AIDS about the importance of safer sex.

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Positive living at school

HIV/AIDS continues to challenge our society at every level ‘€“ including our schools. How dies a matric pupil cope with hearing that she is HIV positive mid-way through her final year at school and how has this affected her relationships with and preparations for her matric exams?

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Nurses and AIDS

Thembi Zungu is a senior nurse living with HIV in Port Elizabeth. She disclosed her status in 1996 after living in denial for five years. Her decision met with mixed reaction from her nursing colleagues. Thembi says she did so because she has witnessed too many nurses dying from HIV-related illnesses without anyone acknowledging this.

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World Bank MD urges treatment for AIDS    

August is women’€™s month and Health-e spoke to one of South Africa’€™s most celebrated women, Dr Mamphele Ramphele, medical doctor, activist, anthropologist, the first black female vice chancellor of a South African university (University of Cape Town) and now one of four managing directors at the World Bank. She stressed the enormous challenges that confront women, especially in the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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Pregnant teens’ right to learn

The South African constitution guarantees the rights of learners to attend school even when they become pregnant. While pregnant learners may not be suspended or expelled from their schools, they should be supported and receive counseling. Apart from this, parents and school governing bodies should also become involved. Thandeka Teyise of Health-e News Service spoke to learners from Luhlaza Senior Secondary School in Khayelitsha and Fish Hoek Senior High School in Cape Town about their perceptions of HIV/AIDS, STD’€™s, pregnancy, sexuality and life in general.

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Boys at risk of cancer

Testicular cancer is a cancer of the testicles that can affect males from 15 years of age to 40. According to the Cancer Association of South Africa, testicular cancer rarely occurs in early teens and in men over the age of 40, but boys who reach puberty early at 9 or 10 years of age, have a higher risk of testicular cancer. According to Khaya Nkontso a co-ordinator for the ‘€œMen As Partners’€ programme of the Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa in Cape Town, men are largely ignorant about the kinds of cancers that can affect them and reluctant to talk about them ‘€“ something the ‘€œMen As Partners’€ programme is trying to overcome.

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Alcohol and HIV in Botswana

Botswana has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world. It is estimated that around 38.8 percent adults between the ages of 15 to 59 are living with HIV. According to Limpet Mpotokwane, a Programme Development Manager for African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships in Botswana, alcohol abuse is one of the key factors fueling the HIV pandemic, along with poverty and the mobility of Botswana between urban and rural areas. She says her government and the communities are ready to take the bull by the horns in formulating a new national forum that will oversee programmes to assist people with alcohol abuse and HIV.

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Men’€™s health

Strong men are often silent men and when it comes to health care, silence is dangerous. A man’€™s reluctance to go for a medical check-up or to get information from the local clinic may have devastating consequences for his health. Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in South Africa, but few men will talk about this illness. Two notable exceptions are former President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu who have both had treatment for prostrate cancer. According to the Cancer Association of South Africa 1 in 31 males are suffering from prostate cancer but there’€™s still a deafening silence around this issue.

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