Oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), taken as a once-daily pill, has been hailed the world over as one of the major HIV prevention interventions in the fight against AIDS. Yet, apart form sex workers, very few South Africans are using PrEP or even know it exists.
President Jacob Zuma has announced the most significant government-led interventions to stem the AIDS epidemic since its emergence more than 20 years ago, stating that extraordinary measures are needed.
HIV positive mothers are often advised to bottle-feed their babies to avoid the possible transmission of HIV through breast-milk. This sets HIV-infected women apart from all other mothers, who are encouraged to breastfeed exclusively for six months. But exciting new research, conducted by Professor Anna Coutsoudis and colleagues at the University of Natal, shows that exclusive breastfeeding for the first three months may result in no greater risk of HIV transmission than exclusive bottle-feeding. Coutsoudis’s findings still need to be confirmed by other studies. If they are confirmed, it will be extremely good news for HIV positive women, especially in developing countries such as South Africa where exclusive breastfeeding is cheaper, healthier, and a more socially acceptable option in many communities.
“Very high” medicine prices have prompted HIV/AIDS activist organisation to mount “legal action” against [drug company] Pfizer, to bring generic medicine into the country from Thailand to help treat HIV positive people.
An article by Kerry Cullinan published in The Star, June/ July 2000.
It is death rather than renaissance that draws the foreign press to Africa. But where are the ethics that protect HIV/AIDS sufferers from unscrupulous journalists?