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New Survey For Over 50s Living with HIV

Terrence Higgins Trust with Age Concern & Help the Aged are launching a survey today to find out the needs and concerns of people living with HIV who are aged over 50.

The findings of the research, titled 50Plus, will be made available to services for both older people, and people with HIV, to help them develop appropriate support.  Online and paper questionnaires will be distributed and can be filled in until January 4th, when the survey closes.

The questionnaire asks a series of questions about the participant’s life, hopes and concerns. It’s completely anonymous and there is a prize draw for two people, randomly drawn, who will each get £100 of shopping vouchers.

Lisa Power, Head of Policy at Terrence Higgins Trust said “Currently, we know we could be doing more for people over 50 with HIV, whether someone is newly diagnosed or has been living with the virus for decades. People need support in various ways and we want to ensure that service changes are based on the genuine needs of people over 50 with HIV, not on someone’s best guess. We hope to get as many people as possible filling the survey in.”


The research is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and is being managed by MBARC (incorporating Michael Bell Associates), who have a track record of research for people with HIV, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people and people seeking asylum.

To find out more, please visit

If you’d like to participate, go straight to

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Research Presentation on Sexuality and Rights in Urban Bangladesh

Venue: Spectra Convention Centre in Gulshan 1, Dhaka

Date: 9th November 2009

Time: 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

The Centre for Gender, Sexuality and HIV/AIDS (CGSH) will use this occasion to share the findings of a pioneering research project on sexuality and rights in urban Bangladesh. This exploratory study, the first of its kind, maps the multiple and shifting understandings of sexuality, identity and rights among public university students, factory workers, and sexual and gender minorities in Dhaka city.

The research presentation hosted by the CGSH (James P. Grant School of Public Health, Brac University) is being held to mark November 9th as part of the "One Day, One Struggle" campaign.  The campaign was called by the CSBR (Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies) network.

For more information: Dr. Dina Siddiqi at

The Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR): “One Day, One Struggle”An International Campaign to Promote Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies - 9 November 2009

For more information on the CSBR network and the "One Day, One Struggle" campaign, please click here.

To view the press release on the "One Day, One Struggle" campaign, please click here.

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Take Action: Petition: End Forced Sterilisation in Namibia!

"The sterilisation of women living with HIV without their informed consent in Namibia is an emerging human rights issue and the extent of the problem is yet to be discovered".

In 2007, reports surfaced of cases in which women seeking medical care were allegedly subjected to sterilisation without informed consent at state hospitals in two of the thirteen regions of Namibia. Since February 2008, fifteen individual cases have been documented, which appear to be merely the tip of the iceberg.

We, concerned citizens of Namibia and civil society organisations from around the globe, condemn the alleged sterilisation of women living with HIV without their consent in public health facilities in Namibia, and call an end to this practice.

We believe that numerous human rights have been violated, including those guaranteed and protected under the Namibian Constitution and international treaties. These include, but are not limited to, the right to liberty and security of the person; to health, to found a family, including reproductive health; to family planning; to privacy; to equality; to freedom from discrimination; and to life.

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Insurance Company to Woman: You Were Raped? DENIED


There are some things that I can’t describe; so upsetting no words can convey how I feel. Now is one of those times.  A story on highlights the practice of insurance companies that deny coverage for rape victims who are prescribed anti-HIV medication to prevent contracting the disease.  According to the health insurance provider, using anti-HIV medication indicates an unhealthy patient, a patient with too many health risks, a patient with a risk laden lifestyle.  Even after the assault was documented within the appeal process, the insurance company still felt the patient was too risky, and she was denied.  Now with a documented appeal and subsequent denial, for lack of better words, this woman is totally fucked.

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Increased condom use among sex workers but more education needed

ADDIS ABABA, 23 October 2009 (PlusNews) - With non-skilled jobs in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, paying as little as US$16 per month, the financial incentives to engage in commercial sex work are overwhelming - earning 30 times a domestic worker’s salary.

Many of the women entering into sex work in Addis are rural migrants who have failed to secure formal employment, or are escaping poor-paying jobs in the city or unwanted marriages in the country, according to a 2008 article published by the UK's Royal Geographical Society.

Teguest, a 16-year-old girl from Gonder, a town 700km northwest of Addis Ababa, fled to the capital four months ago after the death of her parents and a dispute with her brothers.

The relative she contacted in the capital was already engaged in sex work, so the decision to enter the trade was an easy one. Teguest charges 10 Ethiopian Birr or $0.80 per client and has sex with as many as 20 men a day in her tiny room; she is adamant that under no circumstances would she have unprotected sex.

"No, I would not do that for any money. I need my life," she said. "They sometimes offer 200 Birr [$16] and beg me, but life is more important than money."

Teguest says in the past four months, at least 10 men have asked her for unprotected sex at a higher fee.

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Campaign against forced sterilisation kicks off

By: Nangula Shejavali

A CAMPAIGN and a petition against the sterilisation OF HIV-positive women without their informed consent were launched in Windhoek yesterday.

The launch of the petition and campaign – titled ‘Non-negotiable: my body, my womb, my rights’ – comes just days before a case heads to court, in which 15 women who claim that they were sterilised against their wishes at State hospitals, will challenge the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Six of the 15 cases will be heard this year, with the first three scheduled for hearing from Monday to Thursday, and the second set of three scheduled for November 24 to 27.

Reports around State hospital sterilisations of women living with HIV, without their knowledge or informed consent, first came to light in 2007.

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HIV-positive children "missing" from health system

BAMAKO, 14 October 2009 (IRIN) - Parents are supposed to outlive their children, or so thought the grandmothers sitting in the children's playroom at Gabriel Touré hospital in Bamako, capital of Mali. They had all lost their children to AIDS-related illnesses, and met each other when they brought their HIV-positive grandchildren on hospital visits.

"I borrow, I beg - what else can I do? I am the only one willing to take care of him," said Mouta Tounkara, 61, speaking of her orphaned grandson who started HIV treatment in January 2008.

Aminata Soumaoro told IRIN that when her daughter died three months into the pregnancy, the newborn girl barely survived, but not her gravely ill father. "I did not want to care for this premature child, but it is easier now because she is grown."

She pointed to the 9-year-old girl. "I already lost my daughter; I do not want to lose her as well." Soumaoro used to travel between villages selling charcoal but had switched to agriculture because of poor sales.

Up to 60 percent of the children receiving HIV treatment at the hospital had lost one or both parents and were often shuttled among caretakers, said Anta Koita, one of two full-time paediatricians specializing in HIV care.

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Positive Women's Football Beats Stigma

HARARE, 13 October 2009 (PlusNews) - Janet Mpilime, 32, captain of the ARV Swallows, an all-woman football team based in the informal settlement of Epworth, 10km east of the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, has just led her team to a 2-1 victory over Sporting ART.

Wearing a football kit similar to that of Spain's number-one team, Barcelona, and smiling broadly, Mpilime explained that the name ARV Swallows was chosen to help fight stigma against people living with HIV.

ARV is short for antiretroviral, the life-prolonging drugs used to treat people with HIV, while ART stands for antiretroviral treatment.  All the women in both teams are positive.

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Brothers are doing it for themselves

JOHANNESBURG, 8 October 2009 (PlusNews) - In the context of sub-Saharan Africa's HIV/AIDS epidemic, women have often been characterized as the victims and men as the perpetrators incapable of sticking to one partner or taking responsibility for their sexual health.

But what if men were victims of the social norms that define masculinity as much as women? And what if they were willing to change, and persuade other men to do the same?

Speakers at the MenEngage Africa Symposium in Johannesburg, South Africa, this week have been debating ways to help men achieve this and to become part of the solution to the continent's twin epidemics of gender-based violence and HIV.

"When we talk about a feminized epidemic, we make the mistake of leaving men out of interventions," commented Mandla Ndlovu, programme officer of the recently launched "Brothers for Life" campaign.

The initiative by Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA), USAID and the Sonke Gender Justice Network aims to spark a movement of "good" men to encourage their peers to take more responsibility for their health and that of their partners.

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New Microbicides Tests for Better Protection Against HIV in Rwanda

A new phase of testing of microbicides, a possible new HIV prevention tool for women, gets underway in Rwanda.

The research is being carried out and tests will begin before the end of the year for the gel microbicide. It is done by Project Ubuzima, an international NGO which promotes reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention, working closely with the Ministry of Health.

Project Ubuzima's Community Outreach manager, Marie-Michele Umulisa, said, that the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) will consider two types of microbicides: a ring and a gel. The latter, being based on anti-retrovirals (ARVs), holds great promise for protection against HIV infection. "Tests for the Gel will start in November. The research is still going on and is now in its second phase, but we are looking forward to phase three which will examine efficacy," she said.

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