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aidsfocus.ch e-Bulletin 17.12.2004

aidsfocus.ch e-Bulletin 17.12.2004
aidsfocus.news in English

Dec 17, 2004

ELECTORNIC BULLETIN OF THE SWISS PLATFORM ON HIV/AIDS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

THE ELECTRONIC BULLETIN OF THE SWISS PLATFORM FOR HIV/AIDS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION December 2004


Dear Reader,

"Because of stigma I put my son at risk by breast feeding him", admitted Patricia A. Sawo, HIV-positive pastor from Kenya. These words of Patricia's, a strong and courageous woman, moved me, because they demonstrate the merciless power of social and personal stigmatisation.

Patricia A. Sawo and Ephraim Disi were in Switzerland to attend World AIDS Day at the invitation of the HEKS and the Bethlehem Mission Immensee. aidsfocus.ch used the opportunity to invite members of partner and other interested organisations to attend the first aidsfocus.ch "Meeting Point". The guests made a strong impression. With complete frankness and without any attempt to gloss over the reality, Patricia and Ephraim, also HIV-positive, talked about their inner struggle, self-doubts and marginalisation and about conflicts with their families and the church of which they are both leading members.

In this issue of aidsfocus.news you will find the testimonies given by Patricia and Ephraim at the Bundesplatz in Berne on 1 December 2004, as well as articles on the role of the church and faith-based organisations in dealing with HIV/AIDS.

In addition: Please note 12 April 2005 in your diaries. This is the date of the aidsfocus.ch special conference on memory work and psychosocial support of people affected by HIV/AIDS.

We wish you all a happy festive season and good start to the New Year.

Helena Zweifel Coordinator aidsfocus.ch


IN FOCUS


STIGMA IN CHURCH AND SOCIETY

Patricia A. Sawo's testimony: Most programmes target women but with no stigma reduction in place. One would ask why women? And what is the role of man? An African man being nursed by the wife ails and dies of AIDS without the wife knowing or being told. It is the secret of the Doctor and in many cases the family members of the man after the burial would work out on how to chase the woman, because nobody is ready in that family to take care of her when her turn comes to be sick. They have already even shared the property of their brother in secrecy.

As a religious leader -a woman leader in my church- I believed it was a punishment from God, due to the history of origin of HIV and AIDS. I believed those days that HIV and AIDS was a disease of homosexuals. Today I know, that this is not true.

When I tested HIV+, I was sick and pregnant and I had lots of issues to deal with but with very little information about HIV and AIDS.

The greatest stigma a woman suffers, is knowing her status before the husband, and knowing you are the direct source of infection to your child.

Secretly I started attending HIV and AIDS seminars, which as a church we believed if you attended you were possessing the virus. A facilitator realizing my need in one of these seminars sent me to a meeting in Uganda, Mukono where ANERELA+ was born. This meeting brought me back to life.

For the 1st time I was realizing HIV & AIDS is avoidable, preventable and AIDS death is postpondable. Stigma stands on the way to access care and support. Because of stigma I put my son at risk by breasting even though Nevirapine was given. The first time I and my husband began to talk about HIV & AIDS issues were in January 2004 when ANERELA+ was beginning the 1st National Chapter in Kenya, KENERELA+.

Now as a family we are fighting HIV & AIDS in our family, we talk at the church, and we began our AIDS Ministry, which we call "Discovery - Recovery Ministry".

Full text of Patricia A. Sawo's testimony, December 1, 2004, Bundesplatz in Berne:

http://www.aidsfocus.ch


DEMYSTIFY THE MYTH OF HOW HIV IS TRANSMITTED

Ephraim Bainet Disi's testimony: As a person, particularly being a pastor and head of my own church in Malawi, I want to affirm that it is imperative now, more than 5 to 10 years ago, that medicines are made available to Africa.

My personal experience, quoting from the bible (Job 3, verses 25) "For the thing that I greatly feared is now come upon me and that which I was afraid of is come unto me". I was among so many people who feared to be told about being HIV positive. I nursed my late wife from 1993 to 1995 and came to know about her status. Silence gripped our family, we never at all discussed it until she passed away.

In 1996 I tested HIV-AIDS positive. It was so traumatic and frightening, shameful. Later I gathered courage and disclosed my status to my immediate church leaders and trusted family members, except my mother. I remarried in 1998 and the following year I was attacked by shingles, which left my right eye blind and defaced.

The story of being HIV positive is an adventure, you either succumb or rise up and live with your fears. In 2002 in Zimbabwe I met Canon Gideon Byamugisha - the first African practicing clergy to declare his status publicly in 1992 - where the idea of forming a network of Religious leaders living with or personally affected by HIV + AIDS was born.

The objectives were: 1. To break the silence and the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS 2. To demystify the myth of how HIV and AIDS are transmitted - the myth was and is still, that HIV and AIDS is for those who are sexually immoral 3. To advocate for treatment and medication

See full text of Emphraim Bainet Disi's testimony, December 1, 2004, Bundesplatz in Berne:

http://www.aidsfocus.ch


DOCUMENTS ON CHALLENGES FACED BY CHURCHES AND FAITH BASED ORGANISATIONS


FAITH IN ACTION: EXAMINING THE ROLE OF FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS

In the interest of contributing to the knowledge base and improving HIV prevention, care, support and treatment efforts, the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), a faith-based leader in international health care, commissioned the Global Health Council to conduct an independent analysis of the role of FBOs in addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Preliminary Report introduces the study and provides preliminary findings from the initial phase of analysis. It addresses one key question: From the perspective of key informants working for predominately secular organizations (non-FBOs), how can FBOs be most usefully and constructively involved in addressing the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic? (2004, the final report is scheduled for early 2005)

http://www.synergyaids.com


CAMPAIGN OF "CATHOLICS FOR A FREE CHOICE"

Condoms4Life is an unprecedented worldwide public education effort to raise public awareness about the devastating effect of the bishops' ban on condoms. The campaign was launched on World AIDS Day 2001 with the display of billboards and ads in subways and newspapers saying, "Banning Condoms Kills." The campaign is sponsored by Catholics for a Free Choice, its partners in Europe and Latin America and colleagues in Africa and Asia.

The Condoms4Life web site contains facts on HIV/AIDS and on Catholic hierarchy's opposition to condoms around the world.

http://www.condoms4life.org


A NEW FILM, NEW WEBSITES AND A TOOLKIT


"STRENGTH FROM REMEMBERING" - NEW FILM BY AIDSFOCUS.CH

The documentary on Memory Work with people affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa was released in December 2004. "Strength from Remembering" documents different forms of memory work developed to support children, women and men affected by AIDS. It describes the lives of Babalwa (29) and Bulelwa (36), two women who live separated from their families in the township of Kayelitsha in South Africa. Memory work and treatment with antiretroviral drugs have helped them find new strength to go on living. Today Babalwa and Bulelwa are active in the "A-Team", a self-help group of HIV-positive women who have been trained as memory work facilitators. "Strength from Recollection" highlights projects that focus on psychosocial support for children who have lost their parents to AIDS. Memory Boxes can help children to talk about and cope more effectively with pain and grieving. Mothers living with HIV/AIDS use Memory Books to talk about their origins and in doing so pass on their love an affection to their children.

Using expressive and sensitive images, the film conveys the range of memory work methods and their local variants. The images are intended by René Schraner and Eva Hänger as visible parallels to the methods of memory work.

A DVD à Fr. 40.- contains two versions of the film: "Strength from Remembering" - Memory Work with people affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa. 50 minutes, English spoken "Strength from Remembering" - Three approaches of Memory Work: Memory Boxes, Memory Books and Body Maps. 15 minutes, English spoken

The DVD will be available mid January 2005 from: info@aidsfocus.ch

http://www.aidsfocus.ch


NEW WEBSITE ON ART IN AFRICA

IRIN's HIV/AIDS news service, PlusNews, has produced a webspecial "The Treatment Era: ART in Africa", looking at the key issues of access, delivery and resources. With over 20 articles, a treatment monitoring database, and exclusive interviews - including UN Special Envoy Stephen Lewis, and treatment campaigner Zackie Achmat - the webspecial explores the challenges, and opportunities, facing the continent as ARVs become more widely available.

It is a great new resource to monitor progress in access to ART. On the website there is an ART map, where you can get an update for each African country on how far they got with ART.

http://www.irinnews.org


PLUSNEWS FRENCH SERVICE - A HIV/AIDS SERVICE FOR SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

PlusNews coverage is now available in French in addition to English. PlusNews is an e-mail and web-based HIV/AIDS information service for sub-Saharan Africa, run by the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN). Free subscriptions are available through the web site or by contacting subs@irinnews.org. PlusNews provides news, information and analysis on the struggle being waged against HIV/AIDS across Africa, including coverage of the wealth of community-based activities, government initiatives and donor programmes targeting the pandemic. The overarching goal of the service is to help build sustainable information networks between organisations on the ground - especially those representing people living with HIV and AIDS - to promote the local sharing of knowledge and experience. PlusNews offers access to the latest epidemiological data, information on government programmes, donor initiatives, local civil society activities, expert analysis, and - crucially - the voices of people directly affected by HIV/AIDS.

http://www.plusnews.org
http://www.plusnews.org


TOOLKIT "MAINSTREAMING HIV/AIDS IN PRACTICE"

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has published a set of working documents on CD ROM entitled "Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in Practice". Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS is a new, rapidly developing concept aimed at a comprehensive and systematic integration of HIV/AIDS in the field of development cooperation and with a targeted connection to the themes of poverty and gender. Only if the causes and impact of HIV/AIDS have specifically been taken into consideration, can an effective contribution be made to the alleviation of poverty and concomitantly to the fight against AIDS. For a good two years now, HIV/AIDS has been a priority theme for the SDC in its international cooperation.

This set of documents, intended for specialists and for SDC partners, comes in the form of a handy Toolkit arranged in clearly structured modules dealing with the numerous diverse aspects of AIDS. Available in English for the time being, the publication will appear next year in a French version as well.

http://www.deza.admin.ch


EVENTS


20.01.2005 | MAINSTREAMING HIV/AIDS IN PRACTICE

Ausserholligen | What does it mean and how to do it? The SDC course on mainstreaming HIV/Aids aims to provide information on and skills in mainstreaming HIV/AIDS. It aims to strengthen participants' motivation and competence to mainstream HIV/AIDS as relevant for their work. The addresses collaborators of SDC; programme officers at SDC (headquarters and Coofs) and in NGOs, consultants and interested professionals in the field of international cooperation who would like to start or improve mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in their work.

Content: - Presentation of the SDC toolkit "Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in practice" and how to use it - Introduction to the concept of mainstreaming: what does it mean (internal and external sphere), how to do it? - Linking the concept of mainstreaming to the working context of the participants - Sharing experiences of participants in the field of HIV/AIDS

January 20, 2005, in English April 14, 2005, in French

http://www.deza.admin.ch


12.04.2005 | AIDSFOCUS CONFERENCE

Berne | Memory Work and psychosocial support of children und people affected by HIV/Aids is the topic of the aidsfocus.ch conference 2005. Programme and further informations will follow in January 2005.

Please note the date!


www.aidsfocus.ch

aidsfocus.ch is a project set up by Medicus Mundi Switzerland. aidsfocus.ch is sponsored and shaped by 23 partner organizations who support the aims and activities of the platform through their financial contributions, expertise and commitment.

Partners: AIDS & Child, Bethlehem Mission Immensee, Caritas Switzerland, cinfo, CO-OPERAID, Déclaration de Berne, Doctors without Borders, Fondation Terre des hommes, Fédération Genevoise de Coopération, Gemeinschaft St. Anna-Schwestern, HEKS, IAMANEH Switzerland, medico international Switzerland, mediCuba-Suisse, REPSSI, SolidarMed, Swiss Aids Federation, Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund, Swiss MIVA, Swiss Red Cross, Swiss Tropical Institute, terre des hommes - Switzerland, World Vision Switzerland.