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Africa Renewal. 2005 Apr; 19(1): p..When a reporter first met seven-year-old Bongani in a hardscrabble shantytown near Johannesburg in 2003, it was evident the child was dying. He was too weak for school, stunted and racked by diarrhoea. There was little question that he, like his deceased parents, was infected with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS. It seemed equally certain that he would soon lie in a tiny grave next to theirs -- joining the 370,000 South Africans who died from the disease that year. But when the journalist, Mr. Martin Plaut of the BBC, returned a year later, he found a healthy, laughing Bongani poring over his lesson book. “The transformation,” Mr. Plaut wrote last December, “was remarkable.” That transformation -- and the difference between life and death for Bongani and a growing number of people living with HIV and AIDS in Africa -- has resulted from access to anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) that attack the virus and can dramatically reduce AIDS deaths. For years high costs severely limited their use in Africa. The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated that only about 50,000 of the 4 million Africans in urgent need of the drugs were able to obtain them in 2002. But with prices dropping in the face of demands for treatment access and competition from generic copies of the patented medications, the politics and economics of AIDS treatment have finally begun to shift. (excerpt)
SIECUS REPORT. 1995 Feb-Mar; 23(3):20-2.The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) is the only national organization in the US with a primary emphasis upon sexuality education. A 1992 review by SIECUS of the libraries of 17 population-related organizations found none to have a significant collection on sexuality or sexuality education. The nongovernmental organization (NGO) therefore in 1993 added an international component to its sexuality information and education clearinghouse, providing assistance to more than 250 professionals in over 30 countries in the first year. This was made possible through SIECUS's extensive collection of sexuality and HIV/AIDS education curricula, international research studies and reports, sexuality training models, conference and meeting proceedings, country policies, and program assessments. As an official accredited organization at the NGO forum in Cairo, Egypt, September 1994, SIECUS was able to assess the level of awareness and knowledge of sexuality issues among international population, health, environment, and government institutions. Participation in the meetings also offered the opportunity to evaluate the direction of the international initiative and support sexual and reproductive rights. The International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action is discussed. With the Cairo conference representing considerable progress on many fronts, SIECUS now believes that appropriate responses to world population growth must acknowledge the interactions among social, cultural, economic, and environmental conditions. Sexuality education and health services are an integral component of efforts to improve reproductive health care. In the coming year, SIECUS will develop materials to meet gaps in information, create a forum on the Internet to enhance communication efforts of professionals from other countries, and disseminate information to educators and service providers outside of the US.