Meet A Vaccine Champion Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy In Ghana
14 July 2022
On 24 February 2021, Ghana became the first recipient of a shipment of 600 000 COVID-19 vaccines
On 24 February 2021, Ghana became the first recipient of a shipment of 600 000 COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX initiative, a global effort to provide access to vaccination and curtail transmission of the virus in developing countries.
Joshua Appiah, who is living with HIV, was apprehensive about getting the Covid vaccine because he had been influenced by misinformation: Some of what was circulating on social media frightened me. I was scared the jab would compromise my immune system and kill me!.
After coming to learn that it is a lack of vaccination which poses a threat to health, particularly for people living with HIV, Joshua is angry at those who have promoted misleading stories about the vaccine, its effects, the motivations behind its creation. That is why Joshua decided to play his part. In June this year, he became one of 40 Vaccine Champions to undergo COVID-19 vaccination advocacy training, aimed at reinforcing their capacity to spread positive messaging and debunk fake news, myths and lies in their discussions with local community members. In turn, the programme hopes to increase vaccine uptake in local communities and among people living with HIV at ART sites, as Ghana continues to battle vaccine hesitancy.
Hiv Statistics In South Africa
Estimates suggest that 7.7 million South Africans are living with HIV, representing about 14% of the population . Additional statistics are as follows.
- The HIV rate among adults is more than 20% .
- One in five people aged 15 to 49 years is believed to be infected with HIV.
- 45% of all deaths in the country can be attributed to HIV.
- 13% of South African blacks are infected with HIV versus 0.3% of South African whites.
- It is estimated that there are 600,000 orphaned children as a result of AIDS.
Successes In The South African Hiv Battle
It would be unfair to say that the picture has been all doom and gloom for South Africa. One of its major successes has been the reduction of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. With better surveillance at antenatal clinics and widespread use of prophylactic HIV medications, the rate of MTCT dropped from 8% in 2008 to 2.7% by 2012.
As a result, the HIV death rate has also dropped among children by 20%. Despite this, the implementation of antiretroviral therapy in children has fallen well behind that of adults, and over 70% of all maternal deaths in South Africa attributed to HIV.
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The Importance Of Environment
UNAIDS tried to explain the difference in the speed of spread of the epidemic in Central and Western Africa and in Southern and Eastern Africa . It comes out that differences in behavior alone do not explain the difference in prevalence rates. Behavior differences in this case are more than compensated by differences in risk of transmission of the virus. So, even though median age at first sexual intercourse was lower in Southern and Eastern Africa and age difference between sexual partners was higher there, partner change and contacts with sex workers were more frequent in Central and Western Africa. Condom use during occasional sex was low on each site. Except for chlamydia, STI infections were more frequent on Kisumu and Ndola sites than on Cotonou and Yaoundé sites. Moreover, in Cotonou and Yaoundé, almost all men declared to be circumcised against 10% only in Ndola and 30% in Kisumu.
Stillwaggon warns about the exceptionalization of HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. According to her, priority must be given to sanitary and economic conditions when studying the determinants of the pandemic. So poverty, malnutrition, lack of hygiene and care for STIs are of highest importance, especially since these characteristics are also present in other regions in the world that are facing an emergent HIV/AIDS pandemic. As she puts it: AIDS flourishes where people are dying of other diseases That is not a mere coincidence Conditions were ripe for an AIDS epidemic in SSA.
Why Hiv Has Spread So Rapidly In Sub
AIDS , the deadly disease caused by HIV has plagued the Sub-Saharan African countries more than any other region in the world. From the statistical reports of 2006, it was found that almost two-thirds of the total HIV infected population of the world and three-fourth of the total deaths due to AIDS are from this region. It is also reported that in 2006 alone, 1.9 million people were added to the list of those infected with the deadly retrovirus. The economic instability, the lack of education, and improper health care facilities all attribute to the spread of the epidemic in the region which is set to rise in the coming years. The disease in return would reciprocate its own deadly consequences upon the social and economic conditions of the region .
Information, Education, and Communication activities regarding HIV/AIDS play a vital role in creating awareness among the people of the region. They do so by a number of activities such as conducting street plays and role-play skits, involving high profile celebrities in creating awareness, displaying hoardings and posters, conducting discussions on radio and televisions. However, these messages are highly irrelevant to the poverty-stricken people as they do not have the resources to do what they are urged to do. Thus, unless the socio-economic conditions of the poor are not realized and improved their behaviors are unlikely to change.
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Women And Girls Are At Especially High Risk Of Contracting Hiv
The face of AIDS in 2021 is that of an adolescent girl. Of the 200,000 new diagnoses of HIV in Africa last year, young women and adolescent girls ages 15-24 made up 27% of those new cases. The United Nations reported 1,000 new infections per week in this demographic.
Gender inequalities and gender-based violence restrict the rights of women and adolescent girls, including their ability to refuse unwanted sex or negotiate safer sex, and to access HIV and sexual and reproductive health services.
Weve Made Progress Fighting Aids But Are Losing Ground Especially In Western And Central Africa
The United Nations classifies the AIDS crisis in Africa as an ongoing emergency, particularly in the western and central regions of the continent. UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima writes: The early gains made against HIV in this region have not been translated into the sustained progress that has been made in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
This area of Africa, which includes Burkina Faso, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Chad, and Democratic Republic of Congo, saw 150,000 AIDS-related deaths last year, representing approximately 21% of all deaths from AIDS-related illnesses worldwide. 2020 also saw 200,000 new infections of HIV in western and central Africa.
Despite the advances in treating HIV/AIDS, these gains have yet to reach the countries most affected in Africa. UNAIDS estimates 1.2 million people in the west and central countries of the continent are waiting on lifesaving HIV treatment. 65% of all children are not being treated. If we dont act now, not only will many more lives be lost, Byanyima cautions, but containing the AIDS pandemic will be more difficult and expensive in the coming years.
The early gains made against HIV in this region have not been translated into the sustained progress that has been made in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS Executive Director
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Hiv Prevalence Gender And Race Groups
Figure shows racial and gender differences in HIV prevalence. Results suggest strong racial differences for HIV prevalence. HIV prevalence was significantly higher amongst Black Africans both males and females compared to their counterparts from other races . Closer inspection of this trend showed that although there was a significant difference in HIV prevalence between male and female Black Africans, there was no significant gender difference in HIV prevalence for the other races . For HIV prevalence, none of the other race groups differed significantly from each other. Hence, HIV prevalence for other race groups was pooled in the subsequent analysis.
Lower prevalence of HIV infection was significantly associated with marriage , tertiary education , high SES , partner 5years younger , partner age difference within 5years , perceived risk of HIV infection and awareness of HIV status among Black African females. Similarly, among females of other race groups lower prevalence of HIV infection was significantly associated with marriage , partner age difference of less than five years , and self-perceived risk of HIV infection .
The Status Of The Hiv/aids Epidemic In Sub
Senior Fellow, Futures Group International
Despite the fact that sub-Saharan Africa contains only about 11 percent of the Earths population, the region is the worlds epicenter of HIV/AIDS. The numbers are daunting. Adult HIV prevalence is 1.2 percent worldwide , but it is 9.0 percent in sub-Saharan Africa. UNAIDS estimates that at the end of 2001, there were 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS, 28.5 million of them from sub-Saharan African. Five million adults and children became newly infected with HIV in 2001, 3.5 million of them from sub-Saharan Africa. Three million people died from AIDS-related causes in 2001, and 2.2 million of these deaths were among sub-Saharan Africans.2
AIDS is now the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa. Life expectancy at birth has plummeted in many African countries, wiping out the gains made since independence. The combination of high birth rates and high AIDS mortality among adults, including many parents, has meant that more than 90 percent of children who have been orphaned as a consequence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic are in this region.2
According to UNAIDS, all the worst affected countries are contiguous to one another in the lower part of the continent. These include South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe have prevalence rates above 30 percent.4
|Total Adults and Children|
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Male Circumcision And Hiv
For years researchers have puzzled over why most West African countries have lower HIV-infection rates than southern and East African countries. They thought it might have something to do with the Muslim religion, widely practiced in West Africa, which imposes restrictions on womens sexual freedom. However, another likely factor is male circumcision, which is ritually practiced by Muslims and many others.
Several studies suggest that male circumcision protects both men and their sexual partners from HIV infection. This is not true of female circumcision, or female genital mutilation, which is extremely dangerous. In African countries where male circumcision is common, such as Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Benin, and the entire region of North Africa, HIV rates tend to be much lower than in countries such as Botswana, Malawi, and Swaziland. In countries with high rates of HIV, provinces and districts that have high rates of circumcision, such as Inhambane in Mozambique or Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, tend to have lower HIV rates.
Two African tribes with very high HIV-infection rates are the Zulu of South Africa and the Tswana of Botswana. Before colonial times, men in both tribes underwent circumcision rituals during adolescence. But when King Shaka united the Zulu tribe in the 1820s, he abolished the ritual, and when Christian missionaries settled in with the Tswana in the late 19th century, they declared circumcision a barbaric practice.
The Aids Crisis In Africa: 5 Things To Know In 2021
2021 marks the 40th anniversary since the first cases of AIDS were reported in 1981. This World Aids Day, were taking a look at the state of the AIDS crisis in Africa, and what needs to happen now to finally end this four-decade pandemic.
Forty years since the first AIDS cases were reported in 1981, HIV still threatens the world, which is off-track to deliver on its commitments to end AIDS by 2030.
The HIV pandemic is even at risk of a resurgence, not because of a lack of knowledge or tools, but because of structural inequalities that obstruct proven solutions to HIV prevention and treatment, especially in key areas of Africa.
That doesnt mean all hope is lost. Here are 5 things to know about the AIDS crisis in Africa in 2021, including where were falling short, whats been done to get us back on track, and what we still need to do.
Learn more about Concern’s work with those left furthest behind in the AIDS crisis
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Why Hiv/aids Is So Prevalent In Africa
Why HIV/AIDS is so Prevalent in Africa
It is my hypothesis that increased testosterone increases HIVinfection rates and AIDS. This will explain why AIDS is so high in Africa.Blacks produce more testosterone than whites, and the infection rate ofblacks far exceeds the rate in whites. , andblack females produce more testosterone than white females, . In the following quotations regardingestablishment of a virus, equine arteritis virus in horses, it isdemonstrated that testosterone is directly involved in infection andmaintenance of the EAV. It has been determined that: “The findings confirmthat persistent EAV infection is unlikely to occur in geldings and supportthe results of previous studies, which demonstrated that testosteroneplays an essential role in the establishment and maintenance of thecarrier state.” , first quotation below).Also: “These findings confirm that the virus can replicate in thereproductive tract of a significant proportion of colts for a variableperiod of time after clinical recovery in the absence of circulatingconcentrations of testosterone equivalent to those found in sexuallymature stallions.” , second quotationbelow). I suggest the same influence of testosterone is occurring in theinfection rate of HIV, and resultant AIDS, in high testosterone people,that is, blacks.
McCollum WH, et al., “Resistance of Castrated Male Horses toAttempted Establishment of the Carrier State with Equine Arteritis Virus,”
The History Of Aids In Africa
It all started as a rumour Then we found we were dealing with a disease. Then we realised that it was an epidemic. And, now we have accepted it as a tragedy. – Chief epidemiologist in Kampala, Uganda
There is now conclusive evidence that HIV originated in Africa. A 10-year study completed in 2005 found a strain of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus in a number of chimpanzee colonies in south-east Cameroon that was a viral ancestor of the HIV-1 that causes AIDS in humans.
A complex computer model of the evolution of HIV-1 has suggested that the first transfer of SIV to humans occurred around 1930, with HIV-2 transferring from monkeys found in Guinea-Bissau, at some point in the 1940s .
Studies of primates in other continents did not find any trace of SIV, leading to the conclusion that HIV originated in Africa.
The 1960s- Early cases of AIDSExperts studying the spread of the epidemic suggest that about 2,000 people in Africa may have been infected with HIV by the 1960s. Stored blood samples from an American malaria research project carried out in the Congo in 1959 prove one such example of early HIV infection.The 1970s The first AIDS epidemicIt was in Kinshasa in the 1970s that the first epidemic of HIV/AIDS is believed to have occurred. The emerging epidemic in the Congolese capital was signalled by a surge in opportunistic infections, such as cryptococcal meningitis, Kaposis sarcoma, tuberculosis and specific forms of pneumonia.
Confusion, stigma and despondence
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The Determinants Of Hiv/aids Epidemic: A Review Of Literature
Broadly, there are two routes in the literature of the determinants of HIV/AIDS epidemic. The first route considers that the epidemic is fuelled mainly by an improper behavior, while the second emphasizes the role of environment.
However, a common typology of these determinants classifies them as socioeconomic, sociocultural and epidemiological.
Nigeria Calls For A Successful 7th Global Fund Replenishment
12 September 2022
Nigeria has hosted a meeting of key stakeholders in the countrys HIV and wider health response t
Nigeria has hosted a meeting of key stakeholders in the countrys HIV and wider health response to call for a successful 7th Global Fund Replenishment meeting. The meeting took place in Abuja and included ambassadors of key donor and recipient countries and heads of United Nations agencies, including UNAIDS.
During the event, the Minister of State for Health, Ekumankama Joseph Nkama, expressed his appreciation for Nigerias partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. He said Nigeria included one of the Global Funds most important recipients of Global Fund disbursements over the last 20 years and reiterated Nigerias commitment to increase domestic funding for health.
I applaud countries who have already made their pledges to the Global Fund including the United States, Germany, Japan and Luxemburg, said Mr Nkama. I encourage other countries to rise up to this noble call by increasing their pledge by at least 30% to enable the Global Fund to meet its target. he concluded.
Sustaining this success depends upon contributions to the Global Fund and all of us standing in solidarity to fight for what counts. We are close to the finish line, but with Nigeria still accounting for one out of seven children born globally with HIV, the race is not yet over, said Mr Green.
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Role Of The Media In South Africa’s Epidemic
The South African press took a strong advocacy position during the denialism era under Thabo Mbeki. There are numerous examples of journalists taking the government to task for policy positions and public statements that were seen as irresponsible.:44 Some of these examples include: attacks on Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang’s “garlic and potato” approach to treatment, outrage at Mbeki’s statement that he never knew anyone who had died of AIDS, and coverage of the humiliating 2006 International AIDS Conference.
It could be claimed that the news media have taken a less aggressive stance since the end of Mbeki’s presidency and the death of Tshabalala Msimang. The emergence of Jacob Zuma as party and state leader heralded what the press saw as a new era of AIDS treatment. However, this also means that HIV is afforded less news coverage. A recent study by the HIV/AIDS and the Media Project has shown that the quantity of HIV-related news coverage has declined dramatically from 2002/3 to the more recent “conflict resolution” phase under Zuma. Perhaps HIV has fallen into the traditional categories of being impersonal, undramatic, “old” news. The number of health journalists has also declined considerably.