HIV/Aids: things we should know

first_img1 December 2005A major new study on HIV/Aids makes a number of findings that South Africans should know about. These include findings on how pregnancy, breastfeeding and male circumcision can affect HIV transmission, and on the importance of periodic HIV testing.But the key finding is this: if you think that you, or your children, are not at risk of contracting HIV, the chances are you’re wrong.Aids ‘starting to level off’HIV prevalence among South Africans aged 15-49 increased only slightly from 2002 to 2005, a sign that the epidemic in SA may have started levelling off, according the HSRC study.The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) published its 2005 national household survey on HIV prevalence, incidence, behaviour and communication on Wednesday ahead of World Aids Day on 1 December.The study, which estimates that 10.8% of South Africans are HIV-positive, found that young South African women, and people in poorer communities, are particularly vulnerable to HIV/Aids – but that South Africans in general fail to appreciate the risks posed by the epidemic.Key findingsKey findings of the report, all of which have implications for HIV/Aids communication campaigns in South Africa, include the following:South Africans suffer from a “false sense of security” regarding HIV/Aids.The stigma attached to HIV/Aids is becoming less of a factor in South Africa.There is an increased risk of contracting HIV during pregnancy.Periodic HIV testing is crucial to HIV/Aids prevention and treatment.HIV prevalance among children is significant, and affected both by prolonged breastfeeding of infants and poor supervision of children.Sex at a young age, high partner turnover and concurrent sexual partnerships are significant factors in HIV transmission in South Africa.Safe male circumcision offers significant, but not complete, protection.False sense of securityHalf of the respondents in the study who were found to be HIV-positive – over two million people – did not think they were at risk of HIV infection, and hence were unaware of their risk of infecting others.The study recommends that HIV/Aids campaigns and programmes address “this false sense of security in the general population, with a particular emphasis on encouraging people to go for voluntary testing and counselling”.Aids stigma on the decreaseThe survey found that an overwhelming majority of South African are willing to care for an Aids patient, and that nearly half of South Africans of 15 years and older do not think it is wrong to marry a person with HIV.“These results suggest that South Africans are accepting HIV/Aids as a reality in South Africa, and that stigmatisation in society is becoming less of a factor, especially in urban areas.” The study recommends that service providers capitalise on this by encouraging people to undergo counselling and testing, and to disclose their HIV status to their partners.Increased risk during pregnancyThe study confirmed recent findings from other studies that suggest an increased risk of HIV acquisition during pregnancy, and recommends that awareness campaigns aimed at pregnant women and would-be parents be undertaken on a national scale.These campaigns, the report said, should encourage people to plan their pregnancy, to get tested for HIV before trying to conceive, and to disclose their results to their partners.Periodic HIV testing crucialDespite a well-established voluntary counselling and testing service in South Africa, and despite the fact that most respondents in the survey knew of a place to be tested, many of those found to be HIV-positive had not been tested.“Knowledge of HIV status is a critical aspect of prevention as it is linked to motivation to prevent HIV infection of others,” the report said. “It also serves as an entree into seeking treatment for opportunistic infections and receiving antiretrovirals in the case of advanced HIV infection.”The study recommends encouraging periodic HIV testing for men and women in stable partnerships. It adds that, given the extremely high HIV incidence among South African women aged 15-24, Aids campaigns and programmes “should sensitise this young female group to the fact that the risk of HIV is real”.HIV among childrenWhile the survey recorded a substantially lower HIV prevalence among children aged 2-14 (3.3% in 2005 compared to 5.6% in 2002), the epidemic remains “significant” among South African children, with an estimated 5.1% of children aged 2-4 and 4.4% of children aged 5-9 living with HIV.Most of the HIV-positive children aged 2-4 years are likely to have been infected “through mother-to-child transmission or during prolonged breastfeeding,” the HSRC said.However, the study also found that 6% of all recent HIV infections in South Africa occurred in children aged 2-14, with 3.3% occurring in children aged 5-9. “These infections cannot be clearly linked to mother-to-child transmission, and could include child sexual abuse or infection through the healthcare system.“Other findings suggest that many South African children are left unsupervised for much of the time, including going to and from school and being sent on errands alone – practices which could expose children to sexual abuse.”The study recommends that HIV prevention campaigns include messages on increasing supervision of children. It also recommends that the government review its “baby friendly” breastfeeding policy, encouraging HIV-positive women not to breastfeed their children but to supply them with a breast milk substitute instead.Sexual lifestyle issuesA high number of sexual partners, regular turnover of sexual partners, and concurrent sexual partnerships pose significant risks for HIV infection. Over a quarter of South African men aged 15-24 had more than one partner in the past 12 months, the study found.The study also found that young South African women are more likely to have male partners who are at least five years older. “Older men have a higher HIV prevalence than younger men, and therefore young women with older male partners increase their chances of getting HIV.”The study recommends that prevention campaigns and programmes emphasise these aspects of risk, and that sexually active people should:Avoid engaging in unprotected sex with anyone whose HIV status they do not know.Access and consistently use condoms to protect themselves in every sexual encounter with non-regular partners.Avoid frequent partner turnover and concurrent sexual partnerships.Older people also at riskA high HIV prevalence among South Africans aged 50 years and older (5.8%) calls for the development of targeted interventions for this age group, the study finds, “as they are considerably less aware of national HIV/Aids campaigns and programmes and have generally poorer knowledge of key aspects of HIV prevention and other aspects of HIV/Aids”.Safe male circumcisionA recent study in Orange Farm in Gauteng found that safe male circumcision can offer males at least 60% protection from HIV infection.The HSRC study recommends that safe male circumcision be encouraged by the public health sector, medical insurance schemes and women as one effective way of slowing the spread of HIV infection.At the same time, the study warns that male circumcision does not completely prevent HIV acquisition, and that it remains crucial for circumcised men to practise safe sex.SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

African youth prone to saving, advancing education: Barclays report

first_img31 October 2014African youth are more likely to invest surplus cash to achieve their long-terms goals, rather than spend money on luxury items, according to a report released recently by Barclays Africa Group Limited.A result of a survey conducted among 7 052 young Africans from 11 countries, the report states that 49% of all respondents said they would invest or save an extra US$100 if they had the money.Of the total number of respondents, 14.7% said they would use the extra US$100 for education and skills-related expenses and 13.2% would use it to pay off their debt, indicating good saving intentions and a readiness to make sacrifices for education and training as a strategy for prosperity, the report notes.Young South Africans less likely to investCompared to the overall score, Ghanaians (62%) and Kenyans (63%) came out tops as the most likely nations to invest additional funds. However, South Africans were less likely to invest (27%) and were only slightly more inclined to pay off debt (31%).Entitled “Africa Prospers: Future Youth Drivers of the African Economy’, the purpose of the survey was to gauge how Africans defined “prosperity” and how they are investing for their future. Respondents from South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, Seychelles, Mauritius, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe took part in the survey from April to August this year.What it means to prosper to young AfricansYoung Africans mostly agreed that to prosper means to be successful, to thrive and to be fortunate in not only finances but also in health, career satisfaction and happiness.“The survey showed that there is a new understanding of prosperity – one that transcends the confines of traditional family or community structures,” according to the report.Of note, 30% of respondents said they would buy a computer if they had extra cash and 24% said they would purchase books in order to prosper. Education cropped up quite frequently in the survey, an indication of the zeal for knowledge among the youth.“Both the internet and new and developing mobile phone technology are increasing the importance of this generation as agents of social transformation and wealth creation in different sub-regions of Africa,’ the report notes.Lack of financeHowever, 68.9% of the participants said the major impediment to “prosperity’ was lack of finance. Half of the participants indicated there was general lack of opportunity to prosper and 26.2% said they needed financial advice.Commenting on the findings in the executive summary of the report, independent analysts Professor Monde Makiwane of the Human Sciences Research Council and Dr Golda Chimere-Dan of Africa Strategic Research Corporation (Pty) Ltd said the survey “captures the prosperity perspectives, experiences and life strategies of Africa’s growing and young emerging middle-class, who holds the key to accelerated economic growth and transformation in Africa’.“It addresses critical issues of financial behaviour and prosperity that have either been missed or poorly measured by previous social and financial surveys in Africa. Although some results from the report confirm findings from other location- specific studies, this is the first survey of its kind to collect this specific set of information in a comparative study of 11 African countries.’Findings key to attracting investment in AfricaMakiwane and Chimere-Dan said the findings will have profound implications on how economic development and financial services are packaged and presented to people in Africa in years to come.“Africa constitutes a sizeable portion of the global market with its share of general and unique risks and opportunities. Even though regional economic growth is vulnerable to the fluctuations in the global markets, many analysts remain optimistic about the economic prospects for sub Saharan Africa,’ the two analysts noted, adding that a combination of demographic and social dynamics has given rise to two notable patterns that attract regional and global attention to the African market.The first pattern shows that the current phase of the demographic transition in Africa is contributing to a growing sub-group of young, economically active Africans who are better educated and not as digitally disadvantaged as the generations that preceded them.Recent studies by demographers and economists have identified this new generation as the potential vanguard for accelerated economic growth and human development in Africa, a phenomenon is referred to as the African “youth bulge’.African youth bulgeThe second pattern relates to Africa following Asia’s saving boom. Makiwane and Chimere-Dan said several decades ago, Asia experienced a similar “youth bulge’.“Asia capitalised on this by creating employment opportunities and mobilising the youth to save, thereby boosting per capita savings. Encouragingly, one of the most significant findings from the Barclays Africa Prosper Report is the high level of savings and investments reported by participants. As many as 50% of respondents would save or invest to help them prosper financially. This needs encouragement,’ Makiwane and Chimere-Dan noted.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

BUG Labs WiFi Release: DIY Web-Enabled Gadgets for All

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… dana oshiro Tags:#start#startups Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Related Posts Have you ever wanted to build a better web cam, GPS device or web video pet monitoring service? Well you just might get your chance. Bug Labs recently released their latest BUGbase device module with an embedded WiFi and bluetooth solution. Best known for its Lego-like hardware blocks, BUG offers users a set of programmable modules to develop DIY gadgets. What makes this so groundbreaking is the fact that the company is offering one of the first-ever open source WiFi hardware solutions. This means that both large-scale hardware manufacturers and garage tinkers can utilize the code. CEO Peter Semmelhack noted that BUGbase’s WiFi has taken a year to launch with significant hardware, software and regulatory struggles to overcome. Nevertheless, the results are a triumph for the entire open source community. Says Semmelhack, “The world is already rapidly changing via popular software applications like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Digg, etc. It will change even more radically when we are able to personalize our hardware experiences as easily as our digital ones.”Rather than trading old products for newer models or adjusting to the limitations of their gadgets, consumers may one day learn to build better experiences for themselves. Semmelhack listed a number of commercial products that can already be recreated using BUG modules. Below are some of his examples:1. Novatel Mifi: This pocket-sized mobile hotspot can be created using the BUGbase Wifi and BUG 3G modules.2. Dash: Most basic GPS solutions can be built using the BUGbase, GPS and BUG 3G modules. 3. Kodak Easyshare One camera with WiFi Card: Users can create their own camera via the BUGbase WiFI, BUGcam modules. They can also add geotagging with the BUGlocate GPS module. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Five soldiers trapped under snow in Kashmir

first_imgFive soldiers swept away in heavy snowfall near the frontier posts in Kupwara and Bandipora remained untraced after more than 24 hours on Tuesday, while an Army porter’s body was recovered.“Two soldiers slipped down the slope in the Naugam sector of Kupwara. Three soldiers went missing from a forward post in the Kanzalwan sub-sector of Gurez in Bandipora,” a Srinagar-based Army spokesman, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, told The Hindu.An Army official said an 11-member patrol team of 36 Rashtriya Rifles was on an inter-post movement around 8.30 p.m. on Monday when three jawans slipped into a ravine. The posts are close to the Line of Control in the Bakhtor area, more than 200 km from here, of Gurez.“A specialist team from the High Altitude Warfare School reached the site and started rescue operations, which are still on,” the official said.Two soldiers of a patrol team of an officer and 10 troopers of 20 Dogra fell into a ravine at Naugam around 5 p.m. on Monday. The specialist team was unable to reach the site on Tuesday because of heavy snowfall, officials said. Preliminary reports suggest heavy snowfall, which started on Monday, caused these accidents. Over four feet of snow has accumulated in these areas. Ghulam Qadir Khan, an Army porter from Kilshey village of Tulail, fell to death during snowfall. The body has been recovered.Deputy Commissioner, Bandipora, Sajjad Hussain on Tuesday asked people in the Gurez and Tulail areas not to venture out in avalanche-prone areas till the weather improved.Snow in the plainsThe plains of Kashmir Valley also witnessed the season’s first snow spell in the past 24 hours, badly affecting road connectivity. The national highways connecting Srinagar to Jammu, Leh and Poonch, besides the Mughal-Sinthan Top, Jammu-Doda and Arnas-Mahore highways are closed.“Men with machinery are busy clearing snow for vehicular movement,” said Colonel Awadhesh Singh, Director, Works, Project Beacon, Border Roads Organisation. Sonum Lotus, Director, Meteorological Department, said Kashmir would witness “a gradual improvement in the weather conditions from Wednesday”.last_img read more

A glimpse of the future the Ubuntu smartphone

first_imgHere’s what you need to know about Ubuntu on phones today. Advertisement Ubuntu has long been a favorite Linux desktop operating system for open-source fanatics and those who like to tinker with their technology. Now it’s stepping out into a new frontier: mobile.Ubuntu’s new mobile software will let users run their PC from their phone.Ubuntu developer Canonical unveiled a new interface on Monday reimagined for touch devices, with a design that borrows cues from Android and Windows 8. The hard sell here isn’t simply that Ubuntu now works on mobile devices. Canonical hopes that future devices (read: arriving sometime in 2014) will not only run the new mobile OS, but will also boot the desktop variant of Ubuntu when docked to a keyboard, mouse and monitor.That would let you literally use your phone to power your PC. – Advertisement – This concept isn’t entirely new, as Canonical revealed similar plans last year to attach its desktop software to devices running Android. Before that, Motorola tried to turn Android phones into laptops with its Atrix line of phones and docks. And let’s not forget the hybrid operating system experiment that is Windows 8.But no one — not even Microsoft  — has attempted to serve up its own phone OS and desktop OS in a single package. Despite its desktop-like features, Android considers itself a phone and tablet system, while Microsoft still has Windows Phone 8 operating autonomously from the tablet and desktop-centric Windows 8.Is Ubuntu’s new creation good enough to make even the tiniest inroads against the likes of Android, Apple’s iOS and Windows Phone?Video footage previewing the new software shows off an attractive user interface and some clever ideas for navigation, but there’s no indication that the wheel has been reinvented.You’ll be able to swipe from the edges of the phone to switch apps and access menus. You can log in to your favorite online services, and Ubuntu will assimilate that data into its own framework. In general, the emphasis seems to be on getting you the info you need in a quick and easy-to-digest way. From the looks of things, the desktop build will have its own interface tailored to mouse and keyboard, but Canonical envisions a single installer app having both desktop and mobile builds.This would all be great if the only challenge for a mobile operating system was offering up a solid product. It’s not. Carving out a niche in the seemingly unshakable mobile space — ruled by the Android-and-Apple duopoly — still requires a critical mass of users and a lively ecosystem of app developers.Realistically speaking, the chances of this even upstaging Windows Phone or BlackBerry 10 are slim. At best, Ubuntu seems like a sandbox for the most enthusiastic early adopters and a cheap enterprise solution for companies on a tight budget.Still, pushing aside the concerns about market viability, this could be a very real glimpse of how we compute in the future. The central brain for all our computing needs might eventually live in our smartphones, and we’d simply attach them to whatever form factor the situation calls for.That differs from some current experiments, like Microsoft’s vision for the Surface tablet: a single piece of hardware that can be used in multiple ways. It seems just as valid a solution, though, for the inevitable convergence of mobile and desktop computers.Source: CNN Moneylast_img read more

Facebook launches news app for iOS Notify

first_imgThe Notify application was tailored for iPhones and available only in the United States, according to Facebook. Image Credit: Techradar Advertisement Notify debuted with more than 70 “stations,” most of them media outlets serving up magazine stories or breaking news.The list of Notify launch partners included Wired, Vogue, Vice, Time, Getty Images, CNN, ABC, and Comedy Central.“Whether you’re into sports, celebrities, news, movies, music or shopping, Notify makes it easy to find notifications you’re into,” Facebook product manager Julian Gutman said in a blog post. – Advertisement – People who download Notify are invited to select “stations” they want to get updates from.Each selected source will have clearance to “push” notifications to iPhone lock screens, alerting people to posts or news, according to Gutman.The Notify application was tailored for iPhones and available only in the United States, according to Facebook.The release came just weeks after Facebook launched an Instant Articles feature on iPhones that speeds up the display of news stories shared by friends at the giant social network.[related-posts]Launch partners for the feature included NBC News, The Atlantic, Slate, The New York Times, The Daily Mail, National Geographic, and the Washington Post.A beta program of Instant Articles geared for Android devices is open to the public, and is expected to be ready for broad release by the end of this year.[Gadgets 360]last_img read more