Reducing the Burden of the Violent Experience

By Linda-Gail Bekker, Deputy Director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Women* have many gender-unique experiences. Some of these are biologically determined: falling pregnant, giving birth; others are cultural: the relief of taking off a bra and the pain of high heeled shoes.  Then there are situations that arise from gender inequality and patriarchal norms.…

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Health Check for Human Rights

By Linda-Gail Bekker & Brian Kanyemba  Good health is fundamental for a good life. It is the trampoline spring that determines how high we bounce and what stars we reach. When a disease spins out of control and threatens the ability of large segments of a population to obtain and maintain good health, it becomes…

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Engage the Epidemic

By Linda-Gail Bekker, Anele Ngqokwe, Sibabale Silo, Akho Mpame, & Khanyiselo Silo 2017 has arrived, and I don’t know if you can feel it but we think it’s already looking up to be a much brighter year than the last. In the spirit of the New Year it’s always good to evaluate where we are at…

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My HIV Valentine

Valentines Day, as legend has it, originated when St Valentine took it upon himself to secretly help couples tie the knot when marriage was illegal under Roman law. The Romans may have killed St Valentine when they found out, but his dedication to upholding the right to love and be loved in spite of his…

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Be Bold for Change

8 March is International Womens Day and in 2017 the chosen theme is: Be Bold for Change. Women’s Day can be viewed as a day to celebrate all things that women have contributed and achieved. However, historically Women’s Day is also a day put aside to stand up and challenge social and political norms that…

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The Power of One – Poem Collection

On 4th March 2017, the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation organised a poetry writing workshop around the theme ‘The Power of One.’ The workshop took place at the MCED HIV/AIDS RCL Youth Conference where school children from schools in the area attended. The students discussed issues around HIV, sexual health, teen pregnancy and gender-based violence. HIV…

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Unite to End TB: Leave No One Behind

This World TB Day 2017 theme is: Unite to End TB; Leave no one behind. Many people infected with TB find themselves discriminated against because of their illness. Others are scared to seek treatment because they fear intolerance, whether that be because of their race, gender, religion or their status as migrants and refugees. We…

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World Immunization Week 2017 – How do Vaccines Work?

The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DHTF) has been researching HIV and providing outreach around Cape Town for over a decade. This includes research on the elusive HIV vaccine. This World Immunization Week 2017, we want to share some of the history of immunization, what research is ongoing right now and where vaccines will be in…

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HIV Immunisation Trial uses Infusion of Antibodies

To commemorate World Immunisation Week, we are sharing some of our research in HIV immunity trials. The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF) is testing an infusion of HIV antibodies that are administered intravenously for HIV-negative people. The drip has a similar function to a vaccine; it introduces HIV-fighting antibodies to the patient’s immune system. If…

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HIV Vaccine Trial is Underway

Vaccines protect us from serious illnesses like mumps, polio and rubella. These diseases, which used to be harmful, are today are no longer a threat in situations where child vaccinations are routine. However, an HIV vaccine remains elusive. The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF) is conducting HIV vaccine trials in the hope that one day…

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Tuberculosis Vaccine Research Aims To Outdo BCG

Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne bacterium that infects the lungs and can be fatal if left untreated. Therefore, HIV-infected people who are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis are particularly susceptible to develop TB disease due to their weakened immune system, and in countries with high TB and HIV prevalence co-infection is common. 35% of HIV-related deaths…

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5 Common Myths about vaccines

We live in an age of incredible luxury. Many people today have never encountered diseases that were once rampant and harmful – all thanks to vaccinations. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to life-saving immunisation due to their remote living conditions or socio-governmental situations. Moreover, some people opt not to vaccinate themselves or their children, even…

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Say "Thank You" to a Nurse

This week is not only National Nurses Week but also Mental Health Awareness Week, ending on Friday 12th which falls on Florence Nightingale’s birthday. It’s the perfect time to thank the nurses and caregivers in your life and to pay special attention to how to care for your caregivers. Many nurses go through their healthcare…

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PrEP: Your Guide To This HIV Prevention Drug

What is PrEP PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. It is a daily drug that can be taken by people who don’t have HIV to prevent them from being infected with the virus. It can prevent HIV infection even if the virus enters the body through an exchange of sexual fluids or from an injection. There…

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Make Way for the Tutu Tester!

With its signature rainbow banner, the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation’s mobile fleet (Tutu Tester, Tutu Teen Truck, and Tutu Kwik Testers) bring essential healthcare services straight to communities in Cape Town where levels of HIV are high, but levels of treatment are low. In fact, around a fifth of South Africans between 15-49 have HIV.…

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HIV Treatment is Effective, So Why Do We Need A Cure?

Anti Retrovirals (ARVs) suppresses HIV, so if we have a way to manage HIV, why do we need a cure? Less than half of people living with HIV are on treatment. This means that over half of HIV positive people are not on any treatment. With over 2.1 million new HIV infections globally in the year…

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HIV Infection: How HIV Infects the Body

The goal for all infectious diseases is to find a drug that can quickly eradicate the infecting pathogen, such as anti-biotics, or a vaccine that can prevent the infections from ever taking root in the body. For HIV, we do not yet have either of these options available as current drugs used for treatment are…

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HIV Remission: What is it?

Whilst there isn’t yet a cure for HIV, the virus can go into ‘remission’. This is where the virus is suppressed for a short time by the immune system without the need for antiretrovirals (ARVs). This period of time could be months or years. The majority of people do not undergo remission and for those…

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5 Strategies to Cure HIV

Whilst a person living with HIV can suppress the virus with antiretrovirals, there is no cure. A cure for HIV would be the total eradication of the virus from the body. However, this is not the only option that scientists are looking into. Here are some of the strategies scientists are looking into for an HIV…

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Stigma Against Sex Work Increases Risk of HIV

HIV infection is not a concern in the workplace, for most people. However, for sex workers, the risk of HIV infection is an everyday reality. The South African national plan for STI and HIV prevention has many positive goals, such as the 90-90-90 treatment target. This ambitious goal is to ensure that 90% of HIV-positive…

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#GivePrEPaShot

We want to talk to you! Globally HIV transmission is still a key social problem which needs a lot of attention from governments, health care providers, and our communities. There are general services, educational campaigns and programmes for all members of society. However, men and transgender womxn who have sex with men are particularly vulnerable…

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