AIDS Leadership and Service Delivery in South Africa: What the People Thin

Will people vote for an HIV positive candidate? Read a new study by Godknow Giya of African democracy institute Idasa here. Its called “AIDS Leadership and Service Delivery in South Africa: What the People Think “and  it found more than eight out of ten people in provinces hardest hit by HIV and AIDS in South Africa will vote for a candidate who is HIV positive. According to an opinion survey conducted in municipalities in four provinces by African democracy institute Idasa, 86% of respondents in urban areas and just over 78% of South African in rural areas are likely to vote for an HIV positive representative. But lots more work has to be done in areas that aren’t so open.

Criminalisation of wilful transmission of HIV: sitting on the fence?

By Christele Diwouta, a researcher with Idasa’s Governance and AIDS Programme

In August this year the eyes of the world were upon an HIV-positive German pop star found guilty of having unprotected sex with her ex-partner and infecting him with HIV. Nadja Benaissa, 28, was found guilty and given a two-year suspended sentence as well as 300 hours of community service.

Nadja’s trial stirred up controversy and her story is not an isolated one. In the recent history of HIV and AIDS, there have been reported cases of wilful transmission of HIV. Some countries view the act of infecting a person with HIV as first-degree murder, as in the case of Ugandan-born Johnson Aziga under Canadian law.  Or it can be defined as serious bodily harm, as in the case or R. v. Cuerrier  where the supreme court of Canada ruled that a partner cannot truly give informed consent if the other fails to disclose their HIV status. In the American state of Florida, a person with a sexually transmitted disease other than HIV who knowingly passes on the disease through sexual activity is guilty of a misdemeanour.  But it is a felony  for any person who is knowingly infected with HIV to intentionally or recklessly pass it on to another person .

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Analysing budgets and tracking resources for HIV & AIDS in East Africa

The AIDS Budget Unit (ABU) of Idasa’s Governance and AIDS Programme (GAP), in partnership with The Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS Service Organisations (EANNASO), held a capacity-building workshop on HIV & AIDS budget analysis and resource tracking from 13 to 17 September 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya. The training was attended by EANNASO staff and members from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zanzibar. The main facilitators from Idasa were Vailet Mukotsanjera-Kowayi, Kisimba Mwenge and Godknows Giya, and the facilitators from EANNASO were Olive Mumba and Julius Sabuni.

ABU focuses on budget analysis and resource tracking of HIV and AIDS resources – tracking where the money comes from, who are the main service providers and who are the beneficiaries, as well as the effective, efficient utilisation and equitable distribution of resources. Conventional budget analysis tools are used, including the National AIDS Spending Assessment tool, which is UNAIDS’s brainchild.

See full report here.

Idasa warns of new needs of HIV-affected children

The latest study by Idasa’s Governance and AIDS Programme (GAP) warns that improved access to antiretroviral therapy has created a whole new dilemma for Africa. As the life expectancy of children living with HIV increases, where do AIDS orphans who have been cared for in institutions all their lives go for help after they turn 18? Caregivers and counsellors now have to deal with issues of dating, sex and health education at a different level and provide for post-matric life skills, including accommodation and tertiary education. Download the press release here.

For more information on this research and Idasa’s Governance and AIDS Programme, contact Marietjie Oelofsen, GAP Programme Manager, on 082 7730879 or 012 392 0575 or

Commentary on AIDS 2010 Conference in Vienna

The AIDS 2010 conference took place in Vienna this month. Idasa was in Vienna to discuss the state of leadership, government budgets and the challenges people living with AIDS face when they take part in political, social and economic life. Listen to Marietjie Oelofsen (Programme Manager) about their time in Vienna here –

Or listen here:

Models of Hope in Ghana

The Community of Practice for African media practitioners working on HIV/AIDS was recently launched in Livingstone, Zambia by Idasa’s Governance and AIDS Programme.  Two of the participants speak in this video clip, about an initiative in Ghana called “Models of Hope” which provides positive role models for people living with HIV.  See more here.

Tuning in to citizen’s conversations about HIV/AIDS

More public and less experts: how do we re-connect the work of journalists with the work of citizens?

– by Marietjie Myburg –

For the last 10 years I have been working in the field of HIV and AIDS Communication. During this time, I have watched in frustration what should have been a conversation between citizens and people with power to change things (policy makers, planners), but was actually a conversation between the well-intentioned funders and (often opportunistic) politicians and bureaucrats.

I have watched how, instead of challenging the course of this conversation, journalists become the channels for UNAIDS, USAID and Bill and Melinda Gates to talk to and on behalf of citizens to Departments of Health and AIDS Councils and Presidents and celebrities with an attitude which Donaldo Macedo aptly describes in his foreword to Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of Freedom: “There is no need to hear your voice when I can talk about you better than you can speak about yourself (Freire, 2001:xxvi)”.

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