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S. Africa to conduct first-ever HIV study on transgender women
4 January 2018, 5:04 PM

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on Thursday said that it would be conducting the first South African integrated biological and behavioural survey on HIV in transgender women looking at HIV prevalence in South African transgender women.

This study will be conducted in the Cape Town, Johannesburg, and the Buffalo City Metro in the Eastern Cape beginning later in January.

The HSRC said that these sites were selected because of the existence of civil society organisations working with transgender women to provide technical assistance, including the Feminist Collective in East London, and the Sex Workers’ Advocacy and Education Taskforce (Sweat) among others.

The study was initiated and supported by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). It will be supported by various South African and international academic and civil society partners.

The study aims to survey 300 transgender women in each of the three study sites with a total sample of 900 respondents.

In addition, respondents will also have access to HIV antibody testing to test for HIV prevalence, antiretroviral testing, HIV viral load testing to test the level of HIV in the body, screening for TB and testing for sexually transmitted infections.

HSRC’s Chief Executive Professor Crain Soudien said in a statement that South Africa will be able to document the HIV prevalence in transgender women for the first time.

“The data can also be used to monitor the sequential stages of HIV medical care, that is the care and treatment cascade that transgender women experience from diagnosis to achieving the goal of viral suppression, a very low level of HIV in the body,” Soudien said.

“Our fight against HIV will gain traction if we continue to investigate, and understand, the significant behaviours, attitudes and perceptions which can contribute towards infection, effective treatment and support. It is work such as this that gives expression to the slogan, social science which matters.”

The study aims to identify the social, structural, economic and cultural factors that are related to HIV infection in transgender women, understand risk behaviours and practices related to HIV infection and onward transmission in transgender women, and also determine the percentage of transgender women who are HIV positive in the three study sites.

Chiefs get their man, but it’s not Ntshangase
3 January 2018, 8:39 PM

Having missed out on Baroka FC midfielder Siphelele Ntshangase, Kaizer Chiefs have instead swooped for Bloemfontein Celtic winger Kabelo Mahlasela.

Chiefs had been linked with Ntshangase since his Black Leopards days and appeared to be closing in on capturing his signature.

But according to Baroka CEO Morgan Mammila, Amakhosi were not willing to meet their asking price and the deal was called off on Wednesday.

However, it was still to be a fruitful day for the Soweto giants as they confirmed the arrival of Mahlasela, the 26-year-old former Royal Eagles player having been on Chiefs’ radar after some scintillating performances for Celtic this season.

“Kaizer Chiefs would like to confirm the signing of attacking midfielder Kabelo Mahlasela from Bloemfontein Celtic on a 2 and a half year deal with a one year option,” the club tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.

And as part of the deal, central defender Lorenzo Gordinho will head to Bloemfontein for a one-year loan period.

Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy, meanwhile, continues to reshape his squad, the Citizens on Wednesday announcing the signing of the former Stars of Africa attacker Surprise Ralani, who arrives from Swedish outfit Helsingborg IF.

The 30-year-old from Kimberley has never played in the PSL, having spent his career in Sweden and Denmark. His signing follows on from that of Kenyan forward Masoud Juma on Tuesday.

The Cape side have, however, seen Lehlohonolo Majoro leaving for Bidvest Wits while Aubrey Ngoma went to Mamelodi Sundowns in a big money move.

In other confirmed PSL transfer business, Bloemfontein Celtic have signed Menzi Masuku from Chippa United.

Bidvest Wits, meanwhile, parted ways with former Bafana Bafana and Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar, who leaves after just half a season during which time he featured in only six league matches.

The 35-year-old, who also played for Ajax Amsterdam, Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland in a glittering career, had been linked to Orlando Pirates before joining the Clever Boys. But that was before Milutin Sredojevic was appointed head coach at Pirates.

Manana’s lawyer pays R100 000 fine in cash
14 November 2017, 2:36 PM

On Monday, Magistrate Ramsamy Reddy ordered that Manana pay a R100 000 fine or spend twelve months behind bars. Manana was also sentenced to 500 hours of community service, ordered to attend counselling and pay each of the victims the damage claims submitted by the state.

Manana was convicted of three counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm after pleading guilty to the charges. The charges relate to the assault of three women at Cubana in Fourways on August 6.

Nqobizitha Mlilo, acting for Manana, said that an arrangement was made with the court to make payment after the noon cut off time as the former deputy minister was resuming his 500 hours of community service.

The former deputy minister of Higher Education has been given a week to pay the damage claims to Mandisa Duma, Noluthando Mahlaba and Thina Mopipa.

Sentencing proceedings of his co-accused Cyril Madonsela and Thulani Mdaka, who also pleaded guilty to assaulting Mahlaba and Mopipa, will start on Thursday.

Libyan hospital struggling to treat mass food poisoning
24 October 2017, 5:21 PM

Ghat Hospital in south-western Libya is struggling to cope with an influx of about 50 food poisoning cases due to insufficient supplies and a shortage of trained staff, the Libya Herald reports.

Insufficient IV fluids and other medication was hampering the treatment of the first patients who were rushed to the hospital’s emergency room on Monday as more emergency personnel were called in overnight.

Hospital medical director Abdul Razzaq Al Saghir said more cases were expected after the victims were reported to have all dined at a pizzeria in the town.

There has been no word on how serious the condition some of the patients are in.

However, last year Libya’s Presidency Council head Faiez Serraj visited the town and promised that something would be done about the lack of basic services and this is not the first time the hospital’s poor conditions have made media headlines.

In January last year a group of Korean doctors decided to quit their positions at Ghat Hospital due to security concerns and the fact they had not been paid.

The on-going security crisis in the North African country has meant that there are no resident surgeons at Ghat Hospital and these have to be flown in regularly from the capital Tripoli to treat those urgent cases too ill to travel.

– By ANA

Child marriage in Africa still a challenge says UNICEF
23 October 2017, 2:10 PM

Without progress it could take more than 100 years to end child marriage in West and Central Africa, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned in a new report, ‘Achieving a future without child marriage: Focus on West and Central Africa’.

The continued practice comes with far-reaching, life-altering consequences for millions of child brides and a crippling impact on the region’s prosperity, UNICEF said in a Monday press release.

“We need to shake ourselves up,” said Fatoumata Ndiaye, UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director.

“We cannot continue to let so many of our girls miss out on their health, education, and childhood. At current rates, our report shows, it will take over 100 years to eliminate child marriage in the region – how is this acceptable?”

The new projections, released during a high-level meeting on ending child marriage in Dakar this week, aim to bring the spotlight on the region of the world where girls face the highest risk of marrying in childhood.

While the prevalence of child marriage in West and Central Africa has declined over the past two decades, progress has been uneven, and still four in 10 girls are married before the age of 18 and, of these, one in three before the age of 15.

West and Central Africa includes six of the 10 countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world: Niger; Central African Republic; Chad; Mali; Burkina Faso and Guinea.

Despite the gloomy forecast, the report also emphasised that even in high prevalence countries progress was possible – if the right mix of strategies were put into place.

These included empowering girls, mobilising families and communities to change attitudes and behaviours, providing adequate services to those at risk and to married girls, and putting in place consistent laws and policies to protect and promote their rights.

Five countries in the region – Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Togo, Ghana and Rwanda – stand out with declines in the practice ranging from 40 to 60% in the last 25 years.

The education of girls was one of best strategies to delay child marriage because educated girls were able to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence they needed.

“Getting girls to schools should be our top priority,” said Ndiaye. “Not only because it equips girls for life, but it also helps to lift their families, their communities, their countries out of poverty.”

Conversely child brides were less likely to finish school, and were more likely to be victims of violence or become infected with HIV.

When children get married, their prospects for a healthy, successful life decline drastically, often setting off an inter-generational cycle of poverty, exacerbated by child brides often lacking the skills needed for employment.

– By ANA

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