Alcohol consumption threatens progress in fighting HIV/AIDS
Research on the links between alcohol use and HIV/AIDS has increased in the past few years, and the scientific connections are becoming gradually clearer. This thematic article addresses the current knowledge base on alcohol and HIV/AIDS.
Alcohol Policy Forum for NGOs in Southern Africa:
Alcohol plays a role in numerous stages of HIV disease from disease acquisition to health seeking behaviours to ART adherence to disease outcomes. Alcohol policy can impact on the HIV epidemic, said Dr. Neo K. Morojele at NGO forum in Botswana.
Thematic paper from FORUT:
There is a growing body of evidence on the linkages between harmful use of alcohol and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Addressing alcohol use as a risk factor may enhance the results of both new and already existing HIV/AIDS programmes. The FORUT booklet “Alcohol and HIV/AIDS” present the current knowledge base and suggests how governments and NGOs can integrate alcohol and HIV prevention.
The pervasive HIV/AIDS epidemic presents a major challenge to poverty eradication and development in many low- and middle-income countries. Although progress has been made in combating the disease, many challenges remain. Addressing the impact of alcohol consumption in those countries will help meet some of them.
Tanzania has experienced the same increasing problem with hard liquor sold in plastic sachets as a number of other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Tanzanian situation was presented by Dr Gerry Mshana in a STRIVE Learning Lab recently. Dr. Mshana focused on the effect of macro-economic factors such as pricing and packaging on alcohol drinking norms among young people.
"AIDS in numbers":
Remarkable progress has been made over the last decade—yet significant challenges remain. This is the conclusion UNAIDS draws from the latest statistics over the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Their new report “AIDS by the numbers” says that there has been a reduction of 33% in new HIV infections since 2001.
South Africa Medical Research Concil policy brief:
The South African Medical Research Council has published a policy brief: "Review of research on alcohol and HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa". The purpose is to provide recommendations on how to mitigate the effects of alcohol consumption on the acquisition and progression of HIV disease among people in the region.
A new and promising research program on structural drivers of the HIV/AIDS epidemic has now been started under the title STRIVE. The program is highly relevant for alcohol and development discussions, as excessive drinking is one of the four drivers to be examined.
PEPFAR Southern & Eastern Africa Technical Consultation
More than 80 participants representing fourteen countries in East and Southern Africa met in Windhoek, Namibia last month to share approaches to alcohol-related HIV prevention programs. Presentations from the meeting are available from the AIDSTAR-One web site.
Promotion campaign in the US:
“The most hypocritical Product (Red) product yet”, says the US based Marin Institute about Belvedere Vodka. This vodka brand is now promoted with the objective to "empower global consumers to help eliminate HIV/AIDS with (BELVEDERE)RED Special Edition."
Say South African health experts:
South African Breweries and the Global Fund has formalised a partnership to fight against HIV and AIDS. "This arrangement is extremely problematic and is in our view, completely unacceptable" say health experts pointing to conflict of interest, lack of evidence base and questionable quality of programme.