Monday, July 25, 2016

THE END OF AIDS - An Island in Kenya

"Why a Kenyan island may teach the world how to beat AIDS" PBS NewsHour 7/20/2016


SUMMARY:  A massive HIV test-and-treat study is underway in Kenya and Uganda.  Migratory men in the fishing industry there have been hit especially hard, and researchers are trying creative ways to encourage them to get tested.  William Brangham reports from Mfangano Island with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for our series, “The End of AIDS?”

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  Finally, as the International AIDS Conference convenes in Durban, South Africa, this week, we continue our End of AIDS series. 

As we have been reporting, public health officials believe that getting the overwhelming majority of HIV-positive people tested and consistently treated is a crucial step to ending the epidemic.  But that's proven a difficult goal. 

But in Western Kenya, on the border with Uganda, there's a small island where researchers are finding remarkable success with even the hardest-to-reach groups. 

Correspondent William Brangham and producer Jason Kane continue our series, with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. 

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  It's late on a Monday night. 

Fisherman Kevin Opiyo and his crew are heading out onto Lake Victoria on the very western edge of Kenya.  They throw out their lines and stretch out their nets, hoping the tiny omena fish are schooling below. 

Fishing these waters is long, grueling, dangerous work.  It's also become one of the main pathways for the growth of the HIV epidemic in this part of Kenya. 

Opiyo himself is infected. 

KEVIN OPIYO, Fisherman (through translator):  I'm confident that I got it through sexual intercourse and can say it was the time I was working in Remba. 

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  Fishing crews often have to travel long distances to other islands on the lake, and into neighboring Uganda. 

DR.  MOSES KAMYA, Makerere University/SEARCH Co-Principal Investigator:  I think there's a mentality among fishermen that life is not as important.  Therefore, you can enjoy it and have as much sex as you can. 

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  Dr.  Moses Kamya is an HIV researcher who's been working with fishermen in the region for years. 

DR.  MOSES KAMYA:  You know, fishermen tend to have a lot of disposable income, and, you know, they can buy sex very easily.  And, of course, where fishermen are, there are, you know, sex workers who hang around them. 

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  The fishermen live on Mfangano Island here on Lake Victoria, near the border with Uganda.  The island's 25,000 residents live clustered in homes near the water, and fishing is the main industry. 

Largely because of this migratory fishing, it's estimated that nearly one out of every three adults here is infected with HIV. 

"How South Africa, the nation hardest-hit by HIV, plans to ‘end AIDS’" PBS NewsHour 7/21/2016


SUMMARY:  Nearly one in five people infected with HIV globally lives in South Africa, and only half of those individuals are on treatment.  But the nation has made major strides against the virus in recent years and now is aggressively moving to implement a plan to "end" the epidemic.  William Brangham reports in the final installment of our series "The End of AIDS?"

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