Tag: AIDS

Title: From novice to expert: agroecological competences of children orphaned by AIDS compared to non-orphans in Benin

Author: Rose C Fagbemissi, Lisa L Price

Date: 2011

Abstract: Background: AIDS has created new vulnerabilities for rural African households due to prime-age adult mortality and is assumed to lead to impairment of the intergenerational transfer of farming knowledge. There has been scant research to date, however, on the impacts of parental death on farming knowledge of children made orphans by AIDS. The question we investigate is if there is a difference in agricultural expertise between AIDS affected and non-affected adults and children. Methods: The research was carried out in rural Benin with 77 informants randomly selected according to their AIDS status: 13 affected and 13 non-affected adults; 13 paternal, 13 maternal and 13 double orphans; and 12 non-orphan children. Informants descriptions from pile sorting exercises of maize and cowpea pests were categorized and then aggregated into descriptions based form (morphology) and function (utility) and used to determine whether the moving from novice to expert is impaired by children orphaned by AIDS. Differences and similarities in responses were determined using the Fischer exact test and the Cochran-Mantzel-Haenszel test. Results: No significant differences were found between AIDS affected and non-affected adults. Results of the study do reveal differences in the use of form and function descriptors among the children. There is a statistically significant difference in the use of form descriptors between one-parent orphans and non-orphans and in descriptors of specific damages to maize. One-parent paternal orphans were exactly like non-affected adults in their 50/50 balanced expertise in the use of both form and function descriptors. One-parent orphans also had the highest number of descriptors used by children overall and these descriptors are spread across the various aspects of the knowledge domain relative to non-orphans. Conclusions: Rather than a knowledge loss for one-parent orphans, particularly paternal orphans, we believe we are witnessing acceleration into adult knowledge frames. This expertise of one-parent orphans may be a result of a combination of factors deserving further investigation including enhanced hands-on work experience with the food crops in the field and the expertise available from the surviving parent coupled with the value of the food resource to the household.

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Nearly 25,000 activists, medical professionals, policy makers, researchers, politicians, dignitaries, students, leaders, and HIV-positive individuals from around the world are gathered in Washington D.C. for AIDS 2012. The theme of the XIX International AIDS Conference, organized by the International AIDS Society, is “turning the tide together.”

In the first several days of the conference, a diverse and influential group of global leaders have spoken to the conference and the world. This distinguished group includes: President Bill Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, HRH Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, Philanthropist Bill Gates, and many others.

However, amongst these “prominent voices” music legend and dedicated AIDS activist Sir Elton John stands out. In his keynote address to the conference, Sir Elton argues that a “sentiment” can “beat a virus.”

[box] “…No matter who you are or who you love, no matter where you live or how you live, no matter what you have or haven’t done, everyone deserves compassion. Everyone deserves dignity. Everyone, everyone, everyone deserves love.

Why am I telling you this? Because the AIDS disease is caused by a virus, but the AIDS epidemic is not. The AIDS epidemic is fueled by stigma, by hate, by misinformation, by ignorance, by indifference…

…Cynical people will say: how could a sentiment possibly beat a virus? If you show compassion, no one will be forced into the shadows. If you show compassion, no one will be afraid to seek treatment…”[/box]

This powerful call for compassion resonates with AIDS activists and with those committed to supporting orphans and vulnerable children. Millions of children around the globe have been orphaned or made vulnerable by AIDS. Like Sir Elton John, we need to encourage compassion in order to support OVC and to combat the debilitating stigma and suffering that HIV/AIDS leaves in its wake.

Thank you Sir Elton John for an inspiring and though provoking start to the AIDS 2012 Conference.

——            ——-              ———              ———-

This is an excerpt from Sir Elton John’s keynote address to the AIDS 2012 conference, which was delivered on July 23, 2012 in Washington D.C.

“…No matter who you are or who you love, no matter where you live or how you live, no matter what you have or haven’t done, everyone deserves compassion. Everyone deserves dignity. Everyone, everyone, everyone deserves love.

Why am I telling you this? Because the AIDS disease is caused by a virus, but the AIDS epidemic is not. The AIDS epidemic is fueled by stigma, by hate, by misinformation, by ignorance, by indifference. There is so much talk now about the end of AIDS and rightly so. We can end AIDS thanks to you out there. You have made it possible because of your research and your advocacy, we have life saving treatment and we have prevention.

Cynical people will say: how could a sentiment possibly beat a virus? If you show compassion, no one will be forced into the shadows. If you show compassion, no one will be afraid to seek treatment. Do you want to stop the epidemic in South Africa? Then show compassion by telling those living with HIV to be proud of knowing their status. That’s what the South African government is beginning to do, and it’s working. We need to put our arms around people who are HIV-positive. Celebrate the actions of individual change, celebrate people who are willing to get tested – that’s the compassion that will help get everyone tested and on treatment.

Do you want to end the epidemic in America? The show compassion to those who can’t afford treatment and are waiting lists to receive it. Show compassion for HIV positive people in Washington DC, most of whom are poor and black and forgotten even though they live in the capital of the richest and most powerful nation on earth. America has shown so much love for people living with HIV in the developing world. If this country wanted to end new infections at home, it could do so in a heartbeat…

…I know I sound idealistic, but if you don’t have a vision and don’t have a plan, then you are nowhere. My vision is for people to be much more tolerant of each other in every way possible. To be much more compassionate. And then we all embrace this idea of getting rid of AIDS, of getting rid of the cost not only of human lives, but also the incredible cost of billions of dollars a year and put it to good use.

We can beat this disease, but we have to do it together. We are doing it together…let’s have an AIDS free world soon.”

 

Study Title: Pathways to health and well-being: social networks of orphans and abandoned youth 

Context: Globally, 153 million children are estimated to have been orphaned as defined by the death of one or both parents due to diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, maternal mortality, unintentional injuries, natural disasters and armed conflict: AIDS accounts for 16.6 million of these children. Little is known, however, about the social networks that have been informally established that may assist orphaned and abandoned children (OAC) as they transition from structured family care or residential facility settings to their adult lives.

Study aims: The primary goal of this study is to determine key factors that may put youth at a disadvantage as they transition from structured care settings into their adult lives and those that support positive transitions. To accomplish this, researchers will study existing education and employment support networks as well as sexual communities. Researchers will then be able to determine how certain characteristics of these networks are associated with OAC health outcomes, including poor education, ability to generate income, and HIV risk-taking behaviors. Based on prior OAC-related research, this study expects to find that OAC networks are small and lack variability, leading to reduced access to education, fewer positive employment opportunities, and increased sexual-risk behavior. Findings will be used to construct potential interventions to promote OAC health and well-being.

Methods: This study will use a “network analysis approach” to identify major characteristics of OAC social and sexual networks. Researchers will then examine the association between network factors and OAC outcomes in two steps: examining the relationships between social network characteristics and education and income-generation outcomes, and between sexual network characteristics and HIV-risk outcomes. Researchers expect to learn which social and sexual network features are associated with poor outcomes, such as educational accomplishment, obtaining employment, and high sexual risk behavior. Such risk behaviors include an early age of sexual debut, a high number of sexual partners, and certain characteristics of the sexual partners themselves. This research will provide the basis for designing interventions to prevent disenfranchisement as OAC enter their adult lives. With this research, we will be able to learn how to effectively design community networks for OAC to prevent poor health and lifestyle outcomes.

Policy Implications:

  • To determine if OAC network features account for success in educational, income generation, and sexual risk-taking behaviors
  • To provide the basis for social network and sexual network interventions to reduce damage done to OAC to prevent disenfranchisement as OAC become adults.

Principal Investigator: Lynne Messer (Duke University)

Investigators: Bernard Agala (Duke University), Cyrilla Amanya (ACE Africa, Kenya), Misganaw Eticha (SVO Ethiopia), Amy Hobbie (Duke University) Dafrosa Itemba (TAWREF, Tanzania), Rachel Manongi (KCMC, Tanzania), Jim Moody (Duke University), Vanroth Vann (Homeland, Cambodia), Augustine Wasonga (ACE Africa, Kenya), Kathryn Whetten (Duke University), Rachel Whetten (Duke University)

Contact[email protected]

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