The healthier lifestyle magazine for Africans
Issue 8 â€“ Spring 2012
FREE Meet 100m Olympic hopeful
Akeem Ogunyemi ALSO
Tips on trimming that tummy When prayer alone is not enough
Models on a mission AND
The best of African cuisine
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Mambo Spring 2012
mambo.org.uk Dear Reader, We have all heard about fashion models who have demands and expectations of diva-like proportions. So it’s positively refreshing to learn about a group of models who are offering their time and energy for free to sensitise the public about HIV. In this issue we meet the ‘Red Ribbon’ models who are part of Positive Runway: the Global Catwalk to Stop the Spread®. Their high profile campaign has enormous potential in this celebrity-driven era and could make significant gains in the efforts to halt the spread of the epidemic. Also in this issue we examine the role of faith leaders in guiding members of their flock who have HIV. This is in light of recent widely publicised incidents where some church-goers were told to stop taking their HIV medication. Helen Tate from St George’s Hospital gives useful tips on how people living with HIV can manage their weight, and a smartphone is up for grabs in our Mambo Reader Survey. Enjoy your copy!
The healthier lifestyle magazine for Africans Issue 8 – Spring 2012 Mambo editorial team Charles Kyazze Mary Lima John Owuor Joseph Ochieng African communities mass media programme advisory group
MAMBO magazine is funded by, and published as part of, the PanLondon HIV Prevention Partnership mass media programme aimed at promoting awareness of sexual health among Africans. The programme is being delivered by Terrence Higgins Trust in partnership with the following African organisations: Neovenator Community Organisation The African Eye Trust
Addington Afro Ethnic Health Promotion Group (AAEGRO) Congolese Family Centre
City & Guilds certificate in HIV and AIDS
Terrence Higgins Trust is now accredited to deliver qualifications by City & Guilds. The ‘Award in Understanding HIV and AIDS’ can help you to improve your knowledge of HIV and AIDS and to pass that knowledge on to others. It also provides you with a formal qualification to prove that you have those skills. The qualification is at Level 2 of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and will be awarded to learners on successful completion of three units. For more information please phone 020 7812 1691 or email email@example.com
Terrence Higgins Trust offers small grants to people living with HIV who are facing serious financial difficulty. To find out more about the Fund, including contact details of referring agencies, please call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221
We would like to know what you think of Mambo magazine. Any comments about the look, feel and content of the magazine would be most welcome. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org Or leave a comment on www.mambo.org.uk Alternatively, you could write to: The Editor, Mambo magazine, Terrence Higgins Trust, 314-320 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP.
Prayer is not a substitute for HIV medication
Dr Edwin Mapara Charles Kyazze Marie Tameze Asher Emetananjo
Information in this magazine is correct at the time of going to press. For the latest information or updated version of this publication, visit www.mambo.org.uk The people featured in this publication are models; unless otherwise stated, no association with any particular lifestyle or HIV status is implied.
By Reverend David Shoshanya In 1969 my father, Henry Babasola Shosanya, suffered a double stroke. He was in a coma for several months but regained some independence through rehabilitation.
“We should continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers living with HIV. They are alive because they are recipients of God’s grace and gift through prescribed tablets”
If you have any questions or comments about this resource, or would like information on the evidence used to produce it, please email email@example.com
He was a deeply religious and wellliked man who was determined to relearn how to walk, talk, read and write. His recovery was nothing short of a miracle and he enjoyed another 30 years of life. Those extra 30 years were made possible by a cocktail of medicines. He would not have survived the stroke had it not been for the medication. When he passed away in 1998 he had 30 years of unexpected but precious memories of his beloved family and friends. I have childhood memories of church elders gathering around my father and praying for his healing. But it was never suggested that my father stop taking his medication and rely on prayers alone. We knew that God works through many different mediums, including medication. This is true of all diseases including HIV. We know that HIV can be managed through the diligent use of antiretroviral drugs.
© Terrence Higgins Trust, March 2012. Code: 0134800 Registered office: 314-320 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP. Terrence Higgins Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (reg. no. 288527) and in Scotland (SC039986). Company reg.no. 1778149. A company limited by guarantee.
For more information about sexual health and HIV please visit mambo.org.uk; for information about HIV and relationships visit myHIV.org.uk
Using the Bible to persuade people to stop using HIV medication is callous and misguided. The Scripture reminds us that through Christ ALL things, including medications, were made (John 1:3a). The apostle Paul, in Timothy 5:32, tells Timothy to ‘stop drinking only water, and use a little wine (because of its medicinal properties) because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.’ This may sound odd as Paul had a tremendous healing ministry and faith in the power of God. But Paul was practical and didn’t expect God to take care of things that were within his power to resolve. Paul’s approach reminds us that taking medication is not to deny God’s ability or willingness to help. Rather, God provides medication through people that He has gifted with a special medical skill. We should follow Paul’s lead and also pray for people who are living with HIV, who are alive because they have received God’s grace and gift through prescribed tablets.
The Reverend David Shosanya is a Regional Minister and Director for the London Baptist Association which has 300 member churches in London. He is also the co-founder of the nationally acclaimed Street Pastors’ Initiative.
Mambo Spring 2012
Mambo Spring 2012
Janet Camara, Croydon
Some faith leaders in the UK encourage members of their congregation who have HIV to stop their HIV medication and to rely on prayers alone. What’s your view on this?
Pastors should stop playing God. They are not the ones going through the experience of living with HIV, and they do not know the consequences of stopping HIV medication.
The best of African cuisine
Dear Uncle Charles, Ihuoma Uzoma, Harrow
James Masangomai, Norwood
I believe that God can work miracles, but in the case of HIV, I do not think prayer alone works. A lot needs to be done in churches and mosques to educate faith leaders about HIV. They need to know how the virus works, and they need to know about the advantages of modern HIV treatment.
I think it’s not right for a faith leader to tell anyone to stop taking their HIV medication. Most faith leaders do not know enough about HIV, so their advice about the disease is often not the best. It’s like a case of the blind leading the blind.
by Michelle Campbell
I am a 40-year old HIV positive African woman. Ever since my partner and I split up five years ago, I’ve not been keen on starting a new relationship due to fears that I’d be rejected because of my HIV status. However, lately my friends have been encouraging me to find someone to share my life with - they say my HIV status shouldn’t stop me from having a relationship. The problem is, I do not know how or where to begin. Any suggestions? Florene, Harrow.
tablespoons jerk chicken 4 seasoning 1 small onion 3oz / 90g garlic powder level tablespoon 1 all purpose seasoning 4 tablespoons butter
Barbecue sauce (optional):
Rahama Mohammed, Brent According to the Scriptures, God said that we should be able to use the plants we have as a remedy for disease. Modern science has given us effective treatments, which we should all take advantage of. I think it’s not right for faith leaders to stop people from taking medication for HIV infection.
The fact you have HIV doesn’t mean you cannot be in a relationship or re-marry. Nowadays, with medicine, people with HIV can expect to more or less live as long as people who don’t have HIV. As long as the medication keeps the amount of virus in the body to undetectable levels, the risk of sexual transmission of HIV to a partner is minimal. Terrence Higgins Trust’s myHIV website has launched a free dating section in its Community Forum, which is proving very popular with Africans in the UK who are living with HIV. Check it out at myhiv.org.uk. The website also has valuable guidance on issues such as relationships, disclosure of HIV status, having children and safer sex strategies.
½ teacup tomato ketchup You might also want to check out other dating sites which cater for people from African or other backgrounds. Remember: not every site is useful and you should exercise caution when meeting someone via a dating website. There’s a review of African or Black dating sites on onlinedatingbook.com There are also many African social venues throughout London, including in the north west where you live. Lastly, some support groups of people living with HIV run social events; often these offer an opportunity to meet new friends.
1 splash soy sauce -3 tablespoons sugar 2 or honey tablespoons beer 3 (lager or bitter)
Method Clean the chicken thoroughly (do not cut up). Season the chicken with salt and garlic powder to your taste. Rub the jerk seasoning on the chicken, inside and out. Cut up the onion and stuff it in the middle of the chicken. Let the chicken sit in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.
Uncle Charles can help you to find a solution to your sexual health lifestyle problem.
Bake the chicken in the oven for one hour. Baste the chicken with butter throughout.
Please write to him at: MAMBO magazine, Terrence Higgins Trust 314-320 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP.
The chicken is ready when it is tender, juicy and ready to eat!
Your letter should state the nature of the problem, your name and the area you live in.
Serves four to five people.
As a medical practitioner, I’ve seen several patients diagnosed with HIV who got lost to follow-up because they chose either to not come back for treatment or the alternative of prayer. Often they return to the hospital when it’s already too late – when their CD4 is depleted. In the circumstances, the best we can do is give salvage therapy, whereas they could’ve benefited from first line treatment and remained in good health. I’m sure if faith leaders are informed about the benefits of HIV therapy, they will stop telling their members to stop treatment.
1 whole chicken, cleaned
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Dr Sadiq Saad, Thornton Heath
Akeem gets set for Olympic glory.
Mambo Spring 2012
Mambo Spring 2012
For years HIV infection was associated with uncontrollable weight loss in many regions of Africa, it was known as ‘the Slim’. But with effective treatment, the risk of malnutrition has receded, giving people with HIV an opportunity to manage the problem of weight and obesity. By Helen Tate, HIV dietician, St George’s Hospital, Tooting
Fighting the flab What is obesity? Obesity is defined by the World Health Organisation as ‘an excess accumulation of body fat which may lead to health problems’. It is classified using the Body Mass Index or BMI (your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in metres). A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is classified as ‘normal’, 25 to 29.9 is ‘overweight’ and more than 30 is ‘obese’. Obesity in UK-based Africans The number of people who are overweight or obese is on the rise in the UK, regardless of ethnicity. Since 1993 year-on-year BMI rises have been recorded by the Department of Health. The latest BMI survey (2009) showed obesity rates of 24 per cent in women and 22 per cent in men. In 2004 obesity rates in African women were 35 per cent and 17 per cent in African men. African women were the heaviest in the whole population. In 2010 St George’s Hospital conducted a BMI survey in its HIV clinic. This found obesity rates of 41 per cent in African women who were accessing HIV services, and 25 per cent in African men (rates in white women were 19.5 per cent and white men 11 per cent). Interestingly, those on HIV medication were no heavier than those not on medication.
What are the reasons for this increase in obesity? Globally, obesity is on the rise. Studies carried out in a number of African countries have shown that Africans (especially city dwellers) are getting larger. Migration to the West is a known risk factor for obesity. This is often linked to changes in lifestyle: namely different, unhealthier diets and less physical exercise.
Migration to the West is a known risk factor for obesity. This is often linked to changes in lifestyle: namely different, unhealthier diets and less physical exercise. How does the Western lifestyle lead to obesity? Africans who migrate to the West often eat higher calorie foods (more meat, cooking oils, fatty and sugar-rich snacks) and less food with healthier ingredients (starchy staples such as yams, corn and cassava, or fresh vegetables, beans and fruit). Added to this, reduced activity (less walking from place-to-place, jobs which require less physical input) means that many Africans see their weight increase.
If you want to lose weight Reducing the intake of calories and increasing physical activity are effective ways to manage weight, whether you are HIV positive or negative. This usually means: c utting the fat off meat and removing the skin off chicken before cooking limiting the amount of oil used in cooking limiting high fat foods such as nuts, crisps and chips limiting groundnut soup to a few times a year a voiding takeaways or fast food whenever possible. Also aim to have at least three meat-free days a week. Choose fish or beans instead. Boost your intake of fruit and vegetables. The Department of Health advises five portions a day. A portion is one small bowl of salad, three heaped
teaspoons of cooked vegetables, one mediumsized fruit (eg, apple, pear or orange), two slices of large fruit (eg, pineapple or mango). Fruit and vegetables contain few calories and are rich in vitamins and minerals. Contrary to popular belief, traditional African staples such as kenke, fufu, gari, pounded yams, matoke and sadza are not fattening. It is the meats, soups and sauces which go with them that are often the problem. Finally: exercise! The Department of Health recommends 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity three times a week. That’s exercise that slightly raises your heart rate and makes you perspire. Brisk walking is the easiest way to do this. Dancing, swimming, cycling and running are other great forms of exercise.
C I P M Y L O EFFORT ho w r e n n u r e h t , m e for Ake champions sexu al health The 100 metres is arguably the most high-profile track event in athletics, and nowhere is the contest for glory hotter than at the Olympics. African sportsman Akeem Ogunyemi hopes to go head-to-head with Usain Bolt this summer at the London 2012 Olympics. Akeem also happens to work for HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust. Mambo editor Joseph Ochieng meets him. MAMBO: At 37 years old, you’re not exactly the typical 100 metre runner, are you? Akeem: To be honest, five years ago I’d given up competitive running, mainly due to injury. I am better now, and I also want to prove a point to my nephew. He had aspired to become a basketball player, and moved to the US to play collegiate basketball over there. However after suffering a loss of confidence, he stopped playing - saying that at 21, he was too old for the game. I want to prove to him that if athletes in their 30s can run competitively, he too can play basketball.
MAMBO: How good are you? Have you run in any major events? Akeem: I’ve made the finals of the Amateur Athletics Association Indoor Championships four times. I have been ranked in the top 50 for the indoor 60 metres for three years in a row, and in Nigeria I was in the top 10 in the 100 meters for several years. I would have been in the Nigeria team for the 2010 Commonwealth Games were it not for an attack of malaria and typhoid.
MAMBO: What are your chances of making it into the Nigerian Olympic team? Akeem: Pretty good, actually. I’ve been training hard, and as long as I can avoid injury, I see no reason why I shouldn’t make the team. MAMBO: As a sportsman and health promotion worker, do you think sports has a role in raising awareness about health issues that commonly affect people in the African community? Akeem: Very much so. For example, HIV/AIDS affects Africans much more than any other community. There have been some tremendous sports-related programmes that have helped sensitise the community about the epidemic, such as the 2010 World Cup and the African Cup of Nations, where footballers promoted condom use as a safer sex strategy.
As sportspeople, we must do our utmost to address the stigma which too many people in our community associate with HIV. We also need to give out good and accurate information so people can make informed choices about their sexual health. MAMBO: Is there anything else that Africans in the UK can look forward to in the summer Olympics? Akeem: Sport is very good at bringing people together, it’s a great unifier. Apart from mixing with people from all corners of the world during this year’s Olympics, African people will witness different cultures, eat exotic food, strike business deals and generally benefit from the entire experience. It’s a golden opportunity to set right some of the negative stereotypes that people have about us.
Mambo Spring 2012
When prayer alone is not enough
Mambo Mambo Spring Winter 2012 2011
Recently in London six people died after being told to stop taking their HIV medication by their pastors. The deaths have shocked the African community and generated a debate which will hopefully lead us towards a solution.
It is disturbing to learn that a small number of pastors have advised members of their congregation who have HIV to stop taking their antiretroviral medication.
HIV treatment Nowadays people with HIV can expect to live more or less as long as HIV negative people – provided they take their medication as prescribed by their doctor. Antiretroviral drugs control HIV and help to suppress it. If someone stops taking their medicine, the amount of virus in their body will increase and they risk becoming seriously ill.
HIV and prayer Prayer can help someone cope with HIV. But there is not a cure for HIV and it’s wrong to claim that prayer can cure it. Since the start of the AIDS pandemic, many faith-led initiatives have helped affected people by providing spiritual guidance, food, clothing and shelter. Many faith leaders, especially those in Africa, are at the forefront of HIV prevention, testing and other services.
Support for faith leaders Some pastors, however, have told people to stop taking HIV medication, which shows that a greater understanding of HIV is needed. Knowing more about HIV and how it is transmitted, diagnosed and treated could help. Things everyone should know about HIV: HIV is a virus, not a punishment from God. Anyone can get HIV. HIV is not passed on through casual contact. With medication people with HIV can enjoy a more or less normal lifespan. People with HIV can have HIV negative children if they follow medical advice. If someone stops taking their HIV medication the virus will start multiplying. Stopping medication and then restarting it can make the virus resistant to treatments.
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By Joseph Ochieng, Terrence Higgins Trust
Religion plays a big part in Africans’ lives. The UK has a vibrant African faith movement and most faith leaders give useful, practical support to their congregation.
If you are a member of a faith community, here are some things you can do: Reflect on theological teachings and respond to ANY health problems with compassion. Think about the impact your words may have on a member of the community who has HIV. Encourage people on HIV treatments to continue taking their medication. Encourage people to go for HIV testing. Respect confidentiality. Be aware that people on antiretrovirals should not fast for long periods of time.
There is a need for guidance and support to faith leaders themselves, so they are better able to cater to members of the flock who have HIV.
As a result of reading Mambo magazine:
Strongly Agree agree
Yes Strongly & No Disagree disagree
I know more about sexual health than I did before I can protect my sexual health better I understand better the benefits of discussing sexual health with my partner I know where to go for sexual health service
To find out more about faith and HIV: The Working Group on Faith and HIV is an inter-agency forum of faith leaders who are involved with finding faith-based HIV interventions. Find out more here: http:// aidsconsortium.org.uk/ working-groups/workinggroup-on-faith-and-hiv/ To find out more about events or resources, please visit: nahip.org myhiv.org.uk mambo.org.uk stratshope.org inerela.org/english
The deadline for returning your questionnaire is 15 June 2012
I am more likely to try to find out my HIV status I know I should use a condom with someone whose HIV status I don’t know I realise how stigma affects people who have HIV Thank you. Now please write your contact details here: Name:
Last issue’s winner John Showemimo with his digital camera.
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I got my copy of Mambo from: GOOD LUCK! Now put your form in an envelope and mail to: The Editor, Mambo magazine, Terrence Higgins Trust, 314-320 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP. Alternatively, you can fax your form to 020 7812 1799.
Mambo Spring 2012
PositiveLiving Justina is a social entrepreneur, PR consultant and beauty pageant organiser but she is perhaps best known as the founder of Positive Runway: The Global Catwalk to Stop the Spread®. Mambo editor Joseph Ochieng meets her.
Justina Mutale MAMBO: Miss Zambia UK, African Ambassadors’ Interaction Forum, Diaspora African Women in Leadership Conference, BEFFTA awards, MNET ‘O’ Stop the Spread UK Road Show and Face of the Universe – the list seems endless. Where do you get the time and energy to run all these shows?
Justina: It was a tough decision. The Commonwealth Secretariat was an amazing organisation to work for. I got to meet many dignitaries from Britain’s former colonies – presidents, heads of states etc. It was a jet-setting lifestyle, but there comes a time when one has to follow one’s heart.
Justina: I can do all of these because I have the passion. I really love doing what I do, and it’s this love that gives me the strength and the energy. When I was young I wanted to be a nun, mainly because I wanted to help other people and to be of service to my community. My current career allows me to do just as much for other people. To be frank, I don’t consider what I do to be work. To me, it’s fun - a hobby. When I go to work, it’s as if I’m going to a party.
MAMBO: You’ve organised many high-profile beauty shows, but will probably be best known for Positive Runway: The Global Catwalk to Stop the Spread®. Where did the inspiration for that campaign come from?
MAMBO: You gave up a good job with the Commonwealth Secretariat to go into fashion and PR. Why?
Justina: I have been following HIV issues ever since the emergence of the epidemic in the 1980s. Like many Africans, I have lost relatives and friends to the disease. At the Commonwealth Secretariat, I worked with people from the HIV programme and through them, got to know more about the key issues. Life-saving treatments are now available, but complacency remains a real danger. My campaign mainly targets people in their 20s or 30s because they are among the high risk groups.
MAMBO: Where would you like Positive Runway to be in five years’ time? Justina: Our intention is roll the campaign out into 30 countries. We now have our very own ‘signature’ Red Ribbon models and have launched the ‘Millions of Voices Against the Spread of HIV and AIDS’ campaign, which features messages on AIDS from celebrities such as Aretha Franklin, Blair Underwood, Femi Akinbola and many others. MAMBO: You have succeeded in a very difficult market for a Black person to break into. If someone asked you for advice on how they might build a successful fashion and PR business, what would you tell them? Justina: In this industry, if you don’t have passion, you won’t survive. When someone loves whatever they are doing, there’s no limit to what they can achieve.
Mambo Spring 2012
Going to great lengths to get HIV treatment By Richard Sikananu, Executive Director, Network of Zambian People Living with HIV/AIDS (NZP+)
Sarah Mawanga, who lives in Zambia, was diagnosed with HIV six years ago, when she went for her antenatal check-up. She went on to give birth to a girl who, unfortunately, died shortly afterwards. Like so many women in Zambia, Sarah believes she contracted HIV through her late husband, a successful businessman who had four other wives, two of whom have also since died. Aged 24 and a widow, Sarah does not have the money to get private medical treatment. So once every three months, she has to walk 67 kilometres to St Francis’s Hospital, a missionary establishment in the eastern province. It’s a two-day trek, so Sarah has to spend a night at the Network of Zambian People Living with HIV/AIDS (NZP+) District Chapter in Katete. Staff at the Chapter provide for them mattresses and blankets, and sometimes food and other basic facilities when available. Sarah wakes up early in the morning the following day to continue her journey, and reaches St Francis’s Hospital ART Centre by mid-morning, by which time a long queue has formed. She has no choice but to join. When Sarah finally reaches the counter, three hours later, she is told one of her prescribed combination drugs is out of stock and will only be available a month later. Instead she is prescribed an alternative drug, which Sarah will take until her next visit to the hospital in three months’ time. She is also given some food supplements. By the time she’s finished it’s mid-afternoon and she must start her long trek back home. She reaches her village the following day, and so resumes her daily chore of looking after the family and tending the garden.
In the UK HIV medicines are free on the NHS and they do not run out of stock. Nowadays with effective treatment, people with HIV can expect to live until old age. Also, someone with undetectable viral load is unlikely to pass the virus onto a partner through sex; this means that if a couple wants to have a baby a doctor can advise them on how this is possible without putting the other partner or the baby at risk of getting HIV. In 2009 the HIV prevalence rate in Zambia was estimated at 14.3 per cent among 15 to 49-year-olds. The country has a high national infection rate, which is driven by a lack of awareness about HIV transmission routes, cultural influences, poor health structures, social and gender inequality and poverty. The estimated number of people living with HIV/AIDS was 1.1 million in 2009. Zambia has recorded tremendous progress in the number of people on antiretroviral therapy, with 350,000 currently on treatment (up from 225,634 in 2008).
Mambo Spring 2012
Mambo Spring 2012
Models on a mission ‘Beauty with a purpose.’ That’s the message that a small group of fashion models wants to send to the world. For three years they have been hitting the catwalk as part of Positive Runway: the Global Catwalk to Stop the Spread®. The spread of HIV and AIDS, that is. Mambo editor Joseph Ochieng finds out what inspires them.
Flavia Mbazima Miss Zambia UK 2006.
Alasia Ballard, contestant on America’s Next Top Model.
MAMBO: Last December you flew to London to take part in the Positive Runway event to mark World AIDS Day. What motivated you to do that?
MAMBO: HIV-related stigma remains a problem within the Black community in the UK. Would you say it’s similarly a problem for African-Americans?
Alasia: I am motivated by the intensity with which this incurable disease has impacted my generation, black people and African-Americans as a whole. I am also motivated by the opportunity to promote awareness and to take a step closer to finding a solution and a cure.
Alasia: HIV stigma is definitely a problem among African-Americans. Atlanta alone accounts for more than 60 per cent of HIV cases in Georgia, which is mainly fed by poverty. African-American communities are particularly hard hit. New infections are occurring because people often do not want to talk or learn about HIV. There is so much more to learn about this epidemic and so little time to act upon the idea of stopping its spread.
MAMBO: How did you relate to the other models with whom you shared the runway in London? How different was it from your time in America’s Next Top Model? MAMBO: What made you decide to become a fashion model? Flavia: My journey into the fashion world reached a milestone in 2006 when I won the Miss Zambia UK beauty contest. I have always wanted to bring out the beauty in Africa and in Africans. We see and hear so many negative things about Africans – fashion is one way of showing the many good things that we have. MAMBO: And why did you join the Positive Runway campaign? Flavia: My involvement with the campaign was via ‘Beauty with a Purpose’, a campaign founded by Justina Mutale, the social entrepreneur and beauty pageant specialist who runs the Positive Runway campaign [interviewed on page 8]. As the reigning Miss Zambia UK, I participated in a catwalk to raise awareness of the impact of HIV/ AIDS in Zambia. I know of no-one in Zambia who hasn’t been affected by HIV or AIDS. I have lost half of my family to the pandemic. So when Justina asked me to join Positive Runway, I had no reason to hesitate.
MAMBO: This is a global campaign, involving lots of travel. Is it not interfering with your studies? Flavia: No. If anything, the campaign acts as a catalyst – it invigorates me and makes me want to multi-task even more. MAMBO: What has been the reaction from members of the public who attend your Positive Runway catwalks? Flavia: Oh, people are very supportive. They really respond well to our shows. Even young people, including those from my college, understand why I am involved with the campaign. We also get lots of support from celebrities. People really understand the reality of HIV. MAMBO: What message would you like to share with other African fashion models? Flavia: Use the platform to spread the message about HIV. You are role models and young people do look up to you. In an era where many youths easily fall for the fantasy world of the media, it’s important that fashion models help to understand that HIV is a reality and that those who are sexually active should take care of their sexual health.
Alasia: The other models were all extremely amazing individuals. There was an abundance of diversity in race, understanding and opinion and I always enjoy an opportunity to broaden my horizons. The experience I shared with the girls from Positive Runway was quite different to that from America’s Next Top Model. Positive Runway was not a competition. That alone eliminated most, if not all, of the tension that could have existed.
MAMBO: What are you doing right now, and what are your plans for the future? Alasia: I am currently the American advocate representing Positive Runway, attending a number of events on behalf of the campaign including the Trumpet Awards, the Key Stone Awards, the Grammy Awards and its pre-award celebrity rooftop party. I am also currently working with Cynthia Bailey and The Bailey Agency School of Fashion as one of her students. For the longer term, I intend to continue my education in biology or chemistry and also get signed by IMG, my agency of preference; but I shall continue working for the Positive Runway project.
Mambo Spring 2012
Mambo Spring 2012
Focus on HIV home sampling By Quinet Akanoh, Health Trainer, Terrence Higgins Trust
To take or not to take an HIV test? It can be a tough Things to know about home sampling: decision to make. Often people who suspect they may t is not 100 per cent accurate have been exposed to HIV opt not to test due to concerns Iand may produce a false ‘positive’ result. So when a sample shows around confidentiality, fear of rejection by family possible infection, laboratories and friends, doubts about their ability to cope with use the term ‘reactive’ instead a positive result or not knowing where or how to test. of ‘positive’. Data from the Health Protection Agency shows that one out of every four people who have HIV in the UK is not aware they are infected because they haven’t tested recently or at all. Also, many people test at a late stage – when the virus has already damaged their immune system. Quinet Akanoh
Home sampling Home sampling may be an option. In the UK, the home sampling test involves a person buying a kit and taking a sample of their saliva in the privacy of their home, sending it off to a laboratory and then receiving the result over the phone or by email. It is important to distinguish between home sampling and home testing. In home testing, someone buys a testing kit online, takes a blood or saliva sample and then interprets the result themselves within minutes. Home sampling is legal in the UK while home testing is currently illegal (see below).
‘reactive’ test result will be sent A to a clinic for a confirmatory test. Someone using home sampling may have to wait days (or even weeks) for a result; In the UK home sampling kits are available for around £30 via mail order or online, such as the Dr Thom service: (drthom.com).
When will home testing become legal in the UK? In the UK leading sexual health charities think it is time for the ban on home testing kits to be lifted because: Home testing kit technology has improved in recent years, making test results more reliable. Home testing would make it easier for more people to test for HIV. There would be fewer people whose HIV infection remains undiagnosed. It suits people who have concerns around confidentiality. In a recent Terrence Higgins Trust survey of 33 Africans, 72 per cent (13 people) said they would consider using HIV home testing kits if they were legally available in the UK;
67 per cent (12 people) thought they would test for HIV more often if home testing kits were legally available; 83 per cent thought home testing kits for HIV should be legalised and regulated in the UK. In conclusion, home sampling for HIV is a user-friendly option for Africans reluctant or unable to use other testing services. If in the future home testing becomes legal in the UK, we will have even more choice. Other HIV testing options: V isit www.tht.org.uk or call 0808 802 1221 to find your nearest Fastest clinic (where you can receive your results in 20 minutes). V isit a sexual health clinic or genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic. V isit a family doctor (or GP). V isit a private clinic (there’s likely to be a fee). Further support: You can make an appointment with an HIV Health Trainer by ringing 020 7812 1516. Meet other Africans living with HIV at one of our groupwork sessions. Contact: 020 7812 1719 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In Cameroon people turn to leaves for wrapping After a campaign to highlight the potential risks of using plastic to wrap popular local foods such as corn-fufu, ‘egussi’ pudding and pounded yam, people in this west African nation have ‘gone traditional’ by using banana or plantain leaves instead. The leaves are said to be better at preserving the food’s flavour and are environmentally friendly, as they simply rot away into manure. It follows a warning about the danger posed by a substance in plastic called bisphenol A (BPA) which experts claim is toxic and can seep into food. Over time, ingested BPA increases the risk of cancer.
AFRICAN ROUND-UP Ghanaian cocoa farmers aided by US chocolatier
Kenyan farmers use solar to pump water Farmers in the country’s semi-arid districts will soon get respite from the drought and lack of clean drinking water. Following a deal with US-based DACC Global, the government will install 2,000 water pumps powered by solar instead of diesel-powered generators. Each solar generator will save almost 700 barrels of diesel annually and DACC claims the project will save Kenya up to US$1bn over 20 years in fuel expenditure
In Tanzania rats learn to sniff out mines To most people they are a menace - but in Morogoro, a city in central Tanzania, rats are serving a very important function: sniffing out land mines. Rats have excellent sense of smell and APOPO, a joint BelgianTanzania company, has been training them to find land mines. Those scoring 100 per cent are shipped off to Angola, a country struggling with millions of mines left behind after the civil war.
Leading chocolate maker Hershey Company is investing US$10m in a scheme aimed at tackling child labour in the cocoa-producing nations of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. The money will be used to fund modern farming methods which are not only less labour-intensive but also more productive, as well as funding education, health and marketing programmes.
South Africa President ‘up there’ with new media President Jacob Zuma is really keeping up with technology. In February, he invited South Africans to Tweet him to suggest important things that should go into his State of the Nation Address. This came after citizens used Facebook to tell him about local service gaps last year. It appears to work: a citizen from KwaZulu-Natal complained about sewerage overflow in his town and 12 months later the sewerage was renovated. Similarly, someone from Gauteng province complained about the shortage of low-cost housing and now her family is being resettled in the neighbouring province of Mohlakeng.
“We’ll play safe until we’ve both been tested” Anyone can get HIV. Avoid taking risks. Use condoms. For information about how and where to get free condoms, contact: THT Direct 0845 1221 200 or visit mambo.org.uk