The healthier lifestyle magazine for Africans
Issue 10 - Spring 2013
Afro-Pop Don’t Stop D’banj leads African beats across the UK
Julius Reuben challenges stereotypes beyond the catwalk
How much is too much?
When drinking becomes a problem
Is your job working for you?
PLUS Ask The Experts African Round-Up
Funded by the Pan-London HIV Prevention Programme Terrence Higgins Trust is a registered charity in England & Wales (no.288527) and in Scotland (no.SC039986).
If you’ve had sex with someone without a condom and show three or more of these symptoms within six weeks, it’s possible you’ve now got HIV. In some cases there are no symptoms, but you may still be infected. For HIV testing, please For information informationononHIV HIVand and HIV testing call call the confidential helpline on 0800 0967 500 or
Check out our new and improved website!
Pursuit of 04InFulfilment
Is your job working for you?
06Julius Reuben Challenging stereotypes beyond the catwalk
Shakey 08Shakey Bum Bum
From D’banj to DJ Sascha, African beats are rocking the UK
Music, as they say, is continually evolving. It’s also always on the move, transcending borders and cultures. But the one constant about music is its capacity to convey messages of love, sorrow, happiness or remembrance. Over the past year there’s been a mini-explosion of African popular music on the UK scene - and it’s not just Africans who are getting hooked.
Welcome to 12 the mHealth Revolution
How your smartphone can help you take care of your health
Several high-profile awards and collaborations between global artists are a sign that African music has arrived on the international stage. In this issue, music aficionado Orville Kunga gets a peek at the Afro-pop scene, and looks at where it might be in the next few years. Elsewhere in this issue, our Men’s Health page looks at the increase in liver disease linked to alcohol consumption. We also find out about postal HIV tests - a convenient way to find out your HIV status. You’ll also find our usual range of advice and lifestyle features including an interview with the model and sexual health advocate Julius Reuben.
Vagina 16The Monolgues
Playwright Eve Ensler’s work to tackle gender violence
Beauty contestant turned women’s rights advocate
20Men’s Health When drinking becomes a problem
22Ask the Experts Uncle Charles and Enomfon Ntefon respond to your problems
Enjoy your copy!
Insurance advice for readers with HIV
ments p m l co
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© Terrence Higgins Trust, March 2013. Code: 1701100. Registered office: 314-320 Gray’s In 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.
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In pursuit of
As part of your New Year’s resolution, you may have settled upon a career move. But how do you know that it’s time to move on? In this feature, Nehanda Buchanan talks about her personal journey in pursuit of happiness and a work-life balance.
y journey of self-rediscovery began on the verge of the New Year. I’d been reading Leaving the Mother Ship by Randall Craig, a book examining the ways we can make work more fulfilling. I took the opportunity to reflect upon my life and career and look at where I wanted to go next. After 20 years of doing ‘duty’ jobs and playing a safe game I decided I needed something different. Leaving the Mother Ship made me realise that I didn’t need to be stuck in an unhealthy or unsatisfactory working environment and that I could pursue a more gratifying life. As a professional careers advisor, I set about interviewing 30 individuals who had been through my programme and had successfully established themselves in their professions. I also interviewed colleagues, friends and acquaintances. I asked them a set of questions such as: ‘In five year’s time, what type of business should you be involved in
and what role would you be playing within it?’ and ‘What might the first step to get there be?’ The responses were enlightening. According to the interviewees, the most important aspects of finding a work-life balance are leisure, health, financial security, the environment, friends and family, personal relationships, spirituality and career satisfaction. It dawned on me that many successful people achieved their big breaks by being prepared to take risks such as moving from one job to another, from one area to another or leaving the country altogether. I should point out that contacts and networks are crucial in any career move. Many people who make a successful transition in their working life begin by volunteering or getting involved in local, national or international campaigns or by creating opportunities where they see a gap in the market.
The people I interviewed defined success in many different ways. I was intrigued by a lady who defined it as ‘the opposite of failure’. However, she never uses the term ‘success’, preferring ‘fulfilment’ instead. This is because she considers that in all areas of her work and personal life, she was at peace. Her response struck a chord with me and pushed me to take new steps in pursuit of my own fulfilment. I decided to climb onto a bicycle for the first time in over 20 years and for the first time I took a job outside of London. The interviews also had an impact on the participants. Two of them subsequently relocated to the Caribbean and started new careers there. Another interviewee, who was a bus driver, took a major risk and invested £1,000 in stocks and shares. He eventually mastered the art of share dealing and was able to earn enough money to build a home in the Caribbean and retire at the age of 55. This had been his only goal during what he said were many very stressful
years working for Transport for London. In the wake of the interviews I started questioning myself about what I considered to be success. The fundamental questions for me were: ‘What is true fulfilment?’, ‘Have I achieved success with my
life?’, and ‘Is my work working for me?’ These are the sort of questions you need to ask yourself if you want a more fulfilling working life.
About the author:
Nehanda Buchanan is a freelance careers advisor and consultant. Her other articles can be seen here: www.simplesite/Nehanda
Photograph by Paul Bowen
The fundamental questions for me were: ‘What is true fulfilment?’, ‘Have I achieved success with my life?’, and ‘Is my work working for me?’
Role Model: Julius Reuben Julius Reuben is a model who has worked the catwalk for Diesel, Nichole Farhi, Laura A, Just Michael and Alex Couture. In between shows in London, Milan, Paris and New York, the Tanzanian-born north Londoner also volunteers as a sexual health advocate. In this interview, he tells editor Joseph Ochieng about early struggles with his sexuality and his mission to help challenge stereotypes about gay people.
: Most African men who are gay choose to live in the closet because of fears over stigma, discrimination and rejection. You are different – you are openly gay. What motivated you to come out? JULIUS: First and foremost, I was never ‘in the closet’, or ‘out of the closet’. I dislike these terms as I feel they are confusing and have encouraged stigma and homophobic attacks on gay men. In my view, the word ‘out’ is associated with femininity (queens, campness and flamboyance) while the words ‘in the closet’ suggest masculinity (thug, macho, or straight-looking). I think the people who coined these words got it completely wrong. : Have you ever experienced incidents of
homophobia – whether from friends and relatives or members of the public? JULIUS: I’ve had to fight homophobia throughout my life. I remember back in Tanzania, people would say I was ‘cursed’ – that, even though I was still alive, I was already standing at the gates of Purgatory. I have been called all sorts of names, in different languages. I have been the victim of physical attacks - the fear I felt almost made me take my own life. The wounds in my soul run very deep and, although they are now healing, I fear they will not heal completely. However, I consider myself a ‘survivor’, not a ‘victim’. : What, in your view, can be done to make gay Africans feel more confident and comfortable
with their sexuality? JULIUS: First and foremost, the African community needs to accept that people like me do exist. At the moment I know that’s difficult because we’re also still trying to understand ourselves. There’s no manual, so we are learning as we go along. Having said that, I think it’s time for the community to wake up and smell the coffee. We all need to show love for everybody, irrespective of their sexuality. Gay people do not need to ask for special treatment. I’m human and I have the right to belong on this planet, including in the African community. As long as gay
Africans recognise their rights, they should have more confidence and self-belief. : Homophobia is a serious problem in the African community. What can be done to change attitudes towards gay people?
‘We all need to show love for everybody, irrespective of their sexuality.’
JULIUS: Indeed homophobia is a serious problem. The media needs to support us and help to defend our human rights. In Africa, homophobia is particularly bad - for people there to change their attitudes towards gay men, the laws and politics of the land need to change. Gay men are humans and deserve just as much respect as straight people. : Africans in the UK are at higher risk of acquiring HIV. As a professional model, how can you help drive the sexual health message so gay Africans take better care of their sexual health? JULIUS: Thirteen years ago I decided to volunteer with charities to help spread the message about HIV and AIDS. I take part in mass media campaigns, speak at community events and do outreach work in clubs, bars, saunas and churches. I’ve also used my background in fashion and art to work with projects like Global Positive Runway and have also participated in drag competitions to raise awareness about HIV and sexual health. : What other projects have you been involved with? JULIUS: I’ve also worked as an artist/choreographer. I’ve appeared in publications such as Vogue, Notion, Oh Yes, Glamour and Drome. I have also featured in music videos and a range of television shows and films such as Bigger Than Ben, Stud Life, How To Lose a Friend, and Run Fat Boy Run.
‘Shaky Shaky Bum Bum’ - music goes Afro-pop! By Orville Kunga, art critic
Five minutes with DJ Sascha was enough to bring me up-to-date with the phenomenon that is Afro-pop, the African-centred musical wave that has been sweeping through London like a bush fire.
e had a chance meeting at a local Caribbean restaurant in Brixton, south London where I was eating the Jamaican dish of stewed fish, rice and peas. We chatted about the musical prowess of Afro-pop superstar, D’banj (full name Dapo Daniel Dibanjo, the Nigerian singer-songwriter). We also discussed Sascha’s wardrobe dilemma – whether she should wear an African wax-print catsuit or African-embroidered hot pants at a club night she would be DJing at later that evening. The DJ, of Nigerian and Jamaican decent, describes with animated excitement the mix and
blending of musical culture on the dancefloor. Her accent shifts between a south London, ‘street smarts’ flavour, blended with a strong, ‘yard gyal’ flex, wrapped in a proud, African-centred root. She describes how artists such as Sarkodie (a Ghanaian rapper, full name Michael Owusu Addo) and singer-songwriter Tiwa Savage, have been wowing crowds with their African beats lately, and how all this is beginning to attract the attention of the mainstream media. Clubs like Club Couture in South London and Club Coko, in the City, have been playing to packed dancefloors for some time. The
Sa rk od
dance-hungry revellers are not just from Nigeria and Ivory Coast but from Ghana, Senegal the UK and Jamaica – as well as the odd curious passer-by who feels the heat from the crowded doorway. ‘When the music plays there is no nationhood, just a love of the African vibe!’ says Sascha. Why is Afro-pop so popular right now? While the term ‘Afro-pop’ is a phrase some
are uneasy with (feeling it alludes to commerciality and a dilution of African culture), it is a question as difficult to answer as: ‘What is African music?’ The music’s rise in popularity in the UK may be due to London being perhaps the most culturally diverse city on the planet, and because London has been home to many people arriving from the Caribbean and Africa for decades. These waves of arrival and settling have created a musical culture as diverse as moi moi and fish and chips. The offspring of migrants manage to straddle a multi-paced, hyped-up rpm life in the UK with echoes of traditional, Afrocentric rhythms. Through new media, this diverse diaspora has access to music from every part of the globe. Yes, some will still go to the family wedding or birthday ceremony head-wrapped and robed to dip to Prince Nico Mbarga’s classic Sweet Mother. But when the parents have gone and the lights are dimmed the ‘azonto’ (a new Ghanaian dance) begins and all rules are forgotten. While visiting Ethiopia recently I was impressed with Channel O, a music channel which plays videos from across the continent. High production
values mean videos no longer look like they were produced by a friend with a dodgy digital camera and crackly microphone - rather they epitomise high-end video production. In London, Afro-pop can be sampled on Sky Channel 232, and occasionally on Channel 218. The eclectic mix adds to an Afro-pop brand which has defined African music as we know it today. Is Afro-pop sustainable in its current hybrid form?
Sites to check out:
www.afropop.org/wp/ www.ghanamusic.com/ http://africasacountry.com
Music to check out:
London-based Nigerian girl-pop group SHiiKANE has produced a soulful and cheerful A K i N i E H S remix of Lisa Lisa’s cult 80’s hit I Wonder If I Take You Home. Kesse featuring Sarkodie - Treat Her Royal, R’n’B with authentic African soul. R2Bees featuring Sarkodie - Bayla Trap, a blend of grit and beautifully grimy Afro-pop.
American rapper Akon And finally, Fally Ipupa, Wizkid and has sold bucket-loads identical twins P-Square. of CDs and owes a lot to his African roots and P-Square loyal African following. But his music is more comfortable sitting in the R’n’B charts than the Afro-pop Top 10. Another artist, K’naan, has bemoaned the fact that travelling to the United States is not always the American dream we might want it to be; but it’s clear that artists know there is a market larger than the African Club nights to visit: continent. They also realise www.afri-kokoa.co.uk they have the talent and the www.passingclouds.org support to keep Afro-pop on club-afrique.londonclub.tel the roll.
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Photograph by Annabel Vere
Have you ever forgotten to take a tablet or to go to a doctor’s appointment? Imagine how much easier life would be if we routinely received health reminders by text. Now imagine you have a serious medical condition and have real problems remembering to take your medication. A text reminder would make all the difference. This is known as ‘mHealth’ and it is transforming healthcare across the world, but especially in Africa. Joseph Ochieng finds out more.
eading a busy life in the hustle and bustle of London sometime makes us lose sight of our priorities, especially when it comes to health. Girls – how many of you have struggled to get your man to make a doctor’s appointment when he needs one, let alone get him to show up? And ladies - do you really always go for your smear test on time? Let’s not even mention the dentist; how many of us go for a check-up twice a year? Although it can’t actually take you to your appointment, a little reminder such as a text can prompt us to remember our medical appointments and encourage us to make time in our busy lives to take care of ourselves. In the UK, apps to help with health have proved a hit, especially those monitoring blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and heart conditions. Last year the Department of Health (DH) recommended that doctors should start prescribing health apps which can help elderly people to exercise safely in their homes or provide online counselling for people with long-term conditions such as HIV.
mHealth in Africa I
t’s hard enough managing our health in the UK, so imagine how tricky it can be for people in Africa. Depending on where you live, medical care can be difficult to access and if you need medication you won’t always get it when you need it. However, one thing most people in Africa do have is a mobile phone. These are proving to be lifelines when it comes to health. Think about the difference it would make to a mother in Africa if she received a text to remind her that her baby needs to be immunised with details about where to go for the jab. Imagine you’ve been so busy you forgot to take your anti-malarial or HIV medicine but your mobile phone reminds you to take it - ‘mHealth’ is transforming healthcare across the world. In Kenya, medics use texts to advise people how to take malaria treatment. In Tanzania, nurses use them
to alert mothers about the arrival of vaccines for their kids. In Ghana, a local religious organisation notified mothers about new immunisations by sending 1.5 million text messages. And it doesn’t stop at texts recently, an app was introduced in Nigeria to allow people to find out whether the medicine they’ve just bought is genuine, or fake. In the UK we take care during pregnancy for granted, but it’s a different story in parts of Africa. Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) created an app to enable health workers, midwives and pregnant women to share vital information in South Africa, India and Bangladesh. It prompts women to attend antenatal classes and appointments after they give birth. It also allows medics to advise women on birth plans and breastfeeding. The mHealth revolution is going global, transforming lives in developing countries and making life a bit simpler for the UK. Have a look through your phone’s app store and see what you can find to improve your health. And ladies, there are now no excuses for missing that smear test or for your man to ignore his appointment with the doctor again.
‘The mHealth revolution is going global, transforming lives in developing countries and making life a bit simpler for the UK.’
Think you’ve got all the apps you need? These health apps will change your mind:
Where we are with mHealth?
Apps for guys Zombies, Run! is a game that helps you build up your jogging by putting you in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. You hear zombies chasing you through your headphones and receive instructions on how to escape from them. Adidas MiCoach helps you to plan your workouts, build up your stamina and track your achievements. Live score addicts – OK, not strictly a health app but who can resist a smart football app on a Saturday afternoon? Keep track of all the scores and watch highlights as the action unfolds.
of physicians throughout the world now use tablet apps, with over half using them at the point of care
Apps for girls Period Tracker – a simple app to track your periods, which also calculates your most fertile days if you want to try for a baby. It also links to message boards. Pocket Yoga – a great app for yoga bunnies. Carry your sun salutations and downward dogs in your pocket!
Apps for everyone Life plus – Terrence Higgins Trust has a new iPhone app to help people living with HIV to keep track of their blood tests, set medication and appointment reminders. You can also go onto www.myHIV.org.uk to talk to other people living with HIV in the busy community forums. NHS Direct has an app so you can access trusted and reliable health information. They also have the ‘NHS Quit Smoking’ app for iPhones. ShopWell helps you eat more healthily and ensure you are buying food to match your dietary needs. This is particularly useful if you are managing a condition such as diabetes or if you follow a gluten-free diet.
245 million people have downloaded a health app there are 40,000 medical apps for smartphones and tablets 59 per cent of patients in the developing world use at least one mHealth app or service, compared with 35 per cent in the developed world.
The Vagina Monologues has attracted controversy and debate wherever it has been staged, as much for its title as its content. In several African countries, it has been banned altogether - to many Africans, the ‘V’ word is absolutely taboo. But for every country that has banned the show, a dozen others have welcomed and applauded it.
ve Ensler, the American women’s rights activist, wrote The Vagina Monologues after interviewing 200 women. The show has been staged in the UK and in several other countries around the world, to much critical acclaim – and also controversy.
If you have been a victim of rape or any form of sexual assault, many agencies can offer help. They include:
now? In th k u e yo around 21 per cent of girls and 11 per cent of boys experience some form of child sexual abuse
The show has been well received in a few African countries, notably the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - arguably the worst place in
the world to be a woman. Millions of Congolese women, young and old, have suffered rape, abuse or domestic violence.
The Vagina Monologues is a show not everyone feels comfortable watching: it’s a recital about the female genitalia, and how it has suffered abuse through the ages. This show doesn’t pull any punches - rape, sexual violence, rough sex, you name it, it’s in the script. Critics are divided about the show’s artistic
merits, but there can be no doubting its serious subtexts.
23 per cent of women and 3 per cent of men experience sexual assault as an adult 5 per cent of women and 0.4 per cent of men experience rape. (Source: Cross Government Action Plan on Sexual Violence and Abuse, www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/Sexual-violence-action-plan)
Rape Crisis (freephone): 0808 802 9999 Rights of Women: 020 7251 8887 Family Matters: 01474 537392 The Havens Camberwell: 020 3299 1599 Paddington: 020 3312 1101 Whitechapel: 020 7247 4787
u kn iD d yo ow?
South Africa has one of the highest number of cases of rape or sexual assault in the world. In a survey of men in 1,738 households in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal in 2009, 27.6 per cent of the men said they had raped a woman or a girl, the Medical Research Council of South Africa found. It also found that 4.6 per cent of men said they had raped in the past year. Rape of a current or ex-girlfriend was disclosed by 14.3 per cent of men.
nyone who has been raped and is concerned about getting HIV may be able to get a treatment called PEP (short for ‘post-exposure prophylaxis’) as long as they act quickly. PEP is a course of treatment that can stop HIV from being established in the body, but it is only effective if taken very soon after sex (within 24 hours is best but no later than 72 hours). PEP should be available free of charge at all NHS hospitals where there is an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department, or from a sexual health clinic. For more information call THT Direct on 0808 802 122 or visit www.mambo.org.uk In the wake of the show’s success, Ensler set up V-Day, a charity supporting women and rights groups to tackle gender violence around the world. She also funds a women’s centre in the Congo, and spends much of her time travelling the world to campaign against gender violence.
Photograph by David Jensen
Critics claim that The Vagina Monologues is anti-heterosexual, pro-lesbian, lacks objectivity and casts men in a negative light. But beyond any vulgarity, The Vagina Monologues contains serious messages about gender inequality in general, and sexual exploitation in particular. To find out more about The Vagina Monologues, please visit: www.vaginamonologues.co.uk Clare Buckfield, Vicky Entwistle and Chelsee Healey
Emily Kabasubabo photographed by Joseph Ochieng
Emily was second runner-up in the 2011 Miss Congo UK beauty contest, securing her a contract as a goodwill ambassador as well as invitations to speak at community events.
mily Kabasubabo is lucky she doesn’t live in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), her country of birth. If she did, she’d be at serious risk of being sexually assaulted. Every minute a woman is raped in DRC, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
‘The Congolese are an intensely proud community,’ she says. ’While this is not a problem, it means they
are often not willing to take advice from other people.’ She says many girls from the Congolese community get pregnant because they see sex as an escape route from problems such as homelessness, lack of emotional support from parents, poverty and unemployment. The high pregnancy rate suggests young women are not practicing safer sex, putting them at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
Emily witnessed enough domestic violence within her community to want to act. Last March she appeared in The Vagina Monologues, the If you are a victim of critically-acclaimed domestic violence, you should get show highlighting immediate help by reporting the incident sexual violence to the police or Social Services. against women Most areas of the UK have shelters for women who (see article in this are suffering domestic violence. You can get help from: issue). The show’s writer, Eve Ensler, funds a centre for National Domestic Violence Helpline Refuge rape victims in 020 7395 7700 DRC and Emily’s Women’s Aid 0177 944 4411 role in the play Rights of Women 020 7251 6577 (advice line) inspired her National Centre for Domestic Violence campaign to raise 0808 9702070 (advice line) awareness around South London African Women’s Association sexual violence. (SLAWO) 020 8648 1808.
MESTIC VIO O D LE T IS
Emily’s ambition is to go back to DRC to set up a foundation of her own and campaign for women’s rights. ‘My grandmother ran an orphanage,’ she told Mambo. ‘I share her passion for helping less fortunate people. Right now women in DRC urgently need help because their rights are virtually non-existent.’
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Are you worried about your drinking? Deaths from liver disease among the under-65s in the UK rose by a fifth between 2000 and 2009, to 10,850 a year. In contrast, the rest of Western Europe had a 20 per cent decline in liver-related deaths over the same period. So how can we learn to be kinder to our livers?
How much alcohol is too much? Government guidelines state:
Your liver is the second largest organ in your body. It does over 500 jobs to keep your body working properly, including: Breaking down toxins - your liver acts as a filter which processes toxins such as alcohol. Processing any medication you take. Breaking down your food to extract the nutrients and provide you with energy. Helping your body to get rid of waste products. Making ‘bile’ - an important substance which helps you to absorb your food. Helping to fight off infections, particularly those affecting the bowel.
men: should not drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol per day (21 per week).
women: should not drink more than 2-3 units per day (14 per week).
Any quantities above these measures, taken regularly, could damage your liver.
What is a unit of alcohol?
This is a measure of 10ml, or 8g of pure alcohol. On a bottle or can of alcohol you will see the percentage of the drink which is made up of pure alcohol. This is expressed as ‘ABV’ which means ‘alcohol by volume’. One unit of alcohol is equivalent to: half a pint of lower-strength beer, lager or cider (ABV 3.6 per cent) a single small shot of 25ml of spirits (ABV 40 per cent). Two units of alcohol equal: a standard glass of white, red or rosé wine (ABV 12 per cent) one pint of lower-strength lager (ABV 3.6 per cent) a 440ml can of lager, beer or cider (ABV 4.5 per cent).
The following contain three units of alcohol: a large glass of white, red or rosé wine (ABV 12 per cent) a pint of higher-strength lager (ABV 5.2 per cent).
If you’re worried about your drinking
Alcoholic liver disease
Your liver filters alcohol, so it can be damaged if you drink more alcohol that it can process. There are several stages of alcoholic liver disease and it takes a long time to cause serious damage: Alcoholic fatty liver disease is where fatty acids build up in the liver. This is reversible if you stop drinking for two weeks. Alcoholic hepatitis is where the liver becomes inflamed. Again, it is usually reversible if you stop drinking for several months or years. Cirrhosis is when the liver becomes scarred from continuous inflammation. This is the final stage and can lead to loss of liver function, which may be life-threatening. In the most serious cases a liver transplant may be considered.
Alcohol doesn’t only cause liver damage. It can also damage relationships, especially if you are drinking to excess or have Symptoms of liver disease become dependent on alcohol. According to NHS Choices, the If your drinking is affecting your symptoms of alcoholic liver disease are relationships you may need to often not noticed until the disease is seek help. advanced. The following are symptoms of alcoholic liver disease: Often it can be hard to realise the impact our drinking is nausea having on those closest to us. weight loss Is alcohol making you verbally loss of appetite or physically abusive? Does yellowing of the eyes and skin your partner avoid you when (jaundice) you’re drunk? Alcohol can have swelling in the ankles and far-reaching effects on your abdomen life and although it can be hard confusion or drowsiness. to admit you need help, with courage you can get the help If you have any of the following you need. symptoms, seek medical help immediately because they could suggest severe damage to the liver: The following organisations can help: skin and eyes turning yellow (jaundice) Drinkaware: www.drinkaware.co.uk swollen abdomen vomiting blood Alcoholics Anonymous: www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk dark black tarry stool or very pale stool. AL-Anon Family Groups: www.al-anonuk.org.uk British Liver Trust: www.britishlivertrust.org.uk
ASK THE EXPERTS
Do you have a health or lifestyle-related problem that’s troubling you? advice experts, Enomfon Ntefon and Charles Kyazze can help you find answers. Please write or email your problem to the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph by Annabel Vere
‘Clearly your husband needs professional help to understand and appreciate the health and social consequences of his drinking.’ Dear Uncle Charles,
I am a 40-year-old African woman who is living with HIV. I’ve been on treatment for the last five years. My HIV treatment is working well for me and the doctor says my immune system has improved considerably as a result. However, I have one problem - my husband who is also HIV positive and on treatment is a heavy drinker. I try my best to ensure he takes his medication, but he sometimes goes on drinking sprees until the early hours of the morning and misses his drugs. I’ve tried asking him to stop or cut down on his drinking but he keeps saying he’s fine and there’s nothing to
worry about. I’m concerned for his health, so please advise me.
Samantha, Kentish Town
Uncle Charles says:
Alcohol should not usually be a problem for anyone who is HIV positive and on treatment - if taken in moderate quantities. However, it’s clear from your letter that
your husband is a heavy drinker and that’s a matter for concern. Research shows that HIV positive people who drink are approximately 50 per cent more likely to have problems taking their HIV medication as prescribed by their doctor. A damaged liver may not be able to process HIV medicine properly, leading to serious side effects. Not taking HIV medicine correctly can also mean HIV is not kept under control and resistance to the drugs can develop. Clearly your husband needs professional help to understand and appreciate the health and social consequences of his drinking. His HIV physician could be a good starting point. You and your husband could have a confidential talk with the doctor. There are also services such as Alcoholics Anonymous that can help. Can I also suggest that you try to find out whether there are any issues that might be driving your husband towards alcohol? If there are, then addressing them might help as well. You can contact Alcoholics Anonymous on 0845 769 7555 or visit: www.alcoholicsanonymous.org.uk
I am 24 and my boyfriend is 30. We have been together for two years and he says he will marry me but he does not seem to do anything towards marriage. I have been pressurising him to meet my parents but he says I should give him time. He vows undying love and promises me everything, but when I ask for commitment in any form he blows his top. For instance, besides refusing to take steps towards marriage, I mentioned that he needs to use protection as I am afraid of contracting HIV. He was really upset and told me that since I do not trust him, he cannot trust me either. I really am confused as I do love him and he is my first love, I cannot imagine losing him. What do I do?
Ask yourself: • ‘Am I using this man’s attention as a crutch to meet my emotional needs?’
• ‘Is my self-esteem based upon his acceptance of me?’
• ‘Do I want him because I really love him or because I have placed him on a pedestal?’
• ‘Am I genuinely interested in contributing to his success in life?’
• ‘Do I feel no-one else will be interested in me if I leave this guy?’
I want to reassure you that you are not alone in this situation. The way out of this is to take an objective look at what you really want. The truth is, your current man is not giving you the respect you deserve.
It is easy to confuse love with lust. Lust is centred on self-gratification and is blind to reality and the needs of the other person. If you love someone, you think of how they can be helped to grow and you see a future together. Your relationship doesn’t seem to be based on
these principles. I believe an honest look at yourself within the relationship will be an eye-opener. In my personal view, I believe that you do not need this particular relationship as it will only lead you towards heartache and pain. You can contact Enomfon at: email@example.com or simply visit the website: www.winningrelationships.co.uk
Photograph by Annabel Vere
Someone who is looking for a long-term relationship will listen to you and pay attention to your needs. Any man can say: ‘I love you,’ but having a future together is another thing altogether.
Rest Assured? Around 80 per cent of HIV positive people in the UK are unaware they can now take out life assurance. In this feature, Chris Morgan of Unusual Risks talks about the progress the industry has made towards providing cover for people with HIV, and his role in bringing about this change.
ife assurance has been available in the UK since 1774. However, people living with HIV were specifically excluded from taking out policies until 2009.
During this time I lead negotiations with the insurance industry for changes to the HIV-related questions on application forms and changes to the HIV testing procedures of insurers. I pressed them for a firm commitment to look seriously at the issue of
It took until 2009 for the first HIV life assurance policies to emerge into the marketplace. There are now six mainstream providers offering policies which are affordable and useful to the people who take them out. So, for the first time people with HIV are insuring their families, children and mortgages. Chris Morgan is the Marketing Manager of Unusual Risks Mortgage and Insurance Services and Editor of Positive Finance magazine. He was a consultant to the Association of British Insurers HIV Working Group for over five years. To contact Chris telephone 0845 474 3075 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.unusualrisks.co.uk www.positivefinance.info
Photograph by Annabel Vere
In 1999 I started a campaign for better treatment of people living with HIV by the financial services industries. At the time, HIV positive people were denied life insurance and mortgages as their risk of dying was considered too high. Application forms contained unnecessary personal questions to find out people’s sexuality and ethnic origin - this was to try to determine the applicant’s HIV risk. My aim was to remove these.
In 2005 the insurance industry launched a consultation on HIV and I became the co-author of the new guidelines around policies for HIV positive people. The updated guidelines banned any ‘speculative’ methods, such as asking about sexuality and ethnicity, to assess a person’s HIV status. Overnight the insurance industry was forced to treat all groups equally.
providing life assurance for people living with HIV.
“We’ll play safe until we’ve both been tested” n Anyone can get HIV. n Avoid taking risks. n Use condoms. For more information about how and where to get free condoms, contact: or visit
Terrence Higgins Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (reg no. 288527) and in Scotland (SC039986). Funded by the Pan-London HIV Prevention Programme.
TEST Itâ€™s now easier than ever to get tested for HIV. From testing at your barber shop to testing at home, you can find out your HIV status in the place you feel most comfortable. Kerri Wells finds out more.
There’s another really good reason
to get tested - HIV treatment is now free for everyone whatever their immigration status. This means that if you do have HIV you can take medicine to keep it under control as soon as you need it. So even if your papers aren’t in order, this is no longer a reason not to test. As you might know, African people are in a high-risk group for getting HIV. In fact over a quarter of African men with HIV don’t know they have
Photograph by Annabel Vere
ou might wonder why you’re always seeing articles and news stories about HIV testing. Surely everyone knows about it by now? Well, you may not know that if you are diagnosed early and start treatment on time you can expect to live a near-normal lifespan. You can have a career, relationship and a great sex life. You can also have children who are born without HIV.
it. Africans are also more likely to get diagnosed late when treatment will be less effective. At the moment everyone is encouraged to test for HIV to give them the best chance of a long and healthy life if they are HIV positive. It’s never been easier to get a test. For instance did you know you can get your results from some HIV tests in less than a minute? There are a range of places you can get tested – from your GP surgery to a sexual health clinic to a community centre or your local church. It is now also possible to test at home. HIV postal tests are a new way to have an HIV test. The free kit can be ordered from www.tht.org.uk/ postaltest and will arrive in a plain package which will fit through your letterbox. The test can detect HIV around four weeks after you have been infected. All you have to do is prick your finger so a few drops of blood appear. Then you blot your finger onto a card, pop it in the post and wait for your result. You should get it around a week later. You’ll be texted if your result is negative and phoned if you need to come in for another test. You will be given all the support you need and be linked in to a local clinic. There really is no better time to test. Treatment means HIV can be controlled and you have every chance of a long and healthy life. Ignoring HIV won’t make it go away – in fact it means it is more likely to cause problems when it is diagnosed. So for peace of mind why not order a postal testing kit today?
Where can I get an HIV test? Sexual health clinics
These are usually based in hospitals. You can get a full sexual health screen or you may want advice on family planning or contraception. You can also get an HIV test in a sexual health clinic. The advantage of this is that if your test is positive you will be linked straight in to HIV services and offered counselling and other support.
Many GPs offer HIV tests at surgeries. As most of us live close to our GP surgery, a test is only a few minutes away. If you get a positive result your GP will link you in to HIV care.
In the community
Charities such as Terrence Higgins Trust offer HIV testing in all sorts of convenient community locations. This could be your local church, barber shop or community centre. These clinics offer rapid HIV tests where you may get your result in less than a minute.
Postal tests mean you can now test for HIV in the privacy of your home. The test is posted to you and when you have completed it you just post it back to our lab. You’ll get your result around a week later – by text if it is negative and by phone if it is positive. The service is private and confidential.
Your results are ready
To order a free postal test visit: www.tht.org.uk/postaltest or call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221 to find out where to test in your area.
Groupwork for African people
Terrence Higgins Trust runs different types of African Groupwork. Our facilitators run a range of groups in a safe, supportive and friendly environment. All sessions are free. Living with HIV can be difficult, but meeting other African men and women who are going through the same as you can make all the difference. Understanding more about HIV can help you to carry on with your normal life without fearing the future. We cover a wide range of topics including looking after your health, sex and relationships and growing older with HIV.
To find out more, please contact African Groupwork London on 020 7812 1719 or email: email@example.com Funded by the Pan-London HIV Prevention Programme
Terrence Higgins Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (reg no. 288527) and in Scotland (SC039986)
Nigerian farmers’ mobile phone bonanza
Ghana’s old fridges left out in the cold
City Waste Management, a private contractor in Ghana, has started degassing discarded fridges in order to get rid of poisonous gas. Following the implementation of a law banning the importation of second-hand fridges, the Government has offered cash incentives to people to dump old fridges and buy new ones.
The Nigerian Government is giving over 10 million mobile phones to farmers in a bid to improve agriculture. It is hoped the handsets will allow farmers to access market data, weather reports, agricultural extension advice and farm inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides.
Kenya’s dream of building the equivalent of America’s Silicon Valley has become a reality. In January, outgoing President Mwai Kibaki flagged-up construction work at Konza Technology City. This is a 50,000-acre development that will become the base for cutting-edge information communication technology (ICT) businesses and operations. The multi-million-dollar city is located 60 kilometres east of the capital Nairobi.
Angolan First Daughter the first African woman billionaire
Tanzanian TV goes digital
The eldest daughter of Angolan President Edouardo dos Santos has been named the first African woman with a net worth of at least a billion dollars. According to Forbes magazine, Isabel dos Santos made her money by investing heavily in stocks and shares, in both Portugal and Angola.
The healthier lifestyle magazine for Africans
Issue 10 - Spring 2013 editorial team Charles Kyazze Mary Lima John Owuor Joseph Ochieng
magazine is funded by, and published as part of, the Pan-London 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
Kenya launches own Silicon Valley
In the 1970s, Tanzania was one of the first African countries to introduce colour television. Now it’s among the first to migrate their televisions from analogue to digital. The switch to digital is expected to open up the country’s television industry to new investors and content producers.
The African Eye Trust Addington Afro Ethnic Health Promotion Group (AAEGRO) Congolese Family Centre 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. If you have any questions or comments about this resource, or would like information on the evidence used to produce it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
www.facebook.com/ MamboLifestyle @MamboLifestyle
Funded by the Pan-London HIV Prevention Programme. Terrence Higgins Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (reg. no. 288527) and in Scotland (SC039986).
Know what else youâ€™re getting into bed with. Did either of you take risks before you met? Until youâ€™ve both had an HIV test, use condoms. For tips on using condoms and where to get free ones go to mambo.org.uk