SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Our name is drawn from the section in the South African Constitution which enshrines everyone's right to health care, food, water and social security.
Today, SECTION27, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), the Gay and Lesbian Equality Project and COSATU hosted a joint rally outside the Chinese Embassy in Pretoria to demand the immediate release of Tian Xi and other human rights defenders wrongly imprisoned in China. Tian Xi, an AIDS and human rights activist who has been imprisoned since 6 August 2010, was infected with HIV as a child during a surgical operation – a common event in China at the time – and has been actively campaigning for the rights of people so infected to receive compensation from the Chinese government.
SECTION27 and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) welcome the results of the Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Initiative (iPrEX) trial. Published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), the study is the first to establish that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) – taking antiretroviral (ARV) medicines before sex – reduces the risk of HIV infection. It follows closely on the heels of the CAPRISA 004 trial, which demonstrated that the use of tenofovir 1% gel reduced the risk of HIV infection amongst women at increased risk.
The iPrEx trial enrolled 2499 men who have sex with men (MSM) at 11 sites across the world (including Cape Town). Half of the trial participants were randomly assigned to take a daily dose of two ARV medicines – tenofovir disproxil fumarate (TDF) and emtricitabine (FTC) – combined into a single pill. The other half, also randomly assigned, received a daily placebo. All received a comprehensive package of HIV prevention services, including regular HIV testing, risk-reduction counselling, condoms, and the treatment of symptomatic sexually transmitted infections.
In a show of solidarity and to commemorate World AIDS Day, the Treatment Action Campaign, SECTION27, COSATU and others will be staging a protest on 1 December 2010 at the Chinese Embassy in Pretoria to demand the immediate release of Chinese AIDS activist, Tian Xi and other Human Rights activists detained in China.
Date: 1 December 2010
Where: Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, 972 Pretorius Street, Arcadia, 0083, Pretoria
On 16 and 17 September 2010, over 60 members of civil society organisations and trade unions met to discuss their work and their efforts – independently and through the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) – to strengthen the national response to HIV and to achieve the goals of the National Strategic Plan (NSP). The aim of the meeting was to define a new agenda going forward for civil society activism both within and independent of SANAC and to focus on our human right to health.
Much confusion has been generated recently regarding the legality of performing medical male circumcision on boys below the age of 16 in South Africa. This confusion seems to be based on a poor reading of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. This confusion has caused some providers to be hesitant to perform circumcisions on infant boys, even where the parents have provided consent and slowed down the implementation of programmes ultimately aimed at preventing new HIV infections in the future.