Kaposi Sarcoma and AIDS – wrote this at end of 2009

 

Currently, there is a way that HIV bridges communicable and non-communicable disease. It is through a cancer called Kaposi Sarcoma (KS). “The Kaposi patients sit here with their stinking lesions” describes a health worker as we talk informally in the waiting area for cancer patients. This skin cancer used to be rare the world over, but with the onset AIDS, the number of sufferers drastically increased. “Forty to fifty a day these [KS] patients sit here all day and the normal cancer patients cannot get treatment” I was further told, which brought into sharp focus the effect AIDS has on cancer. Interestingly, KS patients are afflicted with a double abnormality, the first being abnormal cells – the cancer itself – and the second being their status as abnormal cancer patients. From what I gathered, the cancer wards are inundated with KS patients who sequester health professionals, leaving other non-AIDS related cancer patients to wait dangerously as their cancers grow. However, there is no surveillance of the KS cases in Namibia on a regular basis, according to a UNAIDS technical advisor. Nonetheless, “the numbers of [KS] diagnoses are available at the individual clinics where they are made”, added the advisor, as if to reassure me. Hardly reassuring, because it appears that Tsunami of non-communicable diseases has already hit us and we barely notice it.

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About writinghealth

Wannabe Epidemiologist? Wannabe med anthro person? I guess. Christian, scientist (not Christian scientist), i mean like I studied molecular biology. I am doing a Masters of Public Health, at the University of Cape Town.
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