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Play now 18 mins


18 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 26 September 2012

In Health Check this week Claudia Hammond hears from South Africa on why treatments for HIV seem to be more effective in women than men. However, the authors of a study looking at death rates of those receiving antiretroviral treatment say the reason more men than women die from HIV may have nothing at all to do with the disease, but could be related to attitudes towards men’s health.

We look to Cameroon where hospitals have resorted to drastic measures to ensure patients pay for lifesaving care. In some cases this means detaining patients in hospital until they or their relatives come up with the funds, or for others doing unpaid work in the hospital after they have been treated.

We examine the use of phages to treat acne. These viruses attack bacteria, especially those which cause infections on the skin. They have been used successfully for around a hundred years, particularly in the former Soviet Union. Increased concern over antibiotic resistance means they may now have a wider role to play in mainstream medicine. A lot of medical testing still needs to be carried out before treatments based on phages become available, this will take many years. However, in laboratory experiments scientists have shown that acne causing bacteria can be attacked by specific Phages.

(Image: A banner that reads 'I am HIV+' Credit: Getty Images)


3 items
  • HIV

    Why more men than women die from HIV

  • Locked up in hospital

    How patients in Cameroon are being detained in hospital until they pay their medical bills

  • Phages

    An alternative to antibiotics for treating bacterial infections


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