In the 1980s and early 1990s, receiving news that one
was infected with HIV was a literal death sentence.
No vaccine or cure for AIDS exists. Back then, people
with HIV could expect to become ill with AIDS within
about ten years after becoming infected, and then live
only one to two years on average after that. The virus destroys
immune cells, leaving those infected vulnerable to
a whole host of opportunistic infections. Eventually, one
of them causes death.
“Epigenetics” as introduced by ConradWaddington in 1946, is defined as a set of interactions
between genes and the surrounding environment, which determines the phenotype or
physical traits in an organism, (Murrell et al., 2005;Waddington, 1942). Initial research focused
on genomic regions such as heterochromatin and euchromatin based on dense and relatively
loose DNA packing, since these were known to contain inactive and active genes respectively,
(Yasuhara et al., 2005).
In the United Republic of Tanzania, some 500 older women are murdered each year following
accusations against them of witchcraft. The problem is particularly serious in Sukumaland in the
north of the country. Large numbers of older women are driven from their homes and
communities in fear of being accused of witchcraft, and end up living destitute in urban areas.
Belief in witchcraft has existed in Sukumaland for centuries, though the violence surrounding it
has increased sharply in recent years.
Gilda Restelli was nearly 30 weeks pregnant when doctors discovered that her fetus had
only fragments of a skull and almost no brain. Medical experts told Gilda and her husband
that their baby had almost no chance of survival after birth. She quit her job, not because
she was physically incapacitated, but because she could no longer bear the hearty
congratulations of strangers who were unaware of the tragic circumstances surrounding her