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Progress In AIDS Fight In Peril As Governments Renege On Funding Pledges

In this Toronto Star opinion piece, Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and Nicci Stein, executive director of the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, discuss how progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS over the last 30 years “is in peril, due to governments reneging on repeated promises to fund the fight against the pandemic.”

“[S]topping the AIDS pandemic requires sustained engagement from both donor and developing countries, political commitments that are backed by dollars. … Yet many donor countries have chosen precisely this moment to abandon their promises,” they write. They discuss the cancellation of Round 11 grants by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and ask the Canadian government to deliver on its HIV/AIDS funding pledges. Elliott and Stein conclude, “We can turn the tide on the spread of HIV — victory has never been closer. But we need to make sure that those with the power and the money use it toward achieving the goal of an end to AIDS” (12/7).

MCC Invests $122M In Lesotho Health System To Address Key Challenges, Including HIV, TB

“The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), through its partnership with the Millennium Challenge Account-Lesotho, is helping Lesotho address key challenges in its health sector through a $122 million investment in health infrastructure and health systems,” IIP Digital reports. “More than 720,000 Basotho are expected to benefit from the MCC health project over the next 20 years,” the news service writes.

Science Examines HIV Prevention Trials, Challenges To Implementing New Strategies

Science examines recent successes in clinical trials in the HIV prevention field, limitations to mathematical models resulting from these trials, and funding issues facing campaigns to ramp up HIV prevention interventions. “[M]odels now suggest that combining [prevention strategies] might virtually stop HIV’s spread,” but “there’s a vast difference between a study having success and thwarting HIV in the real world,” according to Science. “Models only point out routes to ending AIDS, and many will surely differ,” the magazine writes, concluding, “But for the first time since AIDS surfaced 31 years ago, many researchers believe the destination itself is no longer a mirage” (Cohen, 12/9).

Gilead Sciences To Donate $8M In Visceral Leishmaniasis Drug To WHO

Gilead Sciences, Inc. “will donate 445,000 vials of AmBisome over five years to help the World Health Organization (WHO) treat more than 50,000 patients with visceral leishmaniasis (VL), also known as kala-azar,” a Gilead press release states, adding, “If sold at Gilead’s no-profit access price, today’s donation would cost more than…

Unexplained Kidney Disease Affecting Rural Workers Across Central America, PRI’s ‘The World’ Reports

PRI’s “The World” reports on an epidemic of an unexplained kidney disease that is affecting rural workers across Central America, writing, “[I]t’s the second biggest cause of death among men in El Salvador, and in Nicaragua it’s a bigger killer of men than HIV and diabetes combined,” and “the latest theory is that the victims are literally working themselves to death.” According to the news service, “El Salvador’s health minister recently called on the international community for help,” stating that “the epidemic is ‘wasting away our populations.'”

Central African Republic In State Of ‘Chronic Medical Emergency,’ MSF Report Says

“The Central African Republic (CAR) is in the grips of a chronic medical emergency, according to a report released today by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF),” an MSF press release states. “Four mortality studies carried out by MSF over the past 18 months reveal crude mortality rates in some regions of CAR at three times the emergency threshold of one death per 10,000 people per day, which, according to the World Health Organization, is considered a humanitarian crisis,” the press release adds (12/13).

HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment Efforts Should Include Care For Other Diseases, Experts Say

“Global HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts are missing a major opportunity to significantly improve health conditions in poor countries by simply adding low-cost care for the many other chronic and disabling diseases routinely afflicting and often killing these same patients, according to a panel of disease experts who spoke at…

Only With Universal Access Will Power Of Vaccines Be Fully Harnessed

In this post in Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, Orin Levine of the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) recounts recent progress in expanding vaccine access to the world’s poor, writing, “From rolling out the first diarrhea vaccines in Africa, to doubling the number of low-income countries approved for vaccines against pneumonia, to announcing they will now assist countries [to] introduce vaccines for that prevent cervical cancer, the GAVI Alliance and its partners are tearing down the barriers to vaccine access that have historically divided rich from poor on our planet. To appreciate how far we’ve come you need to remember where we started.”

Goal Of Near-Zero Malaria Deaths Attainable With Continued Will, Resources

In this TIME “Ideas” opinion piece, David Bowen, CEO of Malaria No More, writes that with the right resources and political will, an end to malaria is possible. He recounts progress made against the disease, citing a report by the WHO released Tuesday that shows “deaths from malaria have fallen by more than 25 percent globally since 2000 — and by more than five percent in the last year alone,” and writes, “Despite these gains, much more needs to be done. The unacceptable fact still remains that malaria claims a child’s life in Africa every minute. The world has begun to mobilize the skills, resources and innovative genius needed to end this terrible death toll.”

Pharma Exports, R&D Investment Benefit U.S. Economy, Global Health And Must Be Protected

In this post in the Hill’s “Congress Blog,” John Castellani, president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, reports on how biopharmaceutical exports benefit the U.S. economy and global health, writing, “Leadership is needed to help keep U.S. biopharmaceutical research companies competitive in the global export market.” He continues, “According to the Administration, if we increased exports by just five percent, we would create hundreds of thousands of new U.S. jobs. … Among the ways that they can advance this effort is by knocking down foreign barriers and promoting strong intellectual property (IP) protections that allow biopharmaceutical companies to bring their medicines into other markets and, importantly, to the patients who need them.”

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.