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NIAID Director Fauci Discusses Moving Forward In AIDS Fight

In this interview with GlobalPost’s John Donnelly, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, discusses “his perspective of the fight against AIDS at this moment, and how discoveries by scientists can now be best used.” Speaking about the “convergence of prevention approaches,” Fauci said, “There is now an enthusiasm and an excitement if we can implement some of these scientific advances, we can have a major impact in turning around the trajectory of the epidemic. The bottom line is we are pushing these advances in implementation so that we see the light at the end of the tunnel” (11/30).

U.N. Progress Report On AIDS Stresses Advances In Treatment, Prevention, Warns About Declining Funding

“Global progress in both preventing and treating HIV emphasizes the benefits of sustaining investment in HIV/AIDS over the longer term,” according to a new report from the WHO, UNICEF and UNAIDS, which also “indicates that increased access to HIV services resulted in a 15 percent reduction of new infections over the past decade and a 22 percent decline in AIDS-related deaths in the last five years,” a WHO press release reports (11/30). The report, titled “Progress report 2011: Global HIV/AIDS response,” notes that “[a]s capacity at all levels increases, programs are becoming more effective and efficient,” but “financial pressures on both domestic and foreign assistance budgets are threatening the impressive progress to date. Recent data indicating that HIV funding is declining is a deeply troubling trend that must be reversed for the international community to meet its commitments on HIV” (11/30).

Obama Announces New U.S. Commitments To End AIDS Domestically, Globally

Speaking at the ONE campaign and (RED)’s “Beginning of the End of AIDS” event at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., to mark World AIDS Day on Thursday, “President Obama … announced a deepened U.S. commitment to fighting the pandemic, declaring ‘make no mistake, we are going to win this fight,'” ABC News reports (Bruce, 12/1). Obama said his administration is “setting a goal of providing antiretroviral [ARV] drugs to more than 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women over the next two years” to help prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, and “setting a new target of helping six million people get [ARV] treatment by the end of 2013,” two million more people than the original goal, according to the speech transcript (12/1). A White House fact sheet adds PEPFAR will support more than 4.7 million voluntary medical male circumcisions in Eastern and Southern Africa and the U.S. will distribute more than one billion condoms worldwide over the next two years. The fact sheet notes PEPFAR’s “continued focus on lowering costs and finding efficiencies will allow us to achieve these ambitious targets with existing resources” (12/1).

South African President Introduces National Strategic Plan On HIV, STIs, TB

South African President Jacob Zuma in a speech on Thursday to mark World AIDS Day introduced a new five-year National Strategic Plan (.pdf) on HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and tuberculosis (TB), which “calls for stepped-up prevention efforts to halve new infections of HIV and tuberculosis by 2016 and to put 80 percent of eligible patients on antiretroviral drugs to fight AIDS,” Agence France-Presse reports (12/1). In addition, the plan aims to reduce the number of mother-to-child HIV transmission cases, which Zuma noted was halved between 2008 and 2010, reduce HIV- and TB-related stigma, target high-risk populations, and promote education among youth to reduce their risk of HIV infection, according to Times Live (Chauke/Mclea, 12/2).

Fully Funding Global Health Initiatives Critical In AIDS Fight

“With donor support flagging around the world, U.S. leadership is crucial. Congress must fully fund its global health programs, especially the Global Fund” to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Joyce Kamwana, a Global Fund “HERE I AM” campaign ambassador, writes in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” She adds, “Reducing support for global health would put millions of people at risk” and “would deal a devastating blow to the global fight against AIDS, which has reached a critical point.”

Addressing Sexual Violence In The Context Of Conflict, Disasters

In this post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Anita Malley, internal displacement and protection adviser at the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, examines the importance of addressing sexual violence in conflicts and disasters, recapping a trip she took to Cote d’Ivoire with her colleagues in June. “I have seen the importance…

UNAIDS, PEPFAR Announce 5-Year Action Framework To Scale Up Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision For HIV Prevention

UNAIDS and PEPFAR on Monday at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Africa (ICASA) “launched a five-year action framework to accelerate the scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention,” according to a UNAIDS press release. “The framework — developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, PEFPAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank in consultation with national Ministries of Health — calls for the immediate roll-out and expansion of VMMC services in 14 priority countries of eastern and southern Africa,” the release notes (12/5).

Family Planning Spending Cuts Will Lead To ‘More Unwanted’ Pregnancies, ‘Unsafe Abortions’

“Unwanted babies and unsafe abortion are major problems in the developing world, yet funding for contraception is limited because of attitudes to sex and abortion in donor countries,” the Guardian’s Sarah Boseley writes in her “Global Health Blog.” She reflects on her time spent in Dakar, Senegal, last week for the 2nd International Conference on Family Planning, and writes that, “in francophone Africa …, only 10 percent of women have access to what are called modern methods of family planning,” such as hormonal contraceptive injections or pills.

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