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Bloomberg Examines Potential Benefits, Drawbacks To PrEP

“Gilead Sciences Inc. may learn this year whether its drugs for treating HIV can also stop people from catching the virus in the first place,” Bloomberg writes in a piece that examines the potential benefits and drawbacks to using low-doses of HIV/AIDS medications to reduce a person’s risk of becoming infected with HIV. According to the news service, the initial results of 10 trials including more than 20,000 people could be available as early as July.

U.N. Releases Report On Poverty In Afghanistan

A new U.N. report (.pdf) finds that “the majority of Afghans live in dire poverty, despite an estimated $35 billion in aid being poured into the country between 2002 to 2009,” the Associated Press reports.

Family Planning, Access To Safe, Legal Abortion Key To Maternal, Child Health, U.S. Sec. Of State Says

Following a two-day meeting of foreign ministers from G8 countries in Quebec on Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “appeared at odds… with [Canadian] Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s G8 initiative on maternal and child health, saying family planning, contraception and access to legal, safe abortions were vital elements of maternal health care,” Canwest News Service/Ottawa Citizen report (O’Neill, 3/31).

Also In Global Health News: Asia’s ‘Double Burden’; Guinea Worm Eradication; ARV, Antibiotic Treatment; Sierra Leone’s Medical Workers; Melinda Gates In India

Asians Facing ‘Double Burden’ Of Disease, Health Experts Warn During a two-day healthcare conference in Asia, health experts on Monday encouraged the governments of Asian countries to draft plans to tackle the long-term costs associated with chronic illnesses, Reuters reports. “Asia is facing a double burden,” of disease, said Bruce…

GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer Will Supply 600M Doses Of Reduced-Price Pneumococcal Vaccines To Developing Countries Over 10 Years, GAVI Says

The GAVI Alliance on Tuesday formally announced that drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer had signed off on a “10-year deal … to supply 60 million doses a year of cut-price pneumococcal vaccines to developing nations,” Reuters reports. The agreement is under what’s “called an Advance Market Commitment (AMC) which guarantees a market for vaccines supplied to poor nations but sets a maximum price drugmakers can expect to receive,” the news service writes (Kelland, 3/23).

Also In Global Health News: Child, Maternal Mortality; AIDS 2010; Food Aid To N. Korea; Millennium Challenge Corporation; Family Planning Conference; Parasitic Disease Test

AU Summit To Examine Progress Toward Child, Maternal Mortality MDGs When leaders of African states gather for the African Union summit in Kampala, Uganda, in July, they will assess the continent’s progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals relating to child and maternal mortality, Isaac Musumba, Uganda’s state minister for…

WHO H1N1 Vaccine Shipments Headed To More Developing Countries

The WHO on Friday announced “it had delivered the first doses of H1N1 [swine flu] vaccine to Cuba, and a dozen countries in Africa would receive millions of doses in coming weeks,” Reuters reports. According to WHO spokeswoman Karen Mah, Cuba received an estimated 1.1 million doses Wednesday, and Honduras and El Salvador shipments are “en route,” according to the news service.

Canadian Prime Minister Says He’s Open To Including Contraception In G8 Plan For Improving Maternal, Child Health

“Facing a squall of condemnation from aid groups and opposition politicians,” following statements by Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon that Canada’s G8 maternal and child health initiative would not include family planning, Prime Minister Stephen Harper “disavowed his foreign minister Thursday, promising that the federal government would include contraception programs in its maternal-health foreign-aid initiative,” the Globe and Mail reports.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Study Finds Level Of HIV Services For IDUs ‘Is Poor In Many Countries’ A Lancet study performed a systematic review of HIV prevention and treatment services targeting injecting drug users (IDUs) globally based on the availability of “core interventions for IDUs: needle and syringe programmes (NSPs), opioid substitution therapy (OST) and other drug…

EU-India Free-Trade Negotiations Could Limit Access To Affordable, Generic Drugs, Advocacy Group Says

The advocacy group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) recently warned that free-trade negotiations between the EU and India could limit access to “affordable generic drugs” for people in India and the rest of the developing world, Reuters reports. “Back in 2005 India granted patents on medicines to respect international trade rules and MSF said a new free-trade agreement now under negotiation would tighten these rules,” the news service writes. The EU said it has not requested that India stop producing low-cost generic drugs.