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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).

GlobalPost Examines U.S. Response To HIV/AIDS ‘Scientific Advances, Economic Realities’

GlobalPost examines the “collision of scientific advances vs. economic realities” in the fight against HIV/AIDS in a special report as part of its “Healing the World” series. “Thirty years after the discovery of AIDS, scientists believe for the first time that they now have the tools to beat back the deadly virus. … But the gloomy global economic situation, and recent scale-backs in HIV funding around the world, have cast great doubt as to whether policymakers will take advantage of the combination of new prevention tools to fight AIDS,” the article states, noting that “President Obama is expected on Thursday — World AIDS Day — to talk about his administration’s next steps on AIDS, … his first major speech on AIDS as president” (Donnelly, 11/30).

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).

Treatment Cost Savings Under PEPFAR Can Be Re-Invested To Increase ARV Reach

In this post in the “Health Affairs Blog,” Matthew Kavanagh, director of U.S. policy and advocacy at Health Global Access Project (GAP), and Marguerite Thorp, a research assistant at Harvard Medical School, examine how HIV/AIDS treatment funding under PEPFAR has “fallen significantly since 2008 in both absolute dollars and as…

South Africa ‘Witnessing First Steps Of AIDS-Free Generation’

In this Business Day opinion piece, Donald Gips, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, examines progress made in the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS, writing that, through the coordination of governments, civil society, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), educational institutions, and researchers from around the world, “we now have the tools that allow us for the first time to set the goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation — when virtually no children are born with the virus; we have effective and comprehensive education and prevention strategies that help to reduce risk; and those who are infected with HIV have access to treatment that helps prevent them from developing AIDS and transmitting the virus.”

Thousands Gather In Senegal For Second International Conference On Family Planning

“Thousands gathered in Senegal [Tuesday] for the opening of the second International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), the largest meeting of its kind, which will run until December 2, 2011,” the Foreign Policy Association blog reports (Clifford, 11/29). The meeting “will aim to push forward an agenda for broad family planning access and support around the world,” according to the Accra Mail (11/29). “The historic four-day conference features more than 140 plenaries, sessions and panels that will share latest research, proven strategies, and lessons learned in addressing the massive need for contraception worldwide,” the Foreign Policy Association blog writes, adding, “Participants will seek to galvanize greater political and financial support, hold governments accountable for their commitments, and champion contraceptive innovation and access” (11/29).

African Countries Lose Billions Of Dollars Training Doctors Who Then Leave For Developed Nations, Study Says

Nine African countries — Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – “have lost approximately $2 billion in their investment in doctors who have subsequently migrated abroad,” with South Africa and Zimbabwe suffering “the greatest economic losses,” according to a study published Friday in BMJ, VOA’s “Breaking News” blog reports (11/25). The researchers, led by Edward Mills, chair of global health at the University of Ottawa, found “Australia, Canada, Britain and the United States benefit the most from recruiting doctors trained abroad” and “called on destination countries to recognize this imbalance and invest more in training and developing health systems in the countries that lose out,” Reuters writes (Kelland, 11/25). The Los Angeles Times’ “World Now” blog writes, “Rich countries saved money by training fewer doctors than they needed and making up the gap by importing medical staff, according to the report” (11/25).

Bloomberg Examines Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Initiative And Potential Impact To U.S. Global Efforts To Tackle HIV

Bloomberg examines how a trade agreement being negotiated by leaders of the nine Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries — Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States — could potentially make it more difficult for people in TPP nations to get new generic drugs and may impact U.S.-led global efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS as outlined by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a recent speech at the NIH.

Obama Should Announce Scale-Up Of AIDS Treatment Programs

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent speech calling for an “AIDS-free generation” through the use of multiple prevention strategies, including more widespread antiretroviral therapy, “was a dramatic reversal of U.S. policy, which has historically viewed treatment more as a costly expense rather than our most powerful prevention investment,” physician Loretta Ciraldo and Katrina Ciraldo, a student at Boston University School of Medicine, write in this Miami Herald opinion piece.

Five Ways Pharmaceutical Companies Can Address NTDs

In this Forbes opinion piece, journalist Sarika Bansal examines five ways in which pharmaceutical companies can address neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including creating cross-sectorial research partnerships for neglected diseases; joining patent pools for neglected diseases; donating drugs for neglected diseases; creating facilities dedicated to neglected disease research; and allowing scientists to work on neglected disease, both formally and informally.

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