USA Today examines several scientific breakthroughs that researchers say “could be key to reducing new HIV infections.” “Doctors are hopeful not because of a single discovery, but because of a string of breakthroughs over the past two or three years, says Diane Havlir, a professor at the University of California-San Francisco,” the news service writes. “The power comes from putting them together,” Havlir, who is also an AIDS 2012 co-chair, said, according to USA Today. The news service discusses “landmark findings” in the areas of treatment as prevention, adult male circumcision, microbicides, and vaccines, among others (Szabo, 7/18).
Global Health Conferences and Meetings
“A cure for AIDS remains a distant prospect but a host of drug treatments and other advances have fueled fresh hope that new [HIV] infections may someday be halted for good,” Agence France-Presse reports. “Strategies for ending the 30-year AIDS epidemic through advances in treatment, testing and prevention are high on the agenda of” the XIX International AIDS Conference, “when it returns to the United States next week after two decades,” according to the news agency (Sheridan, 7/14). “Thanks to drugs that can control the virus for decades, AIDS is no longer a death sentence,” Reuters writes in an article examining AIDS vaccine research. “New infections have fallen by 21 percent since the peak of the pandemic in 1997 and advances in prevention — through voluntary circumcision programs, prevention of mother-to-child transmission and early treatment — promise to cut that rate even more,” the news service states (Steenhuysen, 7/15).
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) “has released an updated reporting manual on HIV/AIDS ahead of the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) taking place in Washington, D.C.,” this month, according to a KFF e-mail alert. “This reporting guide is designed for journalists who are covering the global epidemic for the first time and for those who have covered it previously,” it notes, adding, “The material in this special AIDS 2012 edition covers a broad range of subjects including the unique challenges of reporting on HIV/AIDS, treatment and prevention strategies and global efforts to finance the campaign against HIV/AIDS” (7/12).
International AIDS Conference Must Focus On Combination Prevention Strategies To Fight AIDS Among Women
Highlighting statistics showing how HIV affects more women than men worldwide, Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), writes in a Huffington Post “Global Motherhood” blog post, “The XIX International AIDS Conference is coming to Washington, D.C., in two weeks and it must be different from its predecessors for one reason: HIV is now a woman’s plague.” She continues, “Our HIV policies and interventions have to respond accordingly or we will never create the AIDS-free generation that [Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration have committed to build — where vertical transmission of HIV from a woman to her child is significantly reduced, where HIV-free girls and boys grow up with all the prevention options they need, and those who do acquire HIV have access to treatment.”
In this post in GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog, Katherine Record, a senior fellow at Harvard Law School’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, explains “[w]hy the wall between the scientific advancements in AIDS treatment and the treatment itself needs to be broken down in order to truly achieve an ‘AIDS-free generation.’” She writes, “The U.S. is pushing its patent laws on trade partners, forcing them to adopt the most robust and longest monopoly rights in the world,” adding, “The result is a move away from the World Trade Organization’s safeguards against prohibitive pricing of lifesaving drugs in low-income nations, deferring any hope of an ‘AIDS-free generation.’”
“The International AIDS Society (IAS) [on Wednesday] announced nine winners of four prestigious scientific awards to be presented during the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) to be held in Washington, D.C., 22â€“27 July,” an IAS press release (.pdf) states. “Presented by the IAS and its partners, these awards recognize scientists conducting high quality HIV research around the world,” the press release notes and provides a link to a chart (.pdf) summarizing the award winners (7/11).
“A declaration calling for global support to end the AIDS epidemic was announced [Tuesday] by the International AIDS Society (IAS) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF),” an IAS press release (.pdf) reports. “The ‘Washington, D.C. Declaration,’ which seeks to build broad support for beginning to end the AIDS epidemic through a nine-point action plan, will be the official declaration of the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012),” which “will take place in Washington, D.C., from 22 to 27 July 2012” (7/10).
NAM Publications, through aidsmap.org, will be an official news partner of the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012), according to a post in the aidsmap blog. “Senior editor Keith Alcorn says, ‘This year’s conference will be the biggest yet, and after several years of exciting scientific developments, AIDS 2012 will challenge us all to ask how we can turn the tide of the epidemic using all the new tools and knowledge now at our disposal,’” the blog notes (Hughson, 7/10).
“A tremendous amount of attention will be focused on AIDS over the next six weeks — and that’s a great thing,” as the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) convenes in Washington, D.C., from July 22 to 27, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby writes in an opinion piece in The Hill. “This is a moment of hope,” he adds, continuing, “The world has seen a fundamental transformation in the global AIDS outlook over the past decade, with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria playing leading roles.”
“Activists are reigniting their attacks against President Obama’s record on battling AIDS ahead of the International AIDS Conference in Washington later this month,” The Hill’s “Global Affairs” blog reports. “Two weeks before the conference of 20,000 leading researchers, patients and advocates, the administration has yet to confirm Obama’s attendance,” the blog writes, noting “the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in a teleconference with reporters on Monday said Obama shouldn’t bother showing up unless he’s going to pledge a renewed commitment to the international fight against AIDS.” In 2009, Obama lifted a ban that prevented people living with HIV to enter the U.S., allowing the conference to be held in the country for the first time in 22 years, the blog notes.