In this post in the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ (CSIS) “Smart Global Health” blog, J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of CSIS and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, reflects on the upcoming International AIDS Conference, which opens in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, writing, “It is a choice opportunity in the midst of our bitter electoral season to tell the good news of the extraordinary achievements, at home and abroad, in both science and delivery of effective treatment, care, and prevention to people living with HIV or at risk of infection.” Morrison highlights the organization’s new AIDS 2012 course on iTunes U, noting readers can subscribe for additional updates on the conference (7/18). In a separate post, Julia Nagel, a web and social media associate at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, provides a guide to the course (7/18).
Global Health Conferences and Meetings
“As Washington prepares to host the International AIDS Conference from July 22-27, PBS NewsHour will profile some of the parallel stories unfolding around the epidemic on opposite ends of the globe,” the news service writes. In the first of these stories, the news service profiles two individuals — John Johnson in Washington, D.C., and Alice Sibanda in Hwange, Zimbabwe — who as children lost their parents to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Noting Zimbabwe and Washington, D.C., are “8,000 miles apart and nearly as distant economically,” the news service writes, “Both have some of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world” (Kane, 7/18).
“U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will address the opening plenary session at the 19th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012), on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. at the Washington Convention Center, Session Room 1,” a U.S. Department of State press notice reports. “Secretary Clinton’s remarks will be streamed live at http://www.kff.org/aids2012,”; according to the notice, which goes on to list a number of additional State Department officials who will participate in the conference (7/17).
The Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS) has released three supplements to its most recent issue ahead of the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington, D.C., next week. Supplement 1 contains a report to the NIH Office of AIDS Research by the HIV and Aging Working Group; Supplement 2 examines “seven essential steps toward an AIDS-free generation”; and Supplement 3 focuses on the vision, achievements and new direction of PEPFAR (August 2012).
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).
“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).