Male circumcision is “a practice that — despite the evidence — has yet to be adopted as much or as fast as experts had hoped,” the Financial Times reports. “International organizations have publicly endorsed the importance of circumcision, and a number of guidelines have been established, but the response so far has been haphazard and funding remains modest,” the newspaper writes, adding, “One reason has been that much government donor and philanthropic support for HIV prevention work was focused instead on more ‘high-tech’ alternatives such as vaccines and microbicides” (Jack, 11/30).
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).
In this post on the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog, Jenny Ottenhoff, policy outreach associate at the Center, examines the prospects for U.S. spending on global AIDS programs. She writes “it seems we have reached a ‘tipping point’ where the science, technology and know-how are available to…
In his ForeignPolicy.com column, Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, writes that despite an “abundance of tools to fight the global AIDS epidemic,” including male circumcision and treatment as prevention, “the breakthroughs don’t amount to a global reprieve.” The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s announcement it is postponing Round 11 grants, “on top of news that donor funding for HIV/AIDS leveled in 2009 and then declined 10 percent in 2010, should be a wake-up call to focus on cost-effective responses,” he writes.
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).
The following is a summary of multimedia resources published in recognition of World AIDS Day, observed on Thursday, December 1.
Thursday, December 1 was World AIDS Day. The following is a summary of several opinion pieces and an editorial published in recognition of the day.
“As the world heads into the fourth decade of AIDS, it is finally in a position to end the epidemic, [U.N.] Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said [Thursday], leading a chorus of United Nations officials in calling for the political will, investments and determination to reach this goal,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “‘Momentum is on our side. Let us use it to end AIDS — once and for all,’ Mr. Ban said in his message for World AIDS Day,” the news service writes (12/1).
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).