In this post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Melissa Sharer, AIDSTAR-One senior care and support officer at John Snow, Inc., writes, “Although treatment is now widely available and [people living with HIV (PLHIV)] are able to live normal and active lives for many years, their mental health needs are often overlooked in care, treatment, and support programs.” Sharer highlights the success of programs in Vietnam and in Uganda that “combine mental health and existing health services.”
“Women, girls and HIV were the focus of a panel discussion on the final day of the International Forum on [Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6] in Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” UNAIDS reports. “In Russia, HIV prevalence among young women aged 15-24 is two times higher than among men of the same age, according to government figures,” UNAIDS notes, adding women’s health advocates in Russia say, “Stigma and discrimination â€¦ continue to hamper access to HIV services” (10/13).
“Reducing commodity costs [for antiretroviral drugs] by a mere five to 10 percent can represent hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for the global community. In turn these savings translate into millions of more patients who can receive access to life-saving treatment,” David de Ferranti, president of Results for Development Institute (R4D), and Kanika Bahl, managing director at R4D, write in a Huffington Post opinion piece. They discuss a strategic plan for increasing access to and lowering the cost of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) that R4D developed for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Concentrated HIV epidemics are emerging among men who have sex with men in the Middle East and North Africa, “and high levels of risky sexual behavior threaten to spread the AIDS virus further in the region, researchers said Tuesday” in a study published in PLoS Medicine, Reuters reports. The researchers “found evidence for concentrated HIV epidemics â€“ where infection rates are above five percent in a certain population group â€“ in several countries such as Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan and Tunisia,” the news agency notes (Kelland, 8/2).
“Uganda has sometimes been considered a success story in fighting HIV and has been a darling of international donors,” including the U.S., which “has poured over $1 billion into the country for AIDS programs. But throughout Uganda there are people â€¦ who are passed over, denied treatment, or simply invisible to the country’s HIV prevention and treatment programs. Groups such as gay men, migrants, drug users, sex workers, and people with disabilities, as well as prisoners, are commonly left out,” Kathryn Todrys, a researcher with Human Rights Watch writes in GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog.
The case of a Chinese man nearly 80 years old who was recently diagnosed with HIV is “shedding light on a segment of the Chinese population said to be overlooked by the country’s AIDS education efforts,” according to “a recent report from state-run media Xinhua News Agency,” the Wall Street Journal’s “China Real Time” blog reports.
U.S. Delegation in South Africa To Renew Bilateral Relationship, Create Sustainable Partnerships in Health
This post on the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)’s Commission on Smart Global Health Policy blog examines tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa, “which has the highest tuberculosis infection rate per population and accounts for 5 percentÂ of the global TB burden.” The post isÂ part of a seriesÂ to be posted…
“For a long time, perceptions of Pakistan as a conservative Muslim country encouraged a belief that HIV/AIDS incidence would be non-existent or very low,” but “with the number of HIV cases rising, the government finally included it in its 2009 national health policy,” BBC News reports. However, the full extent of the disease “is still not widely acknowledged,” and “experts say the epidemic is not being properly tackled,” the article states.
“A shortage of health facilities and health workers, frequent drug shortages and a weak government policy mean HIV-positive pregnant women in Burundi often give birth without taking any precautions to prevent transmission of the virus to their children,” PlusNews reports.
The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) on Saturday endorsed a new National Health Council policy to expand the country’s AIDS program “to allow people living with HIV to start antiretroviral [ARV] treatment earlier” by raising the CD4 count necessary to access treatment from 200 to 350, Agence France-Presse reports (8/14). Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi “said the plan would be integrated into the proposed National Health Insurance system,” SAPA/News24 writes (8/13).