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Kenyan Government Adopts New HIV Testing Guidelines Following WHO Recall

“The Kenyan government has changed its HIV testing algorithm following the withdrawal of a widely used brand of HIV test [based] on warnings from” the WHO, PlusNews reports. “In November, WHO removed the Standard Diagnostics Bioline HIV 1/2 3.0 Rapid HIV Test Kit from its list of approved rapid test kits with immediate effect … after Bioline failed quality assurance tests,” the news service notes. There is “concern about the impact the recall will have on public confidence in HIV testing, especially as the country pushes for universal access to HIV counseling and testing,” according to the news service (1/5).

Street News Service/IPS Examine Challenges Of Fighting HIV/AIDS In A Senegalese Prison

Street News Service/Inter Press Service examines how Senegal is addressing HIV/AIDS among prisoners in a Dakar maximum-security facility. “Prisons are high-risk environments for the transmission of the disease, due to the prevalence of hard drugs, violence and sexual relations,” the news service writes and discusses how addressing such issues can present challenges in the majority-Muslim country. “There is no mandatory testing in prison, and for those prisoners who, either knowingly or unknowingly, are living with HIV, the stresses of living in prison — including overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and poor nutrition — mean their health is even more compromised.”

British Columbia’s ‘Treatment-As-Prevention Strategy’ Helping To Reduce HIV/AIDS Cases, Deaths

“New HIV cases and AIDS deaths are both going steadily down in British Columbia, according to data released last week,” the New York Times reports. Julio Montaner, director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, said, “We’re particularly pleased to see that our treatment-as-prevention strategy has taken off big-time,” the newspaper notes, adding that the strategy, which aggressively identifies and treats people with HIV, “lowers by 96 percent the chances that they will infect others.” The New York Times writes, “Montaner said he is frustrated that rich countries will not donate enough money to roll out the strategy in poor countries with huge HIV epidemics” (McNeil, 1/2).

New HIV Vaccine Candidates Show Promise In Monkeys

“The quest for a vaccine against AIDS is gaining momentum, with research published Wednesday identifying promising new candidates that protected monkeys against a powerful strain of the virus and that soon could be tested in humans,” the Wall Street Journal reports (McKay, 1/5). Researchers treated different groups of rhesus monkeys with several different two-stage vaccine combinations and then exposed them to a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) that was different than the one used to make the vaccines, according to Nature (Callaway, 1/4).

CSIS’s Morrison Discusses ‘End of AIDS’

SmartGlobalHealth.org features the latest episode of “Small Screen Sessions,” in which J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ Global Health Policy Center, discusses the policy changes that enabled the International AIDS Conference to return to the U.S. in 2012 after a 22-year hiatus, and the beginning of the “end of AIDS” (1/4).

UNC HIV Researcher Cohen Discusses His Work, HPTN 052

PSI’s “Healthy Lives” blog features a video from the University of North Carolina (UNC) Medical Center News Office in which Myron Cohen, a professor of medicine, microbiology, immunology and public health at UNC-Chapel Hill and the director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, discusses his research into HIV/AIDS prevention, including his lead role in HPTN 052. That study, which found “that the sexual transmission [of HIV] can be virtually stopped when the infected person is treated with ARVs, this year was heralded as the ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ by Science magazine,” according to the blog (1/4).

Ethiopia’s PMTCT Plan Needs Men To Participate In Order To Reach Goal, Experts Say

“Ethiopia’s new plan to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission by 2015 cannot be attained unless men are more meaningfully involved in reproductive health, experts say,” PlusNews reports. Ethiopia launched an accelerated prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) program in December with “three objectives: reaching 90 percent of pregnant women with access to antenatal care services; ensuring universal access by pregnant women to a skilled attendant during delivery; and providing ARVs to at least 80 percent of HIV-positive pregnant women,” according to the news service.

PlusNews Highlights 10 Major HIV Headlines Of 2011

In a year-end recap of major HIV-related headlines, IRIN/PlusNews writes, “It’s been a roller coaster of a year in HIV and AIDS. AIDS turned 30 in 2011, and with new evidence of the effectiveness of HIV treatment as prevention, experts are increasingly talking about ‘the end of AIDS.’ At the same time, however, funding for HIV has become ever more uncertain, jeopardizing efforts to put new, life-saving science into action.”

Working In Kazakhstan To End HIV Stigma, Discrimination

In this post on USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Erin McKee, USAID mission director for the Central Asian Republics, recounts a discussion roundtable with people “on the front lines” in the battle against HIV/AIDS in Kazakhstan. She writes, “I was honored to share a morning with people in Kazakhstan who are bold advocates for HIV-positive groups in their country, and I look forward to a renewed partnership with them in the fight to end stigma and discrimination toward people living with HIV in Central Asia” (12/27).

Top 10 Global Health Achievements Of 2011

In this Huffington Post “Impact” blog post, Karl Hofmann, president and CEO of PSI, outlines 10 “milestones for the global health community” that occurred in 2011. Among the achievements, Hofmann says governments avoided making major cuts to foreign aid budgets despite a global economic downturn; studies supported “treatment as prevention” as an HIV prevention strategy; the number of malaria cases and deaths worldwide continued to decline; research showed a promising vaccine candidate to prevent malaria among children; and more women gained access to long-acting, reversible contraceptives. Hofmann also lists advances in social franchising; maternal health; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights; pneumonia prevention and treatment; and sanitation, hygiene and access to clean water (12/29).