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Integration Of Family Planning, HIV Programs ‘Makes Sense’

In this Knowledge for Health (K4Health) blog post, Elsie Mwaniki, a communication specialist at K4Health, reflects on the integration of family planning and HIV services, writing, “Many HIV-positive women have an unmet need for family planning (FP) services,” so providing these services together (FP/HIV integration) “makes sense.” She recaps a panel discussion…

Vietnam Should Shut Compulsory Rehab Centers For Drug Users, Sex Workers, U.N. Expert Says

A U.N. expert on Monday “urged Vietnam … to close down its compulsory rehabilitation centers for sex workers and drug users, stressing that detention and forced treatment violate their right to health and perpetuate stigmatization and discrimination of those groups in the society,” the U.N. News Centre reports (12/5). “‘It’s essential to ensure that the considerable resources now invested in these centers are used instead to expand alternative treatments for injecting drug users,’ said” U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health Anand Grover, the Associated Press/Washington Post writes (12/5).

UNAIDS, PEPFAR Announce 5-Year Action Framework To Scale Up Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision For HIV Prevention

UNAIDS and PEPFAR on Monday at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Africa (ICASA) “launched a five-year action framework to accelerate the scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention,” according to a UNAIDS press release. “The framework — developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, PEFPAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank in consultation with national Ministries of Health — calls for the immediate roll-out and expansion of VMMC services in 14 priority countries of eastern and southern Africa,” the release notes (12/5).

PlusNews Examines HIV/AIDS In Laos

PlusNews examines HIV/AIDS in Laos, writing, “Out of a total population of 6.3 million, the national prevalence of 0.2 percent among 15-49-year-olds puts the 8,500 reported HIV/AIDS cases in Laos nearly a decade behind that of its neighbors.” However, the news service notes that, “as the socialist country increasingly opens its borders, health workers are bracing for a potential concentrated, ‘catastrophic’ outbreak in a country where HIV prevention is not yet a priority.” Kinoy Phongdeth, director of the Lao Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, said, “It is true that in Laos there are not so many people living with HIV and AIDS, but we are still people and we need help,” PlusNews reports (12/2).

Proposed Bill In Nigeria Would Affect Gay Rights, Possibly HIV/AIDS Donor Funding, AP Reports

The Associated Press examines the potential impact on HIV/AIDS funding of a proposed bill in Nigeria that would outlaw gay marriage; assisting a gay couple in marriage; “‘public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly'”; or “organizing, operating or supporting gay clubs, organizations and meetings.” According to the news agency, “Statements from the U.S. and U.K. say both governments are watching the bill closely, but declined to comment further on how it may affect their outreach.” Before becoming law, the bill must pass Nigeria’s House of Representatives and be signed by President Jonathan, the AP notes (Ibukun, 12/4).

Fully Funding Global Health Initiatives Critical In AIDS Fight

“With donor support flagging around the world, U.S. leadership is crucial. Congress must fully fund its global health programs, especially the Global Fund” to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Joyce Kamwana, a Global Fund “HERE I AM” campaign ambassador, writes in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” She adds, “Reducing support for global health would put millions of people at risk” and “would deal a devastating blow to the global fight against AIDS, which has reached a critical point.”

Incorporate Other Diseases Into Fight Against AIDS

“The public and private sectors have achieved remarkable success in Africa in the battle against AIDS, and the question now is: Where do we go from here?” James Glassman, founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute and former under secretary of state for public affairs and public diplomacy, writes in this Forbes opinion piece. Noting the “incredible accomplishment” made in fighting HIV/AIDS over the past decade, Glassman says “the first answer to where we go from here is more of the same, and then some,” and states that the UNAIDS targets of “Zero new HIV infections” and “Zero AIDS-related deaths” “soun[d] right.”

Reflecting On Bush’s Global Health, Foreign Policy Initiatives In Africa

In this Brookings opinion piece, Mwangi Kimenyi, director of the Africa Growth Initiative (AGI), and Jessica Smith, a research assistant at AGI, reflect on George W. Bush’s four-day tour of Tanzania, Zambia and Ethiopia, where he will “focus on some of the initiatives that [he] advocated for and strongly supported while in office.” They write, “Despite demonstrating a unique commitment to the African continent, …­ Bush’s record tends to be underrated,” but he “has high approval rating on the continent itself, making it instructive to reflect on the former president’s African initiatives, which bring him such admiration from sub-Saharan Africa.”

16th International Conference On AIDS, STIs Opens In Ethiopia

The 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Africa (ICASA) opened Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, “with mixed messages of hope and fear,” Afrique en ligne reports, adding, “With about 7,000 people in attendance, the opening ceremony witnessed the celebration of past successes and fear over future uncertainties in funding for HIV/AIDS” (12/4). According to Next, the conference “will provide a platform for effective African solution toward defeating the scourge once and for all” (12/5).

Government Leaders Make Statements In Recognition Of World AIDS Day

A number of government leaders made statements on Thursday in recognition of World AIDS Day. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a press statement said, “We have come a long way in the fight against AIDS, but there is still a long road ahead to realize our ambitious goals. If we continue to work together and coordinate a global effort guided by science, we may one day live in an AIDS-free generation” (12/1). In a post on the White House Blog, Gayle Smith, special assistant to the President, and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby write, “As President Obama made clear, the fight against global AIDS is a shared responsibility, not one the U.S. can meet alone. … As we move forward, we will work with a growing number of partners as the global community joins the U.S. in a heightened focus on this fight” (12/1).