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Obama Should Announce Scale-Up Of AIDS Treatment Programs

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent speech calling for an “AIDS-free generation” through the use of multiple prevention strategies, including more widespread antiretroviral therapy, “was a dramatic reversal of U.S. policy, which has historically viewed treatment more as a costly expense rather than our most powerful prevention investment,” physician Loretta Ciraldo and Katrina Ciraldo, a student at Boston University School of Medicine, write in this Miami Herald opinion piece.

IPS Examines HIV In The Caribbean, Highlights Challenges In Addressing At-Risk Populations

Inter Press Service examines HIV in the Caribbean, where “the HIV burden varies considerably among and within countries” in the region. “‘I think the prevention programs in many countries are not reaching the right people,’ Michel de Groulards, regional program adviser of the UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team, told IPS,” the news service writes, adding, “One factor, de Groulards believed, may be that after 25 years of providing treatment, some countries have reached a plateau. In other cases, people considered at risk, including [men who have sex with men], are not targeted.” IPS writes that “even as Caribbean politicians, scientists, researchers, academics and other stakeholders continue to examine ways of dealing with the virus, 30 years after the first case was recorded in the region, there is growing recognition that cuts in overseas funding could seriously hamper future success” (Richards, 11/21).

Significant Drops Seen In AIDS-Related Deaths, New HIV Infections, UNAIDS Report Shows

UNAIDS on Monday released its World AIDS Day Report 2011 (.pdf), “which shows more people than ever living with HIV, but deaths and new infections steadily dropping,” the Guardian reports (Boseley, 11/21). The number of AIDS-related deaths in 2010 was 21 percent lower than its peak in 2005, and the number of new HIV infections in 2010 also was down 21 percent from its peak in 1997, according to the report, BBC News notes (11/21). The report credits more widespread treatment, behavior change and male circumcision for significant drops in the number of new cases, according to the Guardian (11/21). “Of the 14.2 million people eligible for treatment in low- and middle-income countries, around 6.6 million, or 47 percent, are now receiving it, UNAIDS said, and 11 poor- and mid-income countries now have universal access to HIV treatment, with coverage of 80 percent or more,” Reuters notes, adding, “This compares with 36 percent of the 15 million people needing treatment in 2009 who got AIDS drugs” (Kelland, 11/21).

Wall Street Journal CEO Council Highlights Global Health As Priority Area

The Wall Street Journal last week held its CEO Council, “assembl[ing] nearly 100 chief executives of large companies for a day and a half to discuss the policy choices facing business and government, and the effects those choices may have on the global economy.” The CEOs formed five task forces to discuss priority areas, including global health, according to the newspaper (11/21). The Wall Street Journal summarizes the top four recommended priorities from the task-force discussion on global health, which include fighting non-communicable diseases, encouraging the global use of health technologies, targeting vaccine-preventable diseases, and stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS (Landro, 11/21).

Potential Cuts To Global Health Spending Threaten Vision Of ‘AIDS-Free Generation’

The vision of an “AIDS-free generation” presented in a speech earlier this month by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “is under threat in Congress,” as “[t]he House and the Senate are discussing significant cuts to the 2012 Obama administration request for global health funding,” Jeanie Yoon, a physician with Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), writes in a Baltimore Sun opinion piece. Yoon describes an MSF program in Zambia working to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT), saying such programs “provide an opportunity for mothers be tested for HIV (as well as other dangerous conditions for pregnant women) and to take the steps needed for them and their babies to live healthy lives; as well as for communities to gain productive members instead of incurring yet more losses.”

PEPFAR Scientific Advisory Board Report Offers Six Recommended Research Priorities

This post in the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog examines a report (.pdf) by the PEPFAR Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) that offers six recommended treatment and prevention research priorities to U.S. Global AIDS Ambassador Eric Goosby and the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) to guide future…

Recent Scientific Progress In Developing New HIV/AIDS Interventions

Kaitlin Christenson, coalition director for the Global Health Technologies Coalition, “reflects on recent progress made by the scientific community in developing new interventions to combat HIV/AIDS as a result of leadership from the U.S. government” in this ONE blog post. She highlights promising research currently underway in the areas of…

South African Public Health Experts Urge Countries To Use TRIPS To Produce Generic Drugs, IPS Reports

South African public health experts from Medecins San Frontieres (MSF) South Africa and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) “are calling on governments to use legally available mechanisms to promote the production or import of generic drugs in their countries,” Inter Press Service reports. The article examines how countries can alter their patent acts under the Doha Declaration — a World Trade Organization declaration on the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and Public Health that “exists to ensure that patents do not undermine the ability of countries to achieve the right to health” — “to access generic versions of otherwise patented medicines in cases where prices are prohibitively expensive, the organizations say.”