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).
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).
J&J Will Not Join Medicines Patent Pool; Company’s Pharma Head Says Mechanism Could ‘Cause Disaster’
Pharmaceutical company “Johnson & Johnson has rejected calls to offer patent rights on its HIV medicines to generic drug companies through a” Medicines Patent Pool, created to promote low-cost antiretroviral drugs in low-income countries and the development of new drug combinations and formulations, the Financial Times reports. “Paul Stoffels, worldwide head of pharmaceuticals at J&J, … cautioned that the pool could trigger a ‘mixing and matching’ of medicines that would cause a rapid surge in patient resistance to innovative HIV drugs” that could “cause a huge disaster,” according to the newspaper.
This Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) special report highlights the top 10 stories of 2011 regarding access to essential medicines, according to MSF. The list includes the findings of the HPTN 052 clinical trial, which “show that providing people with HIV treatment early not only saves their lives but can reduce the risk…
In this video clip from NBC’s Today show, contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager reports on a recent family trip to Africa to visit PEPFAR-funded programs and to announce a new initiative by the George W. Bush Institute to fight cervical cancer. In the video, the Bushes travel to Tanzania, where they visit a PEPFAR-funded program called Jipende!, which trains hairstylists as health educators in 70 salons throughout the country, and to Zambia, where they visit the Ocean Road Cancer Institute and discuss a new initiative for cervical cancer testing, treatment and vaccination (12/22).
“The journal Science has chosen the HPTN 052 clinical trial, an international HIV prevention trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID),” which found that early treatment with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) reduced the risk of transmission among sero-discordant partners by 96 percent, as the “2011 Breakthrough of the Year,” an NIH press release states (12/22). “Given resource constraints and logistical hurdles, treatment as prevention isn’t going to sweep the world anytime soon,” Science writes, adding, “But HPTN 052 has made imaginations race about the what-ifs like never before, spotlighting the scientifically probable rather than the possible” (Cohen, 12/23).
Though Russia is doubling its budget for HIV in 2012 over 2010 levels, “no money will go to such internationally recognized efforts as needle exchanges” and methadone replacement therapy, Reuters reports. “Moscow doesn’t believe these approaches help slow the spread of HIV/AIDS,” and “[s]ome health workers and global HIV authorities are angered and baffled by Russia’s approach, which they say will only aggravate the problem,” the news service writes. The article examines how government spending for HIV will be used, with only three percent of about $600 million expected to go toward prevention programs in 2012, and how non-governmental organizations are coping with cuts in funding from international donor programs (Ferris-Rotman/Koppel, 12/21).
AVAC’s annual report, titled “AVAC Report 2011: The End?,” “is intended as a vision and a challenge to the field, and a first step in holding all of us — civil society, researchers, governments, and funders — accountable for progress” toward ending AIDS, according to the AVAC website (12/22). In the report, “the advocacy…
In this post in PBS NewsHour’s “The Rundown” blog, journalist Ray Suarez reports on the role of religious leaders in Morocco’s battle against HIV/AIDS and stigma. Suarez examines social and cultural factors influencing HIV/AIDS prevention programming in Morocco, speaks with HIV/AIDS activists in the country, and highlights an HIV educational program that utilizes Muslim imams to spread HIV prevention messages. He concludes, “In many ways the country is on the road to a successful response to AIDS. There are still thousands of new infections annually in this country of more than 30 million, guaranteeing the response to HIV must stretch for decades into the future” (12/21). The article is accompanied by a video report (Suarez, 12/21).
In this post on the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Health Policy” blog, Denizhan Duran and Amanda Glassman of CGD review the proposed FY12 federal global health appropriation approved recently by Congress. They state that “this year’s budget is a missed opportunity in a period defined by budget pressures: global…