“Two new studies done in three African countries have shown for the first time that AIDS drugs taken daily can cut by more than half a person’s chance of becoming infected with HIV through heterosexual intercourse,” the Washington Post reports. One of the studies, carried out in Kenya and Uganda by the University of Washington, was halted a year and a half early because of positive results, while the other, conducted in Botswana by the CDC, ended as scheduled in the spring, according to the newspaper (Brown, 7/13).
“In the first agreement between a pharmaceutical company and the new international Medicines Patent Pool, Gilead Sciences announced Tuesday that it would license four of its AIDS and hepatitis B drugs to the pool,” the New York Times reports (McNeil, 7/12).
Health ministers from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa in Beijing “on Monday vowed to improve access to low-cost and high-quality medicine â€“ and called on developed nations to shoulder responsibility in helping the poor,” Agence France-Presse reports (7/11).
Cutting AIDS funding to China will “be a big mistake for a donor and particularly, for anyone who’s invested in China today, … for the simple reason that this funding is a catalytic fund,” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe told Reuters in an interview on Monday.
NIH announced on Monday it will provide $70 million over five years to three collaborations searching for an HIV/AIDS cure, making it “the largest single investment yet … into finding a way to rid the virus from the body or at least reduce levels to the point that infected people can stop taking anti-HIV drugs â€“ which many researchers until recently viewed as a hopeless quest,” ScienceInsider reports (Cohen, 7/11).
Significant progress is being made toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline, but the poorest countries are not progressing as quickly and more must be done to improve health and development outcomes in those nations, according to this year’s MDG report (.pdf), VOA News reports. “Despite the global economic downturn and the food and energy crises, we are on track to meet the MDG targets for poverty-reduction,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the report on Thursday in Geneva (Schlein, 7/7).
“India will not compromise on drug licensing norms and [will] continue to produce generic drugs for free treatment to HIV-positive patients, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said” on Wednesday, the IANS/Times of India reports.
“A federal appeals court has ruled that the United States cannot force partners in its international fight against AIDS to denounce prostitution as a condition for receiving funding,” the Associated Press reports. Three health organizations sued the government in 2005, saying some groups “advocate for a reduction in penalties for prostitution to prevent interference with outreach efforts,” according to the news agency (7/6).
“Now, we are in the Third-Generation of AIDS programming, in which the focus must be on a sustainable health systems response, especially in the countries most affected by HIV & AIDS,” Jonathan Quick, president and CEO of Management Sciences for Health, writes on the organization’s “Global Health Impact” blog. Quick…
Author and journalist Maryn McKenna in her “Superbug” blog on Wired.com examines U.S. spending on drug-resistant pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). She examines data presented by Eli Perencevich of the University of Iowa and colleagues at the World HAI Forum, which looked at how much of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ budget went to the problem of drug-resistant diseases versus other infectious diseases. “They found the answer to be: Not very much,” she writes.