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UNAIDS Report Finds New HIV Infections Dropped By 20% Over 10 Years, Deaths From AIDS-Related Illness Dropped By 20% Over 5 Years

The number of new HIV infections “has dropped by about one-fifth over the past decade but millions of people are still missing out on major progress in prevention and treatment,” according to the annual UNAIDS report released Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reports. “In 2009, 2.6 million people contracted the HIV virus that causes AIDS, a decline of 19 percent over the 3.1 million recorded in” 1999 the report found, according to the news service (11/23).

AP Reports On ‘Significant’ Clarification Of Pope’s Comments On Condoms To Prevent HIV

The Associated Press/Washington Post reports that after questions arose about Pope Benedict XVI’s comments on the use of condoms to prevent HIV, which one translation “implied that he was referring primarily to homosexual sex, when condoms aren’t being used as a form of contraception,” Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi “told reporters Tuesday that he asked the pope whether he intended his comments to only apply to male prostitutes. Benedict replied that it really didn’t matter, that the important thing was the person in question took into consideration the life of the other, Lombardi said.”

Pope Says Condoms Are Justified In Some Cases To Prevent HIV Infection

“Pope Benedict XVI says in a new book that condoms can be justified for male prostitutes seeking to stop the spread of HIV, a stunning comment for a church criticized for its opposition to condoms and for a pontiff who has blamed them for making the AIDS crisis worse,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. The pope’s comments were made public on Saturday, when a Vatican newspaper ran excerpts from Benedict’s book-length interview with German Journalist Peter Seewald for “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times,” due out Tuesday, the news service writes (D’Emilio/Winfield, 11/21).

Also In Global Health News: Bird Flu In Hong Kong; Counterfeit Drugs In Africa; Dep. Sec. Of State For Management, Resources; HIV/AIDS In S. Africa; World Toilet Day

Bird Flu Case In Hong Kong Isolated Health officials in Hong Kong confirmed on Monday that the woman diagnosed with H5N1 (bird) flu after a trip to China this month is now in stable condition and did not contract a new strain of the virus, SAPA/DPA/Mail & Guardian report. Additionally, her case appears…

Also In Global Health News: Nigerian Drug Institute Funding; Food Security, Climate Change; Heat-Stable, Nasal Vaccine Works In Mice; Task-Shifting In Swaziland; Bird Flu In Hong Kong

Nigerian Drug Research Institute Halts Research Because Of Funding Shortfall Nigeria’s National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), which focuses on developing traditional herbal remedies into drug candidates, has had to discontinue research after the Nigerian health ministry did not provide the full amount of expected funding and a “key grant…

IPS Explores What Efforts To Reduce U.S. Federal Deficit Could Mean For Global Health Funding

Inter Press Service explores some advocates’ concerns over how the “new emphasis in Washington on reducing government spending” could affect U.S. funding for global health programs, including HIV/AIDS. Come January, “Republicans will take control of the U.S. House of Representatives and have made it clear that reducing government spending in order to close the government’s budget deficit will be a top priority,” the news service writes.

Recent Releases In Global Health

New This Week In The Kaiser Global Health Policy Tracker: The President’s Malaria Initiative announced a new focus country and USAID released a new fact sheet on the agency’s reform initiative. Kaiser’s Policy Tracker provides a timely single reference point for the latest information on congressional and administration action on global health. Strengthening…