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Treatment Cost Savings Under PEPFAR Can Be Re-Invested To Increase ARV Reach

In this post in the “Health Affairs Blog,” Matthew Kavanagh, director of U.S. policy and advocacy at Health Global Access Project (GAP), and Marguerite Thorp, a research assistant at Harvard Medical School, examine how HIV/AIDS treatment funding under PEPFAR has “fallen significantly since 2008 in both absolute dollars and as…

PLoS, PEPFAR, UNAIDS Publish Collection Of Articles Examining Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision For HIV Prevention

This post in the “PLoS Blog” announces the publication, in conjunction with UNAIDS and PEPFAR, of a collection of articles titled, “Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention: The Cost, Impact, and Challenges of Accelerated Scale-Up in Southern and Eastern Africa” (Hawxhurst, 11/29). According to a PLoS press release, the collection of nine articles…

South Africa ‘Witnessing First Steps Of AIDS-Free Generation’

In this Business Day opinion piece, Donald Gips, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, examines progress made in the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS, writing that, through the coordination of governments, civil society, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), educational institutions, and researchers from around the world, “we now have the tools that allow us for the first time to set the goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation — when virtually no children are born with the virus; we have effective and comprehensive education and prevention strategies that help to reduce risk; and those who are infected with HIV have access to treatment that helps prevent them from developing AIDS and transmitting the virus.”

Xinhua Examines HIV/AIDS In China

Xinhua posted several articles examining HIV/AIDS in China. The first looks at HIV/AIDS among the general population. The article notes that 346,000 people are living with HIV in China, and the “number is predicted to hit 780,000 by the end of 2011, according to an expert panel … [c]onsisting of members from China’s Ministry of Health (MOH), the World Health Organization and UNAIDS,” the MOH reported in a statement released on Tuesday (11/29). A second article discusses HIV/AIDS among the country’s older population, especially men, and college students (11/30).

Number Of New HIV Cases In Saudi Arabia Declined By 9% In 2010 From Previous Year, Health Ministry Official Says

“The number of new HIV cases in Saudi Arabia declined by 9 percent to 1,121 in 2010 from the previous year, the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing a Health Ministry official,” Bloomberg reports (Carey, 11/29). “The official Saudi Press Agency quotes deputy health minister Ziyad bin Ahmed as telling an HIV/AIDS conference Monday that the new cases include 439 Saudi citizens and 682 non-Saudis,” the Associated Press writes, adding, “Bin Ahmed said that since 1984, 16,334 people have tested positive for HIV” (11/28).

Political Will, Strong Leadership From U.S. Needed To End AIDS Epidemic

“This Thursday’s commemoration of World AIDS Day marks a potential turning point in the fight against a global epidemic that has yet to be arrested,” a Detroit Free Press editorial states. “Over the past three decades, scientific discoveries about [HIV] and advances in treating it have brought the end of the AIDS epidemic within view. Accomplishing that, however, will take political will, additional resources and even stronger leadership by the United States,” it continues.

Cases Of Two AIDS Patients Renew Hope Of AIDS Cure For Many Scientists, New York Times Reports

The New York Times profiles two AIDS patients whose cases “suggest to many scientists that [curing AIDS] may be achievable,” according to the newspaper. “One man, the so-called Berlin patient, apparently has cleared his HIV infection, albeit by arduous bone marrow transplants,” and the other, “a 50-year-old man in Trenton, [N.J.,] underwent a far less difficult gene therapy procedure. While he was not cured, his body was able to briefly control the virus after he stopped taking the usual antiviral drugs, something that is highly unusual,” the newspaper writes.

Testing Of Vaginal Gel For HIV Prevention Halted After Interim Results Showed No Difference From Placebo

Researchers involved with a multi-armed clinical trial designed to evaluate different antiretroviral (ARV) interventions for HIV prevention on Friday announced the arm testing a vaginal gel had been stopped because it was not working, the New York Times reports. The announcement marks “a major disappointment for AIDS research” because the gel “had seemed to work surprisingly well in a previous” trial, according to the newspaper. That study, called CAPRISA, found that the vaginal gel, which contains the ARV tenofovir, reduced the risk of HIV infection by 39 percent among women overall and by 54 percent among women who used it most consistently, the newspaper notes, adding, “It was hoped that the new trial, nicknamed VOICE (for Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic), would confirm that earlier trial” (McNeil, 11/25).

IPS Reports On Child Poverty In Lesotho

“The triple threat of HIV, poverty and food insecurity is increasingly exposing children to abuse, exploitation and other human rights violations” in Lesotho, Inter Press Service reports in an article examining child poverty in the small southern African country. “In the country of 1.8 million, a good 500,000 out of 825,000 boys and girls live under 1.25 dollars a day and without proper shelter, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Almost 40 percent of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition and are stunted. Both under-five and infant mortality have persistently gone up in the past decade,” IPS writes, adding, “To make matters worse, Lesotho is one of the three countries in the world worst affected by HIV/AIDS. Every fourth Basotho is infected with the virus, leaving a quarter of children orphaned” (Palitza, 11/23).