The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog interviews Kenneth Mayer, founding medical research director of Fenway Health, as part of its “Blueprint” series, which examines issues surrounding the creation of a blueprint for an AIDS-free generation commissioned by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in July. In the interview, Mayer discusses what he thinks should be key elements of the blueprint, highlights interventions he feels are critical components of combination prevention, and comments on the role research should play in the blueprint, among other topics (Barton, 10/9).
“Twenty-eight years since the first HIV/AIDS case was reported in Kenya, organizations are proposing a new model to fight the epidemic,” Sabahi reports. “The model, called ‘SAVE,’ an acronym for ‘Safer practices, Access to treatment, Voluntary counseling and testing, and Empowerment,’ hopes to improve the traditional ABC model, which focused on ‘Abstinence, Being faithful, and using Condoms,'” the news service adds. According to Inerela, an international interfaith group of religious leaders living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, “the ABC model’s inefficacy is partly due to lack of support from some segments of society, particularly religious leaders,” Sabahi writes, noting, “With SAVE, Inerela plans to use a multi-faceted approach to influence government policies and engage faith leaders and communities to change behaviors.” According to the news service, “The program focuses on providing mental and economic support to people affected by the disease while engaging religious leaders in the process” (Ramah, 10/9).
The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports on a letter [.pdf] sent by 12 organizations and institutions to U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby, detailing the ways a U.S. global AIDS blueprint, proposed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the XIX International AIDS Conference in July, can address the concerns of key populations, such as injection drug users and men who have sex with men. The letter is signed by representatives of Johns Hopkins University, amfAR: The Foundation for AIDS Research, the Open Society Foundations, ACT V: The End of AIDS, and others, the blog notes and discusses the letter in detail (Barton, 10/8). The PSI “Impact” blog summarizes a different letter sent by the Global AIDS Policy Partnership (GAPP), comprising 27 organizations, to Goosby addressing the blueprint. According to the blog, “We believe ‘[t]he Blueprint should be designed to leverage greater global leadership and guide U.S. interaction with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and other multilateral and international stakeholders'” (10/2).
GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog examines the issue of HIV/AIDS in the presidential election, writing, “This campaign season, the fight against HIV/AIDS has been absent from the press materials released by both President [Barack] Obama and [Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt] Romney — as well as from the conversation.” The blog provides examples of Obama’s actions addressing HIV domestically and abroad and summarizes remarks on the epidemic made by Romney during the campaign. The blog includes quotes from several experts and officials (Judem, 10/8).
Foreign Policy reports on “a recent study by Ashley Fox of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine [that] compares rates of HIV infection across 170 regions in 16 sub-Saharan African countries.” Fox “found that in the poorest regions, it was richer people who were more likely to be infected with HIV, while in wealthier regions, the poor were more at risk,” the magazine writes, adding, “The reason, she argues, is that AIDS acts more like a chronic condition, such as obesity, than the infectious disease it is.” “In the three decades since it was identified, AIDS has gone through a remarkable socioeconomic mutation, from a condition closely identified with gay men in urban areas of the United States to one synonymous with poverty in the developing world,” Foreign Policy continues, adding, “Fox’s data suggest that despite more than 30 million deaths over the past 30-odd years, it’s still a disease we don’t understand very well” (Keating, November 2012).
“The government of Uganda is planning to establish a $1 billion HIV trust fund to finance local HIV programs,” IRIN reports. “According to a working paper released in September, ‘Justification for Increased and Sustainable Financing for HIV in Uganda,’ the fund will generate cash through levies on bank transactions and interest, air tickets, beer, soft drinks and cigarettes, as well as taxes on goods and services traded within Uganda,” the news service writes, adding, “Small fees will also be levied on civil servants’ salaries; corporate and withholding tax will be increased slightly; and a small tax will be added to telephone calls and to each kilowatt of electricity consumed.”
“Zimbabwe is set to attain ‘universal’ coverage for AIDS treatment thanks in part to an $84 million disbursement [on Tuesday] by the United Nations-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” the U.N. News Centre reports (10/2). “The new disbursement will cover the cost of life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for an additional 10,000 new patients, bringing the total number of people on treatment with Global Fund support to 203,440 by the end of the year,” the Global Fund announced in a press release. The funding also will support a six-month ARV buffer stock to prevent treatment interruptions for the 480,000 patients on therapy in Zimbabwe, the press release notes (10/2). The Global Fund’s announcement to support additional patients comes together with an announcement from PEPFAR to increase the number of patients supported by its program from 80,000 to 140,000, with a goal of having 160,000 patients on therapy by the end of next year, Zimbabwe’s Herald notes.
A UNAIDS feature story reports on an event, titled “A Future without HIV/AIDS: Dream or Reality?,” held at Columbia University on September 28 and co-hosted by the World Leaders Forum and the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP). PBS Senior Correspondent Ray Suarez moderated the debate, which included Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby; UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe; and Wafaa El-Sadr, director of ICAP and the Global Health Initiative at the Mailman School of Public Health. The leaders exchanged “experiences around local and global responses to AIDS,” the article notes (10/2). PBS NewsHour’s “The Rundown” recaps the event and provides a video replay (Suarez, 9/27).
World Bank President Addresses Meeting of the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America
The World Bank provides a transcript of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s remarks at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America. Kim discusses his engagement in Africa and Latin America as co-founder of Partners In Health, highlights the World Development Report, which he says “is focused on jobs,” and emphasizes the role of the private sector in economic growth. “As good as we might be at delivering health and educational services in the small projects that we worked, at the end of the day, what everyone in the world wants is a good job, and 90 percent of those good jobs happen in the private sector,” he said, according to the transcript (10/1).
In this Foreign Affairs opinion piece, Todd Moss, vice president and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and former deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department, reflects on President Obama’s approach to Africa, discussing various policies by the current and previous administrations. Moss compares Obama’s approach to Africa with that of his predecessors, highlighting former President Bill Clinton’s African Growth and Opportunity Act, “which reduced trade barriers on more than 1,800 products exported from the continent to the United States,” and former President George W. Bush’s launching of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the President’s Malaria Initiative, and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.