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HIV Advocates In Uganda 'Losing Faith' As Country Works To Prevent, Treat New Infections, PlusNews Reports

PlusNews examines how “corruption scandals, frequent treatment shortages and accusations of a misguided prevention program” have undermined progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda, a country that had “won plaudits in the early days of the epidemic for the aggressive stance taken by President Yoweri Museveni.” Uganda “lowered its HIV prevalence from 18 percent in the early 1990s to about six percent in 2000,” the news service notes. According to PlusNews, “Some of Uganda’s most active campaigners in its 30-year fight against HIV are losing faith in the government’s ability to effectively counter the epidemic as the country struggles to provide treatment and prevent more than 100,000 new infections every year.”

Russia Pledges Money To Support HIV, TB Programs In Neighboring Countries

“Russia plans to step up its international role in fighting infectious disease across eastern Europe and central Asia, in what some observers see as the latest effort by the Kremlin to reassert its political influence over its former Soviet neighbors,” the Financial Times reports. “Arkady Dvorkovich, economic aide to President Dmitry Medvedev, pledged money for a new international development agency to support programs against HIV and tuberculosis (TB)” at the Millennium Development Goal 6 Forum hosted in Moscow last week, the newspaper notes.

Rep. Lee Asks Obama To Take Leadership Role In Fight Against HIV/AIDS

According to the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Thursday sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking for “his leadership in launching a renewed global effort to end the AIDS pandemic on World AIDS Day, December 1.” The letter asked the president…

Globe And Mail Reports On Death Of Zambian HIV/AIDS Advocate Winstone Zulu

Toronto’s Globe and Mail reports on the death on Thursday of Winstone Zulu, an HIV/AIDS advocate from Zambia who lived with the virus for two decades. “His death has devastated the international community of AIDS activists,” the newspaper writes, adding, “Winstone was a one-man force who played a key role in reshaping the global response to HIV/AIDS and (tuberculosis) TB. He personally lobbied every G8 leader; he spoke to mass rallies on five continents; he inspired audiences at schools and in churches and in parliaments in dozens of countries.”

Health Groups Urge Secretary Of U.S. Army To Sustain Funding For Military HIV Research Program

“Speaking out against a potential $16 million cut in the Army’s base research and development budget for HIV, leaders of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) sent a letter (.pdf) Thursday to the Secretary of the U.S. Army, John McHugh, making the case for sustaining the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP),” according to the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog. In the letter, IDSA President James Hughes and HIVMA Board Chair Kathleen Squires “urged the secretary … to continue the modest investment in the MHRP, which also sustains more than 100,000 HIV-infected people in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Mozambique and Thailand on lifesaving antiretroviral therapy through the [PEPFAR] program,” the blog writes (10/13).

Forum Focuses On Challenges Facing Women, Girls Affected By HIV In Eastern Europe, Central Asia

“Women, girls and HIV were the focus of a panel discussion on the final day of the International Forum on [Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6] in Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” UNAIDS reports. “In Russia, HIV prevalence among young women aged 15-24 is two times higher than among men of the same age, according to government figures,” UNAIDS notes, adding women’s health advocates in Russia say, “Stigma and discrimination … continue to hamper access to HIV services” (10/13).

Mental Health Services Are 'Critical' To Comprehensive Approach For People Living With HIV

In this post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Melissa Sharer, AIDSTAR-One senior care and support officer at John Snow, Inc., writes, “Although treatment is now widely available and [people living with HIV (PLHIV)] are able to live normal and active lives for many years, their mental health needs are often overlooked in care, treatment, and support programs.” Sharer highlights the success of programs in Vietnam and in Uganda that “combine mental health and existing health services.”

Russian Foreign Minister Says Country's HIV/AIDS Problem Is Being 'Aggravated' By U.S., NATO Refusal To Eradicate Poppy Crops In Afghanistan

Speaking on Monday at a conference on communicable diseases in the eastern Europe and Central Asia region, where AIDS is a growing problem, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made Russia’s case for poppy crop eradication by U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan asserting that the West “is aggravating the HIV/AIDS problem in Russia and the West by refusing to use its forces to destroy opium crops in Afghanistan,” Reuters reports. “Afghanistan is the world’s biggest producer of poppies used to make opium, the key ingredient in the production of heroin,” the news service writes, adding, “Russia is the largest per capita consumer of the drug and faces an HIV/AIDS epidemic that is spreading from dirty needles.” “The United States has phased out crop eradication efforts to focus instead on intercepting drugs and hunting production operations and drug lords,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, adding that the U.S. “said it made the change because drug crop eradication was putting farmers out of work, sowing resentment against foreign intervention” (10/10).

U.S. Donates 'Record' $56M To WFP For Nutrition Programs In Ethiopia

The U.S. has pledged a record $56 million donation from PEPFAR to the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) aimed to “dramatically increase resources for programs in Ethiopia providing vital nutrition assistance to people living with HIV (PLHIV),” according to a WFP press release. With the donation, “WFP will work in Ethiopia’s least developed regions … to improve the nutritional status, treatment success and quality of life of PLHIV,” the press release states (10/11).