“An acute government funding crisis in Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, is disrupting supplies of HIV/AIDS drugs and hampering the fight against the virus in the country with the world’s highest infection rate, Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) said Friday,” Reuters reports. “Stocks of testing kits and related chemicals were ‘almost dry,’ making it next-to-impossible to chart the progress of the 70,000 patients on therapy or more than 130,000 other people carrying the virus, the aid agency said,” according to Reuters.
“Having to contend with U.S. army drones and the crossfire between the Taliban and the Pakistani army, the residents of Pakistan’s tribal areas find access to treatment for HIV/AIDS harder than in most other parts of the world,” Inter Press Service reports. People with HIV/AIDS living “in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) must cross the porous border into Afghanistan and take a circuitous route to Peshawar, capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, to get timely anti-retroviral treatment (ART),” at a family care center established by the Pakistan government and the WHO, the news service writes.
Transitioning Lead Responsibilities From U.S. To South Africa In The Countries' Partnership Against HIV/AIDS
In this CSIS “Smart Global Health” blog post, J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of CSIS and director of the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, outlines “five key steps that the U.S. can take, in close partnership with South Africa, to reduce … risks and raise the prospects of success” as the countries undergo a transition in lead responsibilities from the U.S. to South Africa in their partnership against HIV/AIDS in South Africa, a transition that Morrison writes is “highly fraught with risks.”
“There is no doubt that” a 10 percent reduction in funding from donor governments for the AIDS response in low- and middle-income countries in 2010 from the previous year’s levels “is linked to economic strain felt by countries across the globe,” a VOA News editorial says. “UNAIDS estimates that an investment of at least $22 billion will be needed by 2015 in order to avert more than seven million deaths,” the editorial states, adding, “It is clear that continued support to HIV prevention and treatment is a necessary investment, even in these difficult times.”
“Burundian NGOs say at least 20 people have died” as a result of a “months-long shortage” of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), although “Ministry of Health officials could not be reached to confirm the number of people affected,” PlusNews reports. “More than 60,000 Burundians need HIV treatment, but only about 25,000 have access to ARVs,” according to the news agency, which adds, “The shortage has been blamed on dwindling donor funds and a disorganized health ministry.”
“Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Monday opened a national HIV and AIDS conference with a call for the nation’s men to take a larger role in the response to the deadly pandemic, not only for their own health but that of women and children,” VOA News reports (Gumbo, 9/5). Speaking at the conference, Mugabe said, “The role of men in society is unquestionable. It is for this reason that men should take their place in the HIV response, both for their own health as well as in support of women and children … and it is not just treatment, but also a fact of discipline,” Zimbabwe’s Herald writes (9/6).
“The Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator released the U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Guidance for the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted HIV Infections (.pdf) this week,” a “50-plus page document … intended to ‘assist PEPFAR country teams in developing Country Operational Plans (COPs) that align activities to…
With more widespread access to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs “comes a greater need to monitor and promote the safety and effectiveness of these essential medicines in the new environments, which are distinct from those of pre-market studies and the resource rich countries that have had ARV access for years. Without sufficient monitoring systems in place, we can’t efficiently identify and stop counterfeiting of ARV drugs,” Jur Strobos, deputy director of the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research, and Andy Stergachis, professor of epidemiology and global health and director of the Global Medicines Program at School of Public Health at the University of Washington, write in an opinion piece in The Scientist.
According to a 2011 report (.pdf) on HIV-related stigma in Egypt from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, “the health care sector was consistently identified by people living with HIV as a major source of stigma and discrimination,” PlusNews reports. “A study quoted in the report found that denial of care, breach of confidentiality, non-consensual testing, poor quality of care, gossip and blame were all frequent features of Egypt’s health care setting” and “[m]any of the 11,000 Egyptians living with HIV would rather suffer minor health problems than attempt to obtain health care,” the news service writes.
Inter Press Service profiles a program launched by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) to develop antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) specifically designed for children living with HIV/AIDS. “The program will focus exclusively on developing child-adapted formulations for children under three, the most neglected segment in terms of availability of ARVs. The DNDi hopes to have new pediatric-specific medicines available between 2014 and 2016,” IPS writes. The article examines pediatric HIV treatment issues in India, Kenya and Brazil (Frayssinet et al., 8/29).