“Malawi’s new president, Joyce Banda, has inherited an unenviable to-do list from former president Bingu wa Mutharika, and AIDS activists are hoping that bolstering the donor-dependent AIDS response will be one of her most urgent priorities,” PlusNews reports. “An estimated 10 percent of the adult population is HIV-positive, with about 70,000 Malawians newly infected with HIV every year,” the news service writes, adding, “Yet the country is almost entirely dependent on external funding for its AIDS programs, and ambitious plans to scale up treatment have been derailed after the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria rejected a succession of funding proposals.”
UNAIDS Executive Director Calls On African Leaders To Reduce 'Triple Dependency' On External Sources Of HIV Drugs, Commodities, Technologies
“Delivering a speech at [Wednesday’s] opening session of the 16th Conference of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe congratulated leaders across the region for their personal commitment to the HIV response, specifically with regard to upholding human rights and protecting human capital,” UNAIDS reports in an article on its website. “Addressing eight Heads of State and other high-level participants in Lome, Togo, he called on African leaders to reduce their ‘triple dependency’ on external sources for HIV drugs, commodities, and technologies,” the agency writes, adding, “To ensure the health and security of their populations, African leaders should focus greater attention and resources on the local production of medicines, said the UNAIDS executive director” (6/6).
“The U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (U.N. Women) [on Tuesday] became the 11th member of the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), a partnership that focuses on achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support,” the U.N. News Centre reports, adding, “UNAIDS and U.N.…
In this post in the AIDS.gov blog, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah discusses global efforts to end HIV infections in children. “Together with PEPFAR, our efforts have made a significant difference in promoting access to prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services, helping to cut new pediatric infections in half in the past decade,” Shah writes, adding “We’ve also helped support 9.8 million pregnant women with HIV testing and counseling and provided PMTCT services to more than 660,000 HIV-positive women. As a result, approximately 200,000 infants were born free of HIV” (6/1).
Zimbabwe's Successful PMTCT Efforts Serve As A 'Model' For Other Countries In Drive To Eliminate Pediatric AIDS
“Zimbabwe is one of the key countries to watch in the drive to eliminate pediatric AIDS in Africa,” Chip Lyons, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, writes in this post in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog, adding, “Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and its international partners — including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID), and most recently the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) — have helped turn the tide of the pandemic in children.” He writes, “In June 2011 at the United Nations, a Global Plan was introduced to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015,” and notes, “Zimbabwe was among the first of many countries to answer the call.”
“Chagas disease, a parasitic infection spread to humans by insects, is not the new HIV/AIDS of the Americas, according to infectious disease experts who called the comparison,” made in an editorial published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases last week, “‘unrealistic’ and ‘unfortunate,'” ABC News’ “Medical Unit” blog reports. “Rick Tarleton, president of the Chagas Disease Foundation, said the diseases have little in common beyond disproportionately affecting poor people,” the blog notes (Moisse, 6/1).
“Bangladesh has shown low HIV prevalence rates so far but may be silently moving towards an epidemic, say experts pointing to underreporting and poor monitoring for the virus in the general population,” Inter Press Service reports. “Professionals and volunteers working in the HIV/AIDS field say there is no room for complacency and that Bangladesh may well be on the brink of an epidemic, going by continuing high levels of STDs alone,” the news service writes.
“By the end of the 21st century, more than one billion people are expected to die from illnesses related to tobacco use primarily in low to middle income countries,” Amie Newman, communications officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and editor of the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, writes in this blog post in recognition of World No Tobacco Day. “We’ll continue to support efforts which reduce the number of deaths and diseases due to tobacco use — especially in developing countries,” she adds (5/31). An AIDS.gov blog post addresses tobacco use by people living with HIV, writing, “Smoking rates of people living with HIV are estimated to be two to three times higher than the national average, and smoking weakens the immune system, making it harder to fight off HIV-related infections” (5/31).
In this post in the Management Sciences for Health’s (MSH) “Global Health Impact” blog, Scott Kellerman, global technical lead for HIV/AIDS at MSH, discusses USAID’s “Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday” campaign and recent attention to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. He notes that U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe “have called for the elimination of pediatric HIV by 2015,” and writes, “We can move closer to the goal of eliminating pediatric HIV by 2015 by treating the mother, treating the baby, and continuing to treat the mother” (5/31).
HIV drugs have not only “transformed a fatal disease into a chronic one,” but “[t]hey have also made HIV a big business,” this Economist editorial states. The editorial examines the market for HIV drugs, writing, “The market is as unusual as it is large, both buoyed by government support and worryingly dependent on it. The past decade has brought fancier medicine in rich countries and copious aid for poor ones. But the war is far from won.” The editorial writes, “In total, public and private investment has yielded more than two dozen HIV drugs,” adding, “Sales of antiretroviral drugs in America and the five biggest European markets reached $13.3 billion in 2011, according to Datamonitor, a research outfit.”