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World Bank Report Urges African Governments, Development Aid Donors To Increase HIV Prevention Efforts

“With much of the global economy facing slowing growth and uncertain prospects, especially in developed countries, a new World Bank report” — titled “The Fiscal Dimension of HIV/AIDS in Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland, and Uganda” — “urges African governments and their development aid donors to do significantly more to prevent new HIV infections” and “warns that current spending on HIV/AIDS relates to past infections and is a potentially misleading indicator of the long-term public cost of the fight against HIV/AIDS,” a World Bank press release states. According to the press release, “The report argues that governments need to better assess the financial sustainability and allocative efficiency of their national HIV/AIDS responses over time so as to sustainably manage the long-term burden of HIV/AIDS” (3/14).

Joint Initiative To Support GBV Programs With PEPFAR Funding

Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby on Monday “announced a joint initiative to provide $4.65 million in small grants to grassroots organizations to address gender-based violence (GBV) issues” through HIV/AIDS programs, according to a State Department press release. With funding coming from PEPFAR, “the initiative supports programs that prevent and respond to GBV, with a link to HIV prevention, treatment and care,” the press release states, adding, “Grants of up to $100,000 for programs that leverage existing HIV/AIDS platforms will be awarded to organizations working in one of more than 80 PEPFAR countries” (3/14).

U.S. Must Recommit Itself To Ending AIDS, Scientifically And Financially

“There is a lot of optimism now in the community of public health officials and advocates who work on AIDS. … But, even as we know more, there are still disputes about how best to move forward on both prevention and treatment,” commentator Richard Socarides, a former White House adviser under President Bill Clinton, writes in the New Yorker’s “News Desk” blog. “Such is the nature of AIDS, especially as it involves an attempt to understand the complexity of human behavior as it relates to sex,” he adds.

Promoting Women’s Rights, Addressing Inequalities Essential To AIDS Fight

“The Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) are committed to advancing the rights and health of women and girls around the world,” U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer write in this post in the State Department “DipNote” blog, commemorating International Women’s Day, which was observed on March 8. “Promoting the rights of women and addressing gender inequities and gender norms are essential steps to reducing HIV risk and increasing access to HIV prevention, care and treatment services — for both women and men,” they add (3/14).

Joint Fact Sheet On U.S.-U.K. Partnership For Global Development

A joint fact sheet on the U.S.-U.K. Partnership for Global Development is available on the White House website. “Through the Partnership, we are working together to achieve better results by advancing economic growth; preventing conflict in fragile states; improving global health, particularly for girls and women; strengthening mutual accountability, transparency, and measurement of results; and mitigating the effects of climate change,” the fact sheet states, elaborating on joint efforts in each of these areas (3/14).

Progress In AIDS Fight Must Be An Impetus For Increasing Investment, Sustaining Advancements In Africa

In this post in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe examines the role of the fight against AIDS in sustaining economic and social development in Africa. “Africa is breaking records,” he writes, noting the economic growth, increased access to information, rise in democracy, decline in poverty, increased school enrollment — especially for girls — and decline in AIDS-related deaths on the continent. “Africa is now poised to push towards a new vision of: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths,” and “it needs everyone’s support,” he continues.

ARV Given To HIV-Positive Children Boosts Preventive Power Of Key Malaria Drug, Study Shows

An antiretroviral (ARV) drug given to HIV-positive children “can boost the preventive power of a key malaria drug,” according to a study conducted in Uganda and presented last week at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, ScienceNow reports. The researchers, led by clinicians Diane Havlir of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Moses Kamya of Makerere University College of Health Sciences, “compare[d] two different cocktails of anti-HIV drugs, only one of which contained protease inhibitors, in HIV-infected children who live in a malarial area of [Uganda]” and found “that one protease inhibitor indeed helped stave off malaria.”

Six Reasons Why Obama’s Proposal To Cut PEPFAR Funding Should Be Rejected By Congress

In this post in The Hill’s “Congress Blog,” Chris Collins, vice president and director of public policy for amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, responds to a recently released analysis of adult mortality rates in African countries, which “found that between 2004 and 2008, in those nations where the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was most active, the odds of death were about 20 percent lower than in other countries in the region.” He writes, “It was one more piece in the growing collection of evidence that PEPFAR has been a tremendously successful program, advancing U.S. humanitarian and diplomatic priorities and saving millions of lives.” Collins continues, “That is why the proposal in President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget to cut bi-lateral HIV programming through PEPFAR by nearly $550 million, or 11 percent, has stunned so many on Capitol Hill and in the global health community.”

Dominican Republic Group Focuses On HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care, Treatment

In this RH Reality Check blog post, Mandy Van Deven, online administrator for International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR), discusses how PROFAMILIA-Dominican Republic, an IPPF/WHR member association, “has integrated HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and testing into its extensive clinical sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services.” She writes, “There are two key elements to PROFAMILIA’s integrated approach: a focus on a broad range of vulnerable groups — from youth to women and immigrant populations — and a staunch commitment to fighting the stigma, discrimination and gender-based violence often associated with an HIV-positive status” (3/13).

Misconception That Syphilis Has ‘Disappeared’ Presents Major Impediment To Preventing Infant Deaths

In this Globe and Mail opinion piece, columnist Andre Picard examines the efforts of a new group, the Global Congenital Syphilis Partnership — which includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Save The Children, the CDC, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the WHO — to “make screening for syphilis a routine part of pregnancy care with the goal of eliminating congenital syphilis.” Picard writes, “According to the World Health Organization, some 2.1 million women with syphilis give birth every year,” and notes, “Almost 70 percent of their babies are stillborn, and many of the rest suffer from low birth weight (putting them at great risk for a host of illnesses), hearing loss, vision loss and facial deformities.”

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