In this Foreign Affairs opinion piece, Mead Over, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, says the goal of an “AIDS-free generation” is attainable, “[b]ut not if treatment continues to take precedence over prevention.” He continues, “It is unfortunate that so many have focused on treatment alone because there is a way to end the global scourge of HIV/AIDS: by conditioning the rate of expansion of treatment programs on the reduction of new infections. This much-needed shift would lead to what I call an AIDS transition — the day on which the rate of new infections falls below the rate of AIDS-related deaths so that the number of people living with HIV/AIDS decreases year-on-year.”
“A group that tracks funding for neglected diseases released its fourth annual report Wednesday, showing for the first time since 2007 a decrease in government and public spending in global health research and development,” the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports (Mazzotta, 12/7). The Global Funding of Innovation for Neglected Diseases (G-FINDER) survey report, conducted by Policy Cures and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, found that “[p]ublic funding from the world’s richest nations for research and development (R&D) of new neglected disease products fell by US$125 million (down six percent) in 2010,” a Policy Cures press release (.pdf) states (12/7).
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that donors looking to fund the fight against AIDS “could raise funds through taxes,” according to the news agency. Speaking on the sidelines of the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sidibe said, “If we have a global financial transaction tax, say of 0.5 percent, we will have $226 billion. Ten percent of that resource is enough for financing the fight against HIV/AIDS, stopping the epidemic, because we can reduce by 96 percent the number of new infections by putting people early on treatment. We can have taxation on cigarettes and alcohol. We can find different ways to mobilize new resources,” according to Reuters (Maasho, 12/7).
After “President Obama threw the full weight of the U.S. government behind a vision” to end the AIDS epidemic in a World AIDS Day speech, “[n]ow the question is: How will we achieve this goal? What are the priority actions to take today, tomorrow, and years from now?” Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “First and foremost, the resource commitments need to match the strength of the scientific data,” he says, adding, “It is precisely at this moment, when the potential dividends are greatest, that the world’s modest AIDS investments should be sustained.”
“A report on the HIV epidemic in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) shows that while the overall HIV prevalence in the region is still low, the rise in new infections since 2001 has put the MENA region among the top two regions in the world with the fastest growing HIV epidemic,” UNAIDS reports (12/4). The regional report was released Monday in Cairo, Egypt, under the auspices of the League of Arab States, according to the Egypt Independent (Helmy, 12/6). “The report outlines many recommendations on how to strengthen the AIDS response in the MENA region,” according to UNAIDS, including “review of laws and policies that hinder access to HIV prevention and treatments services, to invest smartly using an evidence-informed and human rights based approach, and the importance of strong political leadership” (12/4).
“Myanmar appealed on Tuesday to the international community to increase assistance in combating HIV/AIDS, as AIDS response in the country has entered a critical stage,” Xinhua reports, adding, “The appeal was made by participants attending” a round-table discussion on reaching zero AIDS-related stigma and discrimination in the country (12/6).
In this Knowledge for Health (K4Health) blog post, Elsie Mwaniki, a communication specialist at K4Health, reflects on the integration of family planning and HIV services, writing, “Many HIV-positive women have an unmet need for family planning (FP) services,” so providing these services together (FP/HIV integration) “makes sense.” She recaps a panel discussion…
A U.N. expert on Monday “urged Vietnam … to close down its compulsory rehabilitation centers for sex workers and drug users, stressing that detention and forced treatment violate their right to health and perpetuate stigmatization and discrimination of those groups in the society,” the U.N. News Centre reports (12/5). “‘It’s essential to ensure that the considerable resources now invested in these centers are used instead to expand alternative treatments for injecting drug users,’ said” U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health Anand Grover, the Associated Press/Washington Post writes (12/5).
UNAIDS, PEPFAR Announce 5-Year Action Framework To Scale Up Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision For HIV Prevention
UNAIDS and PEPFAR on Monday at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Africa (ICASA) “launched a five-year action framework to accelerate the scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention,” according to a UNAIDS press release. “The framework — developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, PEFPAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank in consultation with national Ministries of Health — calls for the immediate roll-out and expansion of VMMC services in 14 priority countries of eastern and southern Africa,” the release notes (12/5).
PlusNews examines HIV/AIDS in Laos, writing, “Out of a total population of 6.3 million, the national prevalence of 0.2 percent among 15-49-year-olds puts the 8,500 reported HIV/AIDS cases in Laos nearly a decade behind that of its neighbors.” However, the news service notes that, “as the socialist country increasingly opens its borders, health workers are bracing for a potential concentrated, ‘catastrophic’ outbreak in a country where HIV prevention is not yet a priority.” Kinoy Phongdeth, director of the Lao Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, said, “It is true that in Laos there are not so many people living with HIV and AIDS, but we are still people and we need help,” PlusNews reports (12/2).