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Opinions: Discrimination Against Sexual Orientation; WFP In Somalia; Haiti’s Recovery; WHO’s Policy Role

Discrimination Against Sexual Orientation Are ‘Backward Steps’ For Human Rights In Africa In a Washington Post opinion piece, Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, speaks out against efforts to deny individuals “their fundamental rights and freedoms” based on their sexual orientation. Tutu cites cases in…

Experts Discuss PEPFAR Funding In Congressional Hearing

At a recent hearing of the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, “[i]nternational health organisations working to help check the spread of AIDS in Africa said meagre increases in funds from the U.S. government this year would be a step backwards. Some experts also emphasised that prevention must get appropriate attention in any fight against the disease,” Inter Press Service reports.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Comment Asks: What’s Next For Global Fund? Reflecting on the recent annual report by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a Lancet comment writes, “Two big challenges remain [for the Global Fund]: first, to show, reliably and independently, that the Fund’s investments have delivered the benefits that it…

AIDS 2010 To Highlight Epidemic In Eastern Europe, Central Asia Regions

AIDS 2010, the International AIDS Conference to be held July 18-23 in Vienna, Austria, will “highlight the situation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, regions experiencing fast growing [HIV/AIDS] epidemics largely through unsafe injecting drug use,” conference organizers announced Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reports. Though the number of new cases of HIV worldwide has declined since 1996, “infection rates are continuing to rise in some parts of the world, especially Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Here, HIV prevalence has almost doubled since 2001,” the AFP writes.

Congress Works On Tariff-Lowering Legislation For Haiti As Preval Meets With U.S. Leaders In Washington

The Senate Finance Committee’s chair, Max Baucus (D-Mont.), and top Republican, Charles Grassley (Iowa), are working with colleagues in the House on legislation that would lower tariffs in an effort to help Haiti’s apparel industry and help the country recover from the major January earthquake, CQ Politics reports. “The bipartisan effort comes as Senate Finance leaders consider ramping up their work to broadly overhaul multiple U.S. trade preference programs, which lower or eliminate U.S. tariffs on a wide range of products from many developing countries,” according to the publication (3/9).

British Government, HIV/AIDS Advocates Warn Decreased Aid Budgets Could Lead To Reversals In HIV/AIDS Treatment Progress

Recent gains in the global fight against HIV/AIDS could be reversed as the “global economic downturn pinches poor countries’ budgets and donors show signs of backing away from their promise to provide universal access to AIDS treatment,” the British government together with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) warned Tuesday, Reuters AlertNet reports.

UNAIDS Director Cautions Against Funding Cuts To Global Fund

During an appeal to government and private donors to pledge money to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Monday, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe warned of the repercussions tightening budgets could play in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, the Associated Press reports. “An estimated 94 percent of patients on anti-retroviral treatment in Africa count on external donor funds to provide their medications, Sidibe said,’ according to the news service. “If we stop now, if we reduce the financing, the people who are on treatment today … we will transform their hope for universal access into a universal nightmare, because they will start dying,” Sidibe told the AP.

U.N. Official Addresses Increasing Drug Addiction In Developing Countries

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Monday warned of an impending “health disaster facing developing countries if wealthy nations fail to control drugs,” the Agence France-Presse reports. During a speech delivered in Vienna, UNODC chief Antonio Maria Costas pointed to “increasing use of heroin in East Africa, cocaine in West Africa, and synthetic drugs in the Middle East and South East Asia as warning signs” of a growing drug problem in impoverished nations (3/8).

Opinions: Don’t Slow Fight Against HIV, TB, Malaria; U.S. Focus On Women, Girls

2010 To Be ‘Decisive Year’ For Global Health, Global Fund Director Says In a BusinessDay opinion piece, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Michel Kazatchkine reflects on the organization’s progress and impact on global health outcomes since its creation in 2002, as detailed in…