SmartGlobalHealth.org features the latest episode of “Small Screen Sessions,” in which J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ Global Health Policy Center, discusses the policy changes that enabled the International AIDS Conference to return to the U.S. in 2012 after a 22-year hiatus, and the beginning of the “end of AIDS” (1/4).
PSI’s “Healthy Lives” blog features a video from the University of North Carolina (UNC) Medical Center News Office in which Myron Cohen, a professor of medicine, microbiology, immunology and public health at UNC-Chapel Hill and the director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, discusses his research into HIV/AIDS prevention, including his lead role in HPTN 052. That study, which found “that the sexual transmission [of HIV] can be virtually stopped when the infected person is treated with ARVs, this year was heralded as the ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ by Science magazine,” according to the blog (1/4).
“Ethiopia’s new plan to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission by 2015 cannot be attained unless men are more meaningfully involved in reproductive health, experts say,” PlusNews reports. Ethiopia launched an accelerated prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) program in December with “three objectives: reaching 90 percent of pregnant women with access to antenatal care services; ensuring universal access by pregnant women to a skilled attendant during delivery; and providing ARVs to at least 80 percent of HIV-positive pregnant women,” according to the news service.
In a year-end recap of major HIV-related headlines, IRIN/PlusNews writes, “It’s been a roller coaster of a year in HIV and AIDS. AIDS turned 30 in 2011, and with new evidence of the effectiveness of HIV treatment as prevention, experts are increasingly talking about ‘the end of AIDS.’ At the same time, however, funding for HIV has become ever more uncertain, jeopardizing efforts to put new, life-saving science into action.”
In this post on USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Erin McKee, USAID mission director for the Central Asian Republics, recounts a discussion roundtable with people “on the front lines” in the battle against HIV/AIDS in Kazakhstan. She writes, “I was honored to share a morning with people in Kazakhstan who are bold advocates for HIV-positive groups in their country, and I look forward to a renewed partnership with them in the fight to end stigma and discrimination toward people living with HIV in Central Asia” (12/27).
In this Huffington Post “Impact” blog post, Karl Hofmann, president and CEO of PSI, outlines 10 “milestones for the global health community” that occurred in 2011. Among the achievements, Hofmann says governments avoided making major cuts to foreign aid budgets despite a global economic downturn; studies supported “treatment as prevention” as an HIV prevention strategy; the number of malaria cases and deaths worldwide continued to decline; research showed a promising vaccine candidate to prevent malaria among children; and more women gained access to long-acting, reversible contraceptives. Hofmann also lists advances in social franchising; maternal health; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights; pneumonia prevention and treatment; and sanitation, hygiene and access to clean water (12/29).
J&J Will Not Join Medicines Patent Pool; Company’s Pharma Head Says Mechanism Could ‘Cause Disaster’
Pharmaceutical company “Johnson & Johnson has rejected calls to offer patent rights on its HIV medicines to generic drug companies through a” Medicines Patent Pool, created to promote low-cost antiretroviral drugs in low-income countries and the development of new drug combinations and formulations, the Financial Times reports. “Paul Stoffels, worldwide head of pharmaceuticals at J&J, … cautioned that the pool could trigger a ‘mixing and matching’ of medicines that would cause a rapid surge in patient resistance to innovative HIV drugs” that could “cause a huge disaster,” according to the newspaper.
This Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) special report highlights the top 10 stories of 2011 regarding access to essential medicines, according to MSF. The list includes the findings of the HPTN 052 clinical trial, which “show that providing people with HIV treatment early not only saves their lives but can reduce the risk…
In this video clip from NBC’s Today show, contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager reports on a recent family trip to Africa to visit PEPFAR-funded programs and to announce a new initiative by the George W. Bush Institute to fight cervical cancer. In the video, the Bushes travel to Tanzania, where they visit a PEPFAR-funded program called Jipende!, which trains hairstylists as health educators in 70 salons throughout the country, and to Zambia, where they visit the Ocean Road Cancer Institute and discuss a new initiative for cervical cancer testing, treatment and vaccination (12/22).
“The journal Science has chosen the HPTN 052 clinical trial, an international HIV prevention trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID),” which found that early treatment with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) reduced the risk of transmission among sero-discordant partners by 96 percent, as the “2011 Breakthrough of the Year,” an NIH press release states (12/22). “Given resource constraints and logistical hurdles, treatment as prevention isn’t going to sweep the world anytime soon,” Science writes, adding, “But HPTN 052 has made imaginations race about the what-ifs like never before, spotlighting the scientifically probable rather than the possible” (Cohen, 12/23).