A team of researchers has “identified 17 potent antibodies whose discovery opened up valuable pathways in the search for an AIDS vaccine,” Agence France-Presse reports (8/17). The researchers “at and associated with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the Scripps Research Institute, the biotechnology company Theraclone Sciences and Monogram Biosciences Inc., a LabCorp company, report in the current issue of Nature” that the antibodies are “capable of neutralizing a broad spectrum of variants of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS,” according to a joint press release (8/17).
Nature News reports on “the possibility of unintended public-health consequences” of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV and pharmaceutical company Gilead’s plan to ask the FDA to evaluate its combination antiretroviral (ARV) drug Truvada for use in healthy people.
“Spending on the global fight against AIDS fell significantly in 2010 for the first time since the U.S. and other governments began making major donations,” according to an annual funding analysis released Monday by the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS, the Wall Street Journal reports. “All told, governments donated about $6.9 billion in 2010, down 9.7 percent from about $7.6 billion in the prior year, the report said,” the newspaper writes (McKay, 8/16).
In this World Policy Blog post, Julie Mellin, editorial assistant at the World Policy Journal, reflects on her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana to examine the “ABC (Abstain, Be Faithful and Condomize) …Â safe sex” campaign, “[o]ne of the campaigns most highly funded by the international community (especially…
A shrinking Department of Defense (DOD) budget and a shift in the focus of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) to “more traditional military threats” to national security, such as “preventing terrorist safe havens on the continent,” could affect the department’s HIV prevention programs, Stars and Stripes reports. While officials say there currently is no intent to cut HIV prevention programming, “those initiatives will come under more scrutiny as AFRICOM operates in a tougher budget environment, according to command officials,” the news service writes.
“A shortage of health facilities and health workers, frequent drug shortages and a weak government policy mean HIV-positive pregnant women in Burundi often give birth without taking any precautions to prevent transmission of the virus to their children,” PlusNews reports.
The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) on Saturday endorsed a new National Health Council policy to expand the country’s AIDS program “to allow people living with HIV to start antiretroviral [ARV] treatment earlier” by raising the CD4 count necessary to access treatment from 200 to 350, Agence France-Presse reports (8/14). Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi “said the plan would be integrated into the proposed National Health Insurance system,” SAPA/News24 writes (8/13).
“Transactional sex, sexual intercourse driven by material exchanges,” occurs worldwide, but “[i]n poor regions with high HIV prevalence rates like sub-Saharan Africa â€¦ transactional sex poses an even higher threat to one’s wellbeing and health because the chance of HIV infection is greater,” Daniella Choi, staff member at the Center…
“For a long time, perceptions of Pakistan as a conservative Muslim country encouraged a belief that HIV/AIDS incidence would be non-existent or very low,” but “with the number of HIV cases rising, the government finally included it in its 2009 national health policy,” BBC News reports. However, the full extent of the disease “is still not widely acknowledged,” and “experts say the epidemic is not being properly tackled,” the article states.
CDC Director Thomas Frieden, who currently is visiting India and who previously worked with the Indian government assisting in tuberculosis (TB) control, praised the country’s “progress in controlling tuberculosis and tobacco use” on Monday during a speech to health practitioners and policymakers, according to the Wall Street Journal’s “India Real Time” blog. Frieden also noted “India’s strides in the past decade on â€¦ polio control and HIV/AIDS prevention,” the blog reports.