“For the first time in over 20 years, the biennial International AIDS Conference will be hosted on American soil,” U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby writes in this post in the AIDS.gov blog. “From July 22 to 27, AIDS 2012 will convene scientists, health professionals, policymakers and those affected by AIDS in Washington, D.C., to assess progress to date and identify next steps in the global response,” he writes. He notes, “The conference theme, Turning the Tide Together, underscores the pivotal moment in which AIDS 2012 is taking place,” and discusses the role that the U.S. has played in achieving scientific progress in the fight against AIDS since it was identified 30 years ago (3/15).
“The savage cuts to Greece’s health service budget have led to a sharp rise in HIV/AIDS and malaria in the beleaguered nation, said a leading aid organization on Thursday,” the Guardian’s “News Blog” reports. “The incidence of HIV/AIDS among intravenous drug users in central Athens soared by 1,250 percent in the first 10 months of 2011 compared with the same period the previous year, according to” Reveka Papadopoulos, “the head of Medecins Sans Frontieres [MSF] Greece, while malaria is becoming endemic in the south for the first time since … the 1970s,” the blog notes.
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).
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).
“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.
“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).
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.
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.”
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.”