“Ugandan men have been seeking medical male circumcision in droves since the government launched a national policy in 2010, but the health system is not equipped to handle the caseload, slowing down the potential HIV prevention benefits of the campaign,” PlusNews reports. A recent WHO report found that “just 9,052 circumcisions were carried out in Uganda in 2010, against more than four million men who would need to be circumcised for the country to reach its 80 percent target,” a goal that, if reached within five years, could potentially avert close to 340,000 new HIV infections, according to WHO estimates, the news service notes.
The Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” examines how religious leaders on the island of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, are using the Qur’an to shift attitudes about the issues of sex, contraception, and HIV/AIDS in an effort to reduce HIV infection, improve maternal health and curb rapid population growth. “Their aim is to shift deep-rooted views in their devout Islamic society that contraception is a sin,” according to the blog. “Compared with the Tanzanian mainland, Zanzibar has half the rate of use of contraception — just 13 percent in fertile women in 2011 — and more than double the proportion of Muslims, at 95 percent,” the blog notes, adding that imams’ work to educate the population is working, as “contraceptive use has crept up from nine percent to 13 percent in the past four years” (Carrington, 10/31).
Tanzania Becomes First Country To Use Self-Destructing Syringes; Designer Hopes Others Will Follow Suit
“Tanzania is to become the first country in the world to move exclusively to using syringes that self-destruct after a British entrepreneur played the health minister undercover footage of children being injected with used needles,” the Guardian reports. “Marc Koska, the designer of an auto-disable syringe and founder of a charity called Safe-Point,” who went to the Tanzanian government with the video, “hopes to persuade four other countries in east Africa to follow suit — Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda — before he takes on the rest of the world,” the newspaper writes.
Women living with HIV in Swaziland “fight a tireless tripartite battle against HIV, the stigma it places on them, and their inferior status in Africa’s last absolute monarchy,” freelance journalist Gary Nunn writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” Nunn recounts the story of Siphiwe Hlophe, who founded Swaziland for Positive Living (Swapol) in 2001, and writes, “Women operate at grassroots level in tackling HIV because they’re rarely trusted with real responsibility. But they are increasingly making their voices heard.”
“The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) launched a consortium on Wednesday that would allow the public and private sector to share intellectual property to promote the development of new drugs to treat diseases such as malaria,” Reuters reports (10/26). “Under the agreement between [WIPO], … the companies and the non-profit BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), public and private sector organizations will share valuable intellectual property (IP) and expertise with the global health research community on WIPO Re:Search, a virtual platform,” the U.N. News Centre writes (10/26).
Disconnecting Global AIDS From Reproductive Health Stalled Efforts to Expand Family Planning Services, UNFPA Head Says
Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNPFA), said in an interview with the Guardian that “efforts to expand family planning services in the developing world stalled for a decade while global health organizations turned their energies to fighting HIV/AIDS. ‘We made a mistake. We disconnected HIV from reproductive health. We should never have done that because it is part and parcel,’ he said.” The newspaper adds, “Osotimehin said the international community was regaining momentum in its efforts to make family planning services available to women in all countries” and “argued it was crucial for developing countries to devote a larger share of their own resources to family planning and health.”
A study published Wednesday in the Journal of the International AIDS Society assessed how the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s “investments in HIV programs were targeted to key populations in relation to disease burden and national income,” concluding, “There has been a sustained scale up of the Global…
Focus On Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic Distracted From Family Planning Efforts, U.N. Population Fund Head Says
“The international community has ‘made a mistake’ with the intensity of its focus on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and lost ground on family planning issues as a result,” Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNPF), said in an interview with the Guardian. “Osotimehin said the international community was regaining momentum in its efforts to make family planning services available to women in all countries” and “argued it was crucial for developing countries to devote a larger share of their own resources to family planning and health,” the newspaper adds.
Universal HIV screening in the ER is not a practical option, researchers from France’s Emergency Department HIV-Screening Group write in a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on Monday, Reuters reports. According to the study, “[m]ore than 1,100 people would have to be offered HIV tests in the emergency room to find just one new infection,” Reuters notes.
Data from lab experiments published online by the journal Cell Host and Microbes last week show that the gel form of the antiretroviral tenofovir, which is being investigated as an HIV prevention method, works to inhibit the reproduction of herpes virus in tonsil and cervical tissue, the New York Times reports.