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U.N. Says Asia Pacific Region Making Strides Against HIV/AIDS, Must Address Social And Legal Barriers To Treatment, Prevention

The U.N. Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific (ESCAP) on Monday in Bangkok “opened a three-day meeting lauding impressive gains in recent years in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” but the body cautioned “there are still legal and social barriers that significantly set back eradication efforts,” VOA News reports. U.N. ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer “note[d] the gains are uneven and there are still gaps in the goal of universal access to HIV treatment,” the news service writes.

Russian Government’s Censorship Of Websites With Harm Reduction Methods For Drug Users Helps Fuel HIV Epidemic, IPS Reports

“A recent government crackdown on Russian media, particularly online information portals specializing in health tips and harm reduction methods for drug users, has sparked widespread public opposition, with critics claiming that the ‘draconian silencing’ of public health advocates could worsen an already perilous health situation in the country,” Inter Press Service reports. “Given that Russia currently has one of the largest populations of injecting drug users in the world as well as one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics, the dissemination of such information is essential to keep the spread of the virus under control,” IPS writes. “The fact that the United Nations listed universal treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS as one of its most urgent millennium development goals (MDGs) — with a deadline of achieving universal treatment by 2015 — human rights and health advocates contend that Russia’s failure to allow information or services helpful to drug users breaches international human rights and public health laws,” according to the news service (Klomegah, 2/17).

Mexican Government, NGOs Working To Expand Access To Clean Syringes To Prevent HIV Among IDUs

Inter Press Service examines how Mexico’s government and non-governmental organizations are working to stem the spread of HIV among people who use injection drugs. “According to a project financed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria since 2011, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Mexico is 5.77 percent among intravenous drug users … compared to 0.24 to 0.3 percent in the general population aged 15 to 49,” IPS writes, noting HIV prevalence among drug users is highest in “northern Mexico, one of the areas in the country hit hardest by drug trafficking.” The news service adds “[t]here are 28 syringe exchange programs in this country of 112 million people, insufficient to serve the entire population of intravenous drug users.” IPS discusses funding shortfalls for syringe exchange programs, legal hurdles to obtaining clean injection equipment, and how the government aims to continue receiving Global Fund money through 2013 (Godoy, 10/11).

Opinions: AIDS 2010; Clean Water, Sanitation; Russia’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic; Financial Tax; Medical Abortion In Developing Countries

GHI Builds On PEPFAR HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment Programs A VOA News editorial by the U.S. government reflects on last month’s International AIDS Conference-AIDS 2010, including key advancements such as the vaginal microbicide gel found to offer women some protection against HIV infection as well discussions about funding for the fight against HIV/AIDS and how the “criminalization…

Recent Releases In Global Health

Blog: U.S. Humanitarian Assistance Remains A ‘Sound Investment’ In view of World Humanitarian Day, a Huffington Post blog discusses the “lessons” of disaster response and the global “proliferation of humanitarian crises.” First, the authors write that “the number of people affected by disasters is on the rise,” mostly due to conflict and…

Also In Global Health News: IDUs In Kenya; Haiti Recovery; Pandemic Preparedness; Somalia Hunger; HIV In Mozambique; Strengthening Immune System Against HIV

Kenya Drafts Policy To Address HIV In IDUs In Kenya, “[i]ntravenous drug users (IDUs) have been largely ignored by the government’s HIV programmes on the basis that drug-taking is illegal, but a new policy is being drafted with the aim of reducing HIV transmission among this high-risk group,” IRIN/PlusNews reports.…

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Study Finds Level Of HIV Services For IDUs ‘Is Poor In Many Countries’ A Lancet study performed a systematic review of HIV prevention and treatment services targeting injecting drug users (IDUs) globally based on the availability of “core interventions for IDUs: needle and syringe programmes (NSPs), opioid substitution therapy (OST) and other drug…