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Ghana Launches Web-Based System For Reporting HIV-Related Discrimination

“On December 2 at World AIDS Day observations in Ghana, His Excellency Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur presided over the launch of a new web-based system for reporting HIV-related discrimination” that “will support people living with HIV and other key populations in upholding their rights and fighting discrimination,” Ron MacInnis,…

PLOS Blog Highlights Articles Published In PLOS Medicine

The PLOS “Speaking of Medicine” blog highlights a number of articles published in PLOS Medicine this week. “Using thematic analysis, Thomas Kerr and colleagues document the experiences of policing among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Bangkok and examine how interactions with police may affect drug-using behaviors and access to…

Canada Supreme Court Rules Vancouver's Safe Drug-Injection Site Can Stay Open

“Vancouver’s Insite clinic, the only such safe-injection site for [people who use drugs] in North America, can stay open, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Friday in a landmark defeat for the federal government,” Reuters reports. “The country’s top court … ruled unanimously that closing the site would threaten the lives of drug users and therefore violate their human rights,” the news agency writes (Ljunggren, 9/30).

Greek Health System Suffers Amid Growing Economic Crisis

Reuters examines how a worsening economic crisis in Greece is affecting the country’s health system, highlighting a 36 percent decrease in health spending by Greeks this year, according to the National School of Public Health, and an increase of more than 50 percent in new cases of HIV from the first five months of 2010 to the same period this year. The news service also notes a rise in depression and suicide, writing, “Greeks are swallowing 35 percent more antidepressants than they did five years ago, according to the National School of Public Health. The health ministry says suicides are up 40 percent so far this year.”

Austerity Measures In Europe May Cause Rise In Drug-Related HIV Infections, Report Says

“Austerity measures brought in to tackle Europe’s economic crisis may cause a rise in drug-related HIV infections as stretched health services struggle to cope, the E.U.’s narcotics agency said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. “Greece, which is facing huge cutbacks, reported a large outbreak of HIV infections among drug users in July, the Lisbon-based agency said in its yearly report,” the news agency writes, noting, “New infections were also reported in Bulgaria, Estonia and Lithuania, it added.”

Russia Will Not Use HIV Spending To Fund Needle Exchange, Methadone Therapy, Reuters Reports

Though Russia is doubling its budget for HIV in 2012 over 2010 levels, “no money will go to such internationally recognized efforts as needle exchanges” and methadone replacement therapy, Reuters reports. “Moscow doesn’t believe these approaches help slow the spread of HIV/AIDS,” and “[s]ome health workers and global HIV authorities are angered and baffled by Russia’s approach, which they say will only aggravate the problem,” the news service writes. The article examines how government spending for HIV will be used, with only three percent of about $600 million expected to go toward prevention programs in 2012, and how non-governmental organizations are coping with cuts in funding from international donor programs (Ferris-Rotman/Koppel, 12/21).

Al Jazeera Examines HIV In Russia

Al Jazeera continues its coverage of HIV in Russia, where “[t]he latest official figures show that about 200 new cases are being recorded every single day.” The news service writes, “HIV is spreading five times faster in Russia than the global average, with Ukraine and Russia accounting for 90 percent of the region’s cases,” adding, “The main source for 60 percent of new infections is dirty needles used to inject drugs.” However, the country has “resisted so-called harm reduction strategies including funding needle exchange programs, angering health workers and global HIV prevention groups,” Al Jazeera writes, noting, “Activists say social stigma is impeding the fight against HIV in Russia.” An accompanying “Inside Story” video report examines how Russia “plan[s] to stem the rise in HIV” (1/4).

U.N. Envoy Says Eastern Europe’s Criminal Prosecution Of IDUs Hinders HIV Fight

“The U.N. envoy for AIDS in Eastern Europe on Tuesday denounced the region, and Russia in particular, for its increasingly harsh criminal prosecution of drug [users], at a conference to curb the spread of HIV,” Agence France-Presse/France 24 reports. Michel Kazatchkine, the U.N. special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe…

Some Eastern European, Central Asian Countries Working To Improve Harm Reduction Programs

“As former presidents, senior diplomats and experts meet in the Lithuanian capital to discuss a litany of rights abuses, lethal epidemics and social destruction caused by repressive drug policies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, pockets of hope for drug reform are emerging across the region,” Inter Press Service reports.…

Daily Antiretroviral Dose Reduces Risk Of HIV Infection Among IDUs, Study Shows

“A daily dose of powerful anti-HIV medicine helped cut the risk of infection with the AIDS virus by 49 percent in intravenous drug users [IDUs] in a Bangkok study that showed for the first time such a preventive step can work in this high-risk population,” Reuters reports (Steenhuysen, 6/13). “Earlier…