The PATH Blog reports on the organization’s efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) “to reduce transmission of HIV, deliver integrated care and services for people affected by HIV/AIDS, and build up the country’s health system to expand and improve services.” The blog highlights a project known as ProVIC, which is funded by PEPFAR and “has reached more than a million people in the DRC with messages about preventing HIV.” The project focuses on data collection efforts for monitoring and evaluation, the blog notes (Donnelly, 7/17).
PEPFAR’s gender-based violence (GBV) initiative is bringing “new momentum” and attention to the intersection of HIV and GBV, Janet Fleischman, senior associate at the Global Health Policy Center of the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), writes in a post on the center’s “Smart Global Health” blog. She describes the findings of a report (.pdf) for which she traveled to “Tanzania to examine how the GBV initiative is being implemented,” writing, “I found that, although still early in implementation and facing many challenges, the GBV initiative has the potential to yield important lessons about synergies in reducing GBV and HIV, with clear implications for U.S. global health investments” (7/11).
PEPFAR “is recommending improvements to efforts to detect [tuberculosis (TB)] in settings offering health services to pregnant women, women with HIV, newborns, and children,” the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports. The blog outlines the recommendations of the PMTCT/Pediatric HIV Technical Working Group, which said the decision to produce guidelines for integrating TB screening into maternal and child HIV programs was based on “[r]ecent studies [that] have shown that HIV-infected pregnant women are at increased risk of transmitting both TB and HIV to their infants” (Barton, 7/11).
GlobalPost examines efforts to combat AIDS in Zimbabwe as part of its “AIDS Turning Point” series. The news service writes that “what makes the case of Zimbabwe so curious — and even confounding to many outside observers — is that this country found success even though it was largely cut out of the big spending by PEPFAR’s list of 15 so-called ‘focus countries.'” GlobalPost continues, “Instead, Zimbabwe relies on its own well-mapped network of community health workers … who fan out daily across the country to make sure the country’s AIDS patients receive care.”
Describing PEPFAR as “a targeted approach on a large-scale and with accountability for results,” U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby on Tuesday said the program has done more than fight HIV/AIDS, having had a “broader transformational impact … on the health sector” in many countries, VOA News reports (De Capua, 7/10). Goosby delivered the keynote address at a Health Affairs briefing titled, “Assessing The President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief: Past Achievements And Future Prospects For PEPFAR,” according to a State Department video of his remarks (7/10). The July 2012 issue of Health Affairs “examines the origins of [PEPFAR]; the lessons learned from implementation; the successes achieved in terms of human health and well-being; and the opportunities that now exist to lay the groundwork for an ‘AIDS-free generation,'” the Health Affairs Blog states (Fleming, 7/10).
“A tremendous amount of attention will be focused on AIDS over the next six weeks — and that’s a great thing,” as the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) convenes in Washington, D.C., from July 22 to 27, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby writes in an opinion piece in The Hill. “This is a moment of hope,” he adds, continuing, “The world has seen a fundamental transformation in the global AIDS outlook over the past decade, with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria playing leading roles.”
Punitive Laws, Human Rights Violations Inhibiting Global AIDS Response, Global Commission On HIV And Law Report Says
“Punitive laws and human rights abuses are costing lives, wasting money, and stifling the global AIDS response,” according to a report (.pdf) released Monday by the independent Global Commission on HIV and the Law, which estimated the number of new HIV infections worldwide could be halved from 2.1 million to 1.2 million annually with changes in law and public policy, BMJ reports (Roehr, 7/9). The report, “based on 18 months of extensive research and analysis, as well as first-hand accounts from more than 1,000 people in 140 countries,” “finds evidence that governments in every region of the world have wasted the potential of legal systems in the fight against HIV,” according to the U.N. News Centre. The commission comprises “former heads of state and leading legal, human rights and HIV experts, and [is] supported by the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) on behalf of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS),” the news service notes (7/9).
The July 2012 issue of Health Affairs, published Monday, examines the impact of PEPFAR, focusing on “the origins of the program; the lessons learned from implementation; the successes achieved in terms of human health and well-being; and the opportunities that now exist to lay the groundwork for an ‘AIDS-free generation,'” the Health Affairs Blog reports, noting, “The new Health Affairs issue will be discussed [Tuesday] morning at a Washington, D.C., briefing” (Fleming, 7/10). U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby will deliver keynote remarks at the briefing, a U.S. Department of State press notice reports (7/9). In a paper to be discussed at the event, Kartik Venkatesh, an M.D./Ph.D. graduate student at Brown University, writes that PEPFAR’s adoption of generic drug usage made the program “a success,” a Brown University press release notes (7/9). In another study assessing the effects of PEPFAR-supported HIV programs, researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found “PEPFAR-funded, HIV-related projects were linked to more deliveries in health facilities,” according to a Columbia University press release (7/9).
In this New York Times opinion piece, columnist Nicholas Kristof examines the effectiveness of U.S. foreign aid, writing, “In this election year in the United States, there’ll be bitter debates about what should be cut from budgets, and one thing Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on is that foreign aid is bloated.” He states, “In fact, all foreign aid accounts for about one percent of federal spending — and that includes military assistance and a huge, politically driven check made out to Israel, a wealthy country that is the largest recipient of American aid.” He continues, “On my annual win-a-trip journey with a university student — this year it’s Jordan Schermerhorn of Rice University — we’ve been seeing how assistance changed the course of the AIDS epidemic in Lesotho and Malawi.”
The Financial Times examines efforts by “Ethiopian policymakers, faced with a rapidly expanding population and rising numbers of HIV/AIDS infections,” to integrate family planning into HIV counseling and testing programs in the country. “When counseling women on reproductive health or child immunization, family planning clinics can also discuss HIV testing and prevention, particularly condom use, as well as introducing pregnant women to mother-to-child HIV transmission prevention services,” the newspaper notes.