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Converting ‘Moral Entitlements’ Into Life-Long AIDS Treatment Commitments

“Many currently believe that U.S. domestic entitlements are too large, but disregard the fact that the PEPFAR program has created a new class of moral entitlements overseas — in the form of four million and counting people receiving U.S.-supported life-sustaining AIDS treatment in low- and middle-income countries around the world,” Mead Over, a senior fellow at the CGD, writes in the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Health Policy” blog. He continues, “But I think the U.S. has just as much fiduciary and moral responsibility to anticipate and plan for its current and future AIDS treatment entitlements overseas as it does for its much larger Social Security and Medicare entitlements at home,” and adds, “Moving forward, I suggest that the U.S. should figure out how to convert the moral entitlements it has already granted into credible long-term enforceable commitments which are more analogous to the commitments it makes to Social Security beneficiaries in the U.S.” (11/30).

Affected Countries, Communities Should Conduct Global Health Priority-Setting

“Global health is changing — both in policy and practice,” Alanna Shaikh, a development consultant and blogger currently working on a USAID-funded health project, writes in an opinion piece in the Guardian’s “Global Development Professionals Network” blog, adding the field is getting “far more attention in the past decade than in the years before,” which “also creates challenges.” Finding ways to prioritize resources and issues can be difficult, she says, but using the “global health perspective is valuable across the board” because it “focuses on linkages — between individuals, communities and nations, and among health topics.”

Skoll World Forum, ‘Impatient Optimists’ Examine How To End AIDS

The Skoll World Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog have co-produced a blog series to answer the question, “What will it really take to end AIDS?” In the first of six posts, Steffano Bertozi, director of HIV in the Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program, writes, “[D]espite evidence of measurable progress, it’s important to recognize that we still don’t have all of the tools that we need to end AIDS,” therefore “we still have an essential moral obligation to discover, develop and deliver new and better ways to help people protect themselves from HIV infection” (12/3). In another post, Erin Hohlfelder, ONE’s policy manager for health, says with “scaled-up financing, targeted programming, and expanded political will,” as well as “renewed urgency and concerted action, the world can transform the beginning of the end of AIDS from a vision to a reality and chart a course towards ending this pandemic” (12/3).

Global Fund, Tanzania Sign New Grant Agreement Worth $308M

“The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has signed a new grant agreement [with Tanzania] worth $308 million,” Devex’s “Development Newswire” reports. “The grant, signed Dec. 1, will help provide more than 660,000 Tanzanians access to antiretrovirals, HIV testing and counseling, and other health products for the next three years, according to a press release” from the Global Fund, the news service writes (Ravelo, 12/3). The press release states, “The grant will also allow the country to reach 96 percent of pregnant women with HIV testing and counseling, providing treatment for over 346,000 HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent HIV transmission to their babies by 2015.” The press release adds, “These results are being achieved through close collaboration with Tanzanian partners as well as with the U.S. Government’s PEPFAR program and other donors such as Germany through its bilateral cooperation” (12/1).

Report Examines International Funding For Neglected Diseases

“International financial support aimed at counteracting the world’s ‘neglected diseases’ increased by nearly a half-billion dollars over the past five years, according to new research released Monday, but changing funding dynamics could already be having a negative impact on the development of cures for diseases that affect a substantial proportion of the world’s poor,” Inter Press Service reports. “While funding for these diseases had begun to pick up, the new Global Funding of Innovation for Neglected Diseases (G-FINDER) report [.pdf] finds that this assistance has decreased again following the international financial crisis,” the news service writes, adding, “More worrying, funding for research into these diseases remains highly dependent on a tiny number of players,” including the U.S. (Biron, 12/3).

Questions Raised Over Cost Of, Funding For Obama Administration’s AIDS Blueprint

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday announced the Obama administration’s “President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation” (.pdf), which calls for a combination of prevention strategies including widespread treatment, “male circumcision, condom distribution and stopping transmission from mother to child,” NPR’s “Shots” blog reports. The blog notes the document does not describe the cost of the programs (Knox/Doucleff, 11/29). “[T]he global drive for austerity in developed economies, combined with sharp arguments about U.S. government spending, points to potential difficulties” in allocating funding to HIV/AIDS programs, the Daily Beast writes (Zeitlin, 12/1). U.S. “[f]unding for bilateral AIDS was $5.082 billion in fiscal 2012, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the government is currently operating on a continuing resolution based on that amount as the fiscal 2013 budget continues to be debated,” the Wall Street Journal reports, adding, “Sequestration, should that occur, would mean an [across-the-board discretionary] 8.2 percent cut” (McKay, 11/30).

PBS Blog Interviews Journalist Jon Cohen About Progress Against HIV/AIDS

The PBS NewsHour’s “The Rundown” blog features an interview with journalist Jon Cohen, in which he discusses the possibility of an “AIDS-free generation,” recent reports from UNAIDS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AIDS funding, HIV vaccine research, and World AIDS Day. “So there’s good news in the sense that the epidemic has stabilized, that new infections are dropping compared to a decade ago. And the more sobering news is there’s a lot of progress that the world collectively agreed should happen by 2015 … and it just doesn’t look like much of it is going to happen,” Cohen said about data in the UNAIDS’ World AIDS Day report: Results, the blog reports (Kane, 11/30).

Opinion Pieces, Editorial Address Global AIDS Response

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday announced the Obama administration’s “President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation” (.pdf), and the international community recognized World AIDS Day on December 1. The following opinion pieces and editorial address issues related to the global AIDS response.

GlobalPost Examines HIV/AIDS In Asia, Africa

As part of its series titled “The State of HIV/AIDS,” GlobalPost published two stories examining the epidemic in different regions of the world. In one article, the news service looks at the spread and control of HIV in Asia, writing, “No generalized epidemic has broken out across the region, HIV infection rates have stabilized in many countries, and more and more people are receiving antiretroviral medication.” However, “[t]he disease continues to spread: for every person in Asia that begins antiretroviral treatment, roughly two new adults are infected with HIV. Moreover, funding is too tight — the total of $1.1 billion spent on campaigns in Asia in 2009 was less than one-third of what the U.N. says is needed for universal success,” according to the news service (Carlson, 12/1). In a second article, GlobalPost says in Africa, “statistics tell an upbeat story,” noting that the number of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths have fallen over the past decade. “But despite all the positive progress, experts warn against complacency. Sub-Saharan Africa still accounted for almost three-quarters of all new HIV infections worldwide last year,” the news service continues (McConnell, 12/3).

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