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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.”

Vietnam Should Shut Compulsory Rehab Centers For Drug Users, Sex Workers, U.N. Expert Says

A U.N. expert on Monday “urged Vietnam … to close down its compulsory rehabilitation centers for sex workers and drug users, stressing that detention and forced treatment violate their right to health and perpetuate stigmatization and discrimination of those groups in the society,” the U.N. News Centre reports (12/5). “‘It’s essential to ensure that the considerable resources now invested in these centers are used instead to expand alternative treatments for injecting drug users,’ said” U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health Anand Grover, the Associated Press/Washington Post writes (12/5).

Also In Global Health News: HIV/AIDS In Bangladesh; River Blindness In Tanzania; Potential Immune System Booster; Compounds Might Fight TB

U.S. Commits $13M To Fight HIV/AIDS In Bangladesh BDNews24.com reports on a new $13 million U.S.-government initiative aimed at “providing HIV-prevention services to two million at-risk people in Bangladesh including injecting drug users, male, female and transgender sex workers and their clients, and HIV-positive people through a network of 50…

Kenyan Sex Workers Using PEP To Lower Risk Of HIV Infection, BBC Reports

BBC News Magazine reports on how sex workers in Kenya are using post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) antiretroviral therapy to lower their risk of HIV infection, instead of using condoms, which they say are too expensive. “There are no definitive figures to show how well PEP works. It’s far better, experts say,…

Compassion Necessary Component For Ending AIDS

In an Atlantic opinion piece, singer and songwriter Sir Elton John writes about his experiences with HIV/AIDS and recounts the work of several organizations, including the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “I’ve seen the difference these heroes are making. … I’ve seen with my own eyes what’s possible when compassion is…

IRIN Examines Efforts To Improve HIV Prevention, Treatment Access For Key Groups

“Around the world, the most marginalized groups in society — from Roma to HIV-positive people to sex workers to drug users — are reluctant to access basic health services because they fear arrest, intimidation and harassment,” IRIN reports. “While donors and governments spend vast amounts to put these critical services…

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,…

Efforts Responding To Health Needs Of Female Sex Workers Must Be Comprehensive

In a post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” published as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence initiative, Andrea Vazzano of Johns Hopkins University, and Tisha Wheeler and Diana Prieto of USAID’s Office of Global Health examine “the complex intersection of violence, reproductive health, and HIV faced by sex…

More Data Needed On Populations At Risk Of HIV In Emergency Settings, Experts Say

“More information about groups vulnerable to HIV infection during emergencies — including those labeled ‘most at-risk populations’ (MARPs) — is needed to improve humanitarian HIV programming, experts say,” IRIN reports. “‘In tense situations where everyone is watching everyone else to see what other people get their hands on, social stigma…