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U.N. Says PMTCT Of HIV Is Achievable, Efforts Must Target Millions Currently ‘Falling Through The Cracks’

“A generation of babies could be born free of AIDS if the international community stepped up efforts to provide universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and social protection, the United Nations said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. The declaration came on the eve of World AIDS Day, as U.N. leaders released a new report (.pdf), which found “millions of women and children, particularly in poor countries, fall through the cracks of HIV services either due to their gender, social or economic status, location or education,” according to the news service (Kelland, 11/30).

Daily Oral Antiretroviral Reduces HIV Infection Risk In MSM By 44%, Study Finds

A study that included nearly 2,500 HIV-negative men and transgender women who have sex with men has shown that a daily dose of Truvada, a pill containing the AIDS drugs emtricitabine and tenofovir, “can reduce risk of contracting [HIV] by an average of 44% – and by more than 70% if the subjects” follow the regimen closely, Los Angeles Times reports (Maugh, 11/23).

UNAIDS Report Finds New HIV Infections Dropped By 20% Over 10 Years, Deaths From AIDS-Related Illness Dropped By 20% Over 5 Years

The number of new HIV infections “has dropped by about one-fifth over the past decade but millions of people are still missing out on major progress in prevention and treatment,” according to the annual UNAIDS report released Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reports. “In 2009, 2.6 million people contracted the HIV virus that causes AIDS, a decline of 19 percent over the 3.1 million recorded in” 1999 the report found, according to the news service (11/23).

Pope Says Condoms Are Justified In Some Cases To Prevent HIV Infection

“Pope Benedict XVI says in a new book that condoms can be justified for male prostitutes seeking to stop the spread of HIV, a stunning comment for a church criticized for its opposition to condoms and for a pontiff who has blamed them for making the AIDS crisis worse,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. The pope’s comments were made public on Saturday, when a Vatican newspaper ran excerpts from Benedict’s book-length interview with German Journalist Peter Seewald for “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times,” due out Tuesday, the news service writes (D’Emilio/Winfield, 11/21).

Officials Discuss HIV/AIDS In Caribbean During PANCAP Meeting

“Despite the gains associated with antiretroviral treatments (ART) over the last decade, HIV/AIDS remains the leading cause of death among young and middle-aged adults in the Caribbean, warns a new U.N. report” that was released during the 10th Annual General Meeting of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) that concluded on Tuesday, Inter Press Service reports (Richards, 11/3).

Recent Releases In Global Health

ASTMH Meeting Blog: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s (ASTMH) “Annual Meeting Blog” has a number of posts from this week’s gathering, including: “The ethics of overseas clinical research”; an interview with John Cook, former ASTMH president; American attention to dengue fever; a profile of Michele Barry, senior…

Recent Releases In Global Health

Progress, Challenges In Curbing Neglected Tropical Diseases: “The effect of 30 years of neglect for these diseases in research and development of new diagnostics and drugs, and, crucially, in investing in training and education in vector-borne diseases, is evident. Most current drugs for neglected tropical diseases are old, and the…

U.N. Agencies’ Report Examines Global Progress In Fight Against HIV/AIDS

“A record 1.2 million people in low- and middle-income countries started antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS in 2009” – a 30 percent increase from the previous year and a 13-fold increase in six years, according to a joint report released Tuesday by the WHO, UNICEF and UNAIDS, Reuters reports. In total, the report found that 5.25 million people received antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 2009, three-quarters of them living in Africa (Migiro, 9/28).