The 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Africa (ICASA) opened Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, “with mixed messages of hope and fear,” Afrique en ligne reports, adding, “With about 7,000 people in attendance, the opening ceremony witnessed the celebration of past successes and fear over future uncertainties in funding for HIV/AIDS” (12/4). According to Next, the conference “will provide a platform for effective African solution toward defeating the scourge once and for all” (12/5).
A number of government leaders made statements on Thursday in recognition of World AIDS Day. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a press statement said, “We have come a long way in the fight against AIDS, but there is still a long road ahead to realize our ambitious goals. If we continue to work together and coordinate a global effort guided by science, we may one day live in an AIDS-free generation” (12/1). In a post on the White House Blog, Gayle Smith, special assistant to the President, and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby write, “As President Obama made clear, the fight against global AIDS is a shared responsibility, not one the U.S. can meet alone. â€¦ As we move forward, we will work with a growing number of partners as the global community joins the U.S. in a heightened focus on this fight” (12/1).
“As the world heads into the fourth decade of AIDS, it is finally in a position to end the epidemic, [U.N.] Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said [Thursday], leading a chorus of United Nations officials in calling for the political will, investments and determination to reach this goal,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “‘Momentum is on our side. Let us use it to end AIDS — once and for all,’ Mr. Ban said in his message for World AIDS Day,” the news service writes (12/1).
The December issue of the WHO Bulletin features an editorial on effective aid in complex settings; a public health round-up; an article on the “One World” approach to global health; a research paper on U.S. aid policy and induced abortion in sub-Saharan Africa; and a policy article on lay health worker attrition (December 2011).
“Afghans are living longer, fewer infants are dying and more women are surviving childbirth because health care has dramatically improved around the country in the past decade, according to a national survey released Wednesday,” the Associated Press/Guardian reports. The survey, conducted by the Afghan Health Ministry in 2010 and “sponsored and funded by international organizations such as UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the U.S. government and the British Department for International Development,” “indicates that increased access to health care in Afghanistan, more hospitals and clinics, and more trained health care workers and doctors have significantly contributed to an overall improvement in the health of most Afghans,” the AP writes (11/30).
Al Jazeera examines HIV among women in India’s Manipur state, particularly in the district of Churachandpur, where local non-governmental organizations “say more than one-quarter of the women use some kind of drugs and suffer from HIV; many, due to a lack of financial opportunities, will end up turning to” sex work to obtain money to buy drugs, the news agency writes. There are no long-term treatment facilities for people who use drugs or those living with HIV in the area, and there are no official statistics on how many women are living with HIV and using drugs, Al Jazeera reports. “The United Nations says these women can no longer be ignored,” the news agency notes. Charles Gilks of UNAIDS India said the number of affected women must be determined and then organizations need to establish “interventions which those women can easily and reliably reach,” Al Jazeera reports (Suri, 11/30).
U.N. Progress Report On AIDS Stresses Advances In Treatment, Prevention, Warns About Declining Funding
“Global progress in both preventing and treating HIV emphasizes the benefits of sustaining investment in HIV/AIDS over the longer term,” according to a new report from the WHO, UNICEF and UNAIDS, which also “indicates that increased access to HIV services resulted in a 15 percent reduction of new infections over the past decade and a 22 percent decline in AIDS-related deaths in the last five years,” a WHO press release reports (11/30). The report, titled “Progress report 2011: Global HIV/AIDS response,” notes that “[a]s capacity at all levels increases, programs are becoming more effective and efficient,” but “financial pressures on both domestic and foreign assistance budgets are threatening the impressive progress to date. Recent data indicating that HIV funding is declining is a deeply troubling trend that must be reversed for the international community to meet its commitments on HIV” (11/30).
Speaking at the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF 4) in Busan, South Korea, “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that programs to help the world’s poor should be treated as national security priorities as economic turmoil leaves millions struggling to find work and food,” the Associated Press reports, adding, “Clinton, the first American secretary of state to participate in such an aid conference, said in a speech that development is as important as diplomacy and defense in creating a more peaceful world.” Clinton also made remarks at the forum’s Special Session on Gender, and the State Department provides a fact sheet related to her remarks. Inter Press Service examines how, as the HLF 4 “takes shape in Busan, one question is if women and children in Africa can expect any tangible results from the conference” (11/29).
Xinhua posted several articles examining HIV/AIDS in China. The first looks at HIV/AIDS among the general population. The article notes that 346,000 people are living with HIV in China, and the “number is predicted to hit 780,000 by the end of 2011, according to an expert panel … [c]onsisting of members from China’s Ministry of Health (MOH), the World Health Organization and UNAIDS,” the MOH reported in a statement released on Tuesday (11/29). A second article discusses HIV/AIDS among the country’s older population, especially men, and college students (11/30).
“Thousands gathered in Senegal [Tuesday] for the opening of the second International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), the largest meeting of its kind, which will run until December 2, 2011,” the Foreign Policy Association blog reports (Clifford, 11/29). The meeting “will aim to push forward an agenda for broad family planning access and support around the world,” according to the Accra Mail (11/29). “The historic four-day conference features more than 140 plenaries, sessions and panels that will share latest research, proven strategies, and lessons learned in addressing the massive need for contraception worldwide,” the Foreign Policy Association blog writes, adding, “Participants will seek to galvanize greater political and financial support, hold governments accountable for their commitments, and champion contraceptive innovation and access” (11/29).