Category Archives: HIV/AIDS

Pope Benedict Speaks Out on Condom Use

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The Associated Press reported earlier this week that in a new book about Pope Benedict XVI, the pontiff says condom use can be justified for male prostitutes seeking to stop the spread of HIV. Vatican spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi clarified the Pope’s statement Tuesday, stating that condom use is acceptable prevention against HIV transmission for women and transsexual […]

iPrEx results are in; Six experts offer thoughts

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Today The New England Journal of Medicine released the positive results of the Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Initiative (iPrEx) trial, which looked at whether daily oral dosing of two FDA-approved antiretroviral (ARV) medications used to treat HIV/AIDS — tenofovir and emtricitabine, combined in one tablet (Truvada) — can prevent HIV transmission in high-risk populations. This study looked specifically at men who have sex with men (MSM) who are at high-risk of infection. Trial investigators found that daily dosing indicated a 44 percent reduction in the incidence of HIV, with detectable levels of the study drug in participants’ blood strongly correlating with the prophylactic effect. The study enrolled nearly 2500 HIV-negative MSM at 11 locations across the globe, including Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, South Africa, Thailand and two locations in the United States.

The Center gathered responses to the trial results from leaders in the field of HIV/AIDS medicine, policy and advocacy.

Group raises awareness of forced sterilization among HIV positive women

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The following is a guest post by Professor Sofia Gruskin and Sarah MacCarthy. Gruskin is director of the Program on International Health and Human Rights (PIHHR) at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Faculty Chair of the Group on Reproductive Health and Rights (GRHR). MacCarthy is a doctoral candidate working at PIHHR and coordinating the GRHR.

In early September, the case of three HIV-positive women who filed suit saying they were sterilized at public health facilities without their consent resumed in the High Court of Namibia, garnering substantial international attention. In partnership with the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, women’s groups in Namibia have been at the forefront of a global movement to document and raise awareness of the alarming levels of forced sterilization occurring among HIV-positive women around the globe.

What We’re Reading

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The December issue of Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS) has a supplement on HIV/AIDS among drug using populations. Articles include analyses of the link between drug use and HIV epidemics and antiretroviral therapy treatment and prevention in drug users. There is also one article that looks at tuberculosis and hepatitis C co-infection with HIV/AIDS, examining how these deadly combinations affect drug users worldwide.

On the ONE blog, Julie Walz from the Center for Global Development writes about their annual “Commitment to Development Index,” which ranks countries on their commitment to aid and development. The United States is No. 11. Sweden is No. 1, and South Korea comes in last.

MSF report demands urgent response to HIV, TB in Swaziland

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Twenty years ago, the average person in Swaziland could expect to live 60 years. Today, the ravages of the tuberculosis and HIV epidemics have dropped that number to 31 years, according to a new report “Fighting a dual epidemic” released today by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV infection among […]

Results out soon for iPrEx study on PrEP effectiveness among MSM

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When will we see the efficacy results from the iPrEx study on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) effectiveness among men who have sex with men (MSM)? “Sooner than you think,” said Pedro Goicochea, an iPrEx trial investigator, during a conference call this afternoon convened by AVAC. The trail data is currently being analyzed, but there have been some […]

Goosby works to integrate AIDS, family planning services

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Every year, the US Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator sends out what it calls Country Operational Plan (COP) guidance to embassies around the world. You could think of COP as a cop: It tells the hundreds and hundreds of US government health experts the goalposts ahead, including a list of things that can’t be done.

One COP piece of guidance this year has caused some distress in the field: Family planning can be integrated into HIV programs, but no US government money can buy family planning commodities, including contraceptives, due to US regulations.

So in some countries a women receiving help in preventing transmission of HIV to their child during birth can’t later receive free contraceptives with PEPFAR money.

Dr. Eric Goosby, the global AIDS coordinator, said in an interview with journalists Thursday that he and his staff have been trying to find a way to allow women to be able to get those commodities. He said he is trying to sort through political and bureaucratic issues.