Eliminating TB, curbing AIDS orphans with ART scale-up, and more…

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The following is a compilation of recent articles and news pieces making headlines in HIV/TB and global health.

How to Wipe Out Tuberculosis: In an opinion piece published in U.S. News & World Report, the ministers of health from South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland called on the international community for help eliminating tuberculosis from the planet. Highlighting the existence of cheap and highly-effective drug therapies and recent diagnostic breakthroughs (namely the Gene Xpert rapid TB test), the three say, “…We have a genuine shot at eliminating this scourge from the face of the earth.”

Daulaire Confirmed as U.S. Representative on Executive Board of WHO: The U.S. Senate has unanimously confirmed Dr. Nils Daulaire as the U.S. representative on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO), according to an article in the Association of Schools of Public Health’s Friday Letter.  Dr. Dulaire, a clinical professor in Global Health at the University of Washington, is currently director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Global Health Affairs. The board is made up of 34 representatives who are technically qualified in the field of public health, that meet twice a year and are charged with giving “effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, to advise it and generally to facilitate its work,” according to the WHO website.

Urgent need to expand drug roll-out:  New research by Aranka Zakara of the Vancouver-based British Columbia Centre for Excellence shows that universal access to antiretroviral (ARV) medication in the Africa region could avert 3.15 million maternal orphans, 1.89 million paternal orphans and nearly 750,000 orphans without either parent. According to an article in Mail & Guardian, the study modeled the uptake of ARVs from 2009 to 2020 in the 10 sub-Saharan countries with the largest HIV epidemics and the greatest number of AIDS orphans. Zakara compared two different scenarios – one assuming immediate universal access to ARV medication for HIV-infected individuals and the second assuming clinical eligibility requirements differed between countries.

Foreign Aid Cuts Imperil People and Power: Two Yale undergraduate students spoke out in favor of U.S. contributions to global aid in an op-ed in the Hartford Courant. The piece makes note of 500,000 AIDS patients who could perish without access to HIV-funding antiretroviral drugs – “only a small subset of the lives that will be lost,” if the fiscal year 2012 funding measure that passed in the House is made into law, the piece said. The writers also made the case that many U.S. military leaders believe military power must be balanced with development assistance.

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