Living with MDR-TB, ten great public health achievements, and more…

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The following selection of “What We’re Reading” is a compilation of recent articles and reports making headlines in HIV and TB news.

Real Stories of People Living with MDR-TB: Medecins Sans Frontieres has a new blog project – TB and ME – for patients worldwide being treated for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) to share their stories about living with the disease. From pill burden, to isolation, to abandoning work and school in order to seek care and get well, the blog series aims to highlight the increasing problem of drug resistant tuberculosis as a global problem in need of serious attention.

UN Rights Body Hits Out against Violence Based on Sexual Orientation: The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution this month affirming the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world for the first time, which many hope will bolster AIDS prevention efforts within this marginalized population. Within the resolution, the council requests a study be conducted documenting discriminatory laws and violent acts against this population that must be completed by December. The council believes this data could be decisive in constructing an effective AIDS response.  

A Call for Public-Private Partnerships for HIV Prevention: In a Huffington Post op-ed posted Monday, Drs. Ward Cates, Salim S. Abdool Karim and Myron S. Cohen outline some of the amazing scientific advances made in the past year in the field of HIV prevention (CAPRISA 004, iPrEx and most recently HPTN 052), achievements they say would not have been possible without public-private partnerships. Moving forward, collaborating to train health care workers and provide low-cost drugs to those in need are other examples of public-private partnerships needed to fully expound upon the scientific promise these trials provide.

New Math in HIV Fight: Mark Schoofs of the Wall Street Journal recently reported on a statistical method that has evolved “from physics to Wall Street to battle against AIDS.”  According to the model parameters, HIV vaccine research should hone in on a few targets rather than going for a broad approach, with the target looking at how “elite controllers” – HIV-infected patients who can naturally control the infection without medication – by attacking the virus at its most vulnerable areas and controlling its mutations.

Ten Great Public Health Achievements Worldwide: A new report from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) details the global public health advances between 2001 and 2010 that have resulted in longer lives and increases in the average life expectancy worldwide.“Examples include substantially fewer deaths from malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV because of the ability to rapidly identify and treat people; near-eradication of Guinea worm disease through education and safe water technology; and 2.5 million fewer deaths among children younger than five by providing measles, polio, and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccines.”

Prevention and Treatment of HIV and Other STIs among MSM and Transgender People: The World Health Organization (WHO) has released guidelines focusing on the prevention and treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people. The public health approach recommendations address evidence-based recommendations, implementation issues and key research gaps and focus on ensuring an enabling environment for recognizing and protecting human rights.

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