Lessons learned, lessons yet to be learned, Lancet’s MSM series, tuberculosis as kindling — HIV as the match, and more . . .

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JAIDS all-PEPFAR supplement is free online and gives a past, present, future look at the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief as a historic effort that can still look forward to its greatest accomplishments. While the emphasis is on the program’s successes and a pre-AIDS 2012 panel discussion was light on the “lessons learned” from PEPFAR results, the article “Prevention of Sexually Transmitted HIV Infections Through the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief: A History of Achievements and Lessons Learned” offers some perspective on the limitations of prevention efforts with limited evaluation potential, bound by an “abstinence-until-marriage” funding allocation, in diverse settings. The conclusion all of that points to is that future efforts will find their greatest success targeting evidence-based results.

The Lancet’s HIV in men who have sex with men series: While the chasm in efforts to apply known answers to HIV in addressing the human rights, social and medical needs of sexual minorities continues to boggle the mind, the Lancet series dedicated entirely to HIV in men who have sex with men should make issues that should be central to any advocacy or implementation harder to ignore. A concise commentary “The irony of homophobia in Africa” draws attention to the role westerners — first colonizers, then “evangelists,” and even PEPFAR-backed programs — have played in promoting anti-gay bias and discrimination, while rendering a true accounting of the epidemic impossible. Additional commentaries on the role of gay activists in research and the development of antiretroviral drugs, on epidemic-fueling sodomy laws and African prisons, and the feature “Call to action for comprehensive HIV services for men who have sex with men” are among the articles that make this one of the most important takeaways from AIDS 2012.

Let’s Learn From HIV Activists How to Achieve Zero Tuberculosis Deaths, writes Salmaan Keshavjee, director of the Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change at Harvard Medical School in a recent HuffPost blog. While those affected by HIV have found high-profile support, the experiences of people affected by tuberculosis — a disease of poverty, Keshavjee reminds us —  remain largely unshared. Point of care diagnostics, work place and health care setting treatment, as well as other responses that address the conditions surrounding the disease will be necessary to reach the attainable goal of zero deaths, he says.

A Call for a joint effort to address diseases that work together– TB and HIV : Latent tuberculosis, carried by two billion people is the kindling, authors Desmond Tutu and Gerry Elsdon write in “To attack HIV and AIDS, put an end to TB,” a Politico opinion piece. HIV, breaking down immune systems is the match. And while HIV speeds the spread of tuberculosis, tuberculosis also increases the likelihood of HIV transmission, the authors, both tuberculosis survivors, continue. They call for President Obama and Secretary Clinton to expand PEPFAR’s response to HIV-TB co-infection, and for HIV response advocates to draw attention to needs for tuberculosis services, including the latest diagnostic technology.

Left behind in HIV, TB advances, children die uncounted: Infectious disease physician and medical anthropologist Jennifer Furin can usually find a toy to hand a child she is treating, whether in Lesotho, or Russia. Compassionate people send them, she writes. What she can’t find, she says are adequate tools to diagnose sick children, appropriate medicine with which to treat them, and even an accurate count of the numbers of children in need of treatment for HIV and tuberculosis. She calls for HIV and TB treatment advocates to work together to see that the needs of children are answered.

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  1. Pingback: Video: Why Are HIV Rates Climbing Among Men Who Have Sex With Men?

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