HIV R4P and a report from the U.S. CDC: Ebola and HIV redux

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Dr. Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was scheduled this morning at the HIV Research for Prevention (or as it is called by tweet-savvy organizers, HIV R4P) meeting, to  pull the once disparate threads of what is now a joined endeavor of biomedical HIV prevention approaches together, in a talk about synergy.

But he couldn’t come in person, conference co-chair Dr. Helen Rees noted, because of another terrible tragedy, which had a familiar shame.

“Ebola started in three poor African countries, and the world watched, and the world didn’t mobilize,” she said. The other predictable events followed: While the toll multiplied, politicians made decisions based not on evidence but expedience, and the fact that efforts toward a potentially successful vaccine for what was considered a “tropical disease” had languished suddenly drew attention as the public health threat extended to better off countries. “Remind you of anything?” Rees asked.

The question now, which as she put it is “can we think differently and can we do things more rapidly?” remained a question today, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an update on the state of the Ebola crisis in West Africa in an early release of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

It shows that as of more than a week ago 9911 cases of the virus had been reported in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. That was week number 42 of the epidemic, according to an accompanying chart, which shows the crisis beginning with case numbers in the double digits at the end of March, climbing slowly and then steeply. The data, the report says, reflect reported cases, which comprise an unknown reflection of actual cases.

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