Hope for more answers on women’s HIV prevention, a reminder of how denialism was conquered, and a network of laboratories in Africa . . . We’re reading about pubic health and progress

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NewWWRThis device could stop HIV’s spread . . . Were the results of the recent ASPIRE and Ring trials of antiretroviral-loaded vaginal rings to protect against HIV acquisition exciting, or disappointing? This article by Heather Boerner delves into the hopes pinned on trial results that ranged from zero effectiveness for the most at-risk age group of women under 21, to a promising 61 percent reduction in HIV infections for women older than 25. Multi-sourced with thoughtful comments from a range of perspectives, this offers an insightful look at the need for HIV prevention tools for women, the obstacles in the way, and the hopes that continue to propel the quest.

Mbeki shows no remorse for AIDS deaths – With a legacy of the preventable deaths of hundreds of thousands of people he was elected to serve and protect, it is not surprising that former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki continues to deny the realities of HIV, and of what he did to his country. It is, however, outrageous to be subjected to his arguments for denying life-saving treatment to people who needed it once again. But his recent letter doing exactly that has a positive side in the response from Treatment Action Campaign, the pioneering South African organization that, in the absence of government leadership, steered a response to the epidemic. It serves as a reminder of why a supported and heard civil society is critical, and in matters of public health, a matter of life and death.

ASLM Lab Culture, Special Global Health Security Edition – Even after the unprecedented threat posed by the spread of Ebola through Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone was recognized in the March 2014, limited diagnostic and surveillance capacities continued to slow responses, hobbling care to individuals and to efforts to control the epidemic. This edition of the African Society for Laboratory Medicine’s Lab Culture newsletter looks at a plan to build functional public health response systems across the continent with a network of laboratories responsive to local needs.

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