What We’re Reading

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As we head into the International Aids Conference next week, here are a few stories and posts to get your wheels turning. Stay tuned for live blogging from the Conference.

  • News came this week of an antibody that can kill 91% of strains of HIV, bringing hope for an effective vaccine against the virus. A video discussion that accompanied a post at Global Pulse Journal is included in this post, and Andrew Green has a great analysis at Change.org’s Global Poverty blog.
  • Also from Change.org’s Global Poverty blog is an interview with Dr. Paul Zietz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance. The headline explains the subject matter well: “How Obama backed away from the global war on AIDS.”
  • Alanna Shaikh has a post on UN Dispatch this week on a difficult choice faced by the Malawi Ministry of Health: start HIV treatment at a CD4 count of 350 (allowing each patient a greater chance at survival) or wait until it sinks to 200 (giving a greater number of people access to treatment)? Ultimately, the Malawi government chose the first option, following WHO guidelines and increasing costs. Alanna’s post outlines the implications of both.
  • Karen Grepin wrote in her Global Health Blog this week about a new study demonstrating the evidence in favor of early treatment initiation (perhaps suggesting that Malawi made the right choice by following the WHO recommendation). She argues the data reaffirms much of what we already knew, but that “it does now provide convincing evidence that treatment guides should be to treat sooner than later if minimizing mortality is a goal.”
  • Prevalence of HIV has fallen by 25 percent in young people in 12 of the most affected countries, according to a new study from UNAIDS. Says Executive Director Michel Sidibé in an article in the Guardian:

“We are at the defining moment now, where we need to reshape completely the Aids response…the world is demanding change. We cannot continue with the same response. It is not sustainable. It is very clear from public opinion region by region that AIDS continues to be a top priority, but they are calling for a paradigm shift.”

  • Finally, the Obama Administration released its US AIDS plan, which highlighted the tight budgets AIDS programs are facing today. The Reuters article has more detail.

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