Financing continued global health development, TB in Texas and abroad, and more…

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

Bill Gates’ Plan to Assist the World’s Poor: In this Washington Post op-ed, Bill Gates gave a preview to his report to the leaders of the world’s 20 major economies at Thursday’s G-20 Summit in France. According to the piece, his report on innovative ways to finance global development programs during the worldwide economic downturn focuses on three key ideas: aid is most effective in targeting gaps in innovation and development; supporting the development of poor countries is inextricably tied to the health and prosperity of wealthier countries; and the U.S. is not the only country shouldering the weight of development. “We’re providing strategic investments that link up with many other investments to systematically make a better, more prosperous and safer world. If we do it right, we can keep shrinking the number of countries where aid is needed to zero,” Gates wrote.

In related news…

KFF identified 31 innovative financing mechanisms for global health for inclusion in its report on the subject.

Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Global Health: The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released its report on development recently with a focus on global health, subtitled, “Overview & Considerations for U.S. Government Participation.” With an eye on the G-20 meeting, This report examines some of the most prominent new financing mechanisms for global health across a range of categories, with particular attention to the current level of U.S. government involvement,” according to KFF. The report also examines opportunities and challenges related to future U.S. global health investment. See the chart to the left for an outline of the financing mechanisms the report explores.

Tuberculosis Is Thriving in Texas: In an op-ed that appeared in the Houston Chronicle this week, Dr. Jeffrey Starke of the Children’s Tuberculosis Clinic at the Baylor School of Medicine talks about the recent outbreak of TB at Ennis High School and its tie to the need to control the global epidemic. “Worldwide, there will be almost 10 million tuberculosis cases causing 1.4 million deaths in 2011. An increasing number of tuberculosis germs have become resistant to the only available drugs. If we’re ever going to end this disease, we must develop new tools for diagnosis and treatment – and we must do a better job of protecting children,” Starke writes.

Highlights from Current HIV Research: The September 2011 issue of Current HIV Research (Volume 9, Number 6), an open-access journal, includes a host of timely articles on hot topics in HIV and TB research, particularly treatment as prevention.  Topics addressed include the cost effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prevention, an update on current research efforts looking at ART to prevent HIV and TB, and modeling the impact of ART on the HIV epidemic.

Managing TB in children:  Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)/Doctors without Borders recently released a new report entitled, “Out of the dark: An implementers’ guide to managing TB in children,” to raise awareness of the continuing need to push for improvements in managing these patients. Intending to guide treatment programs for implementation of the best standards of care for children with TB, the report outlines the current state of pediatric TB care, looks at current practices, new developments and research needs in pediatric TB diagnosis, treatment and prevention, according to MSF.

Concurrent partnerships did not increase risk for HIV transmission in South Africa: An article in Infectious Disease News looks at the results of a population-based cohort study in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, which found that concurrent partnerships among the study subjects did not increase their HIV transmission risk, contrary to popular belief.  Researchers looked at data from 2,152 sexually active men aged 15 to 55 years and their reported concurrent and lifetime partners, and subsequently followed HIV-negative women 15 years of age and older. The overall number of sexual lifetime partners among participants instead was found to increase the risk of HIV transmission.

CFR Launches Interactive Map Tracking Vaccine-Preventable Disease Outbreaks: The Global Health program at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has developed a new interactive map tracking global outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, the culmination of a three-year effort tracking relevant reports. Diseases include measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio and rubella. According to CFR’s Lucy Dunderdale, the map is searchable by region, year and disease – and CFR encourages map visitors to submit additional news reports of outbreaks and vaccine shortages.

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