World leaders on the Global Fund, cuts to PEPFAR as bad policy, new UNAIDS guidance, and more

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The following is a compilation of recent articles and releases making headlines in HIV, TB and global health news.

Joint UN statement calls for closure of compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centers: In this joint statement, 12 United Nations entities call for the closure of compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centers as they often threaten the health of detainees, including through increased vulnerability to HIV and tuberculosis infection.  Citing a concern for human rights violations, the statement reads, “Conditions in the drug detention and rehabilitation centers often involve forced labor, beatings, substandard conditions and lack of access to evidence-informed health care, including for HIV prevention and treatment and for drug dependence.”

An alliance the world can count on: In this Washington Post op-ed penned by President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, the leaders discuss the alliance between the U.S. and Great Britain and how their alliance can be valuable when dealing with the world’s toughest problems, including achieving an AIDS-free generation.  Obama and Cameron expressed their commitment to global health and, in particular, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

Uncontrolled HIV Linked to Decline in Lung Function: In this piece from Medscape Medical News, Jim Kling discusses a study released at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections demonstrating that advanced and uncontrolled HIV disease is associated with a decline in lung function more rapid than that seen in smokers.  Kling quoted conference attendee Dr. Andrew Carr when writing, “The link between poorly controlled HIV and lung function decline makes sense because infections can damage lung tissue and the immune system plays a role in the repair of damaged tissue.”

Why cutting PEPFAR is bad policy: Chris Collins, vice president and director of public policy for the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), provides several compelling reasons for why cutting funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is a bad move in this opinion piece for The Hill.  Collins writes, “The U.S. faces tough fiscal choices in the years ahead, but slashing PEPFAR when America is on the verge of leading the world toward the beginning of the end of the AIDS epidemic doesn’t make sense.”

UNAIDS guidance for partnerships with civil society, including PLHIV & key populations: UNAIDS has released a guidance document for partnerships with civil society groups, including people living with HIV/AIDS and other key populations.  The guidance is meant to strengthen and operationalize meaningful and respectful partnership work with civil society.  According to the document, the guidance “should enable the [United Nations] to deliver the targets and elimination commitments agreed in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS.”

Starke: A new commitment to stopping TB: Dr. Jeffrey Starke, professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and director of the Children’s TB Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital, wrote this op-ed in the Star-Telegram urging lawmakers to make greater investments in the fight against TB while describing his own experiences treating TB in children.  “If we fail to strengthen TB control, more than 10 million people around the world will die over the next decade. Women and children will account for nearly half of this figure. And the U.S. will face many more and much costlier outbreaks of TB,” according to the piece.

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