CDC looks at TB/HIV syndemic, Lancet looks at expectations for Jim Kim, studies look at lower HIV risks for gay fathers, importance of healthy vaginas, and more. . .

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CDC’s Grand Rounds feature examines past, future of HIV/TB response: In a world where an estimated 160 people die of tuberculosis every hour, where 25 percent of HIV/AIDS-related deaths are caused by TB, and where 9 million people can be expected to develop the disease each year, while untreatable forms of infection have emerged, “much remains to be done,” to address the linked epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis, this report says. It notes that largely, worldwide, diagnoses of tuberculosis continue to rely on a 125-year-old test, and treatment on 40-year-old medicines. The report points to the need for science to develop an effective vaccine, create new TB treatment regimens and produce new diagnostic tests to diagnose TB infection and disease. It also notes World Health Organization recently updated guidelines for tuberculosis screening and prevention in settings with limited resources. Saying “the gap between what we know, and what we need to know is large,” the report concludes “the gap between what we know, and what we are implementing in practice is both larger and more harmful.”

When a global health champion goes where the money is – from Lancet: While leaders in global health and development are elated that one of their own – physician, anthropologist, Partners in Health co-founder and public health expert Jim Yong Kim — will head the World Bank, bank insiders are wary, this Lancet story reports. Sources, according to the article, express concerns that “because of Kim’s background, humanitarian or human development will take centre stage instead of economic growth . . . And there is also a concern that Kim will focus on health and HIV/AIDS.” But, the story also quotes Devi Sridhar, lecturer of global health politics at Oxford University: “Many experts still think health is just a social issue and he can play a really big role in changing that.”

Study looks at gay fatherhood and lowered HIV risk: Research at San Francisco State University summarized on Medical News Today found indications that lifestyle shifts of parenthood lower the HIV risks of gay male couples. Researchers’ findings, published in June’s Couple and Family Psychology journal included that while fatherhood did not usually change couples’ existing agreements on whether their relationships were exclusive or not, couples reported a greater sense of responsibility to avoid risky behavior. According to the Medical News summary, findings also suggested that raising a family tends to have the same effect on gay couples as heterosexual couples – cutting into their sex lives.

A healthy vagina may mean lower HIV transmission risk: Bacterial vaginosis – the most common vaginal infection — could be a factor in in a significant number of HIV infections in Africa, this article in PLoS Medicine says. The infection results from an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina, is common in Africa, and has previously been linked to an increased likelihood of becoming infected with the virus that leads to AIDS.  Based on data collected from 2,236 heterosexual African couples, researchers’ findings indicated that HIV-positive women who have bacterial vaginosis are more than three times as likely to transmit HIV to their partners as HIV-positive women with healthy vaginal tracts. Keeping vaginal bacteria balanced with both preventive treatment of probiotics (so-called “good bacteria”) and presumptive curative treatment without testing could lower the rates of bacterial vaginosis and of HIV transmission, the authors suggest.

TB “rife” among staff as well as patients at KwaZulu Natal hospitals:  With the finding that 120 of 1,400 staff members of the biggest government tuberculosis hospitals had active tuberculosis, this Mercury article points to a lack of occupational health officers at the facilities. Of 120 tuberculosis diagnoses among nurses, administrative and support staff at the hospitals, the article says, 17 were drug resistant, 16 multi-drug resistant, and one was extensively drug resistant. The article also says that 27 of those diagnosed with tuberculosis also were living with HIV.

Site helps track U.S. foreign aid: Graphics give a glimpse of funding by agency, country, sector, and year on this site, which, according to its “About” page, was created in response to Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and President Obama’s Open Government Initiative.

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