Sequestration’s losers and winners, a blast from the past, condoms confound, and more . . .

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WWRlogocolor_NewSequestration, cutting research funding not smart, say business owners : Funding for medical research, which feeds scientific advances at universities, institutions and businesses across the nation, should not be cut as part of the automatic across the board funding cuts known as sequestration, 45 percent of the business owners responding to Research!America’s survey say. Sequestration, in any case, isn’t a smart strategy to reduce debt, 40 percent of them say. And, according to 90 percent of those surveyed, research and development is good for competitiveness. Maybe those surveyed who have kept businesses going and competitive during recent hard times, know something that those who would let the cuts happen don’t . . .

And the winner is . . .: With automatic and indiscriminate funding cuts across the board looming, you might be wondering what the positive side is . . . there isn’t one, this depiction from Pulitzer prize winning editorial cartoonist Matt Davies indicates; the winners of cuts in funding for humanitarian programs, research, and global health responses will be the preventable and treatable, but otherwise deadly diseases that will have more room to grow.

Understanding AIDS: The death of former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop earlier this week brought reminiscences of his years in office and of the awareness he tried to raise when, as he later said, too many people “placed conservative ideology far above saving human lives.” And it was a reminder of the time when the information in this brochure, sent to American households more than seven years after the AIDS epidemic was first noted, was news to many of its readers.

The Prison Educator From the more recent past, this film produced by IRIN news a couple of years ago about a program using former and current prisoners to educate other prisoners about HIV and other health risks, shows the continued urgency to provide information where it is most needed. The educator who speaks in the film was trained in an innovative program in Florida developed by a health educator there, and Miami-based Health through Walls, a nonprofit that Science Speaks visited last week in Haiti, coordinates the effort, which continues.

Condoms continue to confound Uganda: “Experts say there is a need to divorce morality from public policy if results are to be achieved,” this IRIN analysis on falling condom use and rising HIV prevalence in Uganda says. While it’s still not clear what is immoral about protecting oneself from a preventable and deadly disease, the article makes it clear that Ugandan leadership’s message that abstinence and faithfulness are more moral than condom use has not helped the country maintain the initial success of its AIDS response.

Impact of an innovative policy to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV: In 2011 Malawi became the first country to adopt “Option B+” — antiretroviral treatment for life for expectant mothers living with HIV, regardless of the progress of their infection. In the year that followed the number of pregnant and breastfeeding women on treatment rose by more than 700 percent, according to this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. In a country struggling with healthcare gaps, it simplified protocols allowed women to receive HIV treatment after one positive rapid HIV test, and removed obstacles to critical medical services by allowing women to access HIV treatment and prenatal care in the same clinic. In addition the option reduces risks to uninfected partners, to children born of future pregnancies, and to the health of the women.

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