Will what’s past be prologue for global AIDS responses? Stories from around the world raise questions in what we’re reading . . .

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NewWWR “Tipping point” reached after rise in Phillipines HIV/AIDS cases? The HIV epidemic in the Philippines is relatively new, and relatively small, but its hardest hit populations, particularly gay men, are vulnerable and marginalized. You read the headline, and then you spend the rest of the article looking for the unexpected twist that will bring good news to this sad, familiar story. But there isn’t any — yet. The “tipping point” referred to in the headline, it turns out is the other kind — what the world watched happen in the United States and in Africa, when, as the Philippine epidemiologist interviewed here says, “We have a choice how big this problem will be, but we cannot go back anymore.”

Vietnam concerned over HIV donor funding cuts: With a new status of “middle-income,” an HIV epidemic “concentrated” among people who inject drugs and make their livings through commercial sex, in a setting of “the global financial crisis” Viet Nam is facing a steep and sudden drop in donor support for its response to AIDS. “We think that the long-term impact of these concerns may increase HIV cases and deaths to AIDS,” says the deputy head of Viet Nam’s national AIDS program. We think so too. We also think that “middle-income” doesn’t mean the same thing as “adequately resourced,” that “concentrated” doesn’t mean “not our problem” and that the word “crisis” is getting overused as in “global financial crisis” and underused, as in “global health crisis.”

The panjandrums of Global Health: This unflinching commentary highlights the chasm between those who “do” global health, and those who live on its front lines, arguing that gap could be closed if donors listened to, and acted on what recipients are telling them. Of course, author Richard Horton notes, the preferred word for both sides is “partner,” which, he writes, “has become a dishonest way to cover up the enormous power imbalance between what are still, like it or not, “donors” and “recipients.”

Anger over drug access in TB trial: We wrote about rifapentine here last week, and how physicians and advocates are calling on Sanofi, the company that makes the TB-fighting drug to make its price affordable enough to be given to the people whose tax dollars helped finance development of the medicine. Now, this article from South Africa’s Mail and Guardian notes the drug is not even accessible in countries where it was tested.

And some answers . . .
State of the art HIV prevention: The July supplement from JAIDS, the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes is online, free, as is the journal’s June supplement, The Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Network: Translational Research to Reduce Disparities in HIV, highlighting research from the Fifth Annual CFAR Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Network (SBSRN) Scientific Meeting.

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