Community driven approaches, engaging affected populations, PEER awards . . . We’re reading about how to get science to people

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NewWWRGetting outside the HIV prevention “comfort zone”: “I know that if you get anti-retroviral drugs into someone’s blood, they suppress the virus . . .” says Linda-Gail Bekker, chief operating officer of the South Africa-based Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, in this IRIN article, “But now we have to put this together so it works, which means engaging with a wide range of human beings who live very different lives than those of us who run these programmes might imagine.” This look at the need to find local approaches for treatment based prevention that was suggested by the recently released Mapping Pathways report (which is the next link down) is enhanced by the quotes from Bekker and report project director and contributing author Jim Pickett of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

Mapping Pathways Developing evidence-based, people-centred strategies for the use of antiretrovirals as prevention: “All science is local,” says this report’s foreward by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Understanding the intersection of science and community is crucial, he goes on, “If we are to toss AIDS into the dustbin.” This report is intended for a wide audience — policy makers and advocates, researchers and people living with HIV, advocates and implementers. With the promise of antiretroviral treatment to save lives, prevent transmission and prevent acquisition of HIV, the project from which this report stems set out to identify what this means to the diverse populations around the world whose needs will have to be met for the science to be effective.

Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research Awards: How will “Option B+”, the approach to HIV treatment and prevention that offers lifetime antiretroviral therapy to pregnant women who have the virus, affect  children’s outcomes in Malawi where the approach has been embraced? What can be done to keep HIV-exposed infants linked to treatment in Mozambique?There are a couple of the questions that will be pursued by in-country scientists receiving the first wave of PEER — Partnerships fo Enhanced Engagement in Research — Awards, which tied to related National Institutes of Health grants are intended to build health and disease research collaboration across the world.

Global Fund Engaging with Key Affected Populations: In the same Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria “News Flash” (their words, not mine)  which prompted Wednesday’s post on Viet Nam’s compulsory drug “treatment” centers included an update on the Fund’s initiative intended to build participation of the people living with or affected by the three diseases, and of the “key affected populations” including women and girls, in the process of requesting and allocating grants through the country-based boards known as Country Coordinating Mechanisms — also known as CCMs. The approach includes the incentive of additional funding to CCMs that work with affected individuals and groups in developing grant proposals. The idea is to learn more about what needs to be in programs directed at specific groups for them to be more effective. This could change the face both of CCMs and the responses they identify. As the report notes the idea also is to create “safe spaces” for members of populations that are criminalized or otherwise marginalized, an obvious barrier to CCM participation. The Global Fund graph below shows the CCM composition around the world in 2011 (click on image to enlarge) and, in addition to under-representation by women, shows transgender people to be virtually unrepresented.


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