We’re reading about rights and responsibilities and empathy in fighting HIV, tuberculosis

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Fighting HIV/AIDS: Human rights focused advocacy is more critical than ever – “Low hanging fruit” is one of the expressions that is used to describe people and places affected by HIV who account for the great majority of those now reached with testing, antiretroviral treatment and other prevention of HIV acquisition and transmission. With dollars dwindling, the biggest challenge lies ahead in overcoming human rights obstacles between marginalized people and places — including the southern United States — and effective health services. Philanthropic donors, including MAC AIDS, the Levi Strauss Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation can’t fill the gap that donor funding cuts will leave, but they can ensure the greatest value of their dollars by targeting them to human rights focused initiatives, this Health Affairs blog post by Funders Concerned About AIDS Director John Barnes says.

Losing the fight against HIV in the Philippines – A twofold increase in HIV infections in the last six years driven by bias and discrimination against men who have sex with men and transgender women, underscores the point above.

One Indian dies of TB every minute – In spite of the staggering statistic noted here, and the existence of increasingly effective diagnostic tools and medicines that could contain the impacts of the disease, the Indian government cut its funding for tuberculosis this year, TED speaker and TB expert Dr. Zarir F. Udwadia says here, highlighting a disconnect evidenced by donor responses to TB worldwide.

A psychologist explains the limits of human compassion – So why does one child in need of an operation get more newspaper ink than an airborne infectious epidemic that takes the life of half a million people living in India each year? The second example is harder to picture, the psychologist interviewed here says, explaining that a failure of imagination accounts for diminishing empathy in the face of large-scale suffering.

My life elsewhere – So this site might help. It came up recently in a search for demographic data on Lesotho, and comparing life in that country, including odds of living to old age, living below the poverty line, and living with HIV, to life in the United States is as good a place to begin exploring this interactive empathy tool as any. Using statistical data from the CIA Factbook, among other public domain data sources, it offers a vast array of interesting comparisons, including among standards of living and life expectancy in some of the nearest neighbors to the United States.

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