What we’re reading: How to make the most of science, save lives, stop the spread of diseases

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What you need to know about South Africa’s historic liver transplant from an HIV-positive donor – Five years after the HOPE Act in the U.S. opened the way for people living with HIV to be organ donors, and increased the chances that people living with the virus would receive life-saving transplants, physicians in South Africa have advanced the possibilities. This article from the Bhekisisa health reporting team there explains how “an HIV-positive mother was able to save the life of her HIV-negative baby – and make history.”

Stopping senseless deaths – While the article above explains how access to consistent and effective antiretroviral treatment has not only protected health and lives, but expanded medical options for people living with HIV, this brief from Médecins Sans Frontières explores how continuing obstacles to obtaining treatment lead to continued preventable deaths from opportunistic infections.

Sexually transmitted diseases are at an all time high – When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data last month showing a 100 percent climb in rates of syphilis passed from mother to child over the last five years, unprecedented spikes in rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, a spread of treatment-resistant gonorrhea that makes running out of effective medicines to treat the disease a real danger, Dr. Melanie Thompson and Dr. Matt Zahn wrote this STAT piece, noting that the public health failures represented by these numbers weren’t necessary and can be reversed.

Malaysia eliminates mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis – Case in point: the World Health Organization reports that Malaysia has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of both syphilis and HIV.


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