The View From West Virginia – More than three decades after the first World AIDS Day amplified global calls for action against an escalating pandemic, the tools and the plan to end the American epidemic exist. But the view from West Virginia, described by HIV Medicine Association Chair Dr. Judith Feinberg finds policies, politics, poverty and hopelessness, along with continued failures on the part of lawmakers to reach a federal funding agreement clouding the prospects of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative. Dr. Feinberg, who has examined links and responses to substance use disorders and infectious diseases notes that while unemployment and injecting drug use continue to raise the risks of HIV outbreaks across Appalachia the region is largely overlooked in the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative’s first phase.
HIV is Coming to Rural America – Dr. Feinberg is also quoted in this New York Times opinion piece by Steven Thrasher, a professor of journalism and gender and minority health at Northwestern, who argues the root causes of the continued spread of HIV in rural America must be addressed in order to make lasting progress against the epidemic across the country.
We Can Beat AIDS With Youth in the Lead – The coming “youth bulge” — an unprecedentedly large population of adolescents and young adults in Africa — facing the greatest risks of HIV infection, and presenting existing, flat-funded responses with their greatest challenge, also offers an opportunity, the authors, Maureen Luba Milambe and Dr. Charles Holmes write. Investing in youth — including with a paid role in epidemic responses, listening to youth to ensure relevant responses, and ensuring their basic rights to health care are met, would turn vulnerabilities into informed action. The authors note that the impacts of the administration’s punitive “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” (also known as the greatly expanded Global Gag Rule, or Mexico City Policy) by cutting access to sexual and reproductive health services, puts the lives of young women and girls at risk.