Category Archives: Special Series

PEPFAR adds to investment in rapid TB tests

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The President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief will buy as many as an additional 150 rapid tuberculosis testing devices with materials to test about 450,000 people for tuberculosis, addressing a need to improve diagnoses of drug-resistant strains of disease, and to identify the disease in HIV-positive people in sub Saharan Africa and Myanmar, the Office […]

Reports track current progress, pitfalls, funding and gaps of AIDS fight

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On the eve of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s release of the first United States global AIDS response strategy, two reports released in recent days give a look not only of the progress so far, but of the shortfalls the new plan must address. Achieving the End, One Year and Counting, from AVAC, looks at the scientific […]

Tackling TB/HIV co-infection in Africa: An interview with CDC’s Dr. Bess Miller

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Science Speaks continues its interview series exploring the global HIV and tuberculosis research and development efforts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with a conversation with Bess Miller, MD, MSc, who works in the Division of Global HIV/AIDS. Dr. Miller has served as associate director and team lead for HIV/TB, providing leadership in policy and implementation of TB/HIV activities in 43 resource-limited countries supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). She has worked to align PEPFAR TB/HIV priorities with the World Health Organization (WHO) policies on TB/HIV, and on the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in people living with HIV (PLHIV). In this interview Dr. Miller discusses the successes and challenges in implementing TB infection control in Africa, progress in deploying the GeneXpert MTB/RIF rapid TB diagnostic on the ground there, and how efforts to scale up access to ART are helping achieve goals in TB control and elimination.

Research to combat dual epidemics: A conversation with CDC’s Jordan Tappero

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Science Speaks is delving into the global HIV and tuberculosis research and development efforts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with a series of interviews with staffers who are key to the success of their programs. For the fourth interview in the series, we spoke with Jordan W. Tappero, MD, MPH, who […]

Innovative programming to combat HIV, TB and cholera: A conversation with CDC’s John Vertefeuille

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In this third post in a series of conversations with officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discussing the CDC’s role in global HIV and tuberculosis research and development, Science Speaks sat down with John Vertefeuille, PhD – the country director for CDC in Haiti. There he leads a team of 55 and […]

Peace Corps’ Buck Buckingham: AIDS at 30

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Warren W. Buckingham III – best known as Buck – is director of the Office of AIDS Relief at the Peace Corps. In his career he has played critical roles in fighting AIDS domestically and globally. Most recently he had a major impact as the Kenya country coordinator for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program for six years, overseeing a budget that grew from $30 million in 2003 to nearly $600 million today. He began his work in AIDS some 26 years ago in writing a proposal that secured funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to establish the AIDS Arms Network in Dallas, Texas, one of the first domestic demonstration projects for enhanced care of people living with AIDS in the U.S. (These grants are largely viewed as having provided the foundation for the Ryan White CARE Act, and Buck worked for a period of time in the early 90s at the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in the Ryan White Program). Soon after Buck started on that project, he was diagnosed with HIV. For years, he has spoken publicly about living with the disease, helping to erase stigma and shame both in America and Africa. John Donnelly interviewed Buckingham for the final interview in a Science Speaks series on 30 years of AIDS.

Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr: This would be the epidemic of our generation

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Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, is one of the world’s leading experts in HIV and tuberculosis care and treatment. An infectious disease specialist, she directs the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) and the Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiologic Research at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and is chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Harlem Hospital Center. Dr. El-Sadr has led early trials studying antimicrobial gels that aim to inhibit HIV transmission, and is known internationally for her leadership in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. She is a 2008 MacArthur Foundation fellow and has held several leadership posts at the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association.

Thirty years ago this past Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the first cases of what would become HIV in its publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Science Speaks interviewed Dr. El-Sadr as part of its special series commemorating 30 years of AIDS, and she discusses the parallels in treating populations in the U.S. and in Africa, the greatest achievements in the epidemic’s 30 years, and what drew her to the cause.

Dybul on PEPFAR: ‘The sky was the limit’

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Ambassador Mark R. Dybul co-directs the Global Health Law Program at Georgetown University Law Center’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, where he is also a Distinguished Scholar. He is the inaugural Global Health Fellow of the George W. Bush Institute. Dybul served as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator from 2006 to the end of the George W. Bush administration. In that role, he led the implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest international health initiative in history for a single disease. Prior to assuming the post of ambassador, he was acting, deputy and assistant coordinator, and was a member of the Planning Task Force that created PEPFAR. Dybul also led President Bush’s International Prevention of Mother and Child HIV initiative for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Dybul spoke with John Donnelly about the start of PEPFAR and some of the most memorable moments directing it, continuing Science Speaks’ series on 30 years of AIDS.

Dr. John G. Bartlett looks back on AIDS: A 30-year perspective

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HIV specialist and leading infectious diseases physician John G. Bartlett, MD, doesn’t mince words when you ask him about what his AIDS patients faced in the early days of the epidemic.

“They were the scourge of society – people didn’t like them because they were either gay or injection drug users, and there was a fear of contagion, that if you were in the same room with someone with AIDS you might get AIDS… They had diarrhea and dementia and wasting. It was an awful way to die. And besides that, everyone around you hated you. Can you imagine living to die that way?”

Dr. Bartlett became a ray of hope for people living with HIV/AIDS. He directed some of the first clinical trials of new treatments that prevent HIV from replicating, and pioneered the development of dedicated in-patient and out-patient medical care for HIV-infected patients.

In our third interview in a Science Speaks series commemorating 30 years of AIDS, Dr. Bartlett speaks frankly about hiding his treatment of AIDS patients from hospital administrators in the early ‘80s, key scientific breakthroughs over the years, and his views on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program moving forward.

30 years of AIDS – An interview with Helen Epstein

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Helen Epstein is a freelance writer and independent consultant in public health. Her articles have appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, Granta and elsewhere. Her book The Invisible Cure: Why we are Losing the Fight against AIDS in Africa was a New York Times notable book of 2007. She has taught public health at Columbia University and Bard College, and has served as a consultant for numerous organizations including UNICEF, The World Bank and Human Rights Watch. John Donnelly interviewed Epstein as part of Science Speaks’ series on the 30th anniversary of the first reports of what would become known as HIV/AIDS. She talked about the role discordant couples and concurrent relationships play in driving the epidemic, a hotly debated issue.