After more than a decade of major achievements, the AIDS response is at a crucial juncture, both in terms of its immediate trajectory and its sustainability, as well as its place in the new global health and development agendas.
Cuba became the first country in the world to receive validation from the World Health Organization (WHO) that it has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
Speaking at the 2015 Western Regional HIV and AIDS Scientific Conference, Dr Zepher Karyabakabo, director of policy, research and programming at Uganda AIDS Commission, said Uganda has 1.6 million people living with HIV who need care, treatment and support. He added that 56,000 people die every year of HIV-related illnesses.
The Trans Pacific Partnership continues a pattern of incrementally increasing intellectual property protections for pharmaceuticals beyond those enshrined in recently negotiated free trade agreements. These repeated measures to extend IP protections result in a decline in generic competition and an increase in drug costs for those who can least afford them, and set dangerous precedents for future FTAs.
The world is engaged in intense negotiations that have already yielded the scaffolding of a new development framework. With 17 tentative goals and over 150 indicators to measure them, policy-makers with limited resources will have to make difficult decisions about which ones to prioritize. History teaches us that they will be tempted to scuttle sexual and reproductive rights off to the side because contraception and safe legal abortion seem too sensitive or politically risky (in 2001, family planning and reproductive health were initially left out of the Millennium Development Goals). They must choose a better a way forward.
Although there may be responsibility on the part of individuals for the way in which the response to the Ebola outbreak has been handled, it is necessary to identify and correct the structural causes of any shortcomings. In doing so, it must be recognized that there is an increasingly complex nexus of health, humanitarian and security crises that requires the United Nations system to find new approaches that go beyond institutional silos.
In Cameroon, the successful engagement of key populations (sex workers, people who use drugs, MSM and transgender people) is a direct result of highly mobilized civil society leadership at the national level, and technical support delivered by the Community Action and Leadership Collaborative (CLAC).
We must remember that although numbers are aggregated for analysis of disease burden and other global health indicators, they represent actual people and lifesaving situations.
The World Health Organization recently announced that it was seeking input on the three global health sector strategies — HIV and AIDS, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infection — it was drafting until April 30. The strategies, which will cover 2016-2021, will be finalized at the 69th World Health Assembly in 2016.
Australian scientists have made the groundbreaking discovery that malaria-infected patients have higher levels of certain chemicals in their breath. The chemicals are undetectable to the human nose, but can be used to detect the disease much earlier than the traditional method of using a microscope to find parasites in blood. The level of the chemicals increases with the severity of the mosquito-borne infection and disappears after cure.