Building the evidence base for preventing HIV among key populations

An HIV rapid testing kit. (Credit: John Rae/PSI)

Evidence of effective HIV prevention for key populations is an urgent need. Too often these programs remain small-scale pilots and never reach intended scale, while evaluations are sparse because target populations are hard to reach. PSI network members and their partners are looking to change that.

In Liberia, youth are taking action to improve their health

At a Clinic Celebration Day for HIV testing and contraceptives education and distribution - the capstone of the HealthyActions curriculum for youth developed with PSI's support in Liberia.

HealthyActions has reached over 4,300 learners, 75 percent of whom are female, in six counties across Liberia. Over half of female participants have received family planning counseling and have chosen a modern contraceptive method after completing the program—far above the 20 percent contraceptive prevalence rate for Liberia. Here’s how.

Innovation is challenging the status quo, creating solutions from the ground-up



Q&A with Duncan Blair, Director of Public Health Initiatives, Alere, Inc.

Impact: How do you define innovation? What do you think are some of the most important factors driving innovation in global health?

DB: Innovation is not only about delivering something new but also about delivering something which provides positive outcomes. What you need for innovation really is creative and engaged people — it’s all about people being willing to challenge the status quo. If everybody always thinks the same things, talks the same language and simply tows the party line then that’s not an environment very conducive to innovation. So what you need is people and an environment that fosters and encourages group members to take risks, whether this is an R&D team, a marketing team, a program implementation team, or a policy development team. Without people who are willing to state their opinion and argue their position then you have no innovation.

Twitter can locate HIV outbreaks

A team of researchers mapped over 9,800 tweets with sexual and drug-related themes and found that their locations were a good predictor for established statistics on HIV-prevalence. “Because of the growing amount of social media data, researchers and public health departments will soon be able to build upon these methods to more accurately monitor and detect health behaviors and disease outbreaks.”

By enacting discriminatory laws in Uganda and Nigeria, health is put at risk

A statement from Karl Hofmann, PSI President and CEO

PSI believes that all people share equal human rights and that no person should be subjected to discrimination or violence on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Men who have sex with men are among the highest risk groups for HIV transmission, and discriminatory laws such as those recently adopted in Nigeria and Uganda will increase stigma, incite violence and have a negative health impact.

Such laws also undermine progress toward universal health coverage for all, a national health objective sensibly embraced by Uganda, Nigeria, and many other countries in Africa.

Lessons from fighting HIV to fend off next wave of epidemics

The AIDS epidemic is relatively young. It was only 30 years ago this year that scientists first discovered HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Perhaps it’s because it’s relatively young that efforts to abate it could learn from history and adopt new approaches.

Now, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), it’s time to “Use lessons from fighting HIV to fend off new regional threats in Asia.” From their statement:

“The effective approaches to HIV in Asia and the Pacific have illustrated that a focus on law and human rights, and attention to the needs of marginalized people, can support the achievement of human development objectives,” says Clifton Cortez, UNDP’s HIV, Health and Development Team Leader in Bangkok. “We think the same lessons can be applied to reducing the threat posed by chronic non-communicable diseases that will have catastrophic human and financial impacts in this region,” he says.