AIDS activists say the tipping point against AIDS will be when more people are on life-saving treatment for the first time than the number of new cases each year. The ONE Campaign calls the point the beginning of the end of AIDS. We are not there yet, but some countries are doing well. Unfortunately those lagging are mostly located in the Global South.
The NGO AVAC decided to analyze how countries are doing in their fight to end AIDS. There is some good news, but countries like Nigeria with its giant population, threaten to circumvent progress. The New York Times highlighted the findings writing:
“There’s all this talk about ending AIDS,” said Mitchell Warren, AVAC’s executive director. “We wanted to find a mechanism that could chart the progress over time, and use it as a management tool, and to make comparisons between countries that are doing the right things and the others.”
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria released their mid-year results for 2013. The numbers are very exciting.
More than 5.3 million people living with HIV receive ARVs thanks to the Global Fund. The findings also observe a 21% increase in the number of women treated to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
“These results show that we can have a transformative effect on these diseases, by working together,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “More people affected by HIV today can go to work, send their children to school and lead healthy lives thanks to the hard work of all our partners.”
Big strides have also been made in the fight against malaria, with 30 million insecticide-treated nets distributed in the first half of 2013 under programs supported by the Global Fund, taking the total number of nets distributed to 340 million. The number of cases of malaria treated rose to 330 million, a 13 percent increase.
Global Fund-supported TB programs also continued to expand. Global Fund financing has cumulatively supported detection and treatment of 11 million smear-positive cases of TB, up from 9.7 million at the end of 2012. The number of people treated for multidrug-resistant TB grew to 88,000 from 69,000 through Global-Fund supported programs. The World Health Organization reported that 56,000 cases were enrolled in treatment of multidrug-resistant TB globally in 2011, of which Global Fund-supported programs accounted for about 22 percent. India drove the leap forward, accounting for about 60 percent of the increase at the end of 2012.
Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez, Assistant Administrator for Global Health at USAID, recently visited various health projects supported by USAID in Guatemala. The USAID|PlanFam project, supported by PSI/Guatemala was one of the stops.
USAID|PlanFam project organized three activities related to sexual and reproductive health where Dr. Pablos-Méndez had the chance to actively participate:
a) visit a family planning clinic at Chichicastenango Centro de Atención Permanente (CAP) to observe infrastructure improvements, biosecurity, and the experiences of health providers related to training and skills to deliver FP services,
b) visit a local FP user´s household to exchange positive experiences about the use of modern family planning methods and attendance to health services, and
c) visit a health fair targeted to 120 adolescents to promote delayed sexual debut and the prevention of unplanned pregnancies, in the public school Cantón Chugüexá I.
Treatment as prevention of the spread of HIV has some pretty solid evidence that it works, but that does not necessarily mean that people are rushing to take ARVs. New research argues for taking new approaches to the problem so that the live-saving ARVs can get into the hands of the people who need them.
“Research in HIV prevention needs to get out beyond its comfort zone and meet with the people who have very different ideas about what HIV means,” said Jim Pickett, the project director for Mapping Pathways, an international research and advocacy project, to IRIN.
“We talk a lot about the results of science and figuring out how to `make it make sense’ in local contexts. But science is itself a process that should involve communities from the very beginning,” Pickett said.
That local context means tailoring communications and treatments to different countries and communities. It is the same idea that drives PSI’s use of social franchising and marketing. Much like choosing what soda to buy, people are influenced by packaging, commercials, quality and their friends. That very same idea can be applied to public health and, in this case, increasing the availability and use of ARVs to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.
We are excited to share some new updates from the team over at PSI/LAOS. They have been quite busy introducing a new lubricant, tracing TB cases and working to eliminate stigma against people infected by HIV/AIDS. Check it out:
PSI introduces No.1 Lubricant in Laos
In collaboration with the Center for HIV/AIDS/STI and Ministry of Health, PSI launched No. 1 Lubricant, a health product that is easy and safe to use with condoms. Through social marketing of the No. 1 Lubricant and health education activities, PSI aims to promote safe sex among men who have sex with men (MSM) and female sex workers (FSW) who are at risk for HIV infection. No. 1 Lubricant is imported from overseaas and distributed by DKSH, a leading distributor of health products in Laos. The product is now available at pharmacies and minimarts.
The Good Life Workshop is a USAID-funded initiative under the CAP-3D Program providing a one day, peer support and education group for MSM and TG people newly diagnosed with HIV in Bangkok.
“I was so scared to come along [to the workshop],” said one participant on their evaluation form. “But in the end, I didn’t want it to finish. Can I come [to the workshop] again?”
The workshop is part of the Good Life Project delivered by AIDS Projects Management Group (APMG) and The HIV Foundation Thailand in partnership with PSI Thailand. It aims to increase the rate of HIV testing among MSM and TG people, then provide intensive support to those newly HIV diagnosed.
This past weekend's World Hepatitis Day raised awareness about the virus that killed 1.44 million people last year. That is nearly as many people that died from HIV. According to data from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington viral hepatitis killed more people than HIV in 117 of 187 countries around the world. This map from The Economist shows the countries where there more hepatitis or HIV deaths. Go here to interact with the data.
Simple is a bit of an overused word in global health, but it does apply to the PrePex. The safe male circumcision device is only two plastic rings, a rubber band, and a thread. That’s it.
Male circumcision experts are pretty excited about the potential of PrePex. The research already shows that safe male circumcision can help to reduce the spread of HIV. Providing an easier and safer way to complete circumcisions is a powerful tool in finding a way to get to the end of AIDS.
Rwanda is one of a few African countries that are trying to increase the rate of male circumcisions as a part of its HIV reduction strategy. The New York Times recently discussed the work in Rwanda and PrePex.
(China) -Mrs. Deng, Director of the Wangzhou Community in Nanning, Guangxi, China devoted her whole life to community social work. In 2008, the Nanning Narcotics Control Committee (NNCC) began piloting community-based rehabilitation work among injecting drug users. However, Mrs. Deng had no idea how she could get this started in her community, let alone get injecting drug users to participate.
Mrs. Deng was informed by the NNCC in a meeting that PSI/China could help her implement community based rehabilitation. She was very excited and got in touch with PSI/China to set up the collaboration. Though she knew nothing about peer education, and did not know how she could work with injecting drug users to help them with their rehabilitation within the communities, she started to try things out with technical assistance and support from PSI/China.
The beginning was particularly hard for Mrs. Deng. She worked hard to convince a local injecting drug user named Ah Shu to participate in the program. Mrs. Deng started to assist Ah Shu in applying for low-income support and public housing benefits, and helped him solve other issues in his life.
By Agnès Aurore Balep, Editor, 100%Jeune Magazine, PSI/Cameroon; Martine Laurette Moguem, Assistant Editor, 100%Jeune Magazine, PSI/Cameroon; Rose Walsh, Program Assistant, West & Central Africa, Washington, D.C.
Geneviève Doukoya, a 22-year-old student at the University of Maroua, Cameroon, started on the road to a healthier life four years ago when she picked up an issue of 100%Jeune, a magazine created by youth for youth, addressing sexual and reproductive health issues.
About 35 percent of girls in Cameroon aged 15-24 face unwanted pregnancies and 3 percent of youth in that age group have HIV. The situation is aggravated by lack of dialog between children and parents about sexual and reproductive health, early marriage, rape and poverty.
But the 100%Jeune magazine inspired Geneviève. “When I finished reading that copy, it was like my eyes were opened. I started to see all of the dangers surrounding me,” she said. “I want to become a great woman, and I don’t want anything to hinder me from achieving that goal.”