Old news but more alarming today: Appeal to support VHL (and MDR-TB) survivor

From CNS archives dated February 2013: Old news but more alarming today
This is an appeal from a person in her own words who urgently needs support for her healthcare needs. She is a brave woman who is a living example of the oft-quoted adage - 'When the going gets tough, the tough gets going...' Read her story in her own words -a real-life experience, full of grit, courage and determination, to continue living and spreading light despite seemingly insurmountable challenges.
(CNS has met and interviewed Payel and strongly supports her efforts to exercise her right to health. Please consider supporting her personal fight against Von Hippel Lindau (VHL) Syndrome and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Kindly find her contact details or ways to support below)

Curbing TB-HIV Co-infection In Children Is A Priority

Photo credit: R Dwivedi/CNS
Isaac Eranga, CNS Correspondent, Nigeria
Two billion people — one-third of humanity — carry a latent TB infection. The vast majority of those infected latently live their whole lives without becoming sick with TB or spreading the infection. The body’s immune defenses seal the invading TB germs within a tiny capsule at the infection site, thus preventing them from multiplying. When the body’s immunity is compromised, like through HIV, the capsule containing the TB germs weakens and breaks.

Past, present and future attempts to measure childhood TB

Photo credit: R Dwivedi/CNS
Shobha Shukla - CNS Columnist
(This article is based upon a podcast from TB Alliance (Global Alliance for TB Drug Development), which is online here). The first estimates of the global burden of TB in children given by the WHO in 2012, suggested that there might be 530,000 children suffering from it. Subsequently there has been an uptake in the research in this field. A recent mathematical modelling study on the burden of childhood TB in 22 high-burden countries, (published in the Lancet) has revealed that there may be 650,000 annual cases of TB in children. Are these figures at odds with the estimate of 530,000 previously made by WHO?

Women living with HIV: Victims of social stigma

Chhatra Karki, CNS Correspondent, Nepal
‘HIV does not kill people, but the stigma does’. Stigma and discrimination refers to the prejudice and misbehavior with people living with HIV (PLHIV), further adding to their woes. Who else would know it better than 33 years old Tuka Devi (name changed), of Dadeldhura district in west Nepal.

Reports from the ground: How are TB-HIV collaborative activities being rolled out?

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
We know that nearly one third of the 35 million people living with HIV (PLHIV) have tuberculosis (TB), and 13% of 8.6 million new TB cases every year are HIV positive. Also 1 in 5 HIV associated deaths are due to TB. Moreover PLHIV are 21-34 times more likely to develop active TB disease than persons without HIV. So it becomes imperative to establish an effective collaboration between two vertical programmes and provide point-of-care services for both the infections through policies that promote effective screening for HIV among TB patients and provide early antiretroviral therapy (ART) to those who are confirmed to be HIV positive.

HIV-TB Co-infection perils around the globe

Chhatra Karki, CNS Correspondent 
TB co-infection in people living with HIV (PLHIV) has remained alarmingly high all over the world. Studies have revealed that the  risk of developing TB is 21-26  higher in PLHIV as compared to those who are HIV negative. Also, about one in five AIDS-related deaths in 2012 were attributed to TB. This poses a great challenge to many governments worldwide, since they have not yet taken integrated steps for its effective control.

Impact of HIV-HCV Co-Infection

Chhatra Karki, CNS Correspondent
Balbir Tamang (name changed), hails from Naubise, a small village just outside of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. He went to India in search of a job three years ago. He was in unsafe sexual relationships with many sex-workers there. After nine months, he fell sick and returned home. His sickness became worse with time. Finally, he took a blood test and was diagnosed HIV positive.

“Do we count?” A question for AIDS 2014 and beyond

Photo Credit: India HIV/AIDS Alliance
James Robertson, CNS Columnist
(First published by India HIV/AIDS Alliance)
Every two years, researchers, implementers, policy makers, and community activists come together at the International AIDS Conference to take stock of the pandemic: Where are we now? Where have we been? Where are we heading? Discoveries are heralded and strategies dissected. There are always more questions than answers, but there is one question that needs to be answered at AIDS 2014 and beyond: Do we count?

22nd Cochrane Colloquium: A chance to influence trajectory of healthcare?

Photo credit: colloquium.cochrane.org
Dr Prathap Tharyan, CNS Columnist
(first published on the blog: Evidence-informed musings)
With less than a week to go before the close of early registration (July 31st, 2014) and the beginning of regular registration (till September 1st, 2014), we are busy putting the finishing touches in our preparations to host the largest and most important business and scientific meeting that the world will see this year of people and organizations involved in producing, maintaining and disseminating credible evidence to inform health decisions. This gathering has the potential to affect the lives of millions of people living in the region and globally.

Malawi fails to commemorate World Hepatitis Day

Photo Credit: Owen Nyaka
Owen Nyaka, CNS Correspondent, Malawi
Viral Hepatitis is a global public health problem affecting millions of people every year, causing disability and death.  Yet Malawi seems to be showing no sign of safeguarding its citizens from the devastating health consequences of this dreaded disease.

Can innovation drive HIV responses to meet 90:90:90 targets by 2020?

Bobby Ramakant, CNS Special Correspondent
Joint United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is mobilizing governments and other partners to achieve new set of targets, referred to as, 90:90:90 by 2020, but with current set of tools, approaches, funding commitments, and challenge that HIV poses to the world, the goal seems certainly a bold and ambitious one. Without innovation, at current pace of HIV responses on the ground, we are very likely to fail meeting the targets. We not only need to accelerate the search for better and effective technologies to help fight AIDS effectively but also need to improvise and innovate in rolling out evidence-based approaches.

'If I Could Do It, Anyone Can!'

Esther, Indonesia (CNS Images)
Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
According to a joint UN report entitled “HIV prevention, treatment and care in prisons and other closed settings: a comprehensive package of interventions,” at least 30 million men, women and children globally go through prison systems each year, and the prevalence of HIV, STIs, hepatitis B and C and TB is two to twenty times –even up to fifty times – higher in prison population than in general population. The proportion of people who use and inject drugs in prisons can reach half the incarcerated population, especially among women in closed settings. Access to health services is largely absent.

Multipurpose prevention technologies for HIV and STIs in spotlight at AIDS 2014

Dr Elizabeth Bukusi, KEMRI
Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
Women of reproductive age have a need for prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, and family planning methods. More importantly, women need prevention tools/methods that are under their control and do not leave them at the mercy of their partner, in as far as their sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is concerned. Dr Elizabeth Bukusi, Deputy Director (Research and Training), Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) spoke to Citizen News Service (CNS) at 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014).