“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).

Alarm rings on low uptake of existing prevention options for anal STIs and HIV

Bobby Ramakant, CNS Special Correspondent
[Images] Despite overall progress in HIV prevention, rates of HIV infection among key affected populations such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people remain alarmingly high. For example, recent data indicates that MSM are up to 19 times more likely to have HIV than the general population – transgender women are almost 50 times more likely. Overall new HIV infection rates have dipped by 26% in Asia and the Pacific region since 2001,but not for MSM and transgender. 

Drug Adherence Leads To Successful TB Treatment

Photo credit: Owen Nyaka
Owen Nyaka, CNS Correspondent, Malawi
“God is mysterious. I was nearly incapacitated by the TB infection since I could not do anything apart from sleeping in agony every day at home, my children were greatly affected by my illness because am the bread winner. My life is now back to normal,” says Eveless.

'When bacteria and virus can work so well together, why can't we?'

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
[Images] Setting the pace for the press conference, Dr IS Gilada, President, AIDS Society of India, emphasized that collaborative activities between national TB and HIV programmes can help maximise strengthen public health outcomes. He said if HIV programmes do not pay adequate attention to TB, or TB programmes ignore HIV, then the progress made in responding to HIV and TB gets threatened.

Future Milestones Of HIV Treatment and Cure

Prakash Tyagi, CNS Correspondent 
“How come we have been able to bring everything that life needs into one mobile phone device and can keep it in our pockets, but can not find a cure for HIV,” asked a young man to Dr. Francoise Barre-Sinnousi, Nobel Laureate and Co Chair of the ongoing 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne.

Police, Sex workers and People Who Use Drugs

Ishdeep Kohli, CNS Correspondent
“While public health officials call sex workers and drug users ‘hard-to-reach populations,’ police have little trouble finding them,” said Daniel Wolfe, Director of the Open Society International Harm Reduction Development Programme.

Stigma blocks access to care for young gays and transgenders

Phillip, Gautam and Hender: YVC
Stigma related to HIV not only blocks access to existing services for key affected populations but also increases risk of HIV acquisition manifold. When self-stigma or shame seeps in, it pushes people into depression, aggression, self-harm, addictions or even suicide. HIV-related stigma and discrimination in the community further escalates self-stigma. At 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014), young men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people shared their experiences of external and internalized stigma they face.

Call to step up the pace of TB-HIV collaborative activities

CNS Image Library: AIDS 2010
 Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
“We must focus upon individual human beings rather than on individual diseases of TB and HIV. A person centric approach is bound to work together than a disease centric approach,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director, Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at a high level WHO consultation, held in conjunction with 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014), to discuss policies to catalyze the response for elimination of TB deaths among people living with HIV (PLHIV).