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).

'Every TB-HIV case is a public health failure...'

CNS Image Library: AIDS 2010
Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
So said Helen Ayles. She was quoted by Dr Diane Havlir who was speaking in the plenary of the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in Melbourne, Australia. Dr Diane Havlir who is a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, was hopeful that "Every HIV/TB case prevented and every death averted should become a public health success and put us one step closer to ending the dual epidemic of HIV and TB."

Break the silos: drug use, HIV, HCV, TB, laws and funding

CNS image library: AIDS 2010
Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
Viet Nam is one of the countries in the world that has made remarkable progress over the last decade in not only making harm reduction and HIV services available and accessible for people who use drugs but also reforming laws for supportive health policies on the ground. Khuat Thi Hai Oanh who leads Centre for Supportive Community Development Initiatives (SCDI) in Viet Nam, was a plenary speaker at 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in Melbourne, Australia.

Are we hyping infection control inside clinics?

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious bacterial disease and spreads through the air. When people with pulmonary TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air and a person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected. On the other hand, HIV/AIDS is a viral disease that is transmitted chiefly through unprotected sexual intercourse and  contaminated blood. Yet there is a deadly synergy between the two, with people living with HIV (PLHIV) being 30 times more likely to develop TB and one in every five deaths in them being attributable to TB.

Australia reinforces its commitment in fight against AIDS

Bobby Ramakant, CNS Special Correspondent
Australia has taken a lead in supporting public health in India over the years. With XX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) being held in Melbourne, Citizen News Service (CNS) interviewed Bernard Philip, Deputy High Commissioner of Australia to India. "The conference is providing an opportunity to showcase Australia's leadership in the global HIV response, particularly in Asia and the Pacific. Over the past decade, Australia has provided over AUD 1 billion to support HIV-specific programmes in developing countries, and responding to HIV remains a priority for the Australian Government" said Philip.

New Drug Regimen: A miracle treatment for TB is a near possibility

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
Two years after launching a first of its kind Combination Drug Study for TB treatment in 2010, the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) raised hopes of a novel drug regimen to treat both forms of TB—drug sensitive (DS) and multi drug resistant (MDR) TB, at the XX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in Melbourne, offering a new paradigm in TB treatment to treat patients with drugs to which they are sensitive, rather than based on what they are resistant to.

Will going digital expand mechanisms to engage young HIV key populations?

Bobby Ramakant, CNS Special Correspondent
Joe Rich, Midnight P, Kent Klindera
With increasing use of and access to internet in developing countries, digital tools provide another added way to engage HIV key populations, particularly young people. Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM) is managing an initiative in few South East Asian cities such as Bangkok (Thailand), Chengdu (China), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Jakarta (Indonesia), Manila (Philippines), and Yangon (Myanmar) to use digital tools to encourage young men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people to test, and opt for repeated HIV testing regularly. Initial pilot is being done in Bangkok (TestBKK) since April 2014.

'Homophobia is a choice, not homosexuality': Inter-faith message

Bobby Ramakant, CNS Special Correspondent
For believers of God, religious faith has a paramount influence on their lives. At XX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in the inter-faith session the message was loud and clear from different religious leaders: homophobia is a choice, not homosexuality; and religious scriptures teach us to be compassionate, non-judgmental and accept everyone else in totality without prejudice.

'Do not be a statistic, but own the information that shapes programmes'

Bobby Ramakant, CNS Special Correspondent
Midnight Poonkasetwattana, APCOM
[CNS images from AIDS 2014] Engaging key populations in HIV responses is fundamental not only because these affected communities are at an elevated risk of HIV acquisition but also they are key to HIV responses. Sonya Arreola from the Global Fund for MSM and HIV (MSMGF) said at a pre-conference meeting around XX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in Melbourne, Australia, that “How do we use PrEP with men who have sex with men (MSM) who do not feel safe to move outside of their space without risking violence and even death?”

What has TB got to do in an AIDS Conference?

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service - CNS
Well almost everything. Tuberculosis (TB) remains the most common AIDS-defining illness and the leading cause of death in people living with HIV (PLHIV) with 1 in 5 HIV-associated deaths in 2012 attributed to TB. At least one third of the 35.3 million living PLHIV worldwide are infected with latent TB. An estimated 1.1 million (13%) of the 8.6 million people who developed TB in 2012 were HIV-positive too.

"Raising our game, raising our voices": APCOM at AIDS 2014

The Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM) called for a greater focus on the rapidly escalating HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender persons across Asia and the Pacific and seeking effective and innovative ways in which to address this challenge, at the XX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) which will be held in Melbourne, Australia during (July 20 to 25).

Mumbai Doctor Trupti Gilada to get Fellowship Award at AIDS 2014

Dr Trupti Gilada Baheti
A Mumbai doctor, Dr Trupti Gilada Baheti, is a recipient of the prestigious Fellowship Award on HIV and Drug Abuse Research from the International AIDS Society (IAS), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS). This fellowship will be formally awarded on 23rd July 2014 at the XX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014), the premiere gathering of thousands of researchers, policymakers, and others committed to ending the pandemic, in Melbourne, Australia. The award comprises 18 months fellowship at Seattle under the Mentor Dr Ann Duerr for HIV Research, attendance at three International scientific events and an honour at AIDS 2014.

TB and Mines: Caring for miners is our business

Alice Tembe, CNS Correspondent, Swaziland
‘The fear of the immigration system, the stigma, and loss of jobs, has driven mine workers away from accessing the TB services they need’, this was the statement made by an ex-mine worker during the launch of a ‘TB and the Mines’ partnership project that Swaziland has embarked upon in collaboration with South Africa, Lesotho and Mozambique.