Posted by Agatha / on 12/01/2009 / 0 Comments

Financial Times special Report on ‘Combating AIDS'

- Funding fears overshadow progress
With debates over past performance, current trends and future sustainability, the chief of UNAIDS and others leading the war against HIV/Aids face a time of reckoning after the rapid surge in political support and funding since the start of the decade. As the demands for money spiral, the global financial crisis has compounded an underlying debate about how best to channel future support to international health and development. "If people move out of Aids, we'll find ourselves with one of the biggest social catastrophes possible," he warns.

- Drugs: Cost is the highest barrier for treatments. Finding the right economic and political balance on drug pricing may yet prove as difficult as scientific discovery.

- Preventing Aids
Politicians cannot turn their backs on Aids, which still kills 2m people a year, while 33.4m have HIV. But they must improve how they spend future funds. In many countries, HIV remains a leading cause of disease, a substantial burden on healthcare and a brake on economic development. Donors, recipient countries and intermediaries providing treatment need to ensure that patients are closely monitored to limit the risk of drug resistance. Prevention must focus on policies proven to work, which vary between countries, such as simple drugs to treat expectant mothers and newborn children; circumcision; education campaigns; and condom and clean syringe distribution projects. Otherwise, many more will die unnecessarily.

- Disparities around the world can and must end (By Carla Bruni-Sarkozy
It is important to remember that 430,000 children were born with HIV in 2008, mostly in underdeveloped and developing countries. For nearly all of them, this means an early and painful death. This is a sobering fact, especially when we consider that transmission of HIV from mothers to children has been practically eliminated in Europe and North America. We must ensure that these disparities end. No mother needs to die from Aids and no child should be born with HIV anywhere in the world.

BBC News (South Africa)
SA vows to treat babies with HIV
All South African babies under the age of one will be treated if they test HIV-positive, President Jacob Zuma has announced in a major policy overhaul.
In a widely welcomed speech to mark World Aids Day, he promised more anti-retrovirals - drugs which the previous government said were too costly

The New York Times (South Africa)
South Africa to Expand Effort to Combat AIDS
In another significant vote of confidence, Donald Gips, the American ambassador to South Africa, announced that the United States would give South Africa $120 million over the coming two years to help meet the growing demand for antiretroviral drugs. That comes on top of the $560 million the United States already is planning to give South Africa in fiscal year 2010 to fight AIDS.

Inter Press Service (Lesotho)
Herdboys at Risk to Contract HIV
Herdboys in Lesotho are one of a few groups of society that have been marginalised by the speeding wheels of the democratic progress. Their understanding of HIV/AIDS is quite limited, and to them it is like any other virus. Their lack of education about the disease places them at a greater risk of contracting HIV.
According to UNICEF data, over 90 percent of Basotho know about AIDS, yet out of that only 25 percent know comprehensively about the virus. The severity of young people's vulnerability to HIV infection is evidenced by the upsetting data.

Inter Press Service (India)
Towards an AIDS-Free Society, But at What Price?
As the global community observes World AIDS Day today, India is caught in a rancorous debate about a government scheme which mandates that all pregnant women in the country be tested for HIV so that its 1.2 billion people can have "an AIDS-free generation". The controversial scheme was initiated in October by the ‘Parliamentary Forum on HIV and AIDS', instituted in 2000 to help the government formulate public health policies. According to the Forum, "(p)assing the disease to a newborn is a human rights violation.

BBC News (Indonesia)
Indonesia HIV-Aids 'on the rise'
The number of HIV-Aids cases in Indonesia is rising, according to the government in Jakarta. And UN officials say it is spreading far more quickly through sexual intercourse rather than drug use, which they say is a cause for alarm. The latest figures show there are at least 290,000 people in Indonesia infected with HIV.

UN officials call for end to discrimination as they mark World AIDS Day
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon led senior United Nations officials in marking World AIDS Day by calling for an urgent end to discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS to help combat the spread of the disease. In her message to mark the Day, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark noted a recent UNAIDS report which highlighted significant successes in increasing access to life- saving treatment over the last five years, with more than 4 million people in developing countries receiving the necessary medication and almost 3 million lives saved already. New HIV infections have also been reduced by 17 per cent globally since 2001, she said. Clark said that significant successes in tackling the spread of HIV/AIDS are attributable to promoting the participation of marginalized and vulnerable populations, and the global campaign to drive down the price of key drugs and prevention technologies.

La Republica (Peru)
UNDP against the stigma Peru
The Peruvian Press Council, UNAIDS and UNDP launched the second edition of the national communications campaign "An image against discrimination and stigma caused by HIV-AIDS ." Photographed welcoming a person living with HIV, 23 local public figures are supporting this campaign aimed at raising HIV information level and lower the fear of testing . "Half of the people infected in this country ignore their diagnosis because they don't want to know it", stated UNDP RR Jorge Chediek


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