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IAS Conference Opens With Push For Treatment As Prevention

The 6th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention taking place in Rome this week “started optimistically as the hype surrounding the use of antiretroviral treatment to prevent HIV infection gained momentum. But the focus of much discussion … will undoubtedly be on how to transform the recent promising research findings into workable policy,” PlusNews reports (7/18).

PBS Newshour Series Examines Health Challenges In Indonesia

PBS Newshour’s global health unit on Monday began a four-part series examining major health challenges in Indonesia, which “sheds light on the diverse nation’s changing political landscape, deplorable conditions for people there with severe mental illness, the effect of rising food prices and research into a plant that could be used as a male contraceptive,” the Newshour’s “The Rundown” blog states. The blog links to other video, photo and written reports from the team, including a piece on an Indonesian law that encourages breastfeeding (Miller, 7/14).

HIV Vaccine Discovery Requires ‘Open Mind’

In response to Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson’s July 5 piece in which he highlighted several scientific “breakthroughs” in the search for an AIDS vaccine, Robert Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, writes in a Post letter to the editor, “Although Mr. Gerson correctly noted that these discoveries are unrelated, he misperceived their relative significance.”

Researchers Closer To Developing Meningitis B Vaccine

“New research may bring scientists one step closer to developing a vaccine that protects against hundreds of strains of meningococcus B, the most common cause of bacterial meningitis,” according to research published last week in Science Translational Medicine, HealthDay News reports. Researchers used methods that allowed them to identify the most effective vaccine candidate, technology that could be used to develop vaccines for malaria and AIDS, the news service notes (7/15).

Lancet Issue Dedicated To HIV/AIDS Ahead Of IAS Conference

The current issue of the Lancet is dedicated to HIV/AIDS, a theme meant to coincide with the 6th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention taking place in Rome, Italy, July 17-20, according to a Lancet article (7/16).

WHO Says World Is Better Prepared For Influenza Pandemic

“More than 100 public health experts have wrapped up a three-day meeting in Geneva to review a Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccines that was developed in 2006, and to develop a strategic plan of action for the next five years,” VOA News reports, noting that the WHO “says the world is better prepared for the next influenza pandemic than it was in the past” (Schlein, 7/14).

Shah Congratulates Researchers On PrEP Findings

In statement released Thursday, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said, “I congratulate the Partners PrEP and CDC TDF2 teams on their study findings demonstrating that PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) – and HIV medication when taken orally, once a day – is highly effective in preventing HIV in heterosexual men and women. ……

FDA Needs More Oversight Power To Protect Increasingly Globalized Drug Supply, Pew Report Says

“The Food and Drug Administration needs much more power to protect the U.S. supply of drugs as more and more are made in other countries,” according to a report released Tuesday by the Pew Health Group, National Journal reports. The FDA estimates about 80 percent of the active ingredients in medications and up to 40 percent of finished pharmaceuticals are manufactured abroad, often in developing countries with little to no regulatory oversight, the news service adds.

Device That Collects Water Quality Data Introduced At TEDGlobal Conference

Researchers at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, this week described a device that collects water quality data to “chec[k] supplies in real-time, alerting users to possible infections,” and “upload[s] the data, allowing scientists to monitor the location and movement of outbreaks,” BBC News reports. The researchers said the device, called the Water Canary, “could prove invaluable for governments around the world keen to contain disease and environmental disasters,” according to the news service (Wakefield, 7/13).

Two New Studies Support Use Of PrEP For HIV Prevention Among Heterosexual Men And Women

“Two new studies done in three African countries have shown for the first time that AIDS drugs taken daily can cut by more than half a person’s chance of becoming infected with HIV through heterosexual intercourse,” the Washington Post reports. One of the studies, carried out in Kenya and Uganda by the University of Washington, was halted a year and a half early because of positive results, while the other, conducted in Botswana by the CDC, ended as scheduled in the spring, according to the newspaper (Brown, 7/13).

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