KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

International AIDS Community Mourns Loss Of Researchers, Activists In Flight MH17 Crash

News outlets report on the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), which was carrying 298 passengers and crew, including reportedly up to 100 people bound for the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

Associated Press: From nun to AIDS expert; crash kills hundreds
“International passengers from all walks of life, from a prominent AIDS researcher and soccer fans to a nun and a florist, were aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17…” (Corder, 7/18).

The Australian: Delegates to Melbourne AIDS summit on doomed flight MH17
“More than 100 AIDS activists, researchers, and health workers bound for a major conference in Melbourne were on the Malaysia Airlines flight downed in the Ukraine…” (Wallace/Morton, 7/18).

Bloomberg News: Flight 17 Crash Casts Shadow Over Melbourne AIDS Meeting
“Dutch doctor Joep Lange, a World Health Organization spokesman, and at least four others heading to an AIDS meeting in Melbourne were among 298 Malaysia Airlines passengers and crew killed on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur [Thursday]…” (Gale/Scott, 7/18).

Financial Times: AIDS experts were passengers on crashed Malaysian flight
“Some of the world’s leading medical researchers and AIDS experts, who were on their way to an international AIDS conference in Australia, were passengers on the Malaysian aircraft that the U.S. said was shot down over Ukraine…” (Smyth, 7/18).

The Guardian: AIDS conference says 100 researchers may have been on flight MH17
“As many as 100 of the world’s leading HIV/AIDS researchers and advocates may have been on the Malaysia Airlines flight that crashed in Ukraine, in what has been described as a ‘devastating’ blow to efforts to tackle the virus…” (Milman, 7/18).

Huffington Post: Malaysia Plane Crash Victims Included About 100 AIDS Conference Attendees, Report Suggests
“Many of the passengers aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight that crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday were World Health Organization staffers heading to a conference on AIDS research in Australia, the Guardian reported…” (Horowitz, 7/17).

Huffington Post: Joep Lange, AIDS Expert And Former President Of The International AIDS Society, Died In Plane Crash
“Joep Lange, a pioneer in the field of AIDS research and the former president of the International AIDS Society, was killed in a plane crash on July 17, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Lange dedicated his life to researching HIV…” (7/18).

Reuters: AIDS community mourns as top experts feared killed in downed plane
“The world of AIDS research was in shock on Friday after dozens of leading HIV experts were feared killed when a Malaysian plane was shot down over Ukraine, fueling concerns that research on curing the disease could suffer…” (Paul/Emmott, 7/18).

Reuters: Top Dutch AIDS expert on downed Malaysian plane
“An influential Dutch AIDS expert was among the 298 passengers on a Malaysian airliner that was shot down over Ukraine, along with others who were headed to an international AIDS conference in Melbourne, an Australian associate said on Friday…” (Paul et al., 7/18).

Wall Street Journal: AIDS Researchers Among Those Feared Dead in Malaysia Flight Crash
“…The International AIDS Society, which organizes the biennial conference, confirmed that some ‘colleagues and friends’ had been on Flight 17, though it didn’t confirm names of victims. ‘At this incredibly sad and sensitive time the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy,’ it said in a statement…” (McKay, 7/17).

Washington Post: AIDS researcher Joep Lange confirmed among dead in Malaysia jet shoot-down
“Members of the international HIV research community are reeling from the news that many of their own, including world-renowned AIDS researcher Joep Lange, perished when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down Thursday over eastern Ukraine…” (Achenbach/Cha, 7/17).

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Number Of AIDS Deaths, HIV Infections Fall, But Drug Resistance Rises, U.N. Report Says

The Guardian: AIDS deaths tumble but rising resistance to HIV drugs threatens gains
“In the runup to next week’s International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, the U.N. has claimed that AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infections have fallen by more than a third in a decade, raising hopes that the disease could be wiped out by 2030. … The optimism, however, is tempered by two facts: not only are more than half of the 35 million people living with HIV unaware they are infected, but the number of people with drug-resistant HIV, though relatively low, is increasing…” (Austen, 7/18).

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Inequality Can Lead To Wider Spread Of Military Conflicts, Letter To Cameron Says

The Guardian: Global inequality risks spread of military conflicts, Cameron warned
“David Cameron is warned today by Graça Machel, widow of the late South African statesman Nelson Mandela, that unless world leaders made 2015 a year for development, the consequence would not just be poverty but also growing military conflicts from which the rich would be unable to protect themselves for decades to come. … The letter presses the prime minister to take the lead on an international U.N. framework agreement on climate change in 2015, and to secure an agreement on new tighter U.N. Millennium Development Goals…” (Wintour, 7/17).

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Congress Investigating CDC Security Lapses

News outlets discuss security lapses recently uncovered at CDC facilities.

CNN: CDC’s lab problems have ripple effect on other outbreaks
“The lab mishaps at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are having ‘broad impacts,’ compromising care for patients with diseases like tuberculosis and chikungunya and potentially slowing work overseas on Ebola and MERS, according to a CDC official…” (Cohen/Bonifield, 7/17).

Reuters: Before anthrax mishap, CDC made similar lab safety pledges: lawmaker
“U.S. lawmakers investigating repeated safety lapses at government laboratories questioned Thursday whether the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was up to the task of fixing the problem, given similar promises to remedy such breaches in 2012…” (Morgan/Steenhuysen, 7/17).

USA TODAY: CDC chief: Anthrax gaffe ‘should never have happened’
“The director of one of the world’s most prestigious public health agencies went before Congress on Wednesday to try to explain laboratory blunders that included his scientists mishandling live anthrax and unknowingly contaminating other specimens with a dangerous strain of bird flu…” (Young, 7/16).

Washington Post: FDA found more than smallpox vials in storage room
“Federal officials found more than just long-forgotten smallpox samples recently in a storage room on the National Institutes for Health campus in Bethesda, Md. The discovery included 12 boxes and 327 vials holding an array of pathogens, including the virus behind the tropical disease dengue and the bacteria that can cause spotted fever, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees the lab in question…” (Dennis/Sun, 7/16).

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U.S. Reports First Locally Acquired Cases Of Chikungunya; Puerto Rico Declares Epidemic

News outlets report on the first locally acquired case of chikungunya virus reported in the U.S., as Puerto Rico declares the disease epidemic.

Associated Press: Puerto Rico declares chikungunya epidemic
“Health officials in Puerto Rico on Thursday declared an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus known as chikungunya, which was introduced into the Caribbean region late last year…” (7/17).

CQ HealthBeat: First Case of Chikungunya Virus Arrives in U.S.
“Public health officials have reported the first case in which a mosquito transmitted a type of virus that causes fever and sometimes severe joint pain to someone living in the U.S. who hasn’t traveled abroad recently…” (Reichard, 7/17).

New York Times: 2 in Florida Said to Catch Fever Found in Tropics
“Doctors have been warning that chikungunya fever, a tropical disease that causes severe joint pain, would soon reach the continental United States. Now it has done so, federal and state officials said Thursday. The first domestically acquired cases were found in two Florida residents, one from the Miami area and one from Palm Beach, according to the state’s Health Department…” (McNeil, 7/17).

Reuters: Threat rises in U.S. from mosquito-borne chikungunya virus
“The first two locally acquired cases of a painful mosquito-borne viral illness, chikungunya, have been reported in Florida, the health officials confirmed on Thursday…” (Adams, 7/17).

Scientific American: First local case of tropical disease chikungunya debuts in the U.S.
“The first locally acquired case of the tropical disease chikungunya was reported in the U.S. [on Thursday]. … So far this year, 243 cases have occurred in the U.S. but all of those stemmed from travelers returning from other countries where the virus is thriving…” (Maron, 7/17).

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Amid Budget Cuts, Ebola Outbreak Worsens In West Africa, Produces Stigma

News outlets continue coverage on the Ebola outbreak and stigma surrounding the disease in West Africa.

Bloomberg News: Ebola Survivor Shunned as a Zombie Joins Fight Against Virus
“…The social stigma attached to Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever that kills as many as 90 percent of its victims, is complicating efforts to contain the worst-ever outbreak of the virus…” (Bax, 7/17).

Los Angeles Times: WHO can’t fully deal with Ebola outbreak, health official warns
“International health officials warned Thursday that recent budget cuts have impeded the ability of the World Health Organization to respond to the Ebola outbreak that has killed at least 603 people in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone…” (Levine, 7/17).

NPR: West African Villagers Fear Ebola Will Escape From The Grave
“The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is getting worse. … Since the outbreak began in February, more than 600 people have died. The mounting toll is presenting families and health authorities with a grim new problem — what to do with the bodies. NPR’s Jason Beaubien reports on how this dilemma is playing out in one town in eastern Sierra Leone…” (Beaubien, 7/16).

NPR: No School, No Handshakes: Reporting On Ebola From Sierra Leone
“NPR’s Jason Beaubien is in Sierra Leone, covering the Ebola outbreak that began in March in Guinea and has spread to neighboring countries. We’ll be speaking with him throughout the week about what he’s seeing on the ground…” (Silver, 7/15).

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PBS NewsHour Examines Effects Of Uganda's Anti-Gay Law On HIV Prevention, Treatment

PBS NewsHour reports on how Uganda’s anti-gay law is affecting HIV prevention and treatment programs in the country.

PBS NewsHour: Few HIV health resources remain for gay Ugandans under new law
“While the United Nations has reported optimistic news about controlling the global epidemic of HIV and AIDS, Uganda’s infection rates are expected to grow in light of increased stigma for at-risk groups like gay men and sex workers. Jeffrey Brown reports on how discrimination and marginalization may be a major roadblock for effective treatment and prevention…” (Woodruff, 7/17)

PBS NewsHour: Uganda’s LGBT and HIV/AIDS activists answer your questions
“…We will be taking your questions for four activists and human rights workers who deal specifically with at-risk populations in Uganda … Share your questions in the comments section, on Facebook, or on Twitter using the hashtag #NewsHourAsks…” (Daly, 7/17).

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Haiti Achieves Several MDGs Ahead Of Deadline; Cholera Rates Decline

U.N. News Centre: Feature: Haiti witnesses declining cholera rates, significant gains in development
“Haiti, often cited as one of the least developed countries in the Western Hemisphere, has reached — or nearly reached — several of the Millennium Development Goals ahead of the 2015 deadline, according to a report launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) a month ago…” (7/17).

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Several Studies On Malaria Show Potential New Ways To Prevent Infection

News outlets discuss recently published research on malaria.

New York Times: A Call to Fight Malaria One Mosquito at a Time by Altering DNA
“…In papers published Thursday in the journals Science and eLife, scientists and policy experts propose fighting malaria in a new way: by genetically engineering the mosquitoes themselves…” (Zimmer, 7/17).

VOA News: Study: Malaria Parasite Has Achilles Heel
“Researchers say they have found a weakness in the malaria parasite that could lead to new drugs to block infection…” (DeCapua, 7/16).

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Editorials and Opinions

PrEP Programs Gain Momentum As Solution To AIDS Epidemic

Huffington Post: New Momentum on PrEP, But Critical Needs Are Overlooked
Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC

“…PrEP [(the use of a daily medication that reduces the risk of HIV infection)] is an option for many people, not only for gay men. … Global health leaders should be working, now, to develop and fund programs to provide access for anyone who can benefit. Oral PrEP should be integrated into comprehensive, high-impact prevention programs for all people at risk internationally, with particular attention to key populations but also for young women and married women who continue to bear the brunt of the epidemic. WHO needs to quickly issue guidance on PrEP for all of the populations that can benefit…” (7/17).

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Global Eradication Of Polio Within Reach; Political Will Crucial To Efforts

Nature: Within reach: A redoubling of efforts should swiftly eradicate polio from its last strongholds
“The global effort to eradicate poliomyelitis has been spectacularly successful, eliminating 99 percent of cases in its 26-year history. But that progress has begun to unravel in the past 18 months, with outbreaks in East and West Africa and in the Middle East. The lesson is clear: as long as the virus is allowed to persist in the three countries in which it remains endemic — Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria — exports of the disease will continue to affect other countries. A determined effort is needed to eradicate the virus from these endemic countries, and fast…” (7/16).

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Australia's Academic Sector Can Advance Global HIV Goals, Support New 'Aid Paradigm'

The Australian: The global HIV epidemic: how to do more with less
David Cooper and John Kaldor of the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales

“In announcing Australia’s new ‘aid paradigm,’ Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has challenged us to help our neighbors by doing more and more effectively, at a lower cost. Those of us who work in global public health are familiar with this imperative because need massively exceeds resources across many disease areas and will do so for many years. … Australia has long been seen as a world leader in all aspects of HIV prevention, treatment, and care … yet our academic sector has been underutilized when it comes to the delivery of international health aid and helping to improve the processes involved. … Australia’s academic sector represents a wealth of expertise that can simultaneously be leveraged to advance the new ‘aid paradigm’ and to bolster Australia’s standing as an innovator in global health aid” (7/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser/UNAIDS Study Shows Drop In Donor Government Commitments To AIDS Funding In 2013

Kaiser Family Foundation/UNAIDS: Kaiser/UNAIDS Study Finds Dip in Donor Government Commitments for AIDS In 2013
“Donor governments in 2013 committed US$8.1 billion in new funding to support the AIDS response in low- and middle-income countries, down three percent from 2012, finds a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) released in advance of the 2014 International AIDS Conference. The drop in new commitments occurred even though actual disbursements for HIV increased to $8.5 billion in 2013, up eight percent from 2012…” (7/17).

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Investment In HIV Prevention Research Down 4% In 2013, Report Says

UNAIDS: Declining investment could slow research and rollout of new HIV prevention options
“Investment in HIV prevention research fell US$50 million, or four percent, to US$1.26 billion in 2013, due to declining investments by the United States and European government donors, changes in the international development landscape, and changes in the pipeline of HIV prevention products in various stages of development and implementation, according to a new report from the HIV Vaccines and Microbicides Resource Tracking Working Group…” (7/18).

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MDG Report Shows No Decline In New HIV Infections Among Young People

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Global HIV response failing young people, according to U.N. report
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, writes, “While new HIV infections have declined by 44 percent among adults, people aged 15 to 24 have seen no decline in infection rates, despite efforts targeting young people, according to the latest United Nations Development Programme’s Millennium Development Goals report…” (7/17).

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Population Reference Bureau Fact Sheets Address Adolescent Health

Population Reference Bureau: The Importance of Adolescence
Kate Gilles, a policy analyst in international programs at the Population Reference Bureau, discusses the importance of adolescent health and presents three fact sheets based on a Lancet series that address adolescent health within a global health context: 1) Adolescence: A Foundation for Future Health; 2) Adolescence and the Social Determinants of Health; 3) Prevention Science in Adolescent Health (July 2014).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 247 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter includes articles on the Global Fund’s mid-year results and Kazakhstan’s innovative approach to TB management, among others (7/17).

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