KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

AIDS 2014 Opens With Remembrance Of Researchers, Advocates Lost In Plane Crash

Media sources report on the first two days of the 20th International AIDS Conference, or AIDS 2014, taking place this week in Melbourne, Australia.

Agence France-Presse: World AIDS forum opens with tribute for plane dead
“A six-day world forum on AIDS got under way on Sunday to tributes to six campaigners killed on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and fresh vows to crush a disease that has claimed twice as many lives as World War I…” (Ingham, 7/20).

Deutsche Welle: HIV research and action in light of tragedy
“…The international community was shocked by the news of the Malaysian plane crash — but conference participants have been devastated. The conference will still go on, from July 20 to 25, with attendees holding to the program as much as possible. The conference motto is ‘Stepping up the pace’…” (Heise, 7/20).

The Guardian: AIDS conference hears why Ghana police chief carries bag of condoms
“…A new report, launched at the AIDS 2014 symposium in Melbourne on Monday, has revealed how police, sex workers, and drug users are working together to stop the spread of infectious diseases, particularly HIV…” (Davey, 7/21).

International AIDS Society: Tributes paid to lost colleagues aboard flight MH17 at the Opening Session of the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia
“Tributes were paid tonight at the opening session of the 20th International AIDS Conference to the six delegates who lost their lives aboard flight MH17…” (7/20).

International AIDS Society: HIV Cure, HIV Co-Infection and HIV Laws Feature on Day 2 of AIDS 2014
“…Today’s conference activities (Monday 21 July) began with plenary presentations about the
latest advances for an HIV cure (Jintanat Ananworanich of Thailand), latest trends in HIV epidemiology (Salim Abdool Karim of South Africa), and how people with HIV are participating in the contemporary global response to HIV (Lydia Mungherera of Uganda)…” (7/21).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: AIDS conference opens with tribute to crash victims, attack on ‘monstrous’ laws
“Countries should not be allowed to get away with repressive laws that reinforce discrimination against groups of people at high risk of HIV, speakers told a global AIDS conference, which opened on Sunday, despite being marred by tragedy…” (Nguyen, 7/20).

U.N. News Centre: At conference, UNAIDS chief calls for end to ‘hypocrisy’ in fighting HIV/AIDS
“The head of the United Nations agency dealing with HIV and AIDS [Sunday] urged world leaders at an international conference in Australia to end the hypocrisy on sex and make treatment and reproductive health education universally available…” (7/20).

USA TODAY: AIDS pandemic may be reversed despite lack of cure
“With widespread numbers of HIV patients in treatment, researchers, and advocates are talking at this week’s International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, about finally reversing the pandemic…” (Weintraub, 7/20).

VOA News: International AIDS Conference Sets Big Goals
“This year’s global AIDS conference has ambitious goals, notably to eradicate the dreaded virus by 2030. But a cloud hung over the proceedings, caused by the death of six researchers and AIDS experts who were among those killed on a Malaysia Airlines flight shot down over volatile eastern Ukraine…” (Powell, 7/20).

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Media Reports Remember HIV/AIDS Researchers, Advocates Killed In MH17 Crash

News outlets report on the HIV/AIDS researchers and advocates who died in the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

ABC News: Missile That Downed MH 17 ‘Ripped a Hole Through the Heart’ of AIDS Community
“…The day after Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 was shot down in Ukraine, members of the tight-knit HIV/AIDS community are mourning the loss of … researchers, who were killed en route to the International AIDS Society conference in Melbourne, Australia…” (Mohney, 7/18).

Nature: HIV community reels from losses in MH17 plane tragedy
“A leading HIV researcher and at least five other delegates to a major AIDS conference are among the 298 people who died on board the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which crashed on 17 July…” (Butler/Moskvitch, 7/18).

Nature: Scientist killed on MH17 brought HIV therapy to the poor
“[Joep Lange, t]he Dutch clinical virologist — who was among the 298 passengers who died in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight on 17 July, and one of many headed to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia — worked since the early 1990s to deliver HIV drugs deep into the world’s poorest countries…” (Callaway, 7/18).

New York Times: Leading AIDS Researcher, ‘Always Traveling,’ Is Killed on His Way to a Conference
“…The disaster claimed the lives of a number of people headed to the International AIDS Conference, scheduled to begin on Sunday in Melbourne, Australia, the International AIDS Society said on Friday. Dr. Lange, 59, was accompanied by his partner, Jacqueline van Tongeren, 64. … The World Health Organization confirmed on Friday that Glenn Thomas, 49, a communications officer, had also been aboard the plane. So had Pim de Kuijer, 32, a Dutch AIDS activist and former European Commission diplomat…” (Erdbrink/McNeil, 7/18).

Science: HIV/AIDS field shocked by death of leading researcher in MH17 crash
“As thousands of researchers gathered here [Sunday] to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference, which starts Sunday, the usual joyous hugs of greeting between far-flung colleagues were replaced by hugs of sorrow at the loss of Dutch HIV scientist Joep Lange, a leading light in the field, and at least five others heading to the meeting who were on the Malaysian Airlines flight shot down over Ukraine on 17 July…” (Cohen/Enserink, 7/18).

Scientific American: Remembrances of AIDS and HIV Workers Killed in Shot-Down Plane
“…Some HIV health advocates were also reportedly among the dead who had been en route to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Australia. Obituaries and remembrances of these people are detailed below as a tribute to their work…” (Biello et al., 7/18).

Wall Street Journal: Six AIDS Experts Were on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
“For the 12,000 participants gathering for an international AIDS conference here, a candlelight vigil had been planned as an opportunity to remember millions of people around the world who died from HIV/AIDS. This year, the vigil on Tuesday will take on additional poignancy… (Stewart, 7/19).

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Report Examines 2013 Donor Government Commitments And Disbursements To AIDS Funding

GNA/VibeGhana.com: Donor Government commitments dip for AIDS In 2013
“Donor governments in 2013 committed 8.1 billion dollars in new funding to support the HIV/AIDS response in low- and middle-income countries, down three percent from 2012. 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 in Australia, made available to the GNA finds. The drop in new commitments occurred even though actual disbursements for HIV increased to 8.5 billion dollars in 2013, up eight percent from 2012…” (7/20).

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Clinton Foundation To Maximize HIV/AIDS Support To Vietnam

Xinhua/Shanghai Daily: Former U.S. president vows to support Vietnam in combating HIV/AIDS
“The Clinton Foundation will maximize its support for Vietnam in preventing and fighting against HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other infectious diseases, former U.S. president Bill Clinton said here Friday. At a meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi, Clinton said his foundation is ready to cooperate with the relevant Vietnamese agencies and enterprises to provide and then help Vietnam produce HIV/AIDS medicines…” (7/18).

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Two Bone Marrow Transplant Patients Said To Be Cleared Of HIV

Bloomberg Businessweek: HIV Said Cleared in Two Bone Marrow Transplant Patients
“Two cancer patients who were also infected with HIV went through bone marrow transplants and may no longer have the AIDS-causing virus, according to Australian doctors…” (Matsuyama/Bennett, 7/18).

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Circumcision To Reduce Risk Of HIV Infection Does Not Increase Unprotected Sex, Study Shows

Agence France-Presse: AIDS circumcision campaign boosted by new evidence
“A campaign to encourage circumcision among men in sub-Saharan Africa to help protect them against the AIDS virus was backed by new research on Monday showing that men who have had the operation are unlikely to engage in unprotected sex…” (Ingham, 7/21).

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Women's Rights Important To Preventing Child HIV Infections

Bloomberg Businessweek: Wives Hide HIV as Stigma Undermines Progress on AIDS
“…Protecting young mothers will be critical if the world is to meet a U.N. target of eliminating new HIV infections among children by 2015. At an international AIDS meeting that started in Melbourne yesterday, public figures from Burmese political activist Aung San Suu Kyi to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson will lead a call to fight stigma and discrimination, which has blighted progress in poorer nations…” (Gale, 7/21).

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Discrimination, Stigma Disrupt AIDS Efforts In Tunisia

The Guardian: Tunisia’s fight against AIDS hampered by widespread discrimination
“…As the International AIDS Conference begins in Melbourne this week, Tunisia, a country with one of the most far-reaching and comprehensive approaches to combating HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and North Africa, is in a war of attrition with the pervasive influences of ignorance and stigma that cut through to the marrow of Tunisian society…” (Cordall, 7/21).

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GAVI Aims To Double Donor Contributions, Gear Up For Largest-Ever Replenishment

The Lancet: GAVI gears up for record replenishment
“The GAVI Alliance is set to ask for a doubling in its donor contributions in its next pledging round to scale up immunization in countries and introduce new vaccines…” (Usher, 7/19).

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Kenya To Pilot Mass Drug Administration To Combat Malaria

IRIN: Kenya to pilot community-wide malaria treatments
“Kenya is experimenting with unconventional methods to tackle high malaria rates through the piloting of mass drug administration (MDA) — treating entire communities with anti-malarial drugs, regardless of whether they have the parasite…” (7/18).

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Report Shows No Reduction In Foreign Aid Programs' Waste, Duplication

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Waste, overlap, and inefficiency still plague foreign aid programs — report
“…Despite this drive for results, a new report by top Washington think tanks finds no measurable advance in reducing waste and duplication in foreign aid programs, nor any improvement in how aid was distributed in the years from 2008 through 2012, the most recent period for which data were available…” (Dawson, 7/18).

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Somalia Declares Drought, Faces Worsening Food Crisis

News outlets report on Somalia’s drought and worsening food crisis.

Agence France-Presse: Somalia facing disaster three years after devastating famine
“Three years after famine in Somalia killed a quarter of a million people in six months, aid agencies warned Sunday a new catastrophe is looming unless urgent aid arrives. A joint statement issued by a group of charities and aid agencies said there were more than 300,000 malnourished children in the east African country and 2.9 million people in need of life-saving help…” (Vincenot, 7/20).

VOA News: Somalia Declares Drought as Food Prices Skyrocket
“The Somali government has declared a drought in six regions as monitors warn that food prices are soaring in the affected areas…” (7/18).

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Intervention Needed In South Sudan To Prevent Humanitarian Crisis

VOA News: U.N. Humanitarian Chief Warns of ‘Major Humanitarian Crisis’ in South Sudan
“The United Nations’ top humanitarian official, Valerie Amos, said this week the international community must intervene quickly in South Sudan, or watch the young country sink even deeper into disaster and possible famine…” (Zeitvogel, 7/17).

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U.N. Increasing Emergency Aid To Gaza Amid Worsening Water Shortages

Reuters: U.N. aid agencies step up emergency aid to Gaza
“The United Nations said on Friday it was stepping up emergency aid to Gaza, where Israel’s military offensive has made water shortages worse and stoked fears of more sewage contamination and water-borne diseases…” (Nebehay, 7/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

Progress Toward HIV Cure Being Made

The Lancet: Towards a cure for HIV — are we making progress?
Sharon Lewin, professor in the department of infectious diseases at Alfred Health and Monash University and co-head at the Centre for Biomedical Research at the Burnet Institute; Steven Deeks, professor in the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, head of Inserm and Unit of Regulation of Retroviral Infections at Institut Pasteur

“Until recently, no one dared to discuss a cure when it came to HIV. There had been a general consensus among experts that the best we would ever achieve would be durable control of the infection with antiretroviral therapy (ART). And, in this regard, we have been tremendously successful. … When HIV was discovered 31 years ago we could never have imagined the great successes possible with ART. The scientific and operational challenges were immense but innovation, investment, and collaboration delivered. Let us hope we can achieve the same success in the coming decades in the search for that elusive cure for HIV” (7/19).

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Private Sector Can Accelerate Achievement Of AIDS-Free Generation

Devex: Step up the pace on investment, PPPs for an AIDS-free generation
Catherine Thompson, principal associate and strategic lead for HIV and AIDS at Abt Associates

“…The private sector represents a broad range of potential partners that could be engaged to accelerate achievement of an AIDS-free generation. … To achieve an AIDS-free generation, we must solve a variety of financial, human resource, and infrastructure challenges. Doing so will require the involvement of new partners, such as the private sector, and innovative financing to make this goal a reality” (7/18).

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'Getting To Zero' Rhetoric Might Harm HIV/AIDS Efforts

Inter Press Service: Getting to Zero — Good Intentions Coming to Naught?
Pierre Brouard, director of the Centre for the Study of AIDS at the University of Pretoria, South Africa

“…[T]he recent rallying cry ‘getting to zero,’ that is, zero new HIV infections, zero HIV-related discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths … seems to be an exciting challenge and possibly a useful indicator of success. But is it possible that these goals are setting us up to fail and reflect a misunderstanding of such a complex epidemic as AIDS? … Targets are important, but there is a danger that the zero language closes the door on nuance and complexity, risking blame and othering of those who fail to comply with well-intended public health injunctions. … So instead of trying to ‘get to zero,’ we need to aim for a deeper understanding of the social and structural underpinnings of AIDS, and question the unintended consequences of our programmatic language” (7/17).

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Global HIV/AIDS Community Will Continue Fighting

Huffington Post: The Global HIV/AIDS Community Can Take a Punch
Kolleen Bouchane, director of policy and advocacy at A World at School and director of policy and research at Global Business Coalition for Education

The HIV/AIDS community is “a community full of fighters — men and women prepared for the long game against the health injustice that means that who you are and where you live determines whether or not this disease or another will kill you — or not. … This tenacity and vision has led to a revolution in human health history. Even without a cure — with the strategies for prevention and treatment that have been developed and with the policies put in place to fight discrimination in access to treatment — we have now begun to talk about ‘the end of AIDS’…” (7/19).

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The Lancet Remains Dedicated To Publishing Best HIV/AIDS Research

The Lancet: HIV: science and stigma
“Today’s issue of The Lancet is dedicated to HIV to coincide with the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in Melbourne, Australia (July 20-25, 2014). This year, the biennial meeting — the biggest global gathering of HIV scientists, health care workers, and activists — has made stigma and discrimination one of its main concerns. Such an emphasis is sadly as necessary today as it was in the very early days of the disease. … The Lancet will continue to publish the best research we receive to inform the HIV response, including for key populations. Two new initiatives will aid this ambition. On July 22, at AIDS 2014, we will launch a new series focusing on health issues specific to sex workers. And in the coming months, we are launching a new online journal dedicated to HIV/AIDS science and health research, The Lancet HIV…” (7/19).

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International Community Must Step Up Efforts To Contain, Reverse Polio In Pakistan

New York Times: Pakistan’s Struggle Against Polio
“The campaign in Pakistan to contain an uncontrolled outbreak of polio hit an alarming point this week when the nation’s tally of new cases exceeded last year’s total of 93, with months to go in the emergency effort to vaccinate children over fierce opposition from the Taliban. Fifty-five of the 94 cases reported thus far have occurred in North Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold along the Afghanistan border where hundreds of thousands of people have become refugees since the Pakistani government began a crackdown last month to root out militants. … Far more attention is required from the international community if this health threat is to be contained” (7/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Advocates Call For Universal Access To Viral Load Testing At AIDS 2014

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: AIDS 2014: Undetectable viral load an opportunity for all by 2020 is activists’ call for action
“…Some 50 international and national civil society organizations of people living with HIV and their advocates [at the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne, Australia,] called for universal access to viral load testing and the opportunity for an undetectable viral load for all people living with HIV by 2020. They argue in a press release [.pdf] issued on Sunday here in Melbourne that ‘reaching an undetectable viral load is the closest thing we have to a cure for HIV’…” (Lubinski, 7/20).

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Blogs Discuss Key Topics To Be Discussed At AIDS 2014

Blogs discuss what to expect at the 20th International AIDS Conference, AIDS 2014, which is taking place in Melbourne, Australia, this week.

AIDS.gov blog: NIH’s Dr. Carl Dieffenbach Looks Ahead to Key Topics to be Explored at AIDS 2014
Miguel Gomez, director of AIDS.gov and senior communications adviser at the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, discusses an interview with Carl Dieffenbach, director of the Division of AIDS at NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on achieving an AIDS-free generation on the first day of the 20th International AIDS Conference (7/20).

Center for Global Development “Global Health Policy”: What to Expect at This Year’s International AIDS Conference
Mead Over, senior fellow at CGD, and Yuna Sakuma, research assistant at CGD, examine PrEP as an approach to prevent HIV infections (7/18).

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Blog Provides Live Updates From AIDS 2014

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” is live-blogging this week from the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne, Australia.

Science Speaks: AIDS 2014: When HIV Research and Data Collection Is at Odds with ‘Do No Harm’
A guest post from Anita Datar, senior policy adviser at the Health Policy Project of the Futures Group, and Ron MacInnis, deputy director for HIV at the project, write about how to “harness the potential of spatial analysis and its ability to shine a light where health and social interventions are needed, while upholding public health’s first principle, to first ‘do no harm’…” (Barton, 7/21).

Science Speaks: AIDS 2014: Paul Semugoma Receives Human Rights Award at Monday Plenary Session
“Uganda physician and human rights activist Paul Semugoma was honored in Melbourne today with the Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights award at the opening plenary session…” (Lubinski, 7/21).

Science Speaks: AIDS 2014: A new target for HIV treatment from UNAIDS
“Against the backdrop of a large screen photo of AIDS researcher Joep Lange, who died in Malaysian Airlines 17 crash last week, a high level panel Sunday discussed the UNAIDS new target for HIV treatment — 30 million by 2030…” (Lubinski, 7/20).

Science Speaks: AIDS 2014: Gay Men, MSM and Transgender Pre-Conference Kicks Off in Melbourne
“The opening session of a two-day pre-conference on Gay Men, MSM, and Transgender People in the Global AIDS Response sponsored by the Global Forum on MSM & HIV at Melbourne Town Hall began with solemn words and a moment of silence for the almost 300 people killed on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17…” (Lubinski, 7/19).

Science Speaks: AIDS 2014: HIV and tuberculosis are one disease in Southern Africa
The blog discusses “a high-level international consultation of the World Health Organization in Melbourne [Saturday] in advance of the opening of the 20th International AIDS Conference…” (Lubinski, 7/19).

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AIDS 2014 Provides Several Ways To Follow Conference Proceedings
International AIDS Conference: Stepping Up The Pace
The AIDS 2014 Media Centre is updated daily with press releases and conference highlights, including the Daily Bulletin and a press briefing available on the official conference YouTube channel. For information on upcoming AIDS 2014 sessions and speakers, download the Daily Programme Highlights document (.pdf) (7/21).

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Haiti Overcomes Challenges Toward Goal Of Eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: Haiti National Program for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis — A Model of Success in the Face of Adversity
Roland Oscar of the Ministry of Public Health and Population in Haiti and colleagues discuss the many challenges faced in achieving success toward eliminating lymphatic filariasis in Haiti (7/17).

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