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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Officials, Advocates Concerned Over Drop In HIV Funding Documented In UNAIDS/Kaiser Family Foundation Report

IRIN: As AIDS money shrinks, who loses?
“As the global public health community gathered in the South African city of Durban this week to talk about the end of AIDS, they were greeted with news that annual international support for combating the epidemic had fallen by more than US$1 billion. The news added weight to existing calls for middle-income countries to take more responsibility for funding their own responses. As part of a global strategy to end the epidemic by 2030, representatives from many of the world’s middle-income countries say they are willing to take on that challenge, and with it the opportunity to assume more control in guiding their national programs. However, there are deep concerns, both among officials and activists…” (Green, 7/21).

Rappler: Decline in HIV funding worries health advocates
“…A joint report by the UNAIDS and the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that donor funding declined from $8.6 billion in 2014 to $7.5 billion in 2015. Adjustments made for foreign exchange fluctuations still showed an overall decline in donor funding. … The report found that funding for HIV declined in 13 of 14 donor governments. … While it is still unclear if the funding decline is a blip or an indicator of things to come, it is [gains in HIV treatment and prevention] that experts fear will be jeopardized if funding further declines. ‘The effects of BREXIT have yet to be assessed, but the U.K. is the second biggest funder of the Global Fund. The U.S. is the top funder, and we don’t know yet what the changes in leadership in November will bring. We can look at other donors — private corporations, foundations, and individual donors, but it is unclear if this will fill in the gap,’ said [Jennifer Kates, vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation]…” (Santos, 7/22)

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Britain's Prince Harry, Sir Elton John Address AIDS 2016 Conference, Urge Young People To Become More Involved

Agence France-Presse: Prince Harry and Elton John speak out at AIDS summit
“Britain’s Prince Harry and Sir Elton John shared a stage in South Africa on Thursday, warning that complacency threatened efforts to defeat AIDS and urging young people to lead the fight. Addressing about 1,000 delegates at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, Prince Harry praised how far the struggle had come since his mother, the late Princess Diana, became a champion for those with the disease…” (7/21).

Associated Press: Prince Harry says world must revive urgency in AIDS fight
“…The prince, who publicly took an HIV test earlier this month, said the world cannot lose the sense of urgency in fighting the disease. He said a new generation of leaders must step forward on the issue and make sure no young person feels any shame in being tested. Elton John called the prince a powerful ally in the fight against AIDS, the leading cause of death among adolescents in Africa…” (7/21).

CNN: Prince Harry follows Diana’s footsteps to fight AIDS
“…[T]he prince particularly fears for the future of the epidemic among adolescents — aged 10 to 19 — for whom AIDS is currently the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa, and the second leading cause of death globally. His own charity, Sentebale, founded in partnership with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, has been working to improve and support the lives of children affected by HIV in Lesotho since 2009 and recently began working in Botswana…” (Senthilingam, 7/21).

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PrEP Effective In Reducing HIV Infection Risk; Other Experimental Therapies Show Potential As Functional Cures, Various Studies Presented At AIDS 2016 Show

aidsmap: PrEP can further reduce the risk of HIV infection after a partner starts treatment
“Offering Truvada pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to the HIV-negative partner in a serodiscordant couple during the first six months after the HIV-positive partner starts antiretroviral therapy (ART) can serve as a ‘bridge’ to provide further protection against HIV infection, researchers reported [Wednesday] at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) in Durban, South Africa…” (Highleyman, 7/21).

Fortune: The Incredible New Advances in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS
“HIV/AIDS therapies have come a long way since 1987, when the first-ever drug, azidothymidine (AZT), was approved to fight the virus in the U.S. An explosion of advances in the field have changed the shape of treatment, enabling HIV-infected patients to live for years without symptoms with simple single-tablet treatment regimens. Now, scientists have hopes for a functional cure — a cure that doesn’t wipe out every possible trace of HIV but keeps it at bay — and a potential vaccine. Here are some of the most promising advances in the field…” (Mukherjee, 7/21).

Reuters Health: Taking anti-HIV pill as needed prevents infection
“…In the ANRS IPERGAY trial, gay and bisexual men were randomly assigned to take Truvada ‘as needed’ — instead of each day — or an inactive dummy pill. The group taking Truvada had an 86 percent reduction in new HIV infections, compared to people taking the placebo. That phase of the trial ended in 2014, after which the researchers offered Truvada to all the participants. After an average of about 18 months, the risk of HIV among the 362 participants fell 97 percent, compared to results with the dummy pill in the first phase of the study…” (Seanman, 7/20).

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South Africa To Implement New Prevention, Treatment Strategies To End AIDS; Bill Gates Says Nation Sets Example For Other African Countries

PBS NewsHour: How South Africa, the nation hardest-hit by HIV, plans to ‘end AIDS’
“…[O]ur series The End of AIDS wraps up in South Africa, where, this week, many of the world’s top scientists, researchers and advocates are meeting in Durban. Among the topics: Is the end of AIDS really a possibility? Perhaps no nation has paid as steep a toll from AIDS as South Africa has. But, as correspondent William Brangham and producer Jason Kane report, few other nations are doing as much to push back against the virus. This is the final report in our series, which has been supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting…” (Sreenivasan, 7/21).

SABC News: Test and treat as of September: Mostoaledi
“…[South African Health Minister Aaron] Motsoaledi indicated new developments in May: ‘I announced that from September we are going to go onto test and treat. All this time ever since the advent of HIV/AIDS we have been treating people when their CD4 count was at a particular level. Now the CD4 count no longer matters from the first of September, we find you, we test you. If you are HIV-positive, we put you on treatment immediately’…” (7/20).

SA News: Microsoft’s Bill Gates lauds SA’s HIV response
“U.S. billionaire Bill Gates, one of the leading funders of HIV prevention programs, has singled out South Africa as a model of the African continent in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. He has urged the country to continue to do more to curb the pandemic. … He was speaking during a session titled ‘Accelerating the decline of the burden and incidence of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa’ at the 21st International AIDS Conference underway in Durban…” (7/20).

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U.S. President Obama Encourages Foreign Aid Continuity At White House Global Development Summit

Devex: President Obama takes ‘victory lap’ at global development summit
“President Barack Obama — and key members of his foreign policy team — enjoyed what many called a development ‘victory lap’ this week in Washington, D.C. Officials billed Wednesday’s White House Summit on Global Development as one part ‘celebration’ and one part ‘recommitment.’ In the twilight of an administration that launched multiple development initiatives and built on others it inherited, the resounding message to development professionals — ‘just a lot of do-gooders in one room,’ as Obama dubbed them — was keep doing what you’re doing…” (Igoe, 7/22).

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SDGs Should Be Inspiration For Nations Beset With Conflict, U.N. Official Says; Report Ranks Countries' Progress Toward Reaching Goals

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.N. goals to cure global woes are beacon for troubled nations, official says
“Nations grappling with conflict and discord may be too absorbed by their own troubles to tackle goals set out by the United Nations to fight poverty, inequality, and other global woes, a top U.N. official said on Wednesday. For those nations, the U.N.’s ambitious set of global objectives will have to serve as a beacon to follow when they are able, said Assistant U.N. Secretary-General Thomas Gass after a U.N. forum to assess the goals’ progress…” (Wulfhorst, 7/20).

Washington Post: A new report rated countries on ‘sustainable development.’ The U.S. did horribly
“…When it comes to [meeting economic, social, and environmental goals simultaneously,] not all countries are faring very well at the moment. That’s the gist of a new report from Bertelsmann Stiftung, a large German foundation, and [Columbia University economist and U.N. adviser Jeffrey] Sachs’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which has actually ranked the countries of the world based on where they stand at the outset of trying to achieve these goals over the next decade and a half…” (Mooney, 7/21).

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Obama Administration Announces Availability Of $60M More In Zika Response Funding From Reprogrammed Ebola Money

Roll Call: Obama Administration Announces Added $60 Million to Fight Zika
“Some $60 million will soon flow to states, cities, and territories to fight the Zika virus, White House officials announced Thursday. … An Office of Management and Budget aide confirmed on background that the additional $60 million comes from the $589 million in total funds the administration reprogrammed in April to fight the virus, in the absence of Congress appropriating $1.9 billion in emergency funds that were requested in February…” (Mejdrich, 7/21).

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Researchers Find Evidence Zika Carried By More Common Culex Mosquitoes

Reuters: Brazil scientists find Zika traces in Culex mosquitoes in wild
“Brazilian researchers on Thursday said they found signs of the Zika virus in a common mosquito that is a separate species from the insect known to be the primary means of transmission…” (Prada, 7/21).

Washington Post: Zika is found in common Culex mosquitoes, signaling a potentially larger risk
“…Until now, Zika was believed to be carried mainly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is much less numerous, lives in clean water, and is more likely to bite during the day. … The virus is also carried by the Aedes albopictus mosquito, which lives in more rural environments. Culex mosquitoes are much more widespread. They breed in dirty water and bite at night. Public health officials have feared that Culex mosquitoes could be involved in Zika transmission, something that would necessitate new strategies to combat the disease…” (Phillips, 7/21).

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Bill Gates Discusses Foundation's Continued Focus On Health In Africa In Reuters Interview

Reuters: Health remains priority for work of Gates Foundation in Africa
“Bill Gates said health would remain a priority for the work of his foundation in Africa and it faced a struggle to bring down the rate of new HIV infections in the world’s poorest continent. Speaking to Reuters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Gates said the foundation planned to spend $5 billion in Africa in the next five years. The Horn of Africa country is one of the biggest recipients of funds from the foundation…” (Maasho, 7/21).

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MSF Calls For Urgent Humanitarian Aid Response For 500K People In Northeastern Nigeria's Borno State

PRI: 50,000 children may die if Nigeria’s food shortage isn’t dealt with — and fast
“With 4.4 million food insecure individuals in northeastern Nigeria, the region is on the brink of famine. Boko Haram, the militant group who has overrun the area, is clearly a major cause of this crisis, which has taken international aid agencies by surprise…” (Lambert, 7/21).

VOA News: MSF Reports Humanitarian Catastrophe in Nigeria’s Borno State
“Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF) is calling for a major aid response to a humanitarian catastrophe in northeastern Nigeria’s war-torn Borno state, where at least 500,000 people are in urgent need of food, medical care, water, and shelter…” (Cocoli, 7/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

Donor Pledges To Global Fund Will Help Ensure Better Access To Medicines To End Epidemics, Achieve SDGs

Devex: Innovating to the last mile: How access to medicines can end epidemics for good
Christopher Game, chief procurement officer at the Global Fund

“…At the Global Fund we are working closely with the private sector to bring corporate best practices to global health systems, streamlining processes to increase access to crucial medicines and supplies. … Before the last mile can be run in the race to end epidemics, health facilities must be able to effectively procure the supplies needed to keep their communities healthy and safe. … Ensuring better access to medicines will take coordinated teamwork from implementing countries, donors, private sector partners, and on-the-ground implementers to improve procurement and supply chain management systems. Furthermore, the Global Fund partnership’s continued ability to improve these systems will be greatly affected by the funding pledged during its Fifth Replenishment Conference, taking place in Montreal, Canada, in September. The return on investment in the Global Fund is significant … The time to act is now — through strategic funding to increase access to medicines, we can run the last mile, help achieve the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], and ultimately save and improve millions of lives” (7/19).

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U.S. Should Continue To Support Global Fund Efforts To End HIV, TB, Malaria

Houston Chronicle: Schubert: Global Fund is a worthy tool in fight against AIDS worldwide
David Schubert, member of RESULTS

“…The humanitarian reasons that governments worldwide should support the Global Fund are overwhelming. … The economic reasons for support also leave an impression. … In September, the Global Fund will convene a meeting asking its donors to renew their pledges. From the beginning of the Global Fund, the United States has been its leading donor. I urge readers to contact President Obama, both Texas U.S. senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and their congressional representatives, reminding them that the Global Fund is not a Democratic or a Republican issue, but a human issue. Our country should continue to support the Global Fund now more than ever, as scientists see the possibility of ending AIDS, TB, and malaria if we act immediately…” (7/21).

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Global Food Security Act Shows U.S. Willingness To Support Farmers To End Hunger, Food Insecurity

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Why the Global Food Security Act Matters
Elizabeth Adams, technical specialist for agriculture at Global Communities

“…[The passage of the Global Food Security Act (GFSA)] clearly demonstrates that the U.S. is willing to engage on the issue of food security in a productive manner. Though perhaps more importantly, it also shows a commitment to a deeper understanding of the relationship between food security and economic development. … It has moved us past the old view of food security, recognizing that the best way to fight hunger and food insecurity is to increase the strength and resilience of farmers, their organizations, and the range of support firms, organizations, and institutions with whom they interact on a day-to-day basis. … The passage of the GFSA recognizes that food security is a complex issue, and represents an important shift toward thinking about supporting farmers as the means to increasing access, availability, and utilization of food. As a country we must be open to adopting more legislation like this that keeps pace with current realities and addresses the root of the problem so that the U.S. can continue to contribute to the critical task of ending hunger across the globe” (7/21).

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Human Rights Must Be Included In Health-Related Innovative Finance Mechanisms, Public-Private Partnerships

Daily Maverick: Op-Ed: Decisions in the Dark? Global Health Financing in the Post-Aid Era
Julia Greenberg, director of the Global Health Financing Initiative at the Open Society Foundations

“…Questions about how to fill the funding gap left by the withdrawal of foreign assistance for health are gaining prominence among donors, civil society actors, and the private sector. … Discussions at the AIDS conference would benefit from some healthy reflection on whether public-private partnerships and other modes of blended finance are indeed the ‘magic bullets’ in the next wave of health financing that some purport them to be. … [H]ealth policies should be set by those most affected, not negotiated between governments and their investment partners. It is that foundation that we stand to lose if conversations about public health decisions are moved out of public spaces, if donors rather than recipients of aid regain control of the agenda. In 2016 and onward, we need to open up the debate about donor withdrawal from middle-income countries, exploring roles for governments, donors, civil society, and the private sector that would advance human rights and preserve and build on the gains of the global HIV response. It would be a breakthrough for the AIDS movement to come up with minimum human rights standards for innovative financing approaches and public-private partnerships in health…” (7/20).

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Eliminating Viral Hepatitis By 2030 Possible With Improved Access To Treatments, Increased Funding

The Lancet: Towards elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030
Editorial Board

“…[W]ith some vital progress now made, 2016 could be a turning point for the global prevention and control of viral hepatitis infection. … Although the knowledge and approaches required to eliminate hepatitis such as vaccines and antiviral treatment are already in existence, accessibility and affordability of effective treatment and care services for viral hepatitis are a major concern in most countries. … On July 28, when World Hepatitis Day will be observed, policymakers, health workers, and the public are called upon to ‘know hepatitis-act now.’ To realize the vision of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030, much more vigorous action to reform health policy — particularly drug price policy — as well as the funding for hepatitis, at both global and national levels, must be taken” (7/23).

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All Forms Of Female Genital Mutilation Must End

The Guardian: Female genital mutilation is never a ‘minor practice’
Assita Kanko, author and politician

“One month after the Economist justified some forms of female genital mutilation (FGM), I still feel horrified. … By supporting the absurd idea of a compromise between culture and law, proposing to tolerate what [the authors] call a ‘least nasty version’ of FGM, the Economist lets millions of girls down. … No compromise is desirable or justifiable because there is no such thing as ‘light FGM.’ The cultural relativism which they clearly demonstrate through their writing is unbearable. The fact that they have the intellectual or medical background to know better is as amazing as hopeless. This choice is pure cowardice, and a betrayal of medicine, science, and law. It is also a disregard for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights because in their eyes, we are not born free and equal in law. I salute all those who have the courage to fight every day, despite the unfathomable selfishness of people like the supporters of this so called ‘light FGM.’ Any kind of FGM must stop…” (7/22).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Fact Sheets On U.S. Government, Global Efforts On NTDs, HIV/AIDS

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Neglected Tropical Disease Efforts
This updated fact sheet discusses the U.S. government’s efforts to address neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) around the world, as well as global statistics related to, interventions to address, and international goals to control NTDs (7/19).

Kaiser Family Foundation: The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic
This updated fact sheet examines the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, highlighting the latest global estimates from UNAIDS, strategies for treatment and prevention, and U.S. government and global responses (7/21).

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CGD Blog Post Examines 2 Projections On Ending AIDS Epidemic

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Will AIDS Treatment Conquer the AIDS Epidemic?
Mead Over, senior fellow at CGD, examines two projections for ending the AIDS epidemic, comparing UNAIDS and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) data. Over writes, “To achieve the AIDS transition, we should heed UNAIDS latest call to put a quarter of HIV/AIDS spending on HIV prevention, so that the gap between new infections and mortality is closed and the HIV/AIDS burden finally begins to shrink” (7/21).

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CSIS Video Profiles 4 Women In Zambia, Experiences With AIDS Epidemic

Center for Strategic & International Studies: It’s Time to Listen: Young Women and HIV/AIDS in Zambia
“The CSIS Global Health Policy Center produced this video during a visit to Zambia in April 2016. It profiles four young Zambian women who describe the stark realities for adolescent girls and young women that fuel the AIDS epidemic — sexual violence, barriers to education and family planning, and gender inequality. Through their stories and insights, the video illustrates that in order to address the AIDS crisis in Southern Africa, we must understand the risks that young women face and work to engage and empower them” (7/20).

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