KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

International AIDS Conference Begins Amid Concerns Over Complacency In Treatment, Prevention Efforts, Funding

ABC News: New report from U.N. warns we have ‘miles to go’ in fight against HIV
“…HIV infection[s] are on the rise in 50 countries with more than 1.8 million people becoming infected in 2017, a far cry from goals established for the near future, according to a new United Nations report. The report, entitled ‘Miles to Go,’ published [last] week by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, says the pace of progress in saving lives and preventing new infections is ‘not matching the global ambition’…” (Bracho-Sanchez, 7/21).

Agence France-Presse: ‘Dangerous complacency’ looms over world AIDS meeting
“Thousands of experts and activists descend on Amsterdam Monday to bolster the battle against AIDS amid warnings that ‘dangerous complacency’ may cause a resurgence of the epidemic that has already killed 35 million people. … A report this week by UNAIDS and the Kaiser Family Foundation, … found that after two years of declining global funding, donor payments to low- and middle-income countries rose 16 percent to $8.1 billion (seven billion euros) last year. But it cautioned this was no cause for celebration, as the trend was ‘not expected to last’…” (7/20).

VOA News: Eastern, Southern Africa Most Affected by HIV Epidemic
“A report by UNAIDS, ‘Miles to go — closing gaps, breaking barriers, righting injustices,’ warns that the global response to HIV is at a critical point. Eastern and southern Africa remain the regions most affected by the HIV epidemic, accounting for 45 percent of the world’s HIV infections and 53 percent of people with HIV globally…” (Ombour, 7/21).

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Devex AIDS 2018 Coverage Includes Interview With PEPFAR's Deborah Birx, Examines Role Of Faith-Based Organizations In HIV Efforts

Devex: AIDS 2018
“Each year, more than 15,000 global health professionals, advocates, and policymakers come together for the International AIDS Conference to connect and inform the future of AIDS and HIV prevention, management, and cure through the lens of innovation, science, and advocacy. Follow our coverage to learn what the world’s largest global health gathering mean for our industry’s professionals” (7/23).

Devex: Ambassador Birx on PEPFAR’s budget, country ownership, and how to tackle the epidemic
“…Ambassador Deborah Birx, the U.S. global AIDS coordinator … sat down with Devex to discuss budget constraints, the new strategy, efficiencies, and how PEPFAR is increasing country ownership as the program looks ahead to tackling the challenges ahead…” (Saldinger, 7/23).

Devex: Christians and the new age of AIDS
“…PEPFAR’s leaders have set about trying to reinvigorate the initiative’s relationship with churches and communities of faith in the countries where U.S. HIV and AIDS programs operate, while some of PEPFAR’s most influential evangelical backers still face questions about how they draw the lines between faith, science, and human rights. … Shepherd and Anita Smith were among the early voices who sought to fill that vacuum and point the church toward a more constructive approach…” (Igoe, 7/23).

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U.S. Immigration Policies Could Affect HIV Epidemic Domestically, In Other Nations, Researchers Say

Healio: Enhanced immigration enforcement in U.S. could worsen HIV epidemic
“…As the political debate on enhanced immigration enforcement in the U.S. continues to grow, [Kathleen R. Page, associate professor in the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine,] and colleagues said [in a Viewpoint article published in The Lancet HIV] it will be important to develop a multidisciplinary approach to protect the wellbeing of undocumented immigrants with HIV and ensure they are maintained in care. The impact of immigration enforcement would extend beyond individual patients to public health, Page said. ‘Local/national policies have a ripple effect not only in the U.S. but also for other nations,’ she told Infectious Disease News…” (Viguers, 7/21).

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IAS Outgoing Executive Director Discusses Importance Of Continued HIV/AIDS Efforts In NPR Interview

NPR: 4 Years After MH17 Downing, Advocates Urge Continued Attention To AIDS Crisis
“Just over four years ago, on July 17, 2014, six delegates on their way to the International AIDS Conference died in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine. … ‘I’m hopeful that people will still remember them,’ Owen Ryan, the outgoing executive director of the International AIDS Society, says of the colleagues he lost in the AIDS prevention research and activism community that day. … On the eve of the 22nd International AIDS Conference, Ryan talked with NPR about the current state of the AIDS crisis around the world and why it’s important to keep funding AIDS prevention efforts…” (Doubek/Guerra, 7/22).

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Independent Expert Panel Established To Review UNAIDS Sexual Harassment Allegations, Make Policy Recommendations

Associated Press: Sexual harassment panel being set up at embattled UNAIDS
“An independent panel of experts on sexual harassment is being set up at UNAIDS after calls for the organization’s head to resign over his handling of harassment allegations. … It is tasked with reviewing the situation at UNAIDS over the past seven years, evaluating the effectiveness of existing policies to prevent harassment and other problems, and recommending measures to improve matters…” (7/20).

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U.N. HLM On TB Draft Declaration No Longer Includes TRIPS Flexibilities Language In Operative Section

The Wire: Exclusive: Draft U.N. Text on TB No Longer Carries Provisions on Affordable Medicines
“Officials from around the world have been debating for two months now, the text of the final declaration which will be released at the first-ever U.N. General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending Tuberculosis, in September this year. The Wire has reviewed the current draft of the declaration — one of the last iterations of it — which was prepared on Friday, July 20. This draft will probably be discussed in what may be the last round of talks on Monday. The draft has completely dropped critical language which developing countries were fighting for — language that would protect the rights of these developing countries to access affordable medicines via TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) flexibilities. … The lack of mention of TRIPS flexibilities in this draft, at this final stage, has caused alarm in the global public health community, which has been watching the negotiations closely…” (Bhuyan, 7/21).

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News Media Examine Efforts To Improve Access To Sanitary Products, Achieve 'Menstrual Equity'

BBC News: India scraps tampon tax after campaign
“India has scrapped its 12 percent tax on all sanitary products following months of campaigning by activists. The announcement comes a year after the government introduced the tax, known as GST, on all goods — including the 12 percent duty on menstrual hygiene products…” (7/21).

Devex: Menstrual health, while excluded from SDGs, gains spotlight at U.N. political forum
“Aid and development responses to menstrual health management focus too much on supplying sanitary products, and not enough on addressing the underlying challenges of education and stigma, some development and human rights experts say. A high-level political forum at the United Nations last week showcased 46 countries’ progress and shortcomings on reaching several Sustainable Development Goals, with the release of voluntary national reviews by governments including Canada, Vietnam, and Egypt. Menstrual health management itself is not part of the SDGs, but the two-week event placed a rare spotlight on the issue, which is a crosscutting sanitation, education, and human rights challenge…” (Lieberman, 7/23).

New York Times: It’s Not Just the Tampon Tax: Why Periods Are Political
“… ‘Menstrual equity’ refers to equal access to hygiene products, but also to education about reproductive health. And it’s the focus of a variety of new laws and policies to provide menstrual products in prisons, shelters, schools, and even on Capitol Hill. Advocates are also urging states to exempt menstrual hygiene products from sales tax, arguing that they’re a necessity. … Here’s an overview of the [global] issues that women’s health advocates are talking about…” (Zraick, 7/22).

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BRICS Health Ministers Discuss TB, UHC, Access To Medicine At Durban Meeting

IOL: #BRICS: health ministers in campaign to fight disease
“Five key issues were the point of discussion [Friday] at the Health Ministers BRICS meeting at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban. Briefing media after the meeting, [South Africa] Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said these included tuberculosis (TB), universal health coverage, non-communicable diseases, communicable diseases, as well as the implementation of international health regulations as stipulated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005. … He said that also discussed at the meeting was access to medicines and vaccines where it was agreed upon that BRICS countries needed to work together for drug discovery and the development of new drugs for vaccine research and development within BRICS countries…” (Kubheka, 7/21).

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Devex Examines DFID's Policies On Disability Inclusion Ahead Of Global Summit

Devex: How disability inclusive is DFID?
“As the United Kingdom gears up to host the first Global Disability Summit, campaigners have praised the Department for International Development for improving its own policies around disability inclusion, but say there is more work to be done. Tuesday will see hundreds of disability advocates, government ministers, donors, and private sector leaders gather in London for the one-day summit, which aims to push disability inclusion higher up the global development agenda…” (Edwards, 7/23).

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10-Year-Old Somali Girl Dies After Undergoing FGM, Activist Says

Associated Press: 10-year-old Somali girl dies after female genital mutilation
“A 10-year-old girl has bled to death after undergoing female genital mutilation in Somalia, an activist said, a rare confirmed death in the country with the world’s highest rate of the practice…” (7/20).

The Guardian: 10-year-old girl bleeds to death after female genital mutilation in Somalia
“…Deeqa Dahir Nuur was taken on 14 July to a traditional cutter in the village of Olol, roughly 65km from Dhusmareb, in central Galmudug state. The operation severed a vein, and when the family were still unable to stem the hemorrhaging two days later, the girl was taken to Dhusmareb hospital, where she bled to death, said activist Hawa Aden Mohamed of the Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development…” (Hodal, 7/20).

Reuters: Somali 10-year-old dies after undergoing female genital mutilation
“… ‘The woman who performed the operation has not been arrested but even if she was, there is no law that would ensure she is punished for the act. This is just one among many cases happening on a daily basis across Somalia’ [Hawa Aden Mohamed said]…” (Bhalla, 7/20).

Washington Post: Most girls in Somalia experience genital mutilation. The ritual just killed a 10-year-old.
“In 2012, Somalia introduced a new constitution that was supposed to ban female genital mutilation. But a few years later, there had been little follow-up, and UNICEF still estimated that up to 98 percent of girls and women there had been cut…” (O’Grady, 7/20).

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Thousands Of Chinese Children Potentially Received Faulty Vaccines In Setback For Nation's Drug Industry, Regulator

New York Times: Thousands of Children Injected with Faulty Vaccines in China
“Chinese parents were in an uproar on Monday amid reports that hundreds of thousands of children might have been injected with faulty vaccines, the latest scandal to hit the nation’s troubled drug industry…” (Hernández, 7/23).

Reuters: Fresh scandal erupts over vaccine safety in China
“…The incident is a major blow for Beijing’s efforts to push domestically made vaccines and for China’s drug regulator, which has been struggling to clean up the world’s second-biggest drug industry…” (Patton, 7/22).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Simpler, one-dose treatment to prevent malaria relapse OK’d (Johnson, 7/20).

BBC News: Ebola: How a killer disease was stopped in its tracks (Golding, 7/23).

The Guardian: Zika epidemic sheds light on Brazil’s ‘invisible children’ (Boseley, 7/20).

The Guardian: Fifty years on, and Catholics are still in turmoil over contraception (Sherwood, 7/22).

The Guardian: Biker nun on a mission to free Tanzania from grip of HIV (Ratcliffe, 7/22).

SciDev.Net: Indigenous people ‘attuned’ to chronic disease risks (de Oliveira Andrade/Orbe, 7/20).

U.N. News: Refugee health services on track despite record level of displacement, says U.N. agency (7/20).

U.N. News: U.N. says ‘many humanitarian achievements,’ one year after ouster of ISIL from Mosul (7/21).

VOA News: Cholera Threatens Cameroon (Kindzeka, 7/21).

Xinhua News: WHO donates medicine to Tanzania to control infectious diseases (7/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

Equal Focus On Treatment, Prevention Vital To Reducing HIV/AIDS Burden

The Lancet HIV: Is it time prevention had equal billing on the AIDS agenda?
Editorial Board

“…AIDS 2018 provides a forum for the HIV community to take stock. Before setting the agenda for the coming years — the next AIDS-free generation or 90-90-90 — an honest appraisal of the outcomes of these treatment-focused slogans should be made. Diagnosis and treatment are important, and for individuals living with HIV access to these is essential, but increasingly it seems clear that we will not treat ourselves out of the epidemic. Is it time for prevention to receive equal billing with treatment, both at the [International AIDS Conference] and in the program of work and advocacy that follows? In recent years, options for prevention have proliferated, but identification of people at risk, access to vulnerable populations, and access to appropriate combination prevention (behavioral, barrier, and pharmacological) lag behind. Stopping transmission is as crucial as starting treatment if the job is to be done” (July 2018).

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Sex Education In South Africa Should Start At Home

News24: Editorial: The kids aren’t alright — they’re exposed to HIV
Editorial Board

“…[Kids are] having sex even younger and aren’t using condoms. This week, the Human Sciences Research Council released findings of its fifth South African national HIV prevalence, incidence, behavior, and communication survey … While there was a lot to cheer about, such as the significant decline of HIV incidence … the youngsters’ behavior is cause for concern. … [W]hy do this country’s kids have the bravado to think they may be immune to contracting the country’s fifth leading natural killer? And what can we do differently in our homes, where children’s founding attitudes and behaviors are formed, to better inform them about sex and HIV? Sex education, including the importance of safe sex, starts in our homes. We can’t rely on schools … So, parents and caregivers, who will teach your kids if neither you nor the schools are doing it?” (7/22).

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Editorial Discusses U.S. Opposition To U.N. Breastfeeding Resolution

Winston-Salem Journal: Our view: The U.S. vs. breastfeeding
Editorial Board

“…During a recent meeting in Geneva of the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly, a resolution reinforcing that a mother’s milk is healthiest for children and encouraging countries to limit inaccurate marketing of alternate products met strong opposition from the United States’ delegation, the New York Times reported. … [T]he U.S., in its constant business-before-health-and-environment mentality, didn’t like the idea of doing anything that might affect the manufacturers of infant formula … The Department of Health and Human Services, which had led the opposition to the language, … issued a statement that said in part that ‘women should have the choice and access to alternatives for the health of their babies, and not be stigmatized for the ways in which they are able to do so.’ Nobody suggested otherwise. The World Health Assembly resolution only suggested the best possible path according to the best possible medical information. American officials should not undermine good health information in such a heavy-handed way to serve business interests” (7/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Reports From 22nd International AIDS Conference In Amsterdam

Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer at “Science Speaks,” and Rabita Aziz, writer at “Science Speaks” and senior global health policy specialist at IDSA, report from the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam on “news, updates, and analysis of new research findings, evidence-based responses, and community action for global access to HIV treatment and prevention.”

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: AIDS 2018: Price of bedaquiline drops in South Africa (Aziz, 7/22).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: AIDS 2018: Global health security, economic stability priorities for U.S. global TB response (Aziz, 7/22).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: AIDS 2018: The way to 90-90-90 success against HIV (and more) can be found in Amsterdam (Barton, 7/22).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: AIDS 2018: Undetectable equals Untransmittable (Barton, 7/23).

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New Survey Data From 3 African Nations Provide Evidence On Progress Toward 2020 HIV Targets

UNAIDS: UNAIDS welcomes additional evidence from Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, and South Africa on progress towards the 2020 targets
“Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, and South Africa have released new survey data on progress towards the 2020 targets. The Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire population-based HIV impact assessment (PHIA) surveys and the South African survey all studied knowledge of HIV status, new HIV infections, condom use, voluntary medical male circumcision, antiretroviral therapy coverage, viral suppression, and other indicators. … The PHIA surveys provide key information for identifying characteristics of the populations that are not receiving services. … These data will provide critical information to allow program managers to direct their responses to the populations and locations most in need of services…” (7/22).

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CSIS 2-Part Podcast Discusses Drivers Of HIV Epidemic In South Africa

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: Drivers of the Hyperepidemics of HIV in South Africa: Pt. 1, Social and Economic Risk Factors
Janet Fleischman, non-resident senior associate at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, speaks with leading AIDS researcher Quarraisha Abdool Karim in a two-part series on “her latest research into epidemic hot spots in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, focusing on both the structural and biological risk factors that facilitate the spread of HIV in young women. In Part One, she discusses the social and economic factors that contribute to the dramatic differences in HIV rates in women and men at different ages” (7/11).

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: Drivers of the Hyperepidemics of HIV in South Africa: Pt. 2, Biological Risk Factors
In Part Two of the series, Quarraisha Abdool Karim “describes her recent findings about biological factors that can simultaneously increase a woman’s risk of HIV acquisition and decrease the efficacy of HIV prevention tools” (7/17).

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Discrimination Undermining Global HIV/AIDS Efforts, New Report Shows

UNDP: Bad laws and discrimination undermining AIDS response
“Discrimination against vulnerable and marginalized communities is seriously hampering the global effort to tackle the HIV epidemic according to a groundbreaking new report by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law [– an independent commission convened by UNDP on behalf of UNAIDS]. Despite more people than ever before having access to antiretroviral treatment, the new report emphasizes that governments must take urgent action to ensure rights-based responses to HIV and its co-infections (tuberculosis and viral hepatitis)…” (7/22).

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MFAN Co-Chairs Send Letter To U.S. Appropriations Committee Leadership On FY19 Budget

MFAN: Letter to Appropriations Committee Leadership on FY19 Budget
In a letter to Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, and Reps. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) of the U.S. House Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, MFAN Co-Chairs George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette discuss the FY19 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. The co-chairs write, “We look forward to working with you to advance U.S. values and economic and national security interests by supporting a more just, prosperous, and secure world through effective foreign assistance” (7/20).

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FT Health Highlights Report On Antimicrobial Resistance, Features Interview With Author Of Book On Drug Research For Epidemics

FT Health: Drug resistance, pandemics and the vaccination gap
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter highlights a report published by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, World Organization for Animal Health, and WHO on antimicrobial resistance, and features an interview with Stefan Elbe, professor at the University of Sussex, about his new book on the challenges of developing new medicines and vaccines for use in global health emergencies. The newsletter also provides a round-up of global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 7/20).

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