Also In Global Health News: HIV Prevention Strategies For Couples; Humanitarian Operations In Somalia; Gender Rights; Health Clinic In Uganda

Studies Show Long-Term Couples Overlooked By HIV Prevention Strategies

The Washington Post examines research presented at the 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections that indicates HIV prevention strategies in sub-Saharan Africa are overlooking the risk of transmission between couples in long-term relationships, fueling the spread of the disease. “Only as HIV testing has become more common in Africa in the past few years have health authorities come to appreciate the vast number of ‘discordant couples,’ in which one partner is HIV-positive and the other isn’t,” the newspaper writes. “For example, in the East African nation of Kenya, about 1 in 10 couples is affected by HIV. In 40 percent of those couples, both partners are infected. But in 60 percent – about 340,000 couples – only one partner is.” The article examines how lack of awareness about partner status contributes to the spread of the disease and ways to structure prevention campaigns to focus on this population (Brown, 2/18).

U.S. Restrictions On Somalia Aid Hurt Humanitarian Operations, U.N. Officials Say

“U.S. restrictions designed to stop terrorists in Somalia from diverting aid are hurting humanitarian operations in the lawless Horn of Africa country, U.N. officials said Wednesday,” the Associated Press reports. Mark Bowden, the top U.N. humanitarian official for Somalia, said U.N. agencies have not seen evidence from the U.S. that food aid is finding its way to government opposition fighters. The AP also reports that the issue of U.S. funding restrictions “is not the only problem agencies are facing. The World Food Program pulled out of much of southern and central Somalia after local Islamist commanders demanded $20,000 payments every six months to allow them to operate. The Islamists also demanded that WFP fire all women working for them unless they were in clinics or health centers” (Houreld, 2/17).

Women Push For Protection Of Gender Rights In Regional Union

“As the East Africa Community (EAC) gradually moves towards a political confederation, women’s rights groups from the five member states are pushing for an East African Protocol on Gender and Development to bridge the gender gaps within the integration process,” Inter Press Service reports. “The protocol, which is currently in draft form, aims to create equal opportunities for women and address the implications of the EAC Treaty,” according to the news service. The protocol also seeks to address “violence against women, economic empowerment and food security” as well as women’s health issues, IPS writes (Kiapi, 2/17).

Des Moines Register Examines Efforts To Improve Health Care In Uganda

The Des Moines Register examines how the work of the charity ChildVoice International is helping to serve the needs of the people of Uganda, as part of a larger series on the country. The article describes how, in 2006, the group was able to open a clinic, staffed with Ugandan medical workers, that could offer basic medical services to residents in the area, and how the project has since grown. The piece provides a snapshot of the health needs of the population and addresses the need for permanent medical system in the region (Leys, 2/14). The article was supported by a Kaiser Family Foundation Mini Fellowship.

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