Also In Global Health News: IDUs; Global Food Security; WHO Immunization Campaign; Clues For HIV Vaccine

Reuters Examines HIV/AIDS Prevention Strategies Targeting IDUs

“Countries in eastern Europe and central Asia face spiralling AIDS epidemics if they fail to help people who inject drugs and stop the spread of infection, [Michel Sidibe,] the head of the United Nations agency for HIV/AIDS said on Friday,” Reuters reports in a piece that examines Sidibe’s comments on several HIV/AIDS prevention strategies aimed at injecting drug users (IDUs). “Infection prevention steps like providing needles, condoms and substitute drugs like methadone – collectively known as harm reduction – are seen by many experts as key to halting the spread of HIV and AIDS, but some governments are reluctant to provide them for fear of being seen to condone drug use,” the news service writes. According to Reuters, Sidibe was scheduled Sunday to address a conference on harm reduction in Liverpool (Kelland, 4/23). In a second story, Reuters examines the amount of funding that goes towards harm reduction, as described in report (.pdf) released Monday by the International Harm Reduction Association (Kelland, 4/26).

World Food Program Head Reacts To Global Food Security Fund

Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Program, recently “praised” the U.S. commitment to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, CongressDaily reports. She said support for that initiative and other efforts send “a powerful message from the United States that [production of and access to food] has to stay front and center,” the publication writes. Sheeran “commended” U.S. and other countries’ efforts to maintain food-aid levels in the face of the recession. “But development aid is also needed, she said, because the world has entered a ‘post-surplus’ era in which commodity prices are likely to stay higher due to increasing demand and climate change-related weather volatility” (Hagstrom, 4/23).

112 Countries, Territories Participate In WHO Immunization Week

Health authorities from 112 countries and territories in the WHO regions of the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean and Europe on Saturday launched a one-week vaccination campaign, VOA News reports (Schlein, 4/24). “It is the first time that such immunisation campaigns are being launched simultaneously across separate WHO regions, in an attempt to expand general vaccination coverage and raise awareness of the importance of vaccines,” Agence France-Presse reports (4/23). A WHO release details some of the activities scheduled for immunization week (4/23).

Salmonella, HIV Study May Help Researchers Better Understand How To Target HIV Vaccine

“Research into a deadly link between salmonella and HIV shows that the AIDS virus damages the immune system in ways doctors did not previously understand, providing new clues for vaccine development,” Reuters reports (Hirschler, 4/22). The study, appearing last week in the journal Science, found “Salmonella’s ability to cause disease in HIV patients does not appear to stem from a weakened or ineffective immune system, but an overactive one that actively protects the bacteria,” The Scientist reports (Akst, 4/22). “The discovery is important both for doctors trying to work out how to treat people with HIV and for developers of vaccines intended to protect HIV-positive patients against other infectious diseases,” Reuters adds (4/22).

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