Also In Global Health News: Namibia Lifts HIV Travel Ban; HIV Treatment In East Africa; India’s ‘Lifestyle’ Disease Challenge; Mideast HIV/AIDS Strategy

UNAIDS Praises Namibia For Lifting HIV Travel Ban

“Namibia received praise Thursday from the United Nations joint programme on AIDS after the south-west African nation lifted restrictions on the movement of people infected with the disease,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M & C writes. According to U.N. data, the news agency writes, “51 countries and territories still impose some form of restriction on the entry, stay and residence of people living with the AIDS virus, HIV” (7/8). In a statement, UNAIDS wrote: “Restrictions that limit movement based on HIV-positive status only are discriminatory and violate human rights. There is no evidence that such restrictions prevent HIV transmission or protect public health. Furthermore, HIV-related travel restrictions have no economic justification, as people living with HIV can lead long and productive working lives” (7/8).

East African Community HIV Programs Improve Adherence

IRIN/PlusNews examines the “benefits of bringing HIV services closer to rural communities” through mobile drug distribution. The programs make it “easy to reach populations, many of whom are normally too poor to have transport to the established health centers,” said Waziri Rashid Njau of Support for International Change, which reaches “nearly 2,500 people with mobile [antiretroviral] clinics and has so far trained around 200 health workers,” IRIN/PlusNews writes. The article also quotes Emmanuel Patta, a field officer with The AIDS Support Organization in Uganda: “Our experience is that it is a lot easier to deal with large numbers of antiretroviral clients with this model… Space at health centres is limited, and it is easy to visit them where they are” (7/7). Examines Non-Communicable Diseases In Rural India looks at non-communicable diseases (NCD), “previously a killer in urban India, but now rapidly making inroads into rural areas too.” According to the WHO, “in 2004 nearly six out of every 10 people died due to NCDs such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes … cardiovascular disease will be the largest cause of death and disability in India by 2020.”

So-called traditional risks “associated with poverty [are] undernourishment, unsafe sex, impure water, poor sanitation and hygiene, and indoor smoke from solid fuels … [but] as life expectancies improve and the major causes of death and disability shift to the chronic and NCDs, populations in developing countries such as India are exposed to a new class of health risks”: obesity as well as tobacco and alcohol-related risks, according to the publication (Pandeya, 7/7).

UNAIDS Mideast Regional Director Discusses HIV/AIDS Strategy With VOA News

VOA News features a Q&A with Hina Khatib, Middle East and North Africa regional director of UNAIDS, following the organization’s report on HIV/AIDS in the region. Khatib said: “we’ll never have an epidemic of HIV in the region. But still, there is evidence that HIV is growing among key populations.” Khatib discusses obstacles to getting people tested and treated, including stigma, and the UNAIDS’s plan for addressing HIV. The agency is “working with other countries on improving national strategies. So it’s much more targeted … What’s next is actually to have concerted efforts to bring up awareness,” she said (Hilleary, 7/7).  

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