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Opinions: HIV Vaccine; HIV Resources Help Promote Global Disease Control; U.S. Fight Against World Hunger

New York Times Opinion Examines HIV Vaccine Research

Seth Berkley, president and chief executive of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, in a New York Times opinion piece examines how the “pessimism” over the recent controversy surrounding the results of an experimental HIV vaccine tested in Thailand “may ultimately thwart other efforts to develop an AIDS vaccine. Even before this controversy erupted, it had been an effort to maintain sufficient support for AIDS vaccine research and development,” Berkley writes. “Even if the Thai vaccine regimen turns out, on examination, to have had no real benefit, researchers will still learn from the trial, as they do from every study. … Years of investment and dogged science are providing leads for solving one of today’s most pressing research challenges. Some 7,400 new HIV infections occur daily throughout the world. Clearly we need better methods of preventing the spread of HIV, and no public health intervention is more powerful or cost-effective against infectious disease than a vaccine” (10/18).

Financial Times Letter Highlights Ways Fight Against HIV Led To ‘Global Scale-Up Of Disease Control’

John McArthur, chief executive of Millennium Promise, refutes the argument made in a recent Financial Times opinion piece that “foreign aid funding for AIDS treatment somehow diverted health budgets away from other priorities at great human cost,” in a Financial Times letter. “The reality,” McArthur writes, “is that the global campaign for AIDS treatment has been the leading edge of a much larger global scale-up of disease control in the past decade.” For instance, “[i]n sub-Saharan Africa alone, in addition to nearly 3m people now being on life-saving AIDS treatment, measles deaths have dropped more than 90 percent, more than 180m anti-malaria nets have been distributed in the past three years alone, and child mortality has dropped sharply in several countries, including Ethiopia, Malawi, and Mozambique,” McArthur writes. “The successes have motivated entire new global policy movements for tackling maternal mortality, pneumonia, diarrhoeal diseases, and other priorities that need similar attention” (10/19).

Ending Global Hunger Is ‘A Frustratingly Attainable Goal’

Despite the fact that hunger is “the No. 1 international health risk, killing more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined … ending global hunger is a frustratingly attainable goal,” Humaira Faiz, with Friends of the World Food Program, writes in a NJVoices/Star-Ledger column before outlining the role the U.S. can play in fighting global hunger as well as current legislation aimed at such issues. “The Roadmap to End Global Hunger and Promote Food Security Act (HR2817) is a bill currently in Congress that lays out a comprehensive long-term strategy for the United States to effectively address the issues of global hunger and food security. It recommends the minimum funding levels and enhanced coordination needed for an effective, government-wide response to global hunger. This critical legislation would position the United States as a leader in improving the lives of the hungry poor,” Faiz writes (10/16).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.