UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot Looks Back
Peter Piot, MD, PhD, officially retires as executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on December 31, The New York Times reports in a profile on the doctor.
Thailand Prisoners to Receive HIV Treatment
Beginning in 2009, Thailand’s government will oversee programs that provide treatment to all HIV-positive prisoners, the Voice of America reports. The programs were initiated by Doctors Without Borders (known as MSF).
HIV Denialist Christine Maggiore Dead at 52
Christine Maggiore, a well-known HIV denialist, has died, the Los Angeles Times reports. No further details about her death have been released by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.
Cell Phones Given to People With HIV in Rural Virginia
Health care providers with the University of Virginia’s Infectious Disease Clinic in Charlottesville have piloted a text messaging outreach program in which positive people in rural areas are given cell phones so they can be reminded of pending medical appointments and their medication regime, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.
Voluntary HIV Testing Encouraged in Mozambique Mozambique will encourage voluntary HIV testing in 2009 to reduce the spread of the pandemic, which threatens the government's economic recovery efforts, the African Press Agency reports.
Workplace Anti-HIV/AIDS Stigma Project in Seychelles The archipelago nation of Seychelles in the Indian Ocean has launched a project to reduce HIV/AIDS stigma in the workplace and to educate workers on how to protect themselves against the virus, the African Press Agency reports.
Financial Trouble for AIDS Group in Tennessee County Financial difficulties have hit the Clarksville Area Ministers Technical Assistance Network (CAMTAN), a nonprofit faith-based group that provides HIV/AIDS services in Montgomery County, Tennessee, The Leaf Chronicle reports.
December 24, 2008
Chess Checkmates HIV in the Caribbean
Leslie-Ann Nelson, the president of Kids Chess Academy and founder of the Save Our Children Foundation in Arima, Trinidad, has started a program called Chess Battles HIV/AIDS to raise awareness about prevention among young people, reports Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday.
Ring, Ring: Cell Phones That Test for HIV?
Scientists from the University of California in Los Angeles converted an ordinary mobile phone into an inexpensive portable blood analyzer that can detect diseases such as HIV and malaria, reports Science Daily.
December 22, 2008
Lemurs May Hold Key to HIV’s Evolution
A virus found in lemurs—squirrel-sized primates from the island of Madagascar—have given scientists new evidence about HIV’s origins and age, reports IRN/Plus News.
New Law Endangers Healthcare Of HIV Patients
The “right of conscience” rule passed by the Bush administration December 18 protects health workers who refuse care that violates their personal beliefs reports The Washington Post. Originally targeted at abortion procedures, the final rule includes a broad scope of scenarios, such as treating HIV patients who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Needle Exchange Program OK’d in Fresno County, CA Wanting to reduce the spread of diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors has approved a pilot program that allows intravenous drug users to exchange used needles for clean ones, The Fresno Bee reports.
HIV Increasing Outside High-Risk Groups in the Philippines While the HIV transmission rate among high-risk groups such as sex workers has decreased in the Philippines, prevalence is increasing among the general population and is becoming a threat for the country’s youth, Agence France-Presse reports.
New York ADAP Suffers $65 Million Cut in 2009 Faced with a $13.7 billion deficit for the next fiscal year beginning April 1, Governor David Paterson proposed a 2009 state budget that will reduce funding for AIDS services, including a $65 million reduction of the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which pays for HIV meds and some medical services for uninsured people not eligible for Medicaid, reports the Gay City News.
New Orleans Ryan White AIDS Funds May Be Delayed Again
After mismanaged distribution of Ryan White HIV/AIDS funds left many New Orleans AIDS service organizations without funding from March through October of this year, errors in a public notice last week forced the city to delay the start of the 2009 distribution process as well, reports The Times-Picayune.
Money Woes Force DC’s Whitman-Walker Clinic to Downsize Facing financial difficulties and a lack of fund-raising support, the not-for-profit Whitman-Walker Clinic—which has been a cornerstone for Washington, DC,’s HIV-positive community for over 21 years—is forced to move to a smaller, more consolidated location two blocks down the road, The Washington Post reports in a piece examining the clinic’s history. The AIDS service organization will continue to operate in the new location with a reduced staff of 173 employees, down from 252 two years ago.
San Francisco Chronicle Pushes U.S. to Expand HIV Testing States across the nation need to expand routine HIV testing and follow the example set by California, where the law requires health insurers to cover HIV tests and where doctors have switched from required written patient consent for screenings to oral consent, writes the San Francisco Chronicle in a December 15 editorial.
Obama Appoints Tom Daschle to Helm Health Reform
President-elect Barack Obama has chosen former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to head his new Office of Health Reform in addition to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—which overseas the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies that directly impact the lives of HIV-positive people, the Los Angeles Times reports.
U.N. Special Envoy: Decriminalize Homosexuality in Caribbean While addressing an AIDS conference in Georgetown, Guyana, the U.N. Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS, Sir George Alleyne, called on the Caribbean region to decriminalize homosexuality in order to expand HIV testing and treatment, the Guyana Times reports.
Ugandan Bill to Require HIV Testing, Disclosure of Status Under a bill proposed in Uganda, those who test positive for HIV will have their status shared with their sexual partners and spouses with or without their consent, the Daily Monitor reports. The proposed HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill 2008 was presented before a committee of Parliament this week.
Pope’s Message for World Peace Day Includes AIDS Pope Benedict XVI said we can’t win the battle against AIDS—a major cause of poverty—without addressing the underlying social issues surrounding it, reports zenit.org. He made the remarks December 11 in a message for World Peace Day, to be observed January 1.
U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone Decries HIV Stigma
In commemoration of World AIDS Day, the U.S. ambassador to Sierra Leone, June Carter Perry, urged that those living with HIV in the West African country should not be stigmatized, and that they should be respected for their courage rather than be shunned, the Concord News reports.
December 11, 2008
NY Center for Homeless Gay Youth Saved From Closure A Manhattan drop-in center that provides HIV prevention and treatment services to gay, homeless youths—a high-risk group for infection—will no longer be forced to shut down after city officials restored its funding, The Associated Press (AP) reports.
Syringe-Exchange Advocates Seek Statewide Program
Advocates in Bexar County, Texas plan to reintroduce a bill that would authorize local health departments to operate syringe-exchange programs to reduce the spread of hepatitis and HIV among intravenous (IV) drug users and their families, the San Antonio Express-News reports.
New Female Condom Awaits FDA Approval This week, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel will to decide whether a new female condom can adequately prevent pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, Reuters reports.
December 10, 2008
South African Judge Puts HIV Criminalization on Trial HIV-positive South African Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Edwin Cameron calls laws that unfairly criminalize people living with HIV “counterproductive and inherently unjust” in a recent Korea Herald opinion piece.
HIV Transmission Rate Drops to 5% in U.S.
Only 5 percent of HIV-positive Americans today will transmit the virus to a negative person in any given year—compared with 44 percent in 1984—according to a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and reported on by Reuters.
French Scientists Who Discovered HIV Win Nobel Prize French researchers Francoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier are being awarded with the 2008 Nobel Prize for medicine in Stockholm today in recognition of their 1983 discovery of HIV, The Associated Press reports.
December 09, 2008
South African Teens Smoke HIV Meds to Get High
Continuing a recent trend of recreational use of antiretroviral (ARV) medication in South Africa, schoolchildren have been found mixing HIV drugs with marijuana or painkillers and smoking them, BBC News reports.
Nobel Scientist Foresees HIV Vaccine Within 5 Years
Luc Montagnier, one of two scientists receiving the Nobel Prize in medicine this week for discovering HIV, believes there will be a therapeutic vaccine to treat HIV infection within the next few years, The Associated Press reports.
New Website Tracks HIV Criminalization Worldwide The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) launched a website on World AIDS Day that documents HIV exposure/transmission laws and prosecutions around the globe, aidsmap reports. According to the site’s data, the United States tops the world table of HIV criminalization cases.
December 08, 2008
African AIDS Confab Focuses on MSM, Financial Crisis The 15th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA)—which ended December 7—showcased HIV/AIDS funding concerns during the global financial crisis and, for the first time, emphasized the specific HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention needs of men who have sex with men (MSM), Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports.
Moscow Mayor: Gay Pride Parades Heighten HIV Risk Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov said that authorities in the Russian capital will continue to ban gay pride parades, claiming that such events contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS, Russian Information Agency (RIA) Novosti reports.
Bill Gates Urges Obama to Honor Foreign Aid Commitments Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates hopes President-elect Barack Obama and Congress will double the United States’ commitment to foreign aid while, at the same time, putting together a stimulus package to bolster the country’s flagging economy, CNN reports.
Judge: Calif. Must Provide Managed Care to Positive People
A Los Angeles County superior court judge has tasked the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) with helping the state of California develop a plan that complies with a six-year-old law intended to provide medical coverage to impoverished people living with HIV, The Associated Press reports.
Alabama HIV Prevention Spotty for Latinos as Cases Rise
Earlier this week The Latino Commission on AIDS released a report stating HIV prevention initiatives targeting Latinos are infrequent in Alabama despite a rise in HIV/AIDS cases among Latinos in the state, The Birmingham News reports.
Kentucky ADAP May Implement Waiting List by April
Due to a drop in federal and state funding, Kentucky’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP)—which provides treatment to 1,300 HIV-positive residents not on Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance—may be forced to reinstate a drug waiting list by April, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
Thousands of HIV-Positive Burmese Go Without Treatment
Thousands of people in Myanmar are dying of AIDS-related complications each year because its government—run by a military junta—is not allocating enough money to provide them with antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, The New York Times reports.
Africans to World Leaders: Fulfill Pledges to Fight AIDS
On the eve of the 15th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), several hundred African AIDS advocates paraded giant puppets of U.S President-elect Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy through the streets of Dakar, Senegal, to demand that both leaders honor their multimillion dollar commitments to anti-AIDS initiatives, Reuters reports.
Chinese Activist Detained After World AIDS Day Ceremony A Chinese AIDS activist said that police forcibly returned her to her rural Ningling home after she had participated in a World AIDS Day event in Beijing, The Associated Press reports. She cannot leave her home without a police escort and is forbidden from returning to the Chinese capital.
December 02, 2008
President Bush Honored at Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, Saddleback Church Pastor and AIDS advocate Rick Warren held the first Civil Forum on Global Health in Washington, DC, where he presented President George W. Bush with the International Medal of Peace for his President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), CNN reports.
UNAIDS: AIDS Funding Essential Despite Economic Crisis Funding shortages caused by the global financial crisis could lead to the death of millions of people with HIV/AIDS in the next few years, said Bertil Lindblad, director of UNAIDS’ New York office, during a World AIDS Day interview with the Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS).
Michel Sidibe to Succeed Peter Piot as UNAIDS Chief On World AIDS Day, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that Michel Sidibe of Mali has been named the executive director of UNAIDS, a coalition of 10 U.N. agencies that fight AIDS, Bloomberg reports.
Doctor Calls for More Pediatric AIDS Medications Worldwide Speaking from Tanzania in recognition of World AIDS Day, December 1, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation’s regional director of pediatric care and treatment said that more must be done worldwide to address HIV/AIDS among children, Voice of America reports.