Kofi Annan’s AIDS legacy

From thebody.com

When Mr Annan began his term as the new United Nations Secretary-General in 1997, the outlook for the AIDS epidemic was bleak — some 23.9 million people were living with HIV, there were 3.5 million new HIV infections and access to life-saving treatment was only available to a privileged few.

Kofi Annan, 1938-2018 (Courtesy of UNAIDS)

He cajoled world leaders, humbly, diplomatically, and when the message did not sink in he spoke out publicly and forcefully. “Friends, we know what it takes to turn the tide against this epidemic. It requires every president and prime minister, every parliamentarian and politician, to decide and declare that ‘AIDS stops with me. AIDS stops with me,'” he said.

Under his leadership, in 2000 the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1308, identifying AIDS as a threat to global security. In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS was held — the first-ever meeting of world leaders on a health issue at the United Nations.

In 2000, at a time when less than US$ 1 billion was being invested in the AIDS response, he called for a war chest of at least US$ 7-10 billion for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. That call, and his concerted lobbying of world leaders, led to the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which went on to save millions of lives. Mr Annan remained a patron of the Global Fund, helping to ensure that it is fully funded.

Read the full article.

22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) underway in Amsterdam

From HIV.gov

As the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) got underway in Amsterdam, HIV.gov began their coverage of HIV research advances and other conference highlights with an interview of Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. Dr. Fauci is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH.

Interview of Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.

The International AIDS Conference is the largest conference on any global health issue in the world. First convened during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in 1985, it continues to provide a unique forum for the intersection of science, advocacy, and human rights. According to its organizers, each conference is an opportunity to strengthen policies and programs that ensure an evidence-based response to the epidemic.

The theme of AIDS 2018 is “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges,” drawing attention to the need of rights-based approaches to more effectively reach key populations. AIDS 2018 aims to promote human rights based and evidence-informed HIV responses that are tailored to the needs of particularly vulnerable communities – including people living with HIV, displaced populations, men who have sex with men, people in prisons and other closed settings, people who use drugs, sex workers, transgender people, women and girls and young people – and collaborate in fighting the disease beyond country borders.

 

 

PBS airs series The End of AIDS: Far from Over

PBS NewsHour is airing a series called The End of AIDS: Far from Over from correspondent William Brangham and producer Jason Kane. The five reports describe why, despite major advances in the treatment of HIV and AIDS, places such as Russia, Nigeria and Florida are still struggling to contain the virus.

While the series explores some of the impediments to successful treatment in these places, it also shows promising developments — like several Russians who are promoting treatment and battling discrimination in their communities.

TV Rain news anchor Pavel Lobkov, who went public with his HIV-positive status three years ago, became one of the only public figures in Russia to disclose their status. Lobkov said he wanted to show people that one can live a healthy life with HIV treatment.

Tatiana Vinogradova, deputy director of the St. Petersburg AIDS center, and her husband Andrei Skvortsov, who is living with the virus, appeared in a public ad campaign that says “People with HIV are just like you and me.”

And Alexander Chebin runs an informal network of activists in Russia collecting antiretroviral drugs and mailing them for free to HIV-positive people throughout Russia who can’t otherwise access them.

Here is a look at other efforts that are exploring new treatments or trying to lift the stigma around HIV and AIDS.

Interactive online map illustrating the prevalence of HIV in the United States

map2AIDSVu is an interactive online map illustrating the prevalence of HIV in the United States. The national, state and local map views on AIDSVu allow users to visually explore the HIV epidemic alongside critical resources such as HIV testing center locations, HIV treatment center locations, and NIH-Funded HIV Prevention & Vaccine Trials Sites. The map also lets users filter HIV prevalence data by race/ethnicity, sex and age, and see how HIV prevalence is related to various social determinants of health, such as educational attainment and poverty.

The state- and county-level data on AIDSVu come from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) national HIV surveillance database, which is comprised of HIV surveillance reports from state and local health departments. ZIP code and census tract data come directly from state, county and city health departments, depending on which entity is responsible for HIV surveillance in a particular geographic area. AIDSVu is updated on an ongoing basis with HIV surveillance data released by CDC, as well as with new data and information from other sources as they become available.

Marking a scientific milestone in the HIV epidemic

From Huffington Post
by John-Manuel Andriote
Journalist and author, ‘Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America’

Thirty years ago, in an April 23, 1984 press conference in Washington, D.C., the world learned that American microbiologist Robert C. Gallo and his colleagues at the National Cancer Institute had proved that a retrovirus first seen by their counterparts at Institut Pasteur in Paris was the cause of AIDS.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret Heckler also announced that day that the Gallo team had created a blood test to detect antibodies produced by the body to fight infection. With it we finally had the ability to know who was infected, to screen donated blood and to track the spread of the virus.

By the time of the announcement, 4,177 AIDS cases had been reported in the United States across 45 states. New York City alone accounted for more than 1,600 cases. San Francisco, far smaller than the nation’s largest city and the East Coast’s biggest gay mecca, had more than 500 cases. The majority of these cases were among gay men of all skin tones.

Although the HIV test was originally intended to screen the blood supply, it became available to the public in early 1985. After early uncertainty about what, exactly, a positive test meant, it became clear it meant that a microbial time-bomb was ticking inside you, set to explode at some unpredictable time in a nightmare that would eventually lead to your death from the cancers, dementia, brain infections and other horrors that attack a body when HIV has destroyed the immune system.

Continue reading on the Huffington Post.

“We Were Here” revisits 1980’s AIDS crisis to inform younger generation

From Salon.com:

The director of a new documentary says younger generations need to be familiar with the horrors of the early ’80s

The AIDS epidemic hit San Francisco’s gay community in the early ’80s like a mysterious plague, killing thousands before anyone knew exactly what it was. It wasn’t that long ago, but the fear and devastation of those days may have been swept aside in the  rushes for the cure and activism that’s followed, even as AIDS remains a worldwide pandemic.

That the horror of those days has been forgotten — or never learned — by younger generations inspired David Weissman’s “We Were Here,” an effective and moving documentary that revisits the harrowing era through the eyes of a handful of people who lived through it. Three decades later, they’re still trying to make sense of what happened.

Read an interview with the film’s creator, David Weissman on Salon.com.

You can see a preiview of the film at the film’s official Website, wewereherefilm.com and on PBS.org/independentlens.

Panel says boys should also get HPV vaccine

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal panel on Tuesday recommended that  all preteen children – not just girls – get a vaccine that prevents a common  sexually transmitted disease, in a move that public health experts hope will  lead to widespread immunity to the virus and, eventually, cut rates of certain  types of cancer.

The controversial vaccine against the human papilloma virus, or HPV, has been  recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls since 2006, when studies showed that  girls and young women who were immunized had lower rates of cervical cancer.  Several types of HPV can cause cancers in the cervix, anus, head and neck.

But similar guidelines for boys lagged until recent studies showed that the  vaccine prevents genital warts in boys and young men and reduces rates of anal  cancer, especially in men who have sex with men.

The new recommendations, which will likely be formalized by the Centers for  Disease Control and Prevention by early next year, were based in large part on  that data. But a critical reason for including boys in the recommendations is to  protect girls from becoming infected with HPV, doctors and public health  officials said.

Read the full article at SFgate.com .