The amount of HIV in an infected mother’s breast milk spikes when weaning begins, according to a study published today in Science Translational Medicine1. The findings are likely to add urgency to efforts to ensure that infected mothers without access to formula take antiretroviral drugs throughout and beyond the time that they wean their infants.
The research also helps to explain why infants who are weaned early and abruptly are no more likely to avoid contracting HIV than do those who continue to breastfeed, a finding from in a randomized clinical trial of 958 HIV-infected women in Lusaka, Zambia, recruited between 2001 and 20042.
A massive population-based study launched in the Western Cape and Zambia yesterday is aiming to answer the critical question whether testing large populations for HIV and immediately starting those infected on effective antiretroviral treatment programmes, could close the tap on new infections.
The study, HPTN071 (PopART) will aim to find out whether offering a combination of several HIV prevention methods to a community will better prevent the spread of HIV that the standard individual methods currently on offer.
Africa is pulling out all the stops in its race to curb the AIDS pandemic by 2015, a deadline set by UN member states. From making anti-retroviral drug therapy (ART) readily available to the masses, to increasing consistent, correct condom use and voluntary medical male circumcision, everything has been tried and tested. And these efforts are paying off, according to the latest report of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), entitled Results.
UNAIDS reports a more than 50% drop in new HIV infections across 25 countries as countries approach the 1000 day deadline to achieve global AIDS targets
In addition, the number of people with access to antiretroviral therapy increased by 63% in the last 24 months—AIDS-related deaths fell by more than 25% between 2005 and 2011 globally.
Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women in southern Africa, but new research reveals that governments’ attempts to address the disease have been inadequate. Access to cervical cancer screening services is minimal, few countries in the region have policies on the disease, and treatment remains a major challenge.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has released initial details on its new funding model, which will change the way countries apply for money. But as the Fund works to finalize the model before next year, civil society is criticizing the process for being untransparent and rushed.
The Global Fund board adopted guiding principles of the model at a mid-September board meeting in Geneva. Although the model’s finer aspects are still being developed, key elements include the allocation of funding to country groupings based on disease burden and ability to pay as well as largely foreseen changes to grant application procedures.
A radiant smile lights up Agness Chabu’s face as she cuddles Lackson, her 23-month-old son at home in Zambia. Agnes has good reason to feel joyful. She and her son have gone through many months of care to protect the little boy from mother-to-child HIV transmission during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. Now, health workers have confirmed that Lackson is free of the virus.
Stories like theirs are increasingly common as people throughout the developing world benefit from growing access to HIV care, treatment and support. On World AIDS Day, marked across the globe on 1 December, we will celebrate those successes, raise awareness about the HIV and AIDS epidemic, and look toward the work that remains to be done.
The Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB and Malaria has more than halved the estimated amount of money available in its next round of funding, the disbursement of which has been delayed until 2013, due to the world economic crisis.
The delay in Round 11 funding was announced at the Fund's latest board meeting on 26 September, the second such delay, which has pushed the application deadline back to at least 1 March 2012.
The size of the pot has also shrunk - to US$800 million, less than half of the $1.5 billion projected for the round as of mid-2011, according to Christoph Benn, director of the Fund's external relations and partnerships.
Home-based tuberculosis (TB) education and testing reduced community TB prevalence by about 20 percent, according to findings of a large, two-country study released at the International Lung Health Conference in Lille, France.
Conducted among almost 963,000 people in Zambia and South Africa, the ZAMSTAR study rolled out household education and TB testing to some communities while others received enhanced TB case detection, which included activities such as community dramas to raise TB awareness.