Tag Archives: WHO

Anti-Retroviral Drugs Cut HIV Death Toll

BBC News reports that “The World Health Organization and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids) say an estimated 33.4 million people worldwide are infected with HIV,” which is up from 2007’s 33 million HIV infections due to the use of HIV drugs, which are helping people with HIV live longer, fuller lives.

Since 1996, when effective ARVs became available, an estimated 2.9 million lives have been saved, new HIV infections have been reduced by 17% over the past eight years,and mother-to-child infections have been reduced due to access to preventative drugs.

The quote from the Director general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan speaks adamantly and hopefully, “We cannot let this momentum wane. Now is the time to redouble our efforts, and save many more lives.”

However, the figures from Sub-Saharan Africa remain the worst in the world:

  • Total Infections in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2008: 22.4 million
  • New Infections in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2008: 1.9 million
  • AIDS Deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2008: 1.4 million
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Assistance for Tanzania to Achieve Millenium Development Goals

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission (EC) gave 14 ambulances, 5 pick-up trucks, 5 motorcycles, communication equipment, blood bank and basic delivery equipment worth $985K  (Sh1.3 billion) to Tanzania. The facilities will help Tanzania achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) number 4 and 5, which aim to reduce under age five mortality by 2/3 and maternal mortality by 3/4 by the year 2015 from the levels of 1999.

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Optimism Surrounding HIV Vaccine Trial – Thailand

News sources everywhere are publishing optimistic headlines about the largest ever HIV vaccine trial going on right now in Thailand. But how excited should we really be? An article from UNAIDS spells out exactly what’s going on, and what it means for the world.

The study results reveal that there is a 31.2% vaccine efficacy in preventing HIV infections. While this can only be charaterized as modestly effective, these results represent new hope in HIV vaccine development. Basically, the vaccine in question, RV144, cannot be put on the market, but the data collected in Thailand this September could serve as an important foundation for the discovery of a highly effective vaccine.

The article also mentions another obstacle standing in the way of RV144; researches yet need to illucidate weather RV144 would be applicable to other regions of the world where different HIV subtypes are predominant against different host genetic backgrounds.

UNAIDS and WHO stress that until a highly effective vaccine becomes available, proven preventative messures should still be practiced.

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UNAIDS Estimates 5-15 Men Will Need to be Circumcized to Prevent One New Infection

It costs about $30 USD to circumcise one man in sub-Saharan Africa where HIV rates are highest. Using a new mathematical modeling system developed in collaboration with UNAIDS, WHO and the South African Center for Epidemiological Analyses, it is estimated that between 5-15 men, at a cost of approximately $150-900 USD, need to be circumcised in order to prevent just one new HIV infection.

In an article published by AIDSmap News, it is also mentioned that even if newly circumcised men reduce their use of condoms, circumcision can still reduce the risk of HIV transmission from HIV positive men to HIV negative women. Albeit, if men resume sexual activity too soon after the procedure, their HIV negative partners would be placed at higher risk of transmission. Data shows that to circumsise  HIV positive men would lead to no significant decrease of new infections, so primary motivation for cicumsision campaigns should focus on uncircumcised HIV negative men who are risk for infection.

Statistics concerning male homosexual activity is currently unavailable. However, the computer model used is based on Southern African populations, in which heterosexual sexual activity is the primary cause of infection.

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AIDS and TB, a UN Report

Inadequate attention to the spread of tuberculosis is undermining recent gains made against the virus that causes AIDS, UN officials said Monday.

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New World Health Report on AIDS Treatment

According to a new joint report by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and UNAIDS, nearly 3 million people worldwide are receiving anti-retroviral therapy, partially due to increased demand from testing and outreach efforts.

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