Posts Tagged HIV/AIDS

Diseases we can stop, but dont

December 13th, 2010

Sabin President Dr. Peter Hotez wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times this past weekend. The editorial focuses on the effects of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) on women. Female genital schistosomiasis, for example, affects as many as 50 million African women causing painful ulcers, social stigma, and puts infected individuals at higher risk for contracting HIV/AIDS during sex. This disease is completely preventable through one-time annual drug administration of praziquantel. For individuals who are already infected, treatment for schistosomiasis is easily feasible and cost-effective, costing less than 1% of what we now pay for daily antiviral therapy through the United States Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

The editorial also talks about hookworm and how it can cause low birth weight, stunting in children, and blood loss amongst pregnant women. The burden caused by these NTDs and others will hopefully be alleviated by the Global Strategy for Womens and Children’s Health, a framework to reduce health-related mortality among women and children over the next four years.

Click here to read the op-ed in its entirety.

Schistosomiasis. Have you heard of it?

December 1st, 2010

Reprinted with Permission from the ONE blog

By: Erin Hohlfelder

Before I came to ONE, I worked for an organization called the Global Network, which worked to raise the profile of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), disabling and debilitating diseases that impact more than a billion people around the world but receive very little public attention and funding. One of the most interesting things I learned in my time at the Global Network was how one NTD, schistosomiasis (also known as snail fever) took a particular toll on women.

Schistosomiasis in anyone is problematic — it causes stunted growth and anemia and frequently leads to blood in the urine, intestinal damage and even cancer. But one type of schistosomiasis (S. haematobium) in girls and women can cause additional problems, including the development of rough, mucosal patches in the genitals.

Because of these patches, females who are sexually active are more likely to experience contact bleeding, and are thereby more susceptible to acquiring HIV. In fact, a study in Zimbabwe showed that women suffering from genital schistosomiasis were three times more likely to become infected with HIV than their counterparts who did not have schistosomiasis.

To read the rest of this blog entry click here!

Erin Holhfelder is a Policy Manager for Health on the Policy Team at ONE.  In this role, she is primarily focused on AIDS, TB, malaria, and NTDs.Erin graduated with a degree in International Affairs, focused on International Politics and African Studies, from the George Washington University. She also spent a semester in Kenya, where she conducted research on holistic care for female AIDS orphans.

It’s World AIDS day, 2010. How are we doing?

December 1st, 2010

By: Alanna Shaikh

2010 was an excellent year for progress against HIV as long as you only look at the science side. Glance over at treatment and prevention and the news gets a lot more depressing. It’s been a year of big science breakthroughs and painful funding shortfalls on treatment and prevention. PEPFAR scaled down its ambitions and the Global Fund faces ugly gaps.

On the research side, we’ve had a really good year for HIV. We’ve seen some exciting news, especially in the last few months. We just found out last week that the same antiretrovirals which treat HIV will prevent it when taken by uninfected people. A clinical trial of 2,499 men found that proactively taking ARVs reduced HIV risk among participants by 43.8%. In July, scientists announced that they had discovered three powerful antibodies that can neutralize HIV; this could be a big step forward to an HIV vaccine and improving the effectiveness of ARV drugs.

Read more: It’s World AIDS day, 2010. How are we doing?


November 10th, 2010

By: Eteena Tadjiogueu

Can mobile technologies be used to monitor and control infectious diseases? “Yes” said six panelists at a mHealth Summit session I attended yesterday afternoon.  In the case of malaria, HIV and TB, panelists cited specific technologies—gadgets and software—that are used to manage, monitor or control the diseases in the U.S., Thailand, Kenya, and Uganda.

One gadget that I found especially captivating is the Wisepill™, a device which monitors when patients take their medication and then collects and sends the data to a physician or health center.  Jessica Haberer, MD, MS and her colleagues at the Harvard Initiative for Global Health who developed the Wisepill™ have found that real-time wireless adherence monitoring is feasible in rural, resource-limited settings like Mbarara, Uganda where their study was conducted.

Interestingly enough, in many poor and remote areas of the world one can still find a large number of cellphone users.  One panelist, Dr. Richard Lester, a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, found that in Kenya, where an estimated 40 percent of the population is unemployed, over 80% of the population has access to cellphones.

Clearly, innovation in the mobile technology sector can have positive benefits for global health, but how can this innovation translate into reduced neglected tropical disease burdens?  Should national governments text their residents about upcoming mass drug administration campaigns?  Could local health workers send counseling information to patients who have been previously treated for an NTD to prevent a relapse?  How can the NTD community tap into the growing mHealth sector and start a mNTDs trend?

Global Health: The Marketing and the Programming

October 19th, 2010

By: Alanna Shaikh

One of the most challenging things about global health is the need to keep telling our stories. Our work isn’t funded by the people who benefit directly from our efforts. Instead, it’s supported by a whole network of donors: individuals, foundations, governments, UN agencies, and more. None of these donors gets much direct benefit from their support.

That means, in practice, that an awful lot of global health work involves talking about that work. Donors need proof that their money is being well-spent. They need to know the works it supports is important. And they need to be reminded of the benefits they reap from improved global health. That means conferences where program results are trumpeted. Success stories for donors to publish. High resolution pictures suitable for reprinting and as much media coverage as you can generate and still implement your program simultaneously.

It’s tough.  Showing your donors that their money is being carefully husbanded and efficiently used is probably the easiest part of the task. For one thing, you don’t have to collect any new data. Any good program knows where their money goes, and what its impact is. Packaging that information into a form that your donor can understand is time-consuming, but rarely all that difficult. Read more: Global Health: The Marketing and the Programming

Every minute counts: Improve Maternal and Child Health!

October 6th, 2010

EngenderHealth works to improve the lives of individuals and families by targeting issues in family planning, maternal health, HIV and AIDS, gender equity, and others. In 2008, EngenderHealth launched a video about Millennium Development Goal 5 and the state of global maternal health. Over the years the numbers have changed, and EngenderHealth has updated the original version of the video to reflect this change. Check out the latest version below:

The Global Fund Paints A New Picture of Health

October 1st, 2010

By: Linda Diep

HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria kill millions every year leaving countless numbers of orphans, destroying families, and ravaging communities and even nations. Similarly to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), combating these pandemics and epidemic leads to the strengthening of health systems, contributes to the development of maternal and child health, and fosters self-reliance within communities. Fortunately, growing support has been made available to populations infected by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and, malaria.

Read more: The Global Fund Paints A New Picture of Health

Reading List 9/28/2010

September 28th, 2010

A lot going on in the world of global health and NTDs today! This Tuesday afternoon were reading about the Philippine Department of Healths initiative to combat malnutrition which in turn will help control and eliminate NTDs, the Carter Centers progress on eradicating guinea worm in Sudan, a new UN report that demonstrates greater access to HIV/AIDS treatment in 37 countries, and creation of a new malaria vaccine.

DOH acts to end IDA, Suzette R. Adduru, Philippine Information Agency Carter Center close to eradicating dreaded disease, The Carter Center UN report shows access to HIV services improving in many developing countries, UN News Center Good news expected at US meet on malaria vaccine, AFP

Moving Women Out of Last Place

September 20th, 2010

By: Dale Hanson Bourke

“Ladies first,” is a common phrase in the US, but in many parts of the world, women come last—dead last.  In many poor countries their rate of disease and mortality exceeds men from an early age.  While some of this is due to complications from childbirth, women’s health needs in general are simply neglected by themselves, their families and their culture in under-resourced countries.

This week women will have a new advocate at the UN with the naming of former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to head the recently formed UN Women.  In addition, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is making women and girls health “the very core of our final push” for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) during the UN General Assembly.

One of the groups to be cited at the General Assembly is the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) which has now tested and treated 1 million pregnant women in order to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT).  The CIDRZ program now includes more comprehensive health services for women, including the largest cervical cancer screening and treatment program in the world.

Read more: Moving Women Out of Last Place

“The Test” – A Demonstration of In-Country Integration

September 17th, 2010

A key platform of President Obama’s Global Health Initiative is integration at the country level.  Wednesday afternoon, the Global Health Council sponsored a screening and lively discussion on a short documentary film entitled, “The Test,” which provided an on-the-ground example of what disease prevention and treatment integration could look like.  The film took place in a rural, underserved community in western Kenya.  Over 40,000 people were tested for HIV and, at the same time, provided with bed nets and water filters (CarePacks) to aid in the prevention of malaria and diarrheal diseases.  Those who tested positive for HIV were immediately provided with counseling (peer support) and linkages to treatment and care services.  The week-long campaign was a public-private partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, the U.S. Center for Disease Control, Vestergaard Frandsen, and CHF International and demonstrated what could happen when in-country health workers partner with the private sector and bilateral donors to achieve national and international health goals, like the MDGs.

Read more: “The Test” – A Demonstration of In-Country Integration

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    • The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is a major advocacy and resource mobilization initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute dedicated to raising the awareness, political will, and funding necessary to control and eliminate the most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)--a group of disabling, disfiguring, and deadly diseases affecting more than 1.4 billion people worldwide living on less than $1.25 a day.
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