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Posts Tagged ‘HIV Implementers’ Meeting’

Smita Baruah wrote this guest blog. She is director of government relations for the Global Health Council, based in Washington, D.C.

Smita Baruah wrote this guest blog. She is director of government relations for the Global Health Council, based in Washington, D.C.

This guest blog was written by Smita Baruah. She is the director of government relations for the Global Health Council, the world’s largest membership alliance dedicated to saving lives by improving health throughout the globe.

In this morning’s plenary session on prevention, we learned again about the importance of involving men in all prevention programs, including prevention of mother to child transmission. At conferences such as this one, sessions on PMTCT usually top the list. Most of these sessions generally center around examples of the progress towards reaching the 80% target.

This includes discussions around how to reach pregnant women, ensure that PMTCT programs are integrated with antenatal care services or primary health care and of late, and the importance of integrating family planning services with PMTCT programs. I, at least, had not really paid attention to the critical role men can play in PMTCT programs. This morning, I started paying attention. (more…)

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Barbara de Zalduondo wrote this guest blog. She is chief of the programmatic priorities support division with UNAIDS in Geneva.This guest post is written by Barbara de Zalduondo, Chief of the Programmatic Priorities Support Division with UNAIDS in Geneva. She has been involved in AIDS for more than two decades, ranging from work in Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the world of policy.

On Thursday, I moderated the session “Stigma and Discrimination.” To me this session was important because it focused on a new powerful tool – the Stigma Index – designed to better understand HIV-related stigma and discrimination. We will use this information for both policy advocacy and for programme monitoring and evaluation, and believe it can help shape future interventions and policy change.

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It has to be one of the most boring aspects of fighting AIDS – building health systems that work.

But it’s also one of the most important.

In Zimbabwe, amid its political and economic crisis, some officials in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in the last two years took on a huge initiative: following up thousands of HIV-exposed infants to check on their well-being.

Even if Zimbabwe were stable and prosperous, it would be a huge task. Every year, the country has 17,500 new HIV infections in children, almost all who contract the virus through birth or breast-feeding.

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Jimmy Kolker, chief of HIV/AIDS for UNICEF since 2007, has been a critical player in the fight against AIDS for years. Prior to UNICEF, he was deputy US global AIDS coordinator and served for 30 years as a US diplomat, including several postings in Africa.

Q: What’s been interesting so far in the meeting?

Jimmy Kolker, head of UNICEF's HIV/AIDS programs, speaks about some of the `hard truths' at the HIV/AIDS Implementers' Meeting

Jimmy Kolker, head of UNICEF's HIV/AIDS programs, speaks about some of the `hard truths' at the HIV/AIDS Implementers' Meeting

JK: I’ve attended these meetings for the past five years.  This year, the level of real activity has risen, and now we’ve been able to analyze what’s been done and learn some lessons and change course. People are telling some hard truths, based on implementing programs. PEPFAR itself has expanded its mandate – whereas it once focused on prevention, treatment, and care, now it’s moving into the status of women, nutrition, family planning, issues of social norms, health systems.

Q: What are some of the hard truths? (more…)

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This is a guest blog post by Buck Buckingham, who has been the PEPFAR country coordinator for Kenya since 2003, when the program began.

Buck Buckhingham blogs about a panel he moderated today at the HIV/AIDS Implementers' Meeting in Windhoek.

Buck Buckhingham blogs about a panel he moderated today at the HIV/AIDS Implementers' Meeting in Windhoek.


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I’m happy to see the 2009 HIV/AIDS Implementers’ Meeting break new ground by beginning to unpack subjects that either policy makers, or activists, or funders considered off limits for far too long.

We’re talking about value for money, not just more money, for AIDS programs. Unheard of until now.  I also hear people talking about our prevention shortcomings with almost as much energy as they’re talking about highly-effective interventions like male circumcision.

This morning I moderated a panel that focused exclusively on the needs of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Africa, a first for this conference.  MSM – like intravenous drug users or sex workers – have been particularly underserved or overlooked in Africa because their behavior is criminalized and highly stigmatized in most corners of the continent. (more…)

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hiv-implementers-friday-001When it comes to the strategies of preventing HIV/AIDS, many say the world has failed. They point to daunting numbers from last year: an estimated 2.7 million new HIV infections, while 1 million were put on treatment. The race is still being lost, and it’s common to hear now that countries can’t treat their way out of the epidemic.

But Marie Laga, an epidemiologist from the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, led off a plenary session today at the HIV/AIDS Implementers’ Meeting not with a message of doom, but one of hope. (more…)

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James McIntyre speaks Friday to delegates at the HIV/AIDS Implementers' Meeting about preventing HIV transmission from mother to child.

James McIntyre speaks Friday to delegates at the HIV/AIDS Implementers' Meeting about preventing HIV transmission from mother to child.

Every day, 1,500 babies around the world are born with HIV.

The United States averages less than one HIV-positive baby per day.

Europe the same.

Africa averages 1,400 daily.

Every year, fewer than 7,000 HIV-positive women in the United States give birth.

Every year, 9,000 HIV-positive women in the Soweto township in South Africa give birth.

The US population: roughly 310 million

Soweto’s: 10 million.

These figures were presented today by James McIntyre, Executive Director of the Perinatal HIV Research Unit of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, during the plenary session. (more…)

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