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world aids day
The 27th annual World AIDS Day was globally celebrated on December 1, 2014. The first World AIDS Day held in 1998 was the first-ever global health day. Since 2011, the universal theme for World AIDS Day has been “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero deaths from AIDS-related illness. Zero discrimination.” This year, the U.S. theme for World AIDS day was: “Focus, Partner, and Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation.”

Currently, 35 million people in the world live with HIV/AIDS. Since 1981, 39 million deaths have been attributed to this disease.

The fight against AIDS has been a global, collective effort. It is outlined in Millennium Development Goal 6 and the United Nations has declared fighting AIDS a top priority.

While significant strides have been made against combating HIV/AIDS in recent years, the greatest concern of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is that there are still too many new cases of HIV infections each year.

One of the primary ways that the world is working together against HIV/AIDS is through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which was established in 2012 and islargely guided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Currently, the CDC facilitates the growth and development of national HIV/AIDS programs in nearly 60 developing countries, particularly throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Through PEPFAR funding, the CDC leads programs aimed at tackling HIV/AIDS and eradicating the disease completely.

In November 2011, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated:

“The goal of an AIDS-free generation may be ambitious, but it is possible with the knowledge and interventions we have now. And that is something we’ve never been able to say without qualification before. Imagine what the world would look like when we succeed.”

PEPFAR outlines the framework to tackle all the areas that would stop the spread of HIV. The four main points include:

  •  A road map for saving lives: Those who have already have HIV/AIDS, particularly mothers and children, are given priority and treatment to eradicate the presence and prevent the detrimental effects of HIV to ultimately reduce the mortality rates caused by the disease.
  • A road map for smart investments: The CDC conducts research to target the cause of the virus and ultimately protect the most vulnerable. Not only does it track down the virus, but it also figures out how to partner with the part of the population that is most vulnerable.
  • A road map for shared responsibility: This reiterates the importance of working collectively across both the public sector and private sector alike, as well as multinational and bilateral organizations.
  • A road map for driving results with science: PEPFAR will support those with solid and compelling scientific research. While funding research, PEPLAR will fund new and promising technologies that will prevent or effectively treat HIV/AIDS.

Despite the large number of new cases of HIV each year, significant progress has been achieved. Even the mortality rates due to HIV/AIDS have substantially dropped by 35 percent since 2005, which was considered the worst period for AIDS. In 2005, the number of deaths caused by AIDS had risen to 2.4 million people. By 2013, that number dropped to 1.5 million deaths.

One thing to emphasize is the importance of working collectively against this disease and finding new methods of treatment and prevention. The disease is not limited to third-world countries. Rather, no country has been exempt from finding new cases of HIV infections. While the highest instances of new HIV infections are found in sub-Saharan Africa, the first world has its share as well. For instance, there are nearly 100,000 people in the U.K. who live with HIV and in the U.S. alone there are currently 1.2 million people.

As the world joins together once a year to remember all those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS, support those currently battling HIV/AIDS and work together to bring sustainable solutions to eradicate the disease, one can celebrate the great strides already made and hope to see the virus destroyed forever.

 – Christina Cho 

Sources: AIDS.gov, CDC, UNDP 1, UNDP 2, US Department of State
Photo: The Guardian

pigs
In 2003, under the Bush administration, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was passed. This bill provided $15 billion for HIV treatments and a decade later, the United States has helped treat millions of people in Africa. Approximately 50 billion has been spent since 2003 and although some believe that the amount was allocated wrongly, several feel the bill proved to be a success.

Thanks to the bill, pregnant mothers with HIV were able to get antiretroviral drug treatment and 740,000 infants were not infected. PEPFAR has allowed two-thirds of the 10 million people suffering from HIV in South Africa to get treatment. Africa received the most money from PEPFAR than any other country and the large decrease in HIV prevalence, indicates the positive effect of this initiative.

PEPFAR money provided the following:

  • Access to antiretroviral therapies and HIV tests
  • Funds to buy large quantities of drugs
  • The hiring of new staff including pharmacists, doctors and nurses
  • Building of new clinics in rural areas

Now a decade later, President Obama continues with Bush’s commitment to fighting AIDS worldwide. In 2010 he announced a National AIDS Strategy to combat the infection rate that also includes American citizens. Reports from Emory University indicate that HIV rates among U.S. black, gay and bisexual men are greater than those once found in South Africa. The National AIDS Strategy thus aims to also decrease the infection rate for this group by 2015. Currently, Obama has expanded PEPFAR so that four times as many people are able to receive treatment without increased government spending.

– Maybelline Martez

Sources: NPR, Huffington Post
Photo: Vintage 3D

partnership-supply-chain-management
Here are ten facts about the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM).

  1. The Partnership for Supply Chain Management is a nonprofit organization established in 2005 by two of the leading international health consultancy organizations in the U.S.—JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. (JSI) and Management Sciences for Health (MSH), both nonprofits.
  2. PFSCM’s goal is to ensure reliable availability of essential products to programs in the developing world and to strengthen national supply chains to become sustainable mechanisms for delivering these products to clients.
  3. Through its innovative projects, PFSCM procures and distributes essential medicines and supplies, provides technical assistance to strengthen existing supply chains and collaborates with in-country and global partners to coordinate efforts in these areas.
  4. PFSCM is not a traditional procurement services agent in that it takes a holistic approach to deliver integrated supply chain services (from quantification and forecasting to delivery) to ensure commodity security for its clients. PFSCM shares its forecasts and quantifications with vendors and other international organizations supporting health services to the developing world. In times of short supply, the organization works to minimize the effects of shortages for all stakeholders, not just its own clients.
  5. PFSCM assists countries in determining and implementing the most appropriate strategy for each supply chain component, whether managed internally or outsourced, to achieve the best value.
  6. PFSCM is made up of a staff of more than 400 from team member organizations that include nonprofit organizations, commercial private-sector corporations, and academic institutions, providing all the technical skills needed to ensure reliable availability of essential products to international development programs.
  7. Since PFSCM was established in 2005, it has delivered health commodities to countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean and helped strengthen supply chains in more than 20 countries throughout the developing world.
  8. PFSCM has the physical presence of team member field offices in over 90 countries.
  9. Currently, PFSCM is implementing two projects that aim to reduce the worldwide impact of HIV & AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. The first program, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), was launched to combat global HIV & AIDS—the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history. The second program, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a major financing institution in the fight against these diseases in 140 countries.
  10. If an organization is interested in procuring items through PFSCM click here. Requested information includes organization details, products you require, quantities, funding availability and funding source, product delivery details, and the level of urgency of your requirement.

– Kira Maixner
Source PFSCM
Photo UNJLC

hiv-treatment-malawi.opt
Over the last decade, Malawi has reduced its rate of HIV/AIDS infections by 72 percent, more than any other African country. US agencies that combat the virus hope to build on these successes with a five-year effort to improve HIV/AIDS care in Malawi. The effort is coordinated with Malawi’s government and will target seven districts across the country.

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, an NGO that focuses its anti-HIV work on mothers and children, is spearheading the effort. Funding is provided by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Centers for US Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

One of the biggest successes to date for HIV/AIDS care in Malawi has been the prevention of virus transmission to at least 7,000 babies. This has been accomplished through lifelong anti-retroviral treatment for all pregnant and breastfeeding women who are HIV-positive. The Foundation’s efforts continue to focus on pediatric preventive care. Its goal to achieve less than a five percent transmission rate from mother to child is well within reach.

Over the next five years, US organizations plan to provide other health care services in addition to HIV/AIDS care in Malawi. One million Malawians will receive counseling, 50,000 adult men and 400,000 pregnant women will receive HIV testing, and lifelong treatment will be provided to at least 25,000 women expected to test positive for the virus.

Despite gains over the last decade, AIDS remains the number one cause of death in Malawi, with about 100 deaths and 30 new infant infections each day. The Malawian minister of health, Catherine Hara, expressed hope that the seven targeted districts will serve as a model for widespread improvements in HIV/AIDS care in Malawi.

– Kat Henrichs

Source: Relief Web
Photo: [email protected]

Senator Bill Frist Calls For Global InvestmentBill Frist, a former Republican senator and majority leader from Tennessee, recently called on America and Congress to “continue our legacy of saving lives.” Less than 1 percent of the US federal budget goes to improving global health, an investment that results in changing the lives of hundreds of thousands every year. “It’s hard to imagine a better return on investment,” said Frist.

In a lengthy article, he recaps the history and precedent that has made America a global leader in developing, supporting and administering life-saving medicines and healthcare practices. Under President George W. Bush, congress made a founding pledge of $300 million to the international initiative – Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Bush, with bipartisan support from Congress, also established the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest program ever to combat a single disease. President Barack Obama has likewise embraced this program and America’s role in eradicating AIDS/HIV.

2013 is the 10th anniversary of PEPFAR, and since its founding the number of people on life-saving treatment has increased more than twenty-fold. HIV infection rates are down, the number of malaria cases is down by more than 50%, and tuberculosis mortality rates are consistently falling. Working in more than 150 countries, the Global Fund is saving an estimated hundred thousand lives each month.

Frist goes on to say what a critical time we are in right now. He emphasizes the importance of continuing on the path of involvement and aid in order to make sure our gains are not lost. The momentum must not be jeopardized or diseases may spread in new ways, mutate and reclaim the lives of people whom medicines have previously made healthy. Frist stated that investment in global health is “good for national security, economically prudent and – most importantly, is the right thing to do.”

– Mary Purcell
Source: Roll Call
Photo: Fastdarfur.org

 

US AIDS Efforts Have Surpassed GoalsOn the 10th anniversary of the American President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a new study released by a panel at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) shows that PEPFAR efforts have surpassed goals which were initially proposed to provide medical care for those who are HIV positive and suffer from AIDS. The PEPFAR program also includes prevention measures in communities affected by the disease.

Initiated in 2003 under President George W. Bush, PEPFAR’s initial goal was to provide medical care for 12 million people and to provide 6 million people with HIV antiretroviral treatments. Today, around 5 million people have received the medication through PEPFAR, and the program is providing care to over 15 million people – well surpassing the original goal. At least 4.5 million of those receiving support are children. The care of children was a high priority when the program was initiated, as many children have become orphans because of the AIDS epidemic. The report states that PEPFAR has “provided unprecedented support” for these children since it began.

A decade ago, PEPFAR began with $15 billion in funding from the U.S. government – the largest project in history aimed at tackling a single health issue. Today, funds dedicated to AIDS relief amount to over $37 billion, with an additional $7 billion donated to help eradicate tuberculosis and malaria.

The IOM report went on to praise the U.S. for its role in drastically scaling back the number of people worldwide affected by the disease. The Obama Administration has also vowed to continue support for AIDS relief, announcing plans for an “AIDS-free generation” by putting a heavy emphasis on prevention. The study also takes the stance that prevention is a crucial component to continue exceeding goals and that “long-term success in keeping disease at bay will depend on countries making a transition,” where the mindset of healthcare systems shifts from that of an aid recipient to a medical institution that cultivates proper treatment and prevention methods.

Christina Kindlon

Source: All Africa