Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Some announcements from the US on World AIDS Day

On this World AIDS Day, the US government held a press conference that made several announcements. First of all, the World AIDS Conference will come to Washington in 2012, the first time it has been held in the US since 1990. Reuters also reports that the Obama Administration will lift the ban on people entering the US that are HIV positive.

Finally, changes will be announced to PEPFAR, the initiative to provide emergency vaccines to those with AIDS in the under-developed world. President George H W Bush began the program, now the Obama administration would like to make some changes to PEPFAR.

Those changes are the focus of our snippet for this post, Reuters reporter Andrew Quinn found out what the changes may entail.

Eric Goosby, President Barack Obama's global AIDS coordinator, said he would announce later this week a five-year strategy for PEPFAR that would see the emphasis shift from emergency interventions such as providing drugs to longer-term efforts to improve basic healthcare services.

Goosby said his review would include details of how PEPFAR will work with international partners and recipient governments to improve healthcare delivery and address stigma and discrimination in a "global response to a global responsibility."

The AIDS virus infects 33 million people globally and about a million in the United States, but more people are living longer thanks to HIV drugs, according to a recent U.N. report.

But more than half the people who need lifesaving drugs are not getting them, the World Health Organization and Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS say.

Cocktails of drugs can control HIV but there is no cure and no vaccine.

PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, has been credited with helping to cut AIDS deaths by 10 percent in targeted African nations and saving more than a million lives, in large part by supplying HIV drugs.

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