We know, it’s the third week in a row we cover the AIDS conference. It’s not every day that 25.000 people come together in Washington and a few hundreds more in Kolkata to discuss the fight against AIDS. Many sessions can still be watched online at the KFF website. See for example the session on “Show Me the Money: Political Commitment, Resources and Pricing” where our colleague Gorik Ooms took the floor. (Jump to 54 min if you are one of his groupies). Gorik also took the time to write an editorial on AIDS and UHC. There are so many people talking about the conference we cannot be sure we have included the best articles. We selected just a few of them. Despite the season, we also found some important articles on global health and development issues.
Enjoy the Summer if you are in the Northern hemisphere.
David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Ildikó Bokros, Basile Keugoung & Wim Van Damme
International AIDS Conference ignores Universal Health Coverage: wearing blinders or vital self-defense?
1. AIDS: Turning the Tide or Riding the Wave?
Looking around, Tom Murphy seems to think that this AIDS conference is more of a show than a real game changer. Unlike the FP summit, and despite the lack of money being one of the main problems highlighted to turn the tide, hardly no financial commitments have been made during the conference. Laurie Garrett wonders if speakers have been smoking too much to believe that the end of AIDS is in sight. It’s dangerous to use fallacious slogans to find the seven billions USD we need to drastically curve the epidemics she says. Only Gates seems to be cautious enough.
2. Lancet – Offline: The rights and wrongs of “an AIDS-free generation”
Horton comments from the AIDS conference in Washington. He sees the still bureaucratic agreement between WHO and UNAIDS as a first step for a more harmonised approach to the care of chronic conditions. He also warns that we shouldn’t let donors use the “AIDS free generation” motto to disinvest the fight against AIDS.
This week’s paper version of The Lancet includes numerous articles published online ahead of the AIDS conference on specific issues related to AIDS in the MSM community. Contact us if you have trouble accessing some of the articles.
Many people are tweeting and blogging about the conference. Bill Gates explains what he believes should be our priorities. Inspiration to write your next research proposals ? Before his session, Mead Over almost excuses himself for taking the NO side on the question : “Is AIDS Spending a Sound Investment in a Resource Constrained Environment?” But from William Easterly’s perspective, it seems that the NO has won the debate after all. William Easterly again disserts on the lack of political courage when addressing the options: We talk too much about technical fixes and not enough about behaviour change and politically sensitive stuffs. SmartGlobalHealth.org reports on a session around AIDS policies in BRICS countries. Stuart Rennie on globalbioethics’ blog is wondering why Truvada has been approved as a preventive measure with so little evidence while circumcision had to wait for years. Any hidden financial interest there, he asks.
3. Sex workers gather in Kolkata for alternative Aids summit
Sex Workers gathered in Kolkata India to raise their voice and follow the Washington based AIDS conference from the largest red light district in Asia as many of them would have been banned access to the US. Claire Provost reports.
Read also this refreshing article by Andrea Cornwall. Disempowered women are not always where we would first think.
4. MSF-Access – Middle-Income Countries Flex Muscles To Overcome Patents In Face Of Unaffordable Drug Prices
MSF releases a new report on the fight of middle income countries to improve access to ARVs. Though, according to this Guardian blog the battle is far from over.
5. PEPFAR and Global Fund: A Match Made in Heaven?
It seems that PEPFAR and Global Fund are seriously considering to collaborate to improve aid effectiveness.
6. Daily Monitor – New drug for mothers with HIV
Uganda is moving to Option B+ for PMTCT. Healthy mothers are an important part of an HIV free children generation.
Wim Van Damme who is also attending the conference and discussing the role of health systems strengthening in the fight against AIDS tweets that option B+ is a good first move when we talk about treatment as prevention.
Global Health Policy & Financing
7. Malaria Journal – Did the first Global Fund grant (2003-2006) contribute to malaria control and health system strengthening in Timor-Leste?
João Soares Martins, Anthony B Zwi and Paul M Kelly
Authors used a mixed-methods approach to assess the outcomes of the first global fund grant to Timor –Leste.
8. Lancet – Letter – TDR: a time to live or die?
Reacting on an editorial we included in this newsletter in April about the future of TDR, Pepin asks what did TDR achieve in terms of scientific output per dollar over the last years. He wonders how an organisation can destroy itself so efficiently.
9. Save The Children – Child Development Index 2012: Progress, Challenges and Inequality
The 2012 edition of the Child Development Index has been released on July 19. It highlights the progress and shortfalls the world has made in reducing child mortality and ensuring millions more children go to school.
10. allAfrica: Beyond Contraceptive Controversy – Melinda Gates Bets on Pro-Life Policies
Melinda Gates believes pro-life activists should embrace Family Planning as modern contraceptives will save the lives of thousands of mothers and children every year.
David Hercot comments.
Development & Aid
12. Economist – Fracas about miffs
The “Feast and Famine” blog on the economist website discusses two recent articles on the way to calculate where the poor live. Are there more poor in LIC or in MIC? It seems Middle Income Countries which are at the same time fragile states like Nigeria are blurring the stats. Worth reading.
13. From poverty to power – Should poverty be defined by a single international poverty line, or country by country? (and what difference does it make?)
Ugo Gentilini and Andy Sumner discuss the pros and cons of measuring poverty with global or national indicators.