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Act Up!

International AIDS Conferences are known for their dramatic protests. Tommy Thompson was booed off the stage in Barcelona. Randall Tobias, then head of PEPFAR, silently fumed at the podium for 45 minutes in Barcelona before protesters quieted enough for him to speak. The Prime Minister of Thailand was embarrassed at the Bangkok opening ceremony. AIDS activists, following the tradition of ACT UP! are known for their vocal presence -- and for pushing for real dialogue and action.

NYT on OneWorld Health

Post by Andy Jeninga*

Today's New York Times featured a profile of the Institute for OneWorld Health, a San Francisco-based nonprofit pharmaceutical producer that focuses exclusively on diseases affecting the developing world.

The End of Cervical Cancer?

Late last week, the Vaccine and Related Biological Products advisory committee at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unanimously endorsed the petition for Merck’s forthcoming vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer. The final decision from the FDA is expected on June 8 (see article in the Washington Post).

New Gates Foundation Grant to Support TB Drug R&D

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a new $104 million grant to the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development in order to:

  • Advance moxifloxacin into Phase III trials, with the goal of demonstrating its effectiveness for TB by 2010;
  • Pursue nine pre-clinical projects and identify the best of these compounds for clinical studies;
  • Work with policymakers, TB treatment providers and advocates to ensure that new TB drugs will be adopted and made accessible in developing countries;

HIV Prevention, Kenya-style

Today’s New York Times includes a fascinating article on the apparent successes of PEPFAR-sponsored and broader HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in Kenya. Among the few countries in Africa that has been able to slow or reverse the trend of AIDS infections (the club also includes Uganda and Zimbabwe), recent evidence from Kenya shows that the number of new infections nation-wide has declined from an estimated 200,000 annually at its peak, to 90,000 today. The cause: the ABCs.

HIV/AIDS in Liberia: Development’s Destruction with Reconstruction?

Sobering news from a recent Save the Children report indicates that aid workers and UN peacekeeping troops continue to trade food for sex with young Liberian girls:

Despite commitments made in 2002 by non-governmental organizations, the United Nations and peacekeepers to improve the worldwide monitoring of recruitment and staff conduct, vulnerable children are still exchanging sex for basic necessities such as money to attend school or food to feed their families.

Access to ARVs: Need, Targets & Markets

UNAIDS prevalence estimates formed the basis of the missed "3 by 5" target, and so the news that they were so highly inflated is particularly timely coming on the heels of the WHO report on the initiative, which (among other things) illustrates the perverse relationship between disease estimates, advocacy targets and pharmaceutical markets.

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