As the Ebola outbreak in West Africa persists, some parallels are being drawn between the virus and HIV/AIDS.
CGD Policy Blogs
CGD and its health team express our condolences to the families of all lost on MH17. We know that many of those attending the International AIDS Conference, which starts this week-end in Melbourne, have been touched personally by the AIDS researchers and activists lost on the plane and will deeply feel their loss.
There’s no doubt that Treatment as Prevention (TasP) will receive continued emphasis at this year’s International Aids Conference (IAC), as advocates argue for aggressively expanding treatment from the 9 million worldwide currently on antiretrovirals (ARVs) to the 35 million people who are HIV infected. But at the TasP workshop in Vancouver last month the more challenging and novel topic was pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. A whole array of sessions on PrEP is already on the agenda for next week’s conference in Melbourne, and our bet is that PrEP will generate a lot of buzz – an approach with intriguing potential, but edgy downside possibilities.
I recently had the honor of speaking at the second annual Philip Musgrove Memorial Lecture hosted by the World Bank in their inspiring atrium space.
Earlier this year, Uganda’s President signed into law an Anti-Homosexuality Act that strengthens penalties against gay people and defines some homosexual acts as crimes punishable by life in prison. If enforced to its full extent, the law is expected to endanger public health by handicapping HIV prevention and treatment efforts; already, the national police have raided and forced a US-supported HIV/AIDS treatment center to shut down.
UNAIDS recently convened a diverse group of experts to discuss how UNAIDS should go about estimating the post-2015 cost of the HIV/AIDS response. Participants opinions varied on most topics: whether estimates should assess the cost of treating all HIV infected people as soon as they are infected (the “Universal Test and Treat” option) or that of a less ambitious treatment policy; whether spending on poverty reduction and gender empowerment should be included in the cost estimates and, if so, on how to cost these “critical enablers.” But on one question, there appeared to be virtually unanimous agreement: donors and countries should increase the frequency, the granularity and the precision of HIV infection surveys.
I recently proposed that any assessment of a country’s statistical capacity be structured around the functions of government, such as those offered by the UN statistical office here. When this list is fully expanded, it includes all of the data that advanced countries like the US or Japan use to manage government and inform citizens. Most developing countries will fall below such an ambitious standard. So how should investments in improved statistical capacity be prioritized?
African governments suffer from a “statistical tragedy” due to the lack of basic national statistics, as argued in a recent paper and earlier blog post by Shanta Devarajan and in the forthcoming Data for African Development report from a CGD working group.