What We’re Reading: AIDS in the former USSR, Drug Shortages, and Turning the Corner in South Africa

By Jane Coaston | August 16, 2013

A woman living with HIV standing in a street in Uganda, where drug shortages have put people living with HIV at risk.

James Pursey/EGPAF

This week, we’re learning more about HIV in the former Soviet Union, reading about new mobile clinics helping people living in remote regions of Lesotho, and thinking about South Africa’s fight to eliminate AIDS.

EGPAF – “New Mobile Clinics Take to the Road in Lesotho”  In the mountainous kingdom of Lesotho, EGPAF and its partners have teamed up to donate two mobile clinics to provide integrated health services and much-needed care and support for people living with HIV throughout the region. The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF)’s own Brad Kiley traveled to Lesotho to attend the ceremony launching the clinics; read the blog to learn about the project.

EGPAF – “HIV/AIDS Drug Shortages Hit Zambia” Shortages of vital HIV/AIDS medications have become all too common in sub-Saharan Africa, recently affecting Tanzania and Uganda.  Now Zambia has been hit by “stock-outs” of two common HIV medications, Neverapine and Truvada. Patients have been told to conserve their medications, putting them at risk. 

NBC News – “South Africa 'turns corner' on HIV/AIDS, but still has a long way to go” South Africa has the largest HIV-positive population in the world, but there are reasons for optimism. More people are on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV has dropped by 63 percent.  Read more to learn about the challenges still facing South Africa’s fight to eliminate AIDS.

EGPAF – “HIV/AIDS Rates Rising in Former Soviet Union” The epicenter of new HIV infections is now in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, where the Ukraine and Russia now represent nearly 90 percent of the HIV epidemic in the region. Read more about the reasons for the rise in HIV rates and how the region is taking steps to respond.

AllAfrica – “South Africa: Are We Ready for Universal Breastfeeding in South Africa?”  Breastfeeding is critical to helping babies grow up happy and healthy, even if the mother is living with HIV. In South Africa, researchers are promoting exclusive breastfeeding (as opposed to mixing breastfeeding with using formula) and urging breastfeeding as the best strategy for improving maternal and child health.

Jane Coaston is Media Relations Coordinator for the Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.