What We’re Reading: Getting to Zero, the Ethics of HIV, and Creating an HIV Vaccine

This week, we’re learning about eliminating HIV in eastern and southern Africa, drug shortages in Uganda, and how actress Charlize Theron is working to create an AIDS-free generation in her native South Africa.

ReliefWeb – “Getting to Zero: the HIV epidemic in the eastern and southern Africa”  A new UNAIDS report released this week  is showing that AIDS-related deaths in eastern and southern Africa have fallen precipitously since 2005. In several countries – including Kenya, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – the numbers of AIDS-related deaths have dropped by at least 50 percent. From 2001 to 2011, the number of new infections in children dropped by 50 percent, and access to prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services reached 72 percent of women in eastern and southern Africa.

EGPAF – “In Uganda, EGPAF Addresses Potential Challenges to Implementing WHO’s New Guidelines” In many countries, shortages of HIV medications that keep millions of people alive are common occurrences. In Uganda, these shortages can affect HIV test kits, disposable male circumcision toolsets, and antiretroviral medications (ARVs). EGPAF is working with governments and health ministries to strengthen local health systems and prevent such shortages in the future.

Medical Xpress – “HIV answers raise new ethical questions” In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Truvada for the prevention of HIV for those most at risk of exposure and infection. But researchers are concerned about the ethical questions raised by the drug, including worries that the drug may give some people a false sense of security and questions about whether prevention should be prioritized over treating people already living with HIV.

EGPAF – “Could We Soon See a Vaccine for HIV?” A vaccine for HIV has long been the goal for thousands of researchers dedicated to eliminating HIV; and this week, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute determined how to create an effective immune system response against HIV. EGPAF’s Chelsea Bailey spoke to EGPAF director of clinical and basic research Jeff Safrit about the news and about the challenges facing the creation of a vaccine to prevent HIV.

Huffington Post – “Charlize Theron Pledges To Fight For 'AIDS-Free Generation' In South Africa” Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron has long been a champion for people living with HIV and for those invested in the elimination of AIDS. This week, she traveled to her native South Africa – where 17 percent of the adult population is living with HIV – to meet with President Jacob Zuma and discuss the fight against HIV. 

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