Hai in News
|Photograph by Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office|
THE MASSIVE U.S. AIDS initiative known as PEPFAR, or “The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief,” an $18-billion commitment launched in late 2003 by the Bush administration, has played a major role in changing the course of the global AIDS epidemic. On January 10, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) recognized that achievement, and its own role therein, by hosting a conference titled “PEPFAR in Africa: HSPH’s Role in the Largest Public Health Endeavor in History.” As one of the first and largest PEPFAR grant recipients, the school received $107 million in the course of five years to expand AIDS treatment and care in three of the most afflicted countries: Tanzania, Botswana, and Nigeria. The symposium provided an opportunity to take stock of the University’s contribution to the enormous gains made in the fight against AIDS in recent years and to recognize the significant hurdles that remain ahead. (more).
The southern African nation of Botswana, like its neighbor Zimbabwe, is promoting male circumcision as a way to combat the spread of HIV.
|Photo by Ann Kim|
Botswana is not only encouraging men to be circumcised; it is encouraging parents to circumcise male infants.
“It can be about one tenth the cost to circumcise a baby compared to an adult,” says Dr. Rebeca Plank, an infectious disease doctor with the Harvard AIDS Initiative in Botswana. “It’s much easier to do. It’s much safer to do. It’s much quicker to do.”
Read more and listen at http://www.theworld.org/2011/10/botswana-infant-circumcision-campaign/
AIDS at 30Hard Lessons and Hope
Thirty years after the first official reports about HIV/AIDS, the Harvard School of Public Health looks back on the human devastation and forward to a changed social landscape.
Plan to treat ‘super-carriers’ offers new hope
“One in four people infected with the Aids virus in Southern Africa are hyper-infectious super-carriers, scientists at Harvard University have discovered. By targeting these individuals for treatment, the scientists hope it may be possible to counter the rising number of new HIV infections in the worst-affected parts of the world in what could be a major breakthrough in the fight against the spread of Aids.” Read more….
“Statistics and journal articles do not begin to convey the human toll of HIV. Lasker professor of health sciences Myron “Max” Essex has seen that toll firsthand, working in Botswana since 1996. As a relatively successful country with a functioning government and a well-organized healthcare system, Botswana has offered free antiretroviral medications to everyone who needs them and it has managed to get the majority of its citizens tested for HIV. Still, a staggering 24 percent of adults have HIV.”
A study in Botswana led by Roger Shapiro suggests women taking antiretroviral drug combinations can breastfeed safely.
A review of Saturday Is for Funerals
“And for all the progress Botswana has made, no “mission accomplished” sign should be hung just yet. With more people living longer with HIV and limited success in preventing new infections, the incidence of the disease is still unacceptably high: one in four people in the country are currently HIV positive. If funding for treatment were to dry up, the problem would worsen dramatically, as patients develop resistance to medication if they stop taking it for even a short time, making them much harder to treat. Botswana may be proof that the disease can be fought in Africa, but only with unwavering commitment.”
Unity Dow, a judge from Botswana and human rights activist, joined forces with Max Essex, chairman of the Botswana–Harvard AIDS Institute, to write “Saturday Is for Funerals,’’ a true account of lives affected by AIDS and a vivid description of how a country responds to crisis.
“A ‘test and treat’ approach to fighting HIV”
Estimating the Lost Benefits of Antiretroviral DrugUse in South Africa
Pride Chigwedere’s paper, Estimating the Lost Benefits of Antiretroviral Drug Use in South Africa, has generated coverage in the New York Times and the international press, including the BBC and UPI. The Times of South Africa ran an article titled, Mbeki ‘must account for 330,000 deaths’.
Download a pdf of the paper.
|Botswana||One Woman’s Story|
The Harvard AIDS Initiative partners with Botswana government in epidemic response
“Ampheletse Medupe’s headaches just wouldn’t go away. Living in her small, neat home outside the African nation of Botswana’s capital, the mother of four kept on as best she could until sores broke out on her face. Finally, she visited a doctor.” (continue reading)
Study abroad program brings undergraduates to Botswana
“While her classmates in Cambridge were shivering through a New England February, Sandy Bolm was sweltering in the heat of a Botswana summer, staring her future in the face in the labs of the Botswana-Harvard Partnership.” (continue reading)
Dark days of the late 1990s have brightened
“Joseph Makhema, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health and director of the Botswana-Harvard Partnership, said the history of AIDS in Botswana can be divided into the period before and after the antiretroviral program called MASA.” (continue reading)
Response to Nevirapine-Based Antiretroviral Therapy After Single-Dose Nevirapine
The paper, Response to Antiretroviral Therapy after a Single, Peripartum Dose of Nevirapine, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, on January 11, 2007 was covered by John Donnelly in The Boston Globe, ( “A Harvard study has found a way around one of the thorniest problems in preventing HIV transmission from mother to child during birth in poor countries.” ) and Donald McNeil in The New York Times, (“The results are good news for poor women in Africa, Asia and Latin America . . .”).