HIV & AIDS

This year is not only MSH’s 40th anniversary; it is also 30 years since the first reported cases of HIV. Thirty years ago HIV was considered a new, always-fatal disease. ...Today 6.6 million people—nearly half of those in need—will take life-saving antiretrovirals.

Over 2,300 delegates, many colorfully dressed, gathered in Dakar, Senegal  at the jam-packed amphitheatre and two exterior tents of Le Meridien President for the start of this week’s 2nd International Family Planning Conference, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Monica Kerrigan, of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said that one third of Africans live in francophone Africa, and yet it has been the most neglected area for family planning services. She praised Senegal for hosting the first family planning conference in French-speaking Africa and urged Senegal to use this opportunity to act boldly and make family planning an urgent priority.

I am fortunate. I know this from years of experience of reporting about people who have poor or no access to quality health care, from rural areas of West Virginia to Afghanistan to Zambia. But today I feel this deeply, in large part because of an email that I just received.

Leafing through Malawi’s Nation newspaper, the headline, 'wild men in society escalating rape cases' jumps off the page. I pause and stare at the accompanying photo and caption.

Over 500 people have gathered Antalya, Turkey, today for the 2011 International Conference for Improving Use of Medicines, also known as ICIUM 2011.

Only one in twenty cancer patients in Africa receives needed chemotherapy. This is unacceptable. Much needs to be done, much can be done, and much must be done to close the cancer divide.

At age 14, Miriam turned to commercial sex work to provide for her family. Read Miriam's story: sex worker, peer educator, and founder of a community-based organization in Guyana.

We know how to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. But without intervention nearly 40 percent of mothers with HIV/AIDS in developing countries will transmit the virus to their newborns.

Joanie, a woman from Linden, Guyana who is mentally ill, was diagnosed HIV positive in 2005. Her mental illness prevented her from accessing health services and support. Her HIV remained untreated. She rejected the attempts of relatives and friends to assist her, and spent most of the day on the bank of the nearby Demerara River, refusing to wear clothes.

Three decades ago, life in the lakeside village of Zambo was calm.

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