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July 2009
Vol. 19 No. 7
Global ID
Highlights from the International AIDS Society Conference in South Africa

What are top HIV/AIDS physician-scientists saying about whether to initiate antiretroviral therapy earlier? How are they responding to criticism that disease-specific programs detract from broader efforts to strengthen health systems? How can HIV/AIDS program implementers improve on efforts to prevent mother-to-child-transmission of HIV?

These were among the hotly-debated topics at the 5th International AIDS Society Conference, held earlier this month in Cape Town, South Africa. If you couldn’t make it, you can still read all about the conference —at the Center for Global Health Policy’s blog, ScienceSpeaks. The Global Center’s staff filed nearly a dozen stories, reporting on the latest policy discussions and research findings.

Find out what Eric Goosby, MD, the new U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in response to questions about the Obama administration’s approach to global AIDS. Or read a detailed account of the presentation by Pedro Cahn, MD, past IAS president and head of the Huésped Foundation, an Argentinean AIDS organization, who offered a refreshingly candid and provocative HIV treatment update. Among other things, Cahn said a CD4 level of 350 should be the minimum threshold for antiretroviral therapy; D4T regimens are too toxic, have a lousy resistance profile, and should be dropped; and viral load testing needs to be put in place widely and urgently.

Read more about the IAS Conference and other global health news at, the Global Center’s blog. Recent posts include:

  • A story about the surge of interest in global health studies on college campuses across the United States and how universities have responded by expanding programs that teach students about improving public health and achieving health equity around the world. Leading experts say this phenomenon presents immense opportunities, as well as fresh challenges, that academics, political leaders, and physician-scientists should seize to sustain interest.
  • An analysis of the latest congressional funding proposal for global AIDS and tuberculosis programs. Earlier this month, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved only modest increases for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and bilateral TB programs—sums that are inadequate to address the increasing scope of these twin epidemics and that are significantly less than called for in the House version of the legislation.

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