KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Conference Marked By Talk Of ‘Cure,’ Commitment To Greater Investment In Research

The U.S. pledged an additional $150 million for the global AIDS fight, in what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said was a step designed to move closer to "an AIDS-free generation." 

The Washington Post: Politicians Praise AIDS Investment, But Urge More Spending And Support
Some of Washington's most powerful people delivered to the 19th International AIDS Conference pretty much the same message: Fighting AIDS is a good investment that is getting better every year, but current spending isn't enough to end the epidemic. Whether the world's richer countries, and especially the United States, will decide to increase spending or alternatively wring more from current investment is a matter of much discussion among the 25,000 researchers, clinicians and activists here through Friday (Brown and Botelho, 7/23).

Los Angeles Times: Scientists Make Curing HIV A Priority
An influential group of scientists gathered this week at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., is committing to a goal that just five years ago would have seemed ludicrous: to cure HIV. After studying the virus for more than 30 years and developing potent drugs that transformed the disease from a death sentence into a manageable chronic condition, a growing number of researchers now say the search for a cure should be a major research priority (Loury, 7/23).

CNN: Talk Of 'Cure' At Historic AIDS Conference
This week, the world's largest gathering of AIDS doctors and experts is converging on Washington for the 19th International AIDS Conference. ... There's a lot going on: research on how to prevent HIV infection, treatment as prevention and, for the first time in a long time, talk about a "cure." In fact, one of the main themes is the launch of "Towards an HIV Cure": a global scientific strategy by an international working group of 300 researchers who are developing a road map of sorts, outlining priorities for finding a cure for the disease that has claimed approximately 30 million lives worldwide (Young, 7/23).

ABC News: Big Names Call For More AIDS Funds
Researchers may be turning the corner on the AIDS epidemic -- but eliminating the disease completely will take more research and more money. Such was the message of a series of high-profile talks at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. ... But what all of these solutions have in common is that they will cost money -- and in the current fiscal climate, garnering the additional funds necessary to scale up these innovations is a challenge (Duwell, 7/24).

NPR: AIDS Returns To The U.S. Spotlight
More than 20,000 people are attending the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington this week. The meeting features speeches from U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former first lady Laura Bush, health ministers from many countries around the world, Bill Gates, NIH scientists Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins and hundreds more (Neel, 7/23).

NPR: U.S. AIDS Cases Come Into View
The HIV epidemic in the U.S. started in 1981, mainly in major cities along the East and West Coasts. The first reports were from Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco among gay and bisexual men. Within months, it was clear that injecting drug users were also getting the virus. Even now, you can see the lingering geographic contours of how the epidemic unfolded (Neel, 7/23).

The Associated Press: US Adds $150 Million To Fight AIDS, Targets Stigma
The U.S. is adding an extra $150 million to the global AIDS fight, taking a first step toward reaching some stigmatized populations. Despite tough fiscal times, "I am here today to make it absolutely clear the U.S. is committed and will remain committed to achieving an AIDS-free generation," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told the International AIDS Conference on Monday (Neergaard, 7/24).

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Pledges More Funding To Fight AIDS World-Wide
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday pledged new funding from the U.S. to curb the global HIV/AIDS pandemic and said the administration has significantly accelerated the pace at which it is getting lifesaving AIDS drugs to developing countries. The initiatives are part of a priority the administration set late last year for what Mrs. Clinton calls an "AIDS-free generation"—in which HIV infections are virtually eliminated in newborns, risk of infection in adults is far lower than it is today, and treatment is readily available (McKay, 7/23).

Politico: Hillary Clinton Vows 'AIDS-Free Generation' At Conference
Clinton spoke of leveraging public-private partnerships, in addition to coordinating with The Global Fund, which receives major support from The Gates Foundation to fund its efforts against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. She noted that the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief, known as PEPFAR, is now providing anti-retroviral treatment to almost 4.5 million people worldwide and is on pace to reach its goal of 6 million by the end of next year (Norman, 7/23).

Medpage Today: Hillary Clinton: AIDS Fight 'One We Can Win'
"We have already come so far -- too far to stop now," Clinton said during the conference's opening plenary session. Clinton defined what she means by an "AIDS-free generation" -- a phrase she pioneered late last year in a speech at the NIH -- and she underscored the Obama administration's commitment to defeating the HIV/AIDS pandemic. She also announced -- to repeated applause -- several new financial initiatives and HIV prevention goals (Smith, 7/23).

JAMA: HHS Secretary Announces New HIV/AIDS Initiatives For Patients And Clinicians
In remarks during the opening ceremony at the XIX International AIDS Conference last night, US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius announced 4 new public-private collaborations to help people living with HIV get care for their illness and to help train clinicians to treat patients with the infection (Stephenson, 7/23).

Medpage Today: IAC: End Of AIDS Epidemic On Horizon
A single message pervaded the opening ceremony for the 19th International AIDS Conference (IAC): The end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is in sight. "We've reached a point where the goal of an AIDS-free world -- once a far-off dream -- is now within sight," said Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, the last in a string of speakers Sunday evening who made much the same point. But the job is not yet finished, she added (Petrochko, 7/23).

Medpage Today: Fauci: AIDS Pandemic Still With Us
The end of the AIDS pandemic? A cure for HIV? The first is possible, researchers, politicians, and activists said here at the 19th International AIDS Conference. But the second is still a distant prospect, despite renewed enthusiasm for research in that direction. How can the two ideas both be true? To unpack the issue, MedPage Today North American Correspondent Michael Smith sat down with Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in this exclusive MedPage Today InFocus report (Smith, 7/23).

At the same time, media outlets report on news related to the science as well as the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS -

Kaiser Health News: Lisa Fitzpatrick: Routine Testing For HIV Needed (Video)
In this Kaiser Health News video, Lisa Fitzpatrick, the medical director of infectious diseases at United Medical Center, tells Joanne Silberner that in addition to more frequent testing, more attention needs to be paid to keeping people with HIV under the care of a doctor (7/23).

Modern Healthcare: Doc Training Part Of HHS Anti-HIV Efforts
HHS unveiled a health-professionals online training program geared toward improving the care of HIV patients as part of a broader announcement of prevention and care initiatives targeting HIV/AIDS. Through the program, physicians, nurses and other providers can earn continuing medical education credit for completing online modules that address topics such as the basics of caring for HIV-infected patients, the benefits of starting HIV treatment early, barriers to HIV care and understanding how to bridge financial barriers to care (Barr, 7/23).

The Associated Press: US Study Finds High HIV Infection In Black Gay Men
New research shows black gay men are becoming infected with the AIDS virus at higher rates than their white counterparts, sparking urgent calls to address this growing part of the epidemic. A study funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health tracked black gay and bisexual men in six cities, and found the rate of new infections is 2.8 percent a year. That's 50 percent higher than is seen in white men who have sex with men (Neergaard, 7/24).

ABC News: HIV Infections Rising Young Gay Men In Urban Areas
Despite decades of prevention efforts, HIV continues to increase among young gay men in urban areas, and most of these men are unaware they are infected, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Researchers looked at survey data spanning 1994 to 2008 on gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men ages 18 to 29 year old living in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and San Francisco, recruited from bars and nightclubs.  The study focused on HIV prevalence as well as HIV testing (Duwell, 7/24).

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