Doctors were devastated to announce last week that their patient, an almost 4-year-old girl was once thought “cured” of HIV, was found to have detectable viral loads and lowered T-cell counts.
This week, a novel approach to infertility is announced, a new vaginal ring might be able to protect from HIV transmission, and the answer to preventing drug-resistant gonorrhea may be in our own immune systems.
Do we do more harm than good when we bandy about the word “cure” in a case like this?
There’s been much talk this week about the “miracle cure” of a child with HIV. But what about the unjust health-care system that failed her mother?
When it comes to making sure taxpayer-funded AIDS programs are comprehensive and designed to deliver the most effective interventions for people in need, the Obama administration’s track record has not been good.
For too many, accessing health care is a challenge. Integrating reproductive health and HIV/AIDS services–providing both services under one roof–makes it easier for women to get what they need.
Scientists now believe an HIV-vaccine that works could be just ten years away; the state of Georgia is adopting a “treatment as prevention” strategy; and the popular anti-baldness medicine, Propecia, has been found to have sexual side effects that last long after men stop taking the drug.
It is critical that the barriers facing women in relation to accessing supportive peri-natal services are fully understood and addressed including structural drivers such as poverty, gender-based violence from partners, in-laws and neighbours, and property and inheritance rights loss. If we do not address these issues, we can not “save the babies.”
Greece has been in the news for prosecuting HIV positive sex workers and posting the women’s photographs on the Internet. The Greek health authorities and many other governments and local authorities that have taken similar actions against sex workers have both the human rights and the public health very wrong.
HIV-positive women—like all women worldwide—have the right to decide when and if to have children. At a minimum, non-biased pregnancy options counseling and referrals to safe abortion and/or post-abortion care services should be part of comprehensive SRH services provided to HIV-positive (and all) women.