Global AIDS Parley Opens in DC



July 23, 2012

Thousands have gathered in Washington, D.C., this week for the International AIDS Conference. Speakers will include former President Bill Clinton; U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, among other political, scientific and philanthropic leaders.

A health workers administers an HIV test in Kenya. Photo: Julienne Gage

In the past 15 years, dozens of IRP journalists have reported on AIDS; most recently, they have reported from Botswana, India, Kenya, Mozambique, South Sudan and Swaziland.

Last month, IRP took a group of international bloggers to Kenya. Lynn Schreiber, Lola Huete Machado and Juliana Resende focused on the HIV/AIDS aspect of reproductive health, including rural testing sites, access to medication in poor urban areas, and mother mentor programs.

Tens of thousands of HIV/AIDS patients are eligible to start anti-retroviral therapy in South Sudan, Andrew Green reported in April. But the Global Fund, the country's main source of funding for the drugs, suspended its latest round of grants at the end of last year, and South Sudan has had to stop enrolling new patients in ARV programs.

In India, homosexuality was decriminalized in a 2009 court decision. Earlier this year, Christopher Werth reported on Indian gay rights organizations that are fighting to maintain the decision. They argue that the legal recognition of India's gay community has helped in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Swaziland is an overwhelmingly Christian nation. It’s also one of the hardest hit countries in the world when it comes to AIDS. Despite their differences, religious leaders and public health officials have begun working together to try to stop transmission of HIV, Alex Gallafent reported this spring.

In Mozambique, the challenge is not just getting ARVs to the people who need them, but making sure they stay on the drugs. Last spring, Annie Murphy reported on patients who team up to tackle HIV.

Last year, Ann S. Kim reported from Botswana on male circumcision as a way to combat the spread of HIV. Some doctors believe that circumcision of infant males is the next step in the fight against AIDS.