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Posts Tagged ‘HIV/AIDS’

Of all the pressing issues confronting the developing world, cancer gets comparatively short shrift. And yet, a majority of new cancer diagnoses come from developing countries.

The fact that these countries are significantly less capable to care for the afflicted than, say, the United States, where cancer has been a leading health priority for many decades, means that cancer is “a time bomb waiting to explode,” says Princess Dina Mired of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation. At last month’s Clinton Global Initiative, Mired said that addressing cancer depends on a sophisticated medical infrastructure above and beyond traditional health care. Much of the world is ill-equipped to tackle the disease, and increasing numbers are dying because they can’t reach or afford adequate treatment. As such, it’s disturbing that cancer is not a part of any global health agenda, Mired asserted.

A special session on the topic at CGI offered a rare spotlight on this global issue, which has striking parallels to HIV/AIDS in the level of ignorance and stigma surrounding it. For example, widespread concern that the disease is contagious leads victims to refrain from publicly disclosing their status. In turn, a lack of visible cancer survivors leads people to think it’s always a deadly disease, or less common than it really is. And then there’s the omnipresent issue of gender discrimination and the need for funding to specifically advance women and girls, a major theme at CGI this year as it was last. When it comes to cancer, for example, some women in the developing world who get a diagnosis of breast cancer forego a mastectomy for fear of losing their husbands, according to Felicia Knaul of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative.

Paul Farmer of Partners In Health and the Harvard Medical School called for the creation of a Global Fund for Cancer, one focused on all areas of need, from prevention to diagnosis to care. But, a recent study from the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine, as reported by VaccineNewsDaily, found that single disease campaigns in developing countries “interfered significantly with routine health care delivery.”

So, while cancer demands greater global attention and care, this work should be approached in such a way as to strengthen the general health infrastructure in developing countries, rather than compete with it for needed funds.

—Jane Wales

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The Council is pleased to host Ambassador Eric Goosby, United States Global AIDS Coordinator, tonight at 6 PM. His visit comes only days after the conclusion of the biennial International AIDS Conference, at which he led the US delegation. The biggest news at the conference was the announcement of the development of a successful, new microbicide for HIV/AIDS prevention. While this was heralded as a huge advance in the fight against HIV/AIDS, many are now wondering whether it can be produced inexpensively enough for it to gain wide use and whether or not it will even be approved by regulators.

Join us tonight to learn about the conference and what the Obama Administration is doing to fight HIV/AIDS around the world. Register for the program here.

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In his inaugural speech yesterday, President Obama renewed the atmosphere of service surrounding this election. He drew on a familiar theme from his campaign, that we each have a role to play in shaping the changes we wish to see in the world: “What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.”

In line with this call to action, singer, songwriter, and HIV/AIDS activist Annie Lennox joined us at GPF. In the video below, she speaks of finding a way to direct her own unique talents toward a shared goal. Standing in a plain t-shirt with the bold words “HIV POSITIVE”, she describes her realization that the collective experience of music – broadcast across nations – can be incredibly powerful, and of her decision to use her voice to “raise focus to issues in the most beautiful – way, not intellectually, but emotionally.” Her issue is HIV/AIDS awareness, and she spoke to it with sincerity, grace, and inspiration. She then gifted us with a soulful song and piano performance, included below.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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