By Gene Emery (Reuters Health) – An experimental drug-infused ring inserted in the vagina once a month cut the odds of becoming infected with HIV by more than half among women who used the device consistently, in a study in four African countries where the risk of AIDS is high. “Use of the product was enough to demonstrate HIV protection of 27 percent” over placebo, chief author Dr. Jared Baeten, a professor of medicine and global health at the University of Washington in Seattle, told Reuters Health by phone. “And in some groups of women who appeared to use it better, such as women over age 21, the risk of HIV was reduced by more than half.” Such silicone rings, infused with a different drug, are already used for birth control.
Augustin Dokla is arguably Togo's most famous person with HIV, having lived with the virus — against the odds –- since 1999. Among friends at Espoir-Vie, the West African nation's largest non-governmental association for people living with HIV, Dokla exudes optimism. Dokla tested positive for HIV in 1999 after a bout of serious pneumonia, which saw him spend three months in hospital.
As President Obama proclaimed diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba for the first time in 50 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) was simultaneously celebrating Cuba Wednesday as the first country ever to eliminate mother-to-child transmissions of HIV/AIDS and congenital syphilis. Dr. Roberto Morales, minister of public health and the first Cuban minister to come to the United States since 1952, visited Washington, D.C., to discuss the historic success. While the monumental public health achievement was the intended focus of his news conference, Obama’s news was critical to the process.