Archive for May 14th, 2007|Daily archive page

HIV and India: Intelligence + Ignorance = Unfair Treatment

In famine, third world, world heald, AIDS, India, Gates Foundation, world health on May 14, 2007 at 12:20 pm

Addendum:  Could India learn something from Brazil?  You make the call. Banning sex education on the grounds that it offends Indian sensibilities puts young lives at risk and jeopardizes the fight against  a senior health official said. Six states in India, which has the most people living with HIV/AIDS in the world, have banned sex education for adolescents or refused to implement the curriculum, saying the course material was too explicit or that it was against Indian culture.  For full article, click here.


On April 1, 2007, India will launch a new phase of its National AIDS Control Program (NACP). Its goals include reducing the number of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections — currently, an estimated 98.5 to 99.5% of India’s 1.1 billion people remain uninfected — improving treatment, and providing therapy to more people. The 5-year program, known as NACP-III, has a budget of about $2.6 billion, two thirds of which is earmarked for prevention and one sixth for treatment (with the remainder primarily for management), and represents a substantial increase in the attention to and spending on HIV–AIDS.

How does this relate to you?

Each year, about 28 million children are born in India. Skilled health care personnel attend less than half of all births; infant mortality is about 55 per 1000 live births. In 2004, only an estimated 4% of all pregnant women received HIV counseling and testing, and only about 2% of HIV-positive pregnant women received antiretroviral prophylaxis, usually consisting of a single peripartum dose of nevirapine. Moreover, HIV-positive pregnant women may benefit from antepartum combination antiretroviral treatment for their own health. Under NACP-III, more pregnant women should receive monitoring of their CD4 cell counts, antiretroviral treatment, regimens designed to prevent HIV transmission (including combinations of antiretroviral drugs), and other services.

In India, as in much of the world, stigma and discrimination present major barriers to controlling AIDS. In 2005, the HIV–AIDS unit of the Mumbai-based Lawyers Collective, which provides free legal aid, drafted comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation.  This means unfair treatment, and this is especially so for women as you see in the video.

In scaling up treatment, India’s domestic pharmaceutical industry has a critical role. A paradox is that Indian companies have become major suppliers of low-cost generic antiretroviral medications to low- and middle-income countries in Africa and elsewhere at a time when there are still major unmet needs for HIV treatment in India. Cipla, a company based in Mumbai, manufactures the largest range of HIV drugs and has the largest market share. Cipla exports 18 times as much antiretroviral medication as it sells domestically, according to Amar Lulla, its joint managing director. Retail drug prices are higher in India than in Africa, in part because of taxes. Eventually, enhanced patent protection for pharmaceuticals in India, which took effect in January 2005, may lead to higher prices.  Do you know of local, regional or global organizations helping to address this problem?  Please share with the community?  What is your solution?



Obese Kids and the Hunger Season

In famine, hunger season, obesity on May 14, 2007 at 4:19 am

Two compelling extremes and yet, there does not seem to be an easy solution. At one end, there are kids eating high calories foods from China to Chicago. At the other end of the spectrum, 1 year old kids are learning to adapt to missing meals.

When her 7-year-old son, always a healthy eater who liked his fruits and vegetables, suddenly started begging for sugared cereals and potato chips, Sharon Habeck couldn’t figure out where the new cravings were coming from. Then she sat down and watched 30 minutes of his favorite TV show with him. “Burger King, Lunchables, McDonald’s, Pop Tarts, Cheetos, Burger King again. It was all junk food ads, just one commercial after another,” said the Belmont mom. “It was ridiculous.” At the other extreme, children at ages as young as 1, are learning how to accept and adapt to the loss of missing meals. The clip below is 32 seconds was fear in my heart. See what I mean:

The good news is there is a great organization you should checkout that is focused strictly on helping villagers in Africa to get through the hunger season by teaching locals how to raise food on their own.


Could You Live without Sushi in New York City

In Environment, Overfishing, Sustainability on May 14, 2007 at 12:32 am

52% of fish stocks are fully exploited, which means that they are being fished at their maximum biological capacity. 24% are over exploited, depleted or recovering from depletion. 21% are moderately exploited. Is this similar to “global warming” where it is far enough in the future to not care today? Or is it even more compelling to start doing something now?


The diets of 2.6 billion people depend on fish as a source of animal protein. The diets of 2.6 billion people depend on fish as a source of animal protein. Only 3% of the world’s fish stocks are underexploited. 200 million people world-wide earn all or part of their income thanks to fishing and related activities. Do you care about this? Do you believe this is worth a discussion? What do you think?