The numbers surprised me. Several thousands of women and girls each year routinely forced to have sex multiple times per day? 1 official and many unofficial trafficking circuits spanning the country? Over 5,000 brothels disguised as massage parlors? 13 as the average age of entrance into the trade? $200,000 in profit per girl per year? The land of the free? Yes, I’m talking about America.
The first major independent evaluation of the famous Millenium Villages Project (MVP) has recently been released by Kenyan economist Bernadette Wanjala of Tilburg University in the Netherlands and has found an insignificant increase in household income in a Millennium Village compared to a control village. This is primarily because the increased agricultural production in the studied Millennium Village (Sauri, Kenya) was offset by a resulting over-reliance on agriculture and under-reliance on diversified, non-agricultural economic pursuits. Continue reading
The VOICE (Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic) trial testing the efficacy of a new pre-exposure anti-HIV vaginal gel has been concluded as ineffective for prevention. This is in contrast to the successful results of the earlier HPTN 052 Study which indicated a 96% reduction in HIV transmission via oral ARV prophylaxis. 6% of women in both the placebo and gel intervention group have contracted HIV and those in the third arm of the trial, which was testing the tenofovir pill, also have shown similar rates. The safe but ineffective interventions have required the clinical trial (which enrolled over 5000 women in three African countries) to be ended. The search for more “treatment as prevention” drugs continues.
Read the full NY Times story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/26/health/research/anti-hiv-gel-trial-is-canceled-in-africa.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss
It has been over 30 years since the first cases of “Slim” started appearing in men and women from the villages dispersed near the border of Uganda and Tanzania. Since then, the world has made progress- “Slim” was recognized as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the progression of HIV to AIDS was more clearly understood, the science behind HIV transmission dispelled xenophobic notions (for the most part), antiretroviral therapy was discovered and is improving, researchers have demonstrated a functional cure via stem cell transplant, and the results of a recent multinational trial presented at the 2011 Intl. AIDS Society Conference have finally confirmed the highly effective duality of treatment as prevention. The statistics reflect these advances- nearly 50% of ARV eligible people now have access to treatment, in 2010 there were only 1.8 million AIDS-related deaths as compared to 2.2 million in 2005, and there has been a 15% reduction in new infections per year over the last decade, with 22 African countries now reporting incidence rates which are 25% lower than in 2001 (UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report 2011).
What are Ugandan women doing in Iraq? A March 2011 BBC article reports undercover labor trafficking in which hundreds of Ugandan women have been tricked into well-paying jobs in US Army bases in Iraq. The company which has trafficked them, Uganda Veterans Development Ltd., is operated by a high-ranking government official (now retired Colonel Chris Mudola) who has denied the trafficking allegations and ensured that the Ugandan Ministry of Labour does not stop the operations.
I just read an interesting article in the New York Times about drug shortages in America. A few things really surprised me-well, kind of…
- There are major drug shortages for life-threatening illnesses in America ? (I was aware of anti-retroviral shortages but not: “So far this year, at least 180 drugs that are crucial for treating childhood leukemia, breast and colon cancer, infections and other diseases have been declared in short supply”)
- The F.D.A regulates 25 cents of every dollars spent by consumers in the US?!
- “Just 5 large hospital buying groups purchase nearly 90 percent of the needed medicines”?!
- “Only 7 companies manufacture the vast majority of supply”?!