Top 5 Global Health Headlines: World AIDS Day, Doctors Needed in Haiti
The White House decorated for World AIDS Day. Photo by M.V. Jantzen.
World AIDS Day
On December 1, the 23rd annual World AIDS Day, UNAIDS celebrated the global reduction of new HIV infections over the past decade, while the Institute of Medicine warned against a coming shortage of HIV treatment in Africa. Former President George W. Bush, who started PEPFAR, urged continued U.S. leadership in fighting the epidemic in an op-ed in the Washington Post, writing, “The continuing fight against global AIDS is something for which America will be remembered. And you will never regret the part you take.”
Most Americans Don’t Know HIV Status
HIV testing hit a record high in 2009 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 45 percent of adults said they have taken at least one HIV test, but 55 percent of adults and 28 percent of people considered at high risk of contracting the disease have still never been tested.
Doctors Needed in Haiti
Haiti needs a surge of foreign nurses and doctors to help fight the country’s growing cholera epidemic, according to the United Nations. About 1,000 nurses and at least 100 doctors are desperately needed in addition to the current volunteers. Deaths from the epidemic topped 1,800 this week.
Rape Rampant in South Africa
More than 1 in every 3 men in South Africa have committed rape, according to a new survey by the country’s Medical Research Council. About 37 percent of men in the wealthiest province of the country admitted to at least one rape, and 25 percent of the women polled said they had been the victim of rape. The country’s high level of sexual violence has complicated efforts to control HIV infection.
Europe Goes BPA-free
The European Commission announced a ban on the use of BPA, or bisphenol A, in plastic baby bottles late last week. The commission cited concerns over BPA’s effects on child development and immune response. The chemical is widely used in making hard plastics, and an effort led by Sen.
Dianne Feinstein, D- Calif., to enact a similar ban on its use in the United States was recently blocked.