WHO publishes how-to guide on fighting AIDS
What is the best way to set up an AIDS testing clinic? Which are the best drugs to give to people infected with HIV? The World Health Organization released a one-stop guidebook on Tuesday to help low- and middle-income countries seeking to battle the pandemic.
It includes advice on distributing condoms, guidance on counseling and lists of the available tests for diagnosing HIV.
“This document responds to a long-standing country need,” WHO’s HIV/AIDS Department Director, Dr. Kevin De Cock, said in a statement.
“In one place it captures WHO’s best guidance on what the global HIV/AIDS health-sector response needs to deliver.”
The guidance, released at the biennial International AIDS Conference being held in Mexico City, will be updated as the science changes and is available on the Internet at http://www.who.int/hiv.
“Every day, more than 6,800 people become infected with HIV and more than 5,700 die, mostly because they have no access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services. Despite progress made in scaling up the response over the last decade, the HIV pandemic remains the most serious infectious disease challenge to global public health,” the WHO guide reads.
The United Nations AIDS agency UNAIDS estimates that 33 million people are infected with HIV, with 2 million dying every year.
In a second report released at the conference on Tuesday, an international panel of AIDS experts said global leaders aggressively expand prevention programs aimed at reducing high-risk behaviors including unsafe sex and drug use.
They said hundreds of clinical trials have shown that behavior-change programs are highly effective for preventing HIV, with a 50 percent to 90 percent success rate, but not enough people are included to affect the epidemic.
“We should not confuse the difficulty in changing human behavior with the inability to do so,” said Dr. Helene Gayle, co-chair of the Global HIV Prevention Working Group and president and chief executive officer of the charity CARE USA.
Proven programs usually include a combination of approaches such as one-on-one counseling, small-group programs, and community education, all tailored to the community they are meant to reach, the report said.
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