World’s Largest HIV Self-Testing Initiative Expands in Critical New Phase

PARIS, 24 July 2017 – Three out of every 10 people living with HIV do not know they are infected with the virus. The HIV Self-Testing Africa (STAR) Initiative, funded by Unitaid, has amassed compelling evidence that self-testing can reach more people than traditional diagnostics, enabling individuals to learn their HIV status when and where

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4 PSI Costumes to Inspire your Halloween

By Regina Moore, PSI Still looking for the perfect Halloween costume? At PSI we do whatever it takes to get life-saving health information to people, and often costumes are the perfect way to get people’s attention.  Check out some of the costumes we’ve used over the years, and don’t forget to share with us any

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It Takes a Market to get Men to Use Condoms in Africa. Here's How.

What can be done to increase the use of condoms by men in African countries? PSI and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) teamed up over the past year to study and report on the state of play in six African countries. The results are out in six new case studies that will be presented during a  consultative meeting on the Total Market Approach that PSI and UNFPA are hosting, today and tomorrow.

During the meeting, participants will discuss the findings from the six case studies conducted in African countries. Then, representatives from ten organizations will discuss how they can work together to support the development and implementation of the Total Market Approach in national markets for male condoms and other family planning supplies.

The UNFPA sponsored case studies were carried out in the past 12 months with support from two independent researchers in Botswana, Lesotho, Mali, South Africa, Swaziland, and Uganda. All of the countries have large condom social marketing programs, are affected by HIV, and have high maternal morbidity and mortality relative to their economic development.

Content for the case studies was based on a review of the literature, seven key TMA metrics calculated from national-level data, and interviews with stakeholders. All case studies were subject to review by stakeholders, including Ministries of Health and non-governmental organizations in all six countries, UNFPA’s local and regional offices, UNFPA headquarters in New York City, PSI country and regional offices, and PSI’s headquarters in Washington DC.

Each case study describe the market for male condoms in each of the countries, and the roles of the public, social marketing, and commercial sectors in those markets.

The cases illustrate the universe of need for condoms, levels of use, socioeconomic equity among users, and the market presence of condoms for reproductive health and HIV prevention (dual protection).

They also propose a set of recommendations for improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of condom markets.

The studies aim to inform the development of appropriate, evidence-based decisions to increase condom use equitably and sustainably through actions undertaken in the public, socially marketed, and commercial sectors.

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What Male Circumcision Taught Us About the Future of Funding for Global Health

By Karl Hofmann, President and CEO, PSI

Private capital is needed to test and develop proof that existing health solutions can be adapted to a developing world context. Once this proof is established, the solution has the power to unlock the large-scale government funding needed to dramatically improve health across the developing world.

As demonstrated in a new report released this week by PSI’s Impact magazine and Devex, in partnership with Fenton Communications, the landscape for global health financing has changed dramatically. High-income governments that provide foreign aid for health have steadily increased their support over the last decade. That support is now leveling or shrinking due to budget constraints. Governments are under increased pressure to reduce risk and ensure that all public funds for foreign aid are invested in solutions that guarantee results.

As a result, corporations, foundations and philanthropists are now taking an active role to help protect the progress already made against serious threats to health and economies like HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and lack of access to family planning, which remain as urgent as ever. They are providing private capital to fund the type of innovation that governments cannot afford to advance on their own.

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An HIV-free Generation in Swaziland

On June 26, 2011, Jabu Qwabe and Thokozani Mndzebele celebrated the birth of their new baby boy, Sihlelelwe, at a small hospital outside of Mankayane, Swaziland. Like all new parents, they dream for Sihlelelwe to live a healthy life – which is why before leaving the hospital, Jabu and Thokozani made the decision to have

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Infant Circumcision: A Tipping Point for HIV Prevention

This post by Emma Llewellyn, HIV services director for PSI/Swaziland, originally appears in USAID FRONTLINES.

On June 26 of last year, Jabu Qwabe and Thokozani Mndzebele celebrated the birth of their new baby boy, Sihlelelwe, at a small hospital outside of Mankayane, Swaziland. Like all new parents, they immediately began to dream about their son’s future—where he would go to school, what he would study, what his career would be. Above all, they dreamed for him to live a healthy life—which is why, before leaving the hospital, they made the decision to have Sihlelelwe circumcised.

As parents of a child in Swaziland—the nation with the world’s highest adult HIV prevalence at 25.9 percent—their decision could very well save Sihlelelwe’s life. Voluntary medical male circumcision has been found to reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV from women to men by as much as 60 percent.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS, recommend voluntary adult circumcision in high HIV-prevalence countries like Swaziland to lessen the chance for HIV’s spread. They, along with UNICEF, also recommend early-infant male circumcision (EIMC) be implemented in parallel with adult circumcision programs.

Health officials say that not only will infant circumcision help protect boys from HIV when they become sexually active later in life, but that it also protects infants and boys from serious health complications such as urinary tract infections and paraphimosis, a condition that can lead to pain and swelling in the affected area, and may require surgery.

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Keeping Girls Away from the “Cuddle Puddle” in Swaziland

Each year, around 60,000 virgin girls in Swaziland present reeds to King Mswati III and dance during an elaborate ceremony.  The annual “Reed Dance” in Swaziland is culturally significant, but it also provides an a moment of opportunity for the sexual exploitation of minors. From AFP: [T]he presence of tens of thousands of teenage girls,

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Healthy Dose August 1, 2011

Top Story Cheap, Reliable and Portable New HIV Test Succeeds in Field Trials A new study in the journal Nature Medicine finds that a credit card shaped device used for testing HIV, known as “Lab-on-a-Chip,” has had a successful trial run in Rwanda. From the Washington Post: The lab on a chip trial shows 100-percent

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Healthy Dose July 20, 2011

Top Story Experts Question Whether Polio Eradication Targets Will Be Reached  A panel of experts formed at the request of the WHO says they do not believe that a goal of global eradication of polio by 2012 can be met. An independent group said in a new report released Wednesday that it was “unshakable” in

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Healthy Dose July 19, 2011

Top Story HIV Scientists and Stakeholders Call for a Cure in Rome Meeting The start of the International AIDS Society Conference in Rome has Sara Boseley optimistic after hearing from the forward steps being taken in the global fight against AIDS. There are practical difficulties in the way of getting the drugs to all who

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Healthy Dose July 15, 2011

Top Story UN Mobilizes to Address DRC Cholera Outbreak With the cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo intensifying, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) is working with other agencies in the UN to ensure that the necessary health services are provided. “MONUSCO is helping to fight

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Healthy Dose June 16, 2011

Top Story Study Finds Gene Conversion Can Prevent Malaria Countries with malaria infections. 15 ethnic groups in Africa were studied by a team of international researchers to determine what genetic factors contribute to differing levels of vulnerability to malaria. ‘When you try to identify the variants that are associated with disease susceptibility, it’s important to

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