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DfID criticised by Select Committee

The UK government's global HIV strategy 'lacks clarity' and 'focus', according to MPs on the Public Accounts Select Committee. Despite being the second biggest donor in the world for HIV and AIDS, the Select Committee found that much of the Department for International Development's money went global bodies who were not using it to fund HIV and AIDS programmes.

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UK provides funding for microbicide research

The UK government is planning to provide £24 million to help fund trials of a new microbicide gel that could help women protect themselves against HIV.

The Gel, known as PRO2000, has already been through several stages of testing but lacked funding for a final stage trial. The money provided by the government, along with £2 million from the Medical Research Council, will help to fund efficacy and safety testing among women in Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.

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Hope at a time of mourning: condoms & the Catholic Church

The death of Pope John Paul II has been met with an outpouring of grief and sorrow among Catholic and non-Catholic communities the world over. However, the prospect of his replacement has also provided a glimmer of hope for the thousands that objected to his personal stance against the use of contraception (birth control methods are outlawed in Catholicism on the basis that they prevent the miracle of life from occurring), and his refusal to accept that condoms should play any part in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

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UK Sexual Health Clinics 'Overwhelmed'

A new survey has revealed that many sexual health care providers are having to turn patients away because their clinics cannot cope with demand. Of the 69 doctors interviewed, two thirds said their clinics were seriously overstretched and 34% said they had to turn people away on a regular basis without being able to offer them help.

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Uganda: A success story, but for how long?

Much has been made of the fall in HIV prevalence in Uganda over the last few years. Widely acclaimed as one of the few success stories on the African continent, the number of people living with HIV in the country fell from 15% of the population in 1992 to just 6% in 2002. This, say many is largely down to the US-backed ABC approach (Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms) universally adopted by both the Ugandan government and the NGOs working within the country.

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World TB Day

Tuberculosis, or 'TB' was once an illness that affected young and old, rich or poor in virtually every country in the world. Following the introduction of the BCG vaccine and the invention of antibiotics to treat the disease, rates of infection (in the developed world at least) fell dramatically.

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India passes new restrictive patent bill

The Indian parliament has passed a new bill that will make it illegal to copy all new HIV and AIDS drugs, and will prohibit the manufacture of new fixed-dose combination antiretroviral pills.

Until recently, Indian patent laws only covered manufacturing processes rather than actual ingredients and products. As a result, India now has one of the biggest generic drug programmes in the world, and provides medication to around half of the 700,000 people currently on treatment in developing countries.

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UK Health Committee calls for end to HIV treatment restrictions

Charges imposed on failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants are creating a serious public health threat, the House of Commons Select Committee on Health said today.

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