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Former UK Culture Secretary reveals HIV+ status

Tony Blair’s former culture secretary, Chris Smith has admitted he is HIV positive, and has been for the last seventeen years.

Smith, who was the first ever MP to be open about his homosexuality, said he was inspired to reveal his status following Nelson Mandela’s recent announcement that his son had died of AIDS. He admitted that there was still ignorance and “quite a lot of prejudice around about HIV,” but hoped that by being open about his condition, people would begin to understand that it was an illness just like any other.


Nearly half of Black Americans believe HIV is man-made

A new study released today by the Rand Corporation and the University of Oregon has discovered that nearly half of all black Americans believe HIV is a man-made virus, with many convinced it was genetically engineered by the government to wipe out the Afro-Caribbean population.

The shocking results have demonstrated a mistrust of the US government on a scale that many had not anticipated. Laura Bogart, a behavioural scientist and co-author on the study agreed that the findings were “striking, and a wake-up call to the prevention community.”


WHO announces progress on 3 by 5 targets

A new report published by the World Health Organisation today shows that 700,000 people in the countries worst affected by HIV and AIDS are now on antiretroviral treatment. However, the target of getting 3 million people on the life saving therapy by the end of this year is still far from being reached.


FDA approves first generic AIDS drugs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has today awarded its first ever seal of approval to antiretroviral AIDS drugs made by a generics manufacturer.


Ethiopia launches free AIDS drug treatment programme

The government of Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in Africa, has announced a new strategic plan to combat AIDS and HIV in the country. In 2003 alone, 114,690 people died of AIDS-related illnesses, and around 1.4 million people were estimated to be living HIV.


Sex education in UK schools ‘poor’

Good sex education in UK schools is at best fragmented and at worst non-existent, according to a new study carried out by the UK schools inspection body, Ofsted.


US Changes PEP guidelines

The United States has issued new guidelines on the Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) of HIV which recommends that people exposed through unprotected sex, rape, accidents or occasional drug use be allowed to take an antiretroviral drug cocktail to prevent the virus taking hold in their body.


Report urges HIV checks for foreign doctors

A report commissioned by Migrationwatch UK has accused the government of failing to protect public health by not screening migrant doctors and healthcare workers for HIV and hepatitis.