At landmark BRICS meet, India raises public health, pharma sector concerns

A high-level panel hosted by India as part of the BRICS group of countries discussed the issues of trade deals that inhibit access to medicines and also limit policy space for governments to legislate in public interest.

The Union Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Shripad Naik called the proliferation of regional trade agreements "a reality" but added that these processes should move "within the ambit" of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

"We believe that the regional processes must move in tandem with the rules, standards and multilateral trade liberalization, within the ambit of the WTO, to maximize overall gains, for all countries," Naik said at the event that was organized on the sidelines of the 69th World Health Assembly that kicked off in Geneva on 23 May.
"This will also pave the way for an expanded access to affordable medicines across the globe," he added.


Nigerian laws give conflicting message on HIV and homophobia

In Nigeria since the introduction of an anti-homosexuality law in 2014 which criminalises LGBT people, increasing homophobia has been having a negative impact on the HIV response.

According to Premium Times, the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act has resulted in an increase in violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT), including police brutality.

Effanga (name changed), 29, from Cross River, is a man who has sex with men. He says: "Because of the government's homophobic law, most of us cannot access health services even though we are at a higher risk of HIV. We are afraid of being arrested and thrown into jail as the law sees us as criminals. So, we do not disclose our sexual preference to health workers."


Dispatches: The Philippines’ Unaddressed HIV Epidemic

The Philippine government observed what it described as the world's first "AIDS Hour" on May 14. Department of Health Secretary Janette Garin said the awareness-raising event was "a concrete example of the Philippines doing [its] part in the global effort against HIV and AIDS."

Raising awareness is a key part of tackling the Philippines HIV epidemic, now the fastest-growing in the world. But by omitting HIV prevention measures for men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSMs) and people who inject drugs (PWIDs), the AIDS Hour is the government's latest missed opportunity to educate and assist people at highest risk of contracting the virus.


Clinton Promises She’ll Reform HIV Criminalization Laws

Tonight, speaking via a pre-recorded video to attendees of the HIV is Not a Crime Training Academy, Hilary Clinton says if she wins the Presidential election, she will work to reform outdated, stigmatizing HIV criminalization laws. Clinton thanked attendees for their work, saying that efforts like HIV is Not a Crime "lift us all up."

Saying we have "come a long way" since the early days of the AIDS epidemic, Clinton acknowledged, "We still have long way to go." She spoke about how HIV disproportionately impacts "communities of color, transgender people, gay and bisexual men and young people, around the world."


HIV criminalisation a setback to regional AIDS efforts

Johannesburg - The criminalisation of HIV simply undermines the remarkable global scientific advances and proven public health strategies that could open the path to vanquishing AIDS by 2030, Patrick Eba from the human rights and law division of UNAIDS told SADC-PF parliamentarians meeting in South Africa.

Restating a remark made by Justice Edwin Cameron of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Eba said: "HIV criminalisation makes it more difficult for those at risk of HIV to access testing and prevention. There is simply no evidence that it works. It undermines the remarkable scientific advances and proven public health strategies that open the path to vanquishing AIDS by 2030."