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Nation+Beyond

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AMERICAS > Because the care of kids orphaned by AIDS in low-income nations often falls to their grandparents, an organization in Canada called Grandmothers 4 Grandmothers has formed to help raise funds to support older women in poor countries whose families are affected by HIV. > Haiti reports that its HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women has steadily dropped since the 1990s, down from 6.2% in 1993 to 3.1% a decade later. The infection rate for the country's overall population is estimated to be 2.2%. > Health officials in Jamaica estimate that two thirds of the nation's 27,000 HIVers are unaware they're infected, highlighting the need for broader testing campaigns in the island nation. -------------------- EUROPE > Belgium recorded its largest number of annual new HIV infections in 2008 -- a total of 1,078 new cases. The increase is due largely, health officials say, to rising infection rates among gay and bisexual men. > Health officials in the United Kingdom are warning that the nation's estimated 20,000 HIVers who are unaware they're infected pose a viral "time bomb" that could thwart the nation's efforts to contain the spread of the virus. -------------------- AFRICA > A national circumcision campaign launched in Botswana plans to circumcise 460,000 men over the next five years. Some studies have shown that circumcision lowers a heterosexual man's HIV-infection risk by 60% or more. ' > Mozambique was scheduled to open its first antiretroviral drug factory in September. At first, the facility will package generic anti-HIV meds made in Brazil, but it will begin producing the medications by April 2010. > Disturbing reports from Namibia claim that HIV-positive women are being coerced into sterilization by the government, which they say threatens to withhold lifesaving anti-HIV meds until the women undergo the procedure. Some HIVers also claim they've been sterilized without their knowledge. > A drop in new HIV infections among children in South Africa has helped stabilize the nation's overall prevalence rate. New cases among 2- to 14-year-olds has been more than halved since 2002, and 87% of young men and 73% of young women now report regular condom use. > Fearing individuals are unlikely to disclose a positive HIV test result to their partners, creators of a new national campaign, called Love Test, in Swaziland urge couples to seek HIV testing together. Testing among couples has risen 25% since the campaign began in April. > A Swedish-funded program aims to assist families affected by HIV in Togo by providing small loans, training, and support to help them launch local businesses to become more financially self-sufficient and raise money for food, shelter, and medical expenses. -------------------- ASIA >'Cambodia is expanding HIV education for students to the nation's primary schools and is doubling the money spent annually on awareness programs targeting young people. > Government officials in China have banned most locally hosted Internet sites from providing sexual-health information, including information on HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Sexual-health content can now be included only on the websites of government-sanctioned medical institutions. > To combat intense stigma that often results in isolation and ostracism, nine agencies in India have formed to help connect HIV-positive men and women for dating and marriage. "I was lonely and needed a companion to live and enjoy the last few years of my life," said an agency client. > Health ministry officials in Myanmar say that only about 15% of its 80,000 HIV-positive citizens with immediate need for antiretroviral therapy are receiving the medications. The United Nations estimates that there are 240,000 HIVers in the nation. > Government officials in Pakistan are getting advice on fighting HIV from a population hard-hit by the virus -- sex workers. The National Consultation on HIV and Sex Work meeting included recommendations for broader awareness, testing, and destigmatization initiatives. > In an effort to provide better HIV and STD surveillance of sex workers, officials in Taiwan are considering decriminalizing prostitution and requiring sex workers to register with health authorities and to work in state-approved red-light districts. > The prime minister of Thailand has set an ambitious goal of reducing by half the number of new HIV infections in the nation by 2011. Specifically targeted by new outreach efforts will be men who have sex with men and married women. -------------------- OCEANIA > A man in Papua New Guinea has been fined more than $700 after being convicted on a charge of verbally attacking a girl who had taken an HIV antibody test. The conviction was the first HIV harassment case ever to be tried in the country. > The World Health Organization warns that new HIV infections are likely to rise over the next two years in the Solomon Islands, with the most at-risk populations including mobile workers, commercial sex workers, students, and men who have sex with men.
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