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Nation+Beyond

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With Democrats in control of Congress in the United States, a nine-year federal ban on needle-exchange programs in Washington, D.C., has now been lifted, and the city plans to allocate $1 million in local funds for exchanges. D.C. has the highest HIV prevalence rate of any major U.S. city, and officials say sharing of dirty needles causes about 20% of its HIV infections. -------------------- HIV cases are rising dramatically among people 60 and older in Puerto Rico, according to new government data. Health officials reported 238 new diagnoses among people over age 60 in 2007, a 25% increase over 2006 figures. -------------------- Large-scale testing and treatment programs as well as a national ad campaign on HIV awareness will launch in Ukraine as part of a national initiative. The nation has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in Eastern Europe. -------------------- Despite more than 25 years of AIDS education campaigns, HIV awareness in Scotland is alarmingly low, according to a survey. About a third of Scots surveyed did not know that unprotected sex or sharing needles could transmit the virus. -------------------- A key human rights group in Saudi Arabia is calling on HIV-positive people to report any discrimination they experience from employers or the public and is urging government fines for those who discriminate against HIVers. -------------------- Rampant violence that continues in Kenya in the wake of a disputed presidential election could reverse the nation's progress in fighting AIDS, local officials say. Kenya had reduced its HIV prevalence rate from 6.1% in 2004 to 5.1% in 2006, but officials worry that recent widespread rapes and sexual assaults throughout the nation will boost the number of new infections. -------------------- One of China's most vocal AIDS activists was arrested and charged with inciting subversion of state power, a charge often used to silence dissidents. Human rights experts say Hu Jia's arrest is a clear sign that leaders are determined to silence government critics ahead of this summer's Beijing Olympics. -------------------- Researchers in Brazil are in the final stages of testing a generic three-drug antiretroviral pill that health officials hope will boost treatment adherence among the nation's 180,000 HIVers currently on anti-HIV medications. -------------------- An ongoing financial crisis has pushed government HIV treatment programs to the verge of collapse in Zimbabwe, where an estimated 20% of the population is HIV-positive. As few as 10% of people who need antiretrovirals have access to them.

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