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Friday, July 27, 2012

  • Stephen Lewis: As World Spends Trillions on War and Bank Bailouts, Little Money Left to Fight AIDS


    The world’s largest international AIDS conference concludes today in Washington, D.C. It was the first time in 22 years that the United States hosted the conference, due to the Obama administration’s reversal of a two-decade ban that prevented people infected with HIV from entering the country. We speak to Stephen Lewis, co-founder and co-director of AIDS-Free World. From 2001 to 2006, he served as the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. He is the former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations. Lewis warns more money needs to be spent on the fight against AIDS. "We’re always struggling for the crumbs and the pennies from the table [for global public health], when we know the amounts of money that are available for other and more perverse purposes internationally. And that, too, has to end," Lewis says. "The international Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is in financial trouble, because a number of the donor nations are not fulfilling the commitments they made, so that the next round of grants has been significantly curtailed. And that is being felt perilously at country level. I mean, if we don’t get the drugs, people will die. It’s a pretty strong equation." [includes rush transcript]

  • The Berlin Patient: Timothy Ray Brown Speaks Out on Being First Man "Cured" of HIV


    As researchers continue to look for a possible cure for HIV/AIDS, we turn to the remarkable story of Timothy Ray Brown, known in the medical world as the "Berlin patient." He is the first person believed to have been cured of HIV. "I was diagnosed in 1995 with HIV, and I was scared to death because, at that point, people were dying from the disease itself and also form the only available drug at that time, AZT," Brown recalls. A decade later, he was diagnosed with leukemia, as well. Living in Berlin at the time, Brown was treated by a German doctor named Gero Hütter, who devised an experimental treatment to cure both the HIV and the leukemia. The treatment worked, making Brown the first person cured of AIDS since it was discovered over 30 years ago. Brown’s story has inspired researchers across the globe looking for a cure. "The problem is, is that 'cure' has been a four-letter word for a long while in a lot of the AIDS community. There have been promises before that hadn’t really panned out," says AIDS researcher Dr. Jeffrey Laurence. Brown has just launched a foundation dedicated to the search for an HIV cure for everyone. "I believe that this is something that gives hope to a lot of people with HIV and their families. And that’s very important to me," Brown says. [includes rush transcript]

  • Rev. Canon Byamugisha Makes History as 1st African Religious Leader to Reveal HIV-Positive Status


    We’re joined from the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., by Rev. Canon Gideon Byamugisha. A prominent church leader in Uganda, in 1992 he became the first African religious leader to openly declare his HIV-positive status. He has since devoted his life to an AIDS ministry that works to end the stigma around the disease. Rev. Byamugisha discusses his historic decision and the ongoing discrimination against LGBTQ people in Uganda. [includes rush transcript]