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Bob Roehr: Methamphetamine use drives HIV infections among gay Thais

13 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

BangkokOne in 10 gay and bisexual men aged 18 to 21 became infected with HIV during their first year of enrollment in a cohort study in Bangkok. The rate of new infections slows down a bit after that, in part because those most likely to become infected already are. Fully 1 in 3 of them carry the virus by the time they reach 30.

“From 18 to 21 it has been a slaughterhouse,” says Frits van Griensven, shaking his head in dismay. “They are getting the best prevention information possible, counselling every four months, condoms and lubricants. They know the facts of incidence of new infections.” And yet the infections continue to occur, “It is something that we cannot control with behavioural interventions.” more…

Bob Roehr: The road to Bangkok

12 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

BangkokThe lot of an ink stained wretch of a journalist, even one who writes for as illustrious a publication as the BMJ, is not filled with travel and expense accounts. Those budgets, once small, have now disappeared as traditional media formats have contracted while online grows. Thankfully a few charities have stepped into the breach.

The US National Press Foundation runs a variety of education and training programmes for journalists both foreign and domestic, with the underwriting and support of a variety of charities, organisations, and companies.  more…

Deborah Cohen: The final declaration for the UN summit on NCDs

9 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

Deborah Cohen After months of negotiations, lobbying from industry and NGOs and public health experts, international governments have finally agreed the political declaration that will form the spine of the UN’s summit on non-communicable diseases later this month.

The BMJ has seen a copy of the final declaration and for those who have been involved there are some highlights, lowlights and one or two surprises. more…

Richard Smith: Managing hypertension in a South African township

10 Mar, 11 | by BMJ Group

Richard Smith

South Africa suffers from a “quadruple burden” of disease—infectious disease, particularly AIDS and TB; trauma from road traffic injuries and violence; perinatal and maternal health problems; and non-communicable disease. I thought of this burden as we visited the community clinic in Khayelitsha, the largest “township” in Cape Town. more…

Richard Smith on countering the “wicked problem” of the chronic disease pandemic

24 Apr, 09 | by julietwalker

Richard SmithI spent two days last week in the seductive grandeur of Trinity College, Oxford, fretting about the global pandemic of chronic disease, but I left feeling optimistic—despite the pandemic raging as fiercely as ever. more…

Richard Feinmann on volunteering after retirement

17 Mar, 09 | by BMJ Group

Richard Feinmann What to do when you are a sexagenarian physician who has retired from hospital practice with 40 years in the NHS under your belt and golf/Sudoku not really appealing? Well, my health visitor wife and I applied to Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and I am writing this from a hospital in Kampala, Uganda, where I have been working for five months. more…

Siddharta Yadav on changing perceptions of HIV/AIDS

26 Jan, 09 | by BMJ Group

There is a famous proverb in Nepali which says we learn something either by reading about it or by facing it. I prefer the latter because of the everlasting impression that “facing something” leaves, in contrast to the hazy-sketchy memories of reading. I have been reading about HIV and AIDS since my first year in my medical school but never have I really thought beyond my textbooks until earlier this month in Kuala Lumpur at the 22nd East Asian Medical Students’ Conference (EAMSC). It was at this conference that I really saw HIV from different perspectives which changed my own perception of this condition. more…

Richard Smith on why diabetes envies cancer

11 Dec, 08 | by BMJ Group

Richard Smith Those who campaign on diabetes envy those who campaign on cancer because cancer gets so much more attention than diabetes. Indeed, the diabetes campaigners are very frustrated that diabetes is so consistently neglected. Around 250 million people globally have diabetes, and because of the pandemic sweeping the world that number will increase to 380 million by 2025. Then at least half of the people who have diabetes are undiagnosed, and in countries like Nigeria and India around 90% are undiagnosed. How is that governments can be so lackadaisical? more…

Michael Adler and colleagues on HIV today

28 Nov, 08 | by BMJ Group

It has been 25 years since HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, was isolated. Since that time, 25 million people have died of HIV related illnesses. In 2007 there were an estimated 33 million people (CI 30-36) living with the virus and three quarters of all related deaths and two thirds of incident cases were in sub-Saharan Africa. more…

Pat Sidley on South Africa after Mbeki

26 Sep, 08 | by BMJ

South Africa’s newly elected president, Mr Kgalemo Mothlante, acted swiftly to end an era of ugly controversy and extreme incompetence in the health ministry by appointing a highly regarded, new health minister and effectively demoting the previous one, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who implemented all of former president Thabo Mbeki’s eccentric AIDS beliefs, which has laid the foundations for the increased burden of disease that South Africa now has. more…

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