This is a guest post from BiotechBlog reader Jack Lundee
Technology Continues to Fight Aids
In 2008, Sub-Saharan Africa was populated with over 22 million HIV+ inhabitants, and currently there are over 5 million Southern Africans infected with the virus. Worldwide, there are upwards of 40 million people infected with HIV, a very frightening number. But with the coming of the 22nd annual World AIDS Day, it’s important to take note the progress that has been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS. At the same time, it’s very vital we familiarize ourselves with a couple great HIV research and technology investors.
Granted, there have already been major advances concerning affordable microbicides and vaccines as preventative measures against the virus. Similarly, the introduction of low-cost antiretroviral drugs has allowed people already infected to lead longer, healthier and happy lives.
This can most certainly be attributed to tremendous associations like the CGI (Clinton Global Initiative). The Clinton Global Initiative has put a tremendous amount of money into AIDS research. Known for his work in raising money for Hurricane/Tsnuami victims, former President Clinton and his close personal aide Doug Band also have great interest in tackling one of the deadliest STDs in the world, HIV/AIDS. Back in 2006, Clinton helped open people’s eyes to the severity of the disease in foreign states by traveling deep into Burma with the crew of 60 Minutes.
Before this however, he introduced CHAI (Clinton Health Access Initiative), outlined specifically as “a global health organization committed to strengthening integrated health systems in the developing world and expanding access to care and treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.” Their main objective was to travel to these third world countries like Burma, and distribute various treatments, which weren’t currently available to sufferers. Since it’s beginning, the organization has helped more than 2 million people gain access to medicines needed for treatment. But the efforts of Former President Clinton and his close personal aide did not end there. The CGI continues to receive funding for HIV related projects in third world countries like Southern Africa.
In their latest endeavor, they’ve joined forces with HP (Hewlett Packard) to deliver technologies that will capture, manage and return early diagnosis for infants. This translates to indentifying the virus in an infant within one to two days, which is a huge improvement from previous paper based systems. How is this important? Newly borne are especially susceptible to the disease as their carriers can very easily transmit. Similarly, it’s very crucial that they begin treatment as soon as possible to ensure survival; without, they are typically unable to survive past age two. In a statement to the press, Clinton stated, “I’m pleased HP’s technology and expertise will enable the partnership with CHAI to save the lives of more than 100,000 infants in Kenya each year, and in the process, demonstrate how the private sector can and should operate in the developing world.”
Within their first year, HP is expected to return results concerning HIV testing for nearly 70,000 infants in Kenya. The technologies introduced will also allow for real-time medical data, which will be viewable to health professionals across Kenya.
Known for it’s incredibly high number of HIV+ citizens, Africa remains one of the greatest challenges for organizations like CHAI/CGI today. Recent advancements in technology combined with the help of Doug Band and Former President Clinton have helped lessen casualty rates and permitted people to live more productive lives. And although a cure remains unfound, HP and the CGI have provided great technological steps in the right direction towards eliminating the virus for good.
Jack Lundee is a writer for Everythingleft.wordpress.com and Shadesofgreen.info. With a graduates from the Newhouse School of Communications, he’s an avid supporter of all things left and progressive.