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HIV/AIDS News Digest: July 26, 2011

July 26, 2011

Here is a quick look at a few HIV/AIDS stories recently reported in the media:

Editorial: Syringes Should Be Sold Over the Counter (From the Los Angeles Times)

As a means to reduce the transmission of HIV and hepatitis in the state of California, the Los Angeles Times wants its usually progressive state to be more aggressive and pass a law that would make it legal to sell syringes over-the-counter without a prescription.

In an editorial, the Times stated that it thought this might happen sooner. In 2004, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger approved a pilot program that allowed for the sale of clean needles in pharmacies in participating counties. That program was even extended in 2010 for an additional five years in certain counties, but then Schwarzenegger refused to sign a bill that would have allowed the sales statewide.

There are hopes that California's new governor will approve a similar bill, SB 41, which is on its way to the state Assembly. The Times writes:

Under the bill, written by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), it would be up to pharmacies throughout California to decide whether to sell the syringes. Customers would be able to buy as many as 30 at a time. The law would sunset in 2015 unless it is reauthorized after the state Department of Public Health reports on its effects.

The department estimates that the sharing of syringes is the source of 3,000 cases of hepatitis C and 750 cases of HIV each year in California. Access to new syringes also helps prevent the spread of hepatitis B and other blood-borne diseases. It makes economic sense because it prevents diseases that are expensive to treat; customers pay for their own syringes, which cost about a quarter each. The value of easy access to clean syringes has been known for at least a decade. A 2001 study published by the American Journal of Public Health examined 96 cities, 60 of which did not require a prescription for needles; the rest did. The rates of intravenous drug use in the cities were not significantly different, the researchers found, but the HIV rates in the cities that required prescriptions were twice as high.

Durex Condom Production Down 50 Percent (From The Wall Street Journal)

While Trojan is the most popular brand of condoms sold in the U.S., Durex reigns as the king of condoms around the world. But soon, that may no longer be the case.

According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, a rift between Reckitt Benckiser, the British company that owns Durex, and TTK Lig, Durex's Indian joint-venture partners, has resulted in a halt to production of Durex condoms since May. This could pose some serious problems given that TTK Lig's condom production accounts for 50 to 60 percent all of Durex condoms made globally.

The Wall Street Journal wrote:

Durex accounts for 42 percent of the global condom market, according to a 2010 research note by stockbroker Taylor Collison, so simple mathematics tells us that this spat could affect over 20 percent of the contraceptive's supply worldwide. (The U.S. is a big exception: this is one market where Trojan condoms reign supreme.) ...

The effects of the dispute are already starting to show. In its report, Citi notes that the "Indian supply disruption is beginning to result in supply shortages of Durex condoms at the retailer level." In a note posted on its Web site late last month, the U.K.'s National Health Service said it "regrets to inform customers" of the possible Durex drought and offered them a list of alternative brands.

It's unknown what caused the spat. Because the two are locked in a legal battle, that information is not available to the public.

Other HIV/AIDS Articles in the Media:

Florida Appeals Court Overturns Conviction of HIV-Positive Woman (From The Herald-Tribune)

A Challenge for All of US: Black Teenagers With HIV/AIDS (From the School Library Journal)

HGTV's Color Splash Host David Bromstad of Miami Launches HIV Testing Campaign (From The Miami Herald)

Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin, New Faces of MAC's VIVA GLAM (From

Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for and

Copyright © 2011 The HealthCentral Network, Inc. All rights reserved.

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