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AIDS Vaccines and Activism: Interview with Jon Cohen
Like most people, we had assumed that with all the talk about AIDS vaccines, any obvious holes in the research and development effort to produce a vaccine were being addressed. In fact, serious problems persist, often with no one handling them. Freelance writer Bruce Mirken asked Jon Cohen, who for years reported on AIDS research for Science magazine and has recently published a book about the problems in AIDS vaccine development, to discuss what is happening today, what has changed since his book went to press, and what people can do now to help get effective AIDS vaccines developed and tested faster.
United Nations AIDS Meeting: Observations
The recent 3-day United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS produced unanimous approval of a surprisingly strong document -- weakened only slightly to keep conservatives on board when they objected to wording on sex or human rights. We note some of the major areas of agreement -- and also controversies including listing vulnerable groups, and the three-hour fight over whether to seat a representative of a gay organization. We also note the denial of U.S. visas to some civil-society delegates who should have been at the session -- and what can be done about this for future meetings.
Global AIDS Epidemic: Getting Things Done
The world has plenty of resources, and plenty of good will, to effectively control AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other major health problems. What, then, is lacking? We believe the key is to organize social roles allowing those who want to help to do so.
Names Reporting: Pennsylvania, California Activists Change the Momentum
Many AIDS activists and others are uncomfortable with the government having their names on a list of people who are HIV-positive; others are concerned that such lists will cause persons to avoid being tested. Public health experts do need case reporting to get accurate information on the incidence of HIV in order to devise properly targeted control strategies. Cases can be reported by unique identifiers instead of names to reduce confidentiality concerns; however, several years ago the Federal government decided to favor names reporting, and most states have gone along. In Pennsylvania, activists recently began what first seemed a hopeless effort for a system of HIV reporting by unique identifiers instead of names. While the outcome is not yet determined, activists have changed the political momentum in favor of unique identifiers.
Copyright 2001 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.