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New Law in Los Angeles – Adult Movie Actor’s Required To Wear Condoms


Actors making pornographic movies in Los Angeles will be required to use condoms while filming, under a new law signed by the city mayor.

The new regulation has been welcomed by health officials but pornography industry leaders say it could force them to abandon the city.

LA’s San Fernando Valley is considered the capital of the multibillion-dollar US adult film industry.

Correspondents say it is not yet clear how the new law will be enforced.

The LA-based Aids Healthcare Foundation welcomed the move saying it was crucial in protecting adult film actors from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The foundation, which has campaigned for the measure for six years, said it would now seek similar condom requirement elsewhere in the US.

“The city of Los Angeles has done the right thing. They’ve done the right thing for the performers,” said foundation president Michael Weinstein.

He said his group would also be vigilant in keeping track of where porn producers might move to.

Several of the industry’s biggest adult filmmakers have said they might consider moving just outside city boundaries.

They insist that adult films featuring condoms are not as popular and that some actors prefer not to use them.

The new law was signed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday.

The city council has now asked the police, city attorney’s office and workplace safety officials to figure out how they enforce the rule, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Industry experts estimate as many as 90% of all pornographic films produced in the US are made in Los Angeles.

Last year, pornographic film productions across the US were temporarily shut down after an adult film performer tested positive for HIV – the virus that causes Aids.

Above article via BBC News

Our message is clear!

Condoms provide the best protection from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.  HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It was identified in the early 1980s and it belongs to a group of viruses called retroviruses.

Normally, the body’s immune system would fight off an infection, but HIV prevents the body’s immune system from working properly. HIV infects key cells in the body’s natural defences called CD4 cells, which co-ordinate the body’s response to infection. Many CD4 cells are destroyed by being infected, and some stop working as they should.

Although HIV can’t be cured, it can be treated. Modern HIV treatment means that many people with HIV are living long, healthy lives and can look forward to a near-normal lifespan.

AIDS
If HIV isn’t treated, the gradual weakening of the immune system leaves the body vulnerable to serious infections and cancers which it would normally be able to fight off. These are called ‘opportunistic infections’ because they take the opportunity of the body’s weakened immunity to take hold.

If someone with HIV develops certain opportunistic infections, they are diagnosed as having AIDS. The term ‘AIDS’ stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. People diagnosed as having AIDS can become unwell with a range of different illnesses, depending on the specific opportunistic infections they develop. This is why AIDS is not considered a disease, but a syndrome – a collection of different symptoms and illnesses, all caused by the same virus, HIV.

Most people who have HIV have not had an AIDS diagnosis. Also, if someone develops an AIDS-defining illness this doesn’t mean that they are on a one-way path to illness and death. Thanks to HIV treatment, many people who were once diagnosed as having AIDS are now living long and healthy lives.

Have you ever had a HIV test?

If you’re interested in having a HIV test, we offer a completely free and confidential rapid HIV test and you’ll get the results within 60 seconds from a simple finger prick test. We use the Insti HIV test produced by BioLytical laboratories. The test is 99.96% accurate from 90 days post contact for detecting HIV 1 and 2 antibodies. We also have a mobile testing van which is often out in communities providing mobile rapid HIV tests. Appointments are not always necessary, if you would like a test, please contact us on 0116 2559995

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Bangkok International Symposium on HIV Medicine 2012


The HIV Netherlands Australia Thailand Research Collaboration holds an International Bangkok Symposium on HIV Medicine in January every year and it starts again for 2012 tomorrow. At the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.

The key objective of the annual Bangkok International Symposium on HIV Medicine is to provide health care workers and members of the HIV-infected and affected community from Thailand and all over the world with a comprehensive review of the management of HIV infection and opportunistic infections, efforts to improve access to therapy as well as the latest updates on research into HIV treatments and vaccines.

The symposium also aims to stimulate debate through a series of panel discussions on issues such as access to care and the cost of ARV in developing countries. In the last 5 years, over 3,000 participants from Asia Pacific, Europe and the America have attended the symposium.

An expert faculty of speakers from Thailand, Asia, Australia, Europe and USA presents a comprehensive review of current HIV management. World class international and local speakers present plenary sessions and facilitate interactive workshops.

Key reasons people attend the Symposium

  • The Symposium is a premier medical-scientific conference in HIV and related diseases in South East Asia.
  • People will hear about the latest advances in HIV research and treatment from leading local and international figures.
  • People will gain recognition for Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) and Continuing Pharmaceutical Education (CPE).
  • People will have an opportunity to network with colleagues from across South East Asia and all over the world.

The symposium hopes that delegates not only receive knowledge in HIV management through the trainings, but also a warm welcome from Thai people.

Full details on the Symposium are available at: http://www.hivnat.org/symposium/15th/home

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AIDS Related Deaths ‘Down 21% From Peak’ – Says UNAids

Aids-related deaths are at the lowest level since their 2005 peak, down 21%, figures from UNAids suggest.

Globally, the number of new HIV infections in 2010 was 21% down on that peak, seen in 1997, according to UNAids 2011 report.

The organisation says both falls have been fuelled by a major expansion in access to treatment.

Its executive director, Michel Sidibe, said: “We are on the verge of a significant breakthrough.  Even in a very difficult financial crisis, countries are delivering results in the Aids response.  We have seen a massive scale up in access to HIV treatment which has had a dramatic effect on the lives of people everywhere.”

This latest analysis says the number of people living with HIV has reached a record 34 million.  Sub-Saharan Africa has seen the most dramatic improvement, with a 20% rise in people undergoing treatment between 2009 and 2010.

About half of those eligible for treatment are now receiving it.

UNAids estimates 700,000 deaths were averted last year because of better access to treatment.  That has also helped cut new HIV infections, as people undergoing care are less likely to infect others.

In 2010 there were an estimated 2.7m new HIV infections, down from 3.2m in 1997, and 1.8m people died from Aids-related illnesses, down from 2.2m in 2005.

The figures continue the downward trend reported in previous UNAids reports.  The UN agency said: “The number of new HIV infections is 30-50% lower now than it would have been in the absence of universal access to treatment for eligible people living with HIV.”

Some countries have seen particularly striking improvements.

In Namibia, treatment access has reached 90% and condom use rose to 75%, resulting in a 60% drop in new infections by 2010.

UNAids says the full preventive impact of treatment is likely to be seen in the next five years, as more countries improve treatment.

Its report added that even if the Aids epidemic was not over: “The end may be in sight if countries invest smartly.”

The charity Medecins Sans Frontieres urged governments to keep up their funding.

MSF’s Tido von Schoen-Angerer, said: “Never, in more than a decade of treating people living with HIV/Aids, have we been at such a promising moment to really turn this epidemic around.

“Governments in some of the hardest hit countries want to act on the science, seize this moment and reverse the Aids epidemic. But this means nothing if there’s no money to make it happen.”

The International HIV/Aids Alliance said: “We welcome the ongoing commitment of UNAids to changing behaviours, changing social norms and changing laws, alongside efforts to improve access to HIV treatment.

“For bigger and better impact though, we must not be complacent. There is still much more to do.”

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Gaddafi’s HIV Shakedown

Zakia Saltani has been warned not to talk to the press. She doesn’t care. She has waited 13 years to tell her story, and the Libyan government’s threats can’t stop her now. “After what happened to my family, what more can they do?” she asks. “I am beyond fear.”

At her friend’s house in Benghazi, with the red-black-and-green flag of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion spread proudly across her shoulders, she shows a framed photograph of her son, Ashur. He died of AIDS-related complications in May 2005, when he was 8. He had been one of more than 400 Libyan children who were admitted to the Al Fateh pediatric hospital in Benghazi 13 years ago with routine complaints like colds and earaches. They left with HIV. Like Ashur, roughly 60 have since died. Others are hanging on.

Until the Feb. 20 liberation of Benghazi by anti-Gaddafi protesters, the regime was able to bully people like Saltani into silence. Meanwhile, the government blamed the outbreak on five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor at the hospital, falsely accusing them of deliberately infecting their young patients, and sentencing them to death. The medics were finally released in 2007, but not before the regime had extorted an Eastern European debt-forgiveness package and roughly three quarters of a billion dollars in supposed compensation and health-care assistance, together with a civilian nuclear-development deal and a “very good military accord” (in the words of Gaddafi’s British-educated son Saif al-Islam) with the French government “and other confidential stuff we shouldn’t discuss on the record,” the smiling Saif told NEWSWEEK at the time.

Now Saltani and other ordinary Libyans are starting to speak out at last. She says this is the first interview she has ever given—and her anger against Muammar Gaddafi and his 41-year dictatorship begins to spill out. “On Feb. 2, 1998, we went to the hospital because Ashur had a fever and a cough,” she says. “He was 4 months old, and we stayed two days. We went back two weeks later for the same problems.” Shortly afterward she took her 5-year-old daughter, Mouna, to the same hospital with a high fever. Mouna also went home with HIV, although at the time Saltani had no way of knowing that either child had become infected.

The truth began to emerge a few months later. “In October we learned that the doctors were hiding something,” Saltani recalls. “They said there was something in his blood that they couldn’t identify. The head of the hospital told us not to say anything. When we found out it was HIV, the government told us the infection originated from outside Libya, and that it only affected 10 kids. Another doctor even tried to convince us that it wasn’t HIV, but tuberculosis.” When the families finally discovered just how many children had been infected, the regime sent many of the patients to Italy for analysis and treatment.

Foreign medics made useful scapegoats—and lucrative hostages.

Even then the regime still did its best to cover up the outbreak. Mohammed El Agili, 20, says he was 8 when his parents took him to Al Fateh for an eye operation in March 1998. Three days later he returned, still dizzy from the procedure. When rumors of AIDS swept through the city, he underwent HIV testing, along with all the other children who had been admitted to the hospital in early 1998. The result came back positive. “When I found out, I ran shouting through the streets like a lunatic,” says his father, Mahmoud. “And we made sure the government heard our cries. Gaddafi invited all the families to a tent in the desert outside Sert, saying he would give us whatever we wanted, but we had to keep quiet. ‘We don’t want foreigners to become involved in this,’ Gaddafi told us. ‘We don’t want this to get out of Libya.’ He warned us that our relatives outside Libya would be in danger if we talked. We were afraid. We had to keep quiet.”

The news blackout may have suited Gaddafi’s purposes, but it didn’t help young Mohammed deal with insensitive classmates. They bullied him until he finally gave up school at 12. A rabid fan of the Real Madrid football team, he now helps his brother run a mobile-phone shop near their house. Asked about his future, the HIV patient smiles at the question’s naivete. “My generation doesn’t think about the future,” he says. “Even without this disease, Gaddafi has destroyed all our futures.”

Although the cause of the outbreak remains a mystery, outside studies implicate poor hygiene at the hospital rather than any of the conspiracy theories that abound in Libya. According to a 2002 report by Italian medical investigators, all the infected children had received intravenous fluids, antibiotics, steroids, or bronchodilators, but no blood or blood products. Saltani says she found it hard to accept the regime’s allegations against the hospital’s foreign medical workers. “At first I didn’t believe it was them,” she says. “The Palestinian doctor and the Bulgarians had always taken good care of the children, but everyone was blaming them, so we believed it. We wanted to confront them face to face, but the government wouldn’t let us.”

Still, the foreign medics made useful scapegoats—and lucrative hostages. The ransom Gaddafi received for freeing them enabled him to pay the victims’ families roughly $1 million each, helping him to buy a little more silence. For 41 years he has controlled the country through a combination of violence, intimidation, and strategic payoffs. To test the regime’s limits on free speech was to risk imprisonment, torture, and death. And old habits persist, even in liberated Benghazi, where anti-Gaddafi rallies occur daily. The current director of Al Fateh Hospital, who was working there as a doctor when the infections took place, refuses to speak as long as Gaddafi holds sway in Tripoli.

Just before Saltani’s interview, her phone rings. The caller is Ibrahim El Oraibi, the representative who deals with the regime on behalf of the HIV families. She puts it on speakerphone so a reporter can hear. He screams at Saltani for violating the government’s gag order. “If Tripoli finds out, they will get angry and will stop sending AIDS medication to Benghazi!” Oraibi shouts. That could be a death sentence for Saltani: she herself contracted HIV from breast-feeding Ashur. Doctors say it’s a thing that happens only rarely, but it can happen. She has been taking antiretroviral drugs for a year, and has only two months’ supply left.

But she refuses to back down. “I don’t believe anything Gaddafi says anymore,” Saltani tells Oraibi. “I have been quiet for 13 years and I’m tired of it. I want to fight.” The intermediary pleads: “Don’t talk until we receive the medicine.” Saltani is unmoved. “Gaddafi needs to go—and you can go with him,” she says. “I’ve been waiting 13 years and I’m not going to wait any longer. He’s a liar, and I’m going to talk with whomever I wish.”

She hangs up on the caller and begins her interview.

Original Article by Mike Elkiin at The Daily Beast (March 2011)

Further reading: HIV Trial in Libya (Wikipedia)

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The following video is a Documentary by Mickey Grant about the Bulgarian Nurses in Libya.  It’s titled “INJECTION – AIDS, How Gaddafi and Son murdered over 400 Libyan children”.  Gaddafi used the possibility that he was executing these nurses partly because he was angry at having to pay the several billion dollar settlement to the families of the Pan Am Lockerbie Terrorist act he was responsible for.  In effect, he told behind the scenes negotiators that he wanted that same amount of money and was even willing to sale the oil exploration rights for 1 billion.

He also wanted the prisoner released in Scotland who was convicted of planting the bomb that blew up the Pan Am plane.  He stated that if this was done, he’d release the nurses and Palestinian doctor.  BP gave him the billon and hired lawyers and “others” to engineer the release of this terrorist.

The only newspaper that covered this was the Financial Times.

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Information about the effort and influence surrounding HIV/AIDS prominent people is available here.

AIDS Treatment is Good Value for Money, Says New Study

Orphans at the Mildmay HIV Centre in Kampala, Uganda. A funding drop has raised concern about the long-term future of the global fight against Aids and HIV. Photograph: Jon Hrusa/Pool/Reuters

It is becoming increasingly clear that Aids is going to be a loser in the struggle by wealthy governments to cut back on spending in all areas, including development. The numbers from the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) published on the Global development website on Wednesday tell the tale.

Of course, that was about bilateral aid and many Aids campaigners will be hoping the UK will make up the shortfall in contributions to the Global Fund to fight Aids, TB and Malaria. And DfID and other governments and funding bodies will rightly point out that people with HIV will benefit from increased spending on other programmes – especially those for maternal and child health.

Nonetheless, there are cold shivers running down the spines of campaigners and treatment providers in poor countries. They don’t want more stories about Aids drugs running out in Uganda and clinics that are having to turn new patients away. Aids drugs are for life, not just for Christmas – to distort the old advertising slogan about responsibility and pet animals. If people who start antiretroviral therapy have to stop, they will probably develop resistance and the drugs will no longer work for them even if they eventually get a new supply.

So a new study from the expert number-crunchers at the Results for Development Institute in Washington DC, Harvard School of Public Health and Imperial College in the UK – with help from the Global Fund – is timely. It makes the economic case for investing in Aids treatment programmes. It’s not just humane to keep people with HIV alive and healthy, says the study – it actually saves money. That may just be the only argument in these straitened times that funders will readily listen to.

The study, published by the free-access journal PloS One, is specifically aimed at helping donors wrestle with their dilemma of how best to spend their waning development budget.

The 2008-10 global recession, flattening aid budgets and fiscal tightening in many Aids-affected countries are threatening the ability of donors and countries to continue scaling up ART. In this context, policymakers deciding whether to commit additional resources to ART programmes will want to consider not only the cost and health impacts of programme continuation, but also the likely economic benefits of doing so.

They went about it by analysing the costs and benefits of continuing to treat the 3.5 million people in 98 countries who will be supported by Global Fund-financed programmes at the end of this year. Against the treatment costs they set the restored productivity of people able to work again, the savings in unneeded orphan programmes and delayed costs of medical treatment for tuberculosis and other infections that afflict those with HIV at the end of life.

Keeping these 3.5 million people alive and well would cost $14.2bn in 2011-12, they reckoned – but the financial savings would amount to between $12bn and $34bn. Robert Hecht, of Results for Development, thinks the savings will outstrip the cost. “It looks very favourable. The way we did it, the calculations are conservative,” he told me. This is the paper’s conclusion:

These results suggest that, in addition to the large health gains generated, the economic benefits of treatment will substantially offset, and likely exceed, program costs within 10 years of investment.

Let’s see whether DfID and other donor governments are convinced.

Original Article by Sarah Boseley at The Guardian

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Commonwealth Publication Raises Concerns Over Rights of HIV and AIDS Carers

From left to right: Dr Marilyn Waring, Dr Anit Mukherjee and Dr Meena Shivdas at the launch of 'Who Cares: the Economics of Dignity'.

“They were not looked on by the nurses, the doctors. They didn’t want to touch them, they were scorned” – L, unpaid carer, Jamaica

A breakthrough research publication, calling on governments to make changes to their policies to recognise the rights of unpaid carers and their crucial role in dealing with HIV and AIDS, was launched at the Commonwealth Secretariat on 3 October 2011.

Who Cares? The Economics of Dignity’ captures the experiences of unpaid carers from across the Commonwealth, who have battled stigma and poverty with little support from authorities, to look after family members, friends and lovers affected by HIV and AIDS.

It was launched at a reception at the Secretariat’s headquarters at Marlborough House by Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Ransford Smith, along with a second book on ‘Development Challenges of HIV/AIDS in Small States’.

Who Cares? The Economics of Dignity’ was commissioned by the Secretariat and based on research by Dr Marilyn Waring, the late Dr Robert Carr, Dr Anit Mukherjee, and the Secretariat’s adviser on Gender Dr Meena Shivdas.

It covers the experiences of unpaid carers in the household in Bangladesh, Botswana, Canada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and Uganda, and highlights the need to protect the rights of unpaid HIV and AIDS carers. It has been described as a breakthrough as previous research only focused on the illness.

“We have really challenged some of the fundamental understanding on human rights, particularly on dignity,” said Dr Waring.

“We asked our unpaid carers did you have any choice about what they were doing. Not one of them had a choice.”

Mr Smith paid tribute to the late Dr Carr, who passed away in May 2011, after writing the book’s final chapter.

The second publication ‘Development Challenges of HIV/AIDS in Small States’ by Karl Theodore, Mahendra Reddy and Happy Siphambe, analyses the economic impacts of HIV/AIDS in the Pacific, Southern Africa and Caribbean.

Mr Smith commended the book for highlighting good practices in dealing with HIV and AIDS and opportunities to modernise in the face of the epidemic.

The double book launch was in the wings of a Commonwealth Roundtable on 3-4 October 2011, to discuss the ‘Who Cares? The Economics of Dignity’ book’s research findings, and contribute to the development of a framework for the Secretariat’s work on social protection. Social protection consists of policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability.

According to UNAIDS 34 million people are living with HIV. Out of this, 12 million people urgently require access to treatment, care and support, and 9 million do not have access to treatment and will die of AIDS.

“They [people with HIV and AIDS] were not looked on by the nurses, the doctors. They didn’t want to touch them, they were scorned,” said L, an unpaid carer in Jamaica, whose experiences are documented in the book.

The book’s researchers found that carers, most often women and girls, believe they have no choice but to provide for their dying loved one, and with this lack of choice their rights and dignity are invisibly breached and replaced by ‘capability servitude’ – where the carer is bound by their task and charge.

“They were stigmatised and usual community and extended family care cultures broke down. They had no rest, their working conditions were not safe or healthy, their caring didn’t ‘count’ as work, but was a far better standard of care than the state provided,” said Dr Waring.

“This research then raises very important questions in the context of the current debate about social protection, where there is significant tension between what the multilaterals and international financial institutions are choosing to see as social protection – almost always as a payment of some kind – and a rights-based holistic approach to social protection that includes specific inputs of health and education, attention to the rights of the carer, and to the legal rights for widows and orphans – for example to inheritance and to land.”

Dr Mukherjee warns that the secondary impact is that development is hampered, as women and girls are denied access to basic needs such as food, water and healthcare, and the community is disadvantaged without their contribution to community life.

“In that sense, the whole notion of development as freedom and justice is denied to women and girls who are unpaid carers,” he said.

The book warns that the current debt crisis facing the major economies in the world will have serious consequences for funding global HIV programmes. The economic downturn is likely to hit national budgets hard, meaning lower public spending and a larger burden on unpaid carers.

As part of the research into the book an advocacy workshop with Commonwealth parliamentarians was held in Barbados in 2010 to discuss how parliamentarians can play a key, influencing role in changing policy on HIV care.

Original Article via thecommonwealth.org

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HIV Could Spread If Birth Control Injections Increase, Warn Scientists

Researchers call for new guidelines for women using family planning services in Aids-hit areas.  Campaigns to increase the number of women opting for long-lasting contraceptive injections in Aids-hit parts of the developing world could be helping to spread the epidemic, scientists are warning.

New research shows that women who use hormonal contraceptives may double their risk of contracting HIV and of passing it to their male partner, throwing up a new dilemma for global development.

The authors of the large-scale study, published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, call for urgent guidance to be drawn up and given to women using family planning services in HIV-endemic areas. The study showed particularly that the risk of HIV transmission was raised by the long-lasting injections that are most widely used and most popular in the sub-Saharan regions worst hit by the Aids epidemic.

The results present a significant problem for global health and development. Unwanted pregnancy is a threat to a woman’s life and can lead to greater poverty and deprivation for her family. The more children she has, the harder it will be to feed and educate them.

While family planning is still resisted in parts of the developing world, campaigns to promote injectable contraception have met with some success. Many women have sought out the injections that last for months and that they can sometimes get without their husband’s knowledge if he refuses permission.

But the study of 3,800 couples shows that there is a risk which has previously been suspected but unconfirmed. The risk was present for those who took the pill too, but it was not statistically significant because most women in the study had opted for injections.

“These findings have important implications for family planning and HIV-1 prevention programmes, especially in settings with high HIV-1 prevalence”, said Jared Baeten from the University of Washington, Seattle, one of the study’s authors.

“Recommendations regarding contraceptive use, particularly emphasising the importance of dual protection with condoms and the use of non-hormonal and low-dose hormonal methods for women with or at risk for HIV-1, are urgently needed,” said lead study author Renee Heffron, also from the University of Washington.

More than 140 million women worldwide use some form of hormonal contraception.

The study group comprised 3,790 couples where one partner had HIV (usually the woman) although the other did not. They were drawn from two existing studies of HIV incidence in seven African countries – Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The researchers found that women who did not have HIV were twice as likely to be infected by their partner if they were using hormonal contraception. Those who had HIV themselves were twice as likely to give it to their partner. Tests showed that women with HIV using injectable contraception had raised concentrations of virus inside the cervix. Researchers are unclear why and a larger study specifically designed to look at this issue should be carried out, they say.

Meanwhile women should be told there may be an increased risk of HIV infection if they use hormonal contraception and should be counselled that condoms will give them dual protection.

In a comment published by the journal, Charles Morrison from Clinical Sciences, Durham, USA, said: “Active promotion of DMPA [injectable contraception] in areas with high HIV incidence could be contributing to the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, which would be tragic. Conversely, limiting one of the most highly used effective methods of contraception in sub-Saharan Africa would probably contribute to increased maternal mortality and morbidity and more low birth weight babies and orphans—an equally tragic result. The time to provide a more definitive answer to this critical public health question is now; the donor community should support a randomised trial of hormonal contraception and HIV acquisition.”

Original Article by Sarah Boseley, health editor at The Guardian

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