The UN Secretary General’s statement for the 2009 World AIDS Day reflects a theme common to the UN’s emphasis for malaria elimination – universal coverage. According to the Secretary General. “On World AIDS Day this year, our challenge is clear: we must continue doing what works, but we must also do more, on an urgent basis, to uphold our commitment to reach universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010.”
Universal coverage is reflected in this year’s theme, “Right to Health.” The right to health also means that those who live with HIV/AIDS in much of the tropical world also need access to health services that prevent and treat malaria because co-infection with the two diseases presents a greater threat to health and survival.
The research world has been grappling with the challenges of HIV and malaria co-infection as was in evidence during numerous presentations at the recently concluded MIM 5th Pan-African Malaria Conference in Nairobi.Â A few of the many abstracts are excerpted below.
In Cameroon HIV/Malaria co-infection was more associated with â€¦ lower CD4+ counts, high parasitaemia, high fever frequency, longer illness duration and low Hb concentration (Theresa Nkuo-Akenji, et al., email@example.com, MIM 2009 Abstract 388).
At Tororo District Hospital, Uganda a cross-sectional study of HIV-infected women taking TS prophylaxis and HIV-uninfected women taking IPTâ€“SP (1:3 ratio) found that microscopic infection was associated with Low Birth Weight for all women, but
Submicroscopic (PCR) infection was associated with LBW only among HIV-uninfected women (Patrick M. Newman et al., firstname.lastname@example.org, MIM 2009 Abstract 424).
For HIV-infected children in Kampala, Uganda, both AS/AQ and AL were highly efficacious. Compared to AL, AS/AQ was associated with a higher risk of neutropenia, anorexia, malaise and abdominal pain. In HIV-infected Ugandan children AL was safer and better tolerated than AS/AQ (Fredrick Kateera et al., email@example.com, MIM 2009 Abstract 594).
Finally,Â Peter Ouma et al. (firstname.lastname@example.org, MIM 2009, Nairobi, Abstract 131) studied Peripheral Malaria Parasitaemia in Pregnant Women, Kenya. Their findings are seen in the graph to the right. Both cotrimoxizole and SP offered some protective effect for both HIV+ and HIV- women.
Please read the MIM abstracts for more current research on HIV and Malaria, and remember that universal coverage is a basic right, one that should help us re-visit commitments that were once made to ‘Health for All.’