Chris Beyrer

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It is common knowledge that illicit drug use in the Russian Federation has reached critical proportions. It is also common knowledge that people who use drugs are among those most at-risk of infection with H.I.V. And it is common knowledge that since the beginning of the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic three decades ago simple tools such as Medication Assisted Therapy (methadone, buprenorphine) and clean needle-exchange services have proven very effective in decreasing drug abuse and reducing risk of infection with H.I.V., Hepatitis C and other diseases.

So why has this evidence had so little impact on the policies and programs of the Russian Federation?…  Seguir leyendo »

It has been a good few weeks for Burma's dictator, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, even though Sen. Jim Webb secured the release of an imprisoned American during his recent visit and even though the sentencing of Burma's democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, after this summer's sham trial was roundly condemned. With all the media attention, Than Shwe got a dose of what he appears to crave most: international legitimacy. And he is assured that Suu Kyi, who won Burma's last free elections in 1990, will remain under house arrest during the 2010 elections. Last month Burma's state-run media even hailed the regime for its humanitarian nature and called for targeted economic sanctions to be lifted.…  Seguir leyendo »

Physicians for Human Rights sent a team to Zimbabwe last month to investigate the cholera epidemic that has ravaged lives there since August. As part of that team, we found something much more disturbing even than cholera: a people facing an array of health threats in a country where the most basic functions of the state -- clean water, sanitation and health-care delivery -- have collapsed.

One could date the collapse to November, when the government closed the public hospitals in the capital, Harare. On Nov. 18, President Robert Mugabe's police, wielding batons, attacked doctors, nurses and medical students from the teaching hospital.…  Seguir leyendo »