July 16, 2012
Contact:
Emerson Brown, NPR


   

NPR NEWS EXAMINES 'AIDS: A TURNING POINT'
IN MONTH-LONG SERIES, AHEAD OF INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

GLOBAL HEALTH CORRESPONDENT JASON BEAUBIEN REPORTS FROM
BOTSWANA, BRAZIL, KENYA AND SOUTH AFRICA;
RICHARD KNOX COVERING ARC OF TREATMENT IN U.S. AND HAITI

Three decades into the battle against HIV/AIDS, researchers think they can finally see the beginning of the end of the pandemic. As global health leaders prepare to gather in Washington for the International AIDS Conference, NPR examines where things stand in the U.S. and around the world - in efforts to find better treatments, slow the spread and create new opportunities for those affected. The series, AIDS: A Turning Point, is airing during July on all NPR programs. Several additional features are also being presented over the course of the series online at NPR.org, including an interactive graphic of different countries' AIDS rates over time, a visual presentation of how HIV infects cells and a timeline of key moments in AIDS research that highlights three decades of NPR reporting on the virus.

NPR's reporting is led by correspondent Jason Beaubien, who is embarking on a new and distinctive beat covering global health, and science and health correspondent Richard Knox, who has covered AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. Beaubien travels to Botswana, Brazil and Kenya - just ahead of the International AIDS Conference, when he'll culminate the series from South Africa. Knox and NPR's Science Desk will cover the Conference and surrounding events in D.C.

Beaubien reports on the mobilization of massive circumcision drives in Kenya; how Botswana, with one of the highest rates of HIV in the world, has managed to provide free, life-saving drugs to almost all who need them; and why Brazil's once model HIV/AIDS program is seen in decline. With Haiti as a backdrop, Knox traces the arc of treatment of AIDS in developing countries from "impossible, to half-way there." Upcoming pieces in the series include (schedule is tentative and subject to change):

VIEWS OF HIV, YOUNG AND OLD: People in their 20s, born into the age of AIDS, can view the disease as more of a chronic condition then a death sentence. Contrasting is a profile of a woman who's been living with HIV for more than 20 years - and not always very successfully. Morning Edition, July 16

PREVENTING HIV WITH A PILL: Richard Knox talks to patients and doctors about issues around the HIV prevention pill, which can approach $12,000 per year. Morning Edition, July 17

BRAZIL'S MODEL PROGRAM IN DECLINE: Brazil's HIV/AIDS program has been praised as a model for developing nations. But as the epidemic drags on, HIV continues to spread. Jason Beaubien reports that AIDS activists say what was once a highly touted response to HIV is now in decline. All Things Considered, July 18

UNIVERSAL TREATMENT OF HIV: Major U.S. cities are launching universal treatment programs, in an effort to achieve 'Treatment as Prevention.' Richard Knox looks at what's happening in San Francisco, where early signs indicate that new infections are going down because of the strategy. All Things Considered, July 23

'AIDS: A Turning Point' is the first effort of NPR's new global health beat, the two-person team of Beaubien and associate producer Michaeleen Doucleff. Beaubien will travel extensively to report stories for radio and the web, as Doucleff works to build and engage an online community around global health issues and solutions. For the past decade, Beaubien has spanned the globe covering humanitarian, political and social issues for NPR, most recently covering major earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and Japan. He returned repeatedly to Haiti to document the earthquake recovery and the cholera outbreak. NPR's global health coverage is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.