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Around the World

The Cultures blog is a collection of articles from our Cultures Magazine, published by ASM’s International Affairs department. This blog explores the intersection of science, policy, and global challenges by bringing diverse voices to a common platform.

In 2000, Botswana had one of the highest rates of HIV worldwide with an estimated 35% HIV-infected adults. Botwana’s then President Festus Mogae even acknowledged at the AIDS Conference held in Durban, South Africa, the same year that his country was “threatened with extinction” due to the high mortality rate. Fifteen years later, HIV prevalence has decreased to 22.2%. Today, Botswana is an example that achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets is indeed a possibility, despite the resource challenged setting and high HIV prevalence. Data from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-funded Botswana Combination Prevention Project (BCPP) study suggest…
Clinical microbiology laboratories are on the front lines of the fight against infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and related opportunistic infections, and in places like Ethiopia, the need for high-quality systems and training is imperative. The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), in a key partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Ethiopia and the Government of Ethiopia, has focused on delivering customized training and mentoring programs to a variety of regional and health research laboratories in Ethiopia since 2011. The goal of this partnership is to control and prevent the spread of HIV-related opportunistic infections in a country…
“In 1998, HIV was something hiding. No one was talking about it,” says Dr. Christiane Adje-Toure, Laboratory Director of RETRO-CI and Laboratory Branch Chief of CDC-Cote d’Ivoire. Indeed, fear and stigma were huge hurdles in the HIV epidemic, with Cote d’Ivoire having one of the highest prevalence rates in West Africa. Timely diagnosis, followed by prompt treatment and care, was especially challenging for patients living in regions without the necessary infrastructure, diagnostics, and resources to transport specimens to the central testing facilities based in Abidjan. The risk for mortality among HIV positive infants grows with each passing day the infant…
This past July I traveled to Lima, Peru, to participate in the APEC Women in Science (WiSci) S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Design, Mathematics) Camp as part of the ASM team responsible for conducting the microbiology workshops held at the camp. It was my first time participating in this type of initiative. To be honest, I did not have any idea of what I was going to face. Even though I had some experience in working with children, this time it was bigger—100 young women from different countries across Latin America gathered together to learn about STEAM.
Tuesday, 27 September 2016 11:33

Microbes and Food Security: Green Revolution 2.0?

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Microbiology, and in particular harnessing microbe-plant symbionts, has the potential to spark a second “Green Revolution” to address global food insecurity  
It's never too early to become a scientist. Here are some of our favorite activities and experiments that are sure to excite the curious kids in your life and teach them basic scientific lessons in a fun way.
Who speaks for the microbes of the ocean? Dr. Elisha Wood-Charlson does. "The importance of ocean microbes is pretty straightforward. If you like breathing, eating seafood, or the idea of a beautiful white sand beach, then understanding microbial processes in the oceans becomes relevant," she told Cultures Magazine in an interview for the Microbes & Climate Change Issue.  
Monday, 23 May 2016 12:31

What Does AMR Look Like Around the World?

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We know that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global problem, but how is it seen and experienced in different regions of the world? ASM asked some of our Country Ambassadors and Young Ambassadors to share their personal observations of AMR in their home countries.
Not only is the human body full of microbes, but so too are the foods we eat. Some of humanity’s oldest and most beloved dishes are the result of fermentation. Microbes, specifically yeasts or bacteria, are essential players in the fermentation process. While external microbes are essential for the production of each of the foods below, our gut microbiome interacts in unique and fascinating ways with each item, leading to speculated, and sometimes proven health benefits.

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