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BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7305.126 (Published 21 July 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:126

WHO calls on private sector to provide cheap hearing aids: The World Health Organization is asking the private sector to provide affordable hearing aids for the 250 million people worldwide with hearing loss who cannot afford current prices. Hearing aid manufacturers, service providers, and donors came together for a meeting in Geneva last week to evaluate the possibility of a private-public partnership.

Sildenafil no longer covered by HMOs in California: Health maintenance organisations (HMOs) in California are no longer obliged to pay for sildenafil (Viagra), the drug for male impotence, following a ruling by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly. The ruling was in response to a 1998 petition by Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, the state's largest HMO, to exclude coverage for the drug.

UK government sets up mental health institute in England: The UK Department of Health has established a National Institute for Mental Health in England, to be led by Professor Louis Appleby, national director for mental health, and to be located in the NHS Modernisation Agency. It will develop a national research plan and set up a network of leading institutions to work collaboratively.

Risk of prostate cancer rises with number of partners: The risk of prostate cancer in middle aged men increases directly in relation to the lifetime number of female sexual partners they have had, a new study said (American Journal of Epidemiology 2001;153:1152-8). Men with 30 or more sexual partners had more than twice the risk.

Russia sees sharp rise in AIDS cases: Nikolai Mashkilleison, coordinator of HIV and AIDS programmes in Russia, announced last week that the number of HIV cases in Russia is now 50% higher than at the beginning of 2001. He said that there are now 129261 people registered with HIV. Other estimates put the number as high as 700000.

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