Health Highlights: July 26, 2010

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Iams Cat Food Recalled

Two lots of Iams-brand prescription cat food have been recalled due to possible salmonella contamination, says maker Procter & Gamble.

The recalled products are 5.5-pound bags of Iams Veterinary Formula Feline Renal, but company spokesman Jason Taylor didn't know how many bags were involved in the recall, Bloomberg news reported.

The cat food was distributed to veterinary offices through the United States.

In a news release, Procter & Gamble warned that people who handle dry pet food can become infected with salmonella, especially if they do not wash their hands afterward, Bloomberg reported.

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Some VA Hospitals to Get OK for Medical Marijuana

Pending new federal guidelines will permit the use of medical marijuana for patients at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics in the 14 states where medical marijuana is legal, according to news reports.

The Veterans Affairs Department will issue a directive shortly that's intended to clarify the existing policy that says veterans can be denied pain medication if they use illegal drugs. Veterans groups have long complained this could prevent veterans from VA benefits if they were caught using medical marijuana, the Associated Press reported.

The new directive won't alllow VA doctors to prescribe medical marijuana, which is considered an illegal drug under federal law. But it will make it clear that in the 14 states where state and federal laws are in conflict, VA clinics will permit the use of medical marijuana for veterans already taking it under other clinicians, the AP said.

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Funding Cuts Could Harm AIDS Fight: Experts

Global progress against AIDS may be threatened if rich nations don't increase their funding for programs to combat the disease, experts warned at an international AIDS conference in Vienna, Austria.

There are concerns about a possible shortfall in funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is a major supporter of AIDS programs worldwide, the Associated Press reported.

At the end of 2009, the Global Fund was financing programs providing lifesaving antiretroviral treatment to 2.5 million people.

"This is not the time to withdraw resources for AIDS," said Nicci Stein, director of the Canadian-based Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, the AP reported. "We risk losing the investments made to date and we will be betraying those communities who for the first time have real hope for the future."

The great deal of progress that has been made could be lost if rich nations reduce their financial support, agreed Global Fund executive director Michel Kazatchkine.

"I know there is an economic crisis but then I'm saying this is a political decision and politics is about choices and where you put your priorities," he told the AP.

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