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1 September 2017 VOLUME 18 ISSUE 35

Media Coverage

  • Two presentations at the recent International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) in Paris told delegates that both trial results and analysis of drug levels supported the idea that intermittent, “on demand” pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) might not be sufficiently powerful to prevent HIV infection in women via vaginal sex.

    September 1, 2017
    AIDSmap
  • A new biomedical tool using nanoparticles that deliver transient gene changes to targeted cells could make therapies for a variety of diseases -; including cancer, diabetes and HIV -; faster and cheaper to develop, and more customizable. The tool, developed by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and tested in preclinical models, is described in a paper published August 30 in Nature Communications.

    August 30, 2017
    News Medical
  • Dozens of young men and women with HIV gathered recently to celebrate...AIDS.Center, the clinic that...gives people a place to speak openly about their health conditions and receive psychological help and medical consultations. Dr. Yelena Orlova-Morozova...[who] helped found AIDS.Center, says: "Ignorance and poor state policy cause the epidemic’s growth. I don’t think we’d be able to control the developing epidemic anytime soon, as people do not want to be educated about AIDS."

    August 30, 2017
    PRI
  • 56 Dean Street has now set itself a target of zero new infections after witnessing a two-thirds fall in new diagnoses since 2015. The reduction is attributed to intensive testing of high-risk gay men, quick access to ART, and trials of...PrEP, [to] be offered free on the NHS to 10,000 people from next month....Dean Street...is the largest HIV clinic in Europe and typically accounts for one in nine of all new cases in the UK.

    August 30, 2017
    Evening Standard
  • With the rising number of people living with HIV in the Philippines,...UN Asia Pacific Director Eammon Murphy said the country needs to..."re-energize" its response to HIV. He also commented on the "old-school" way of testing in the country....In the past six years, Murphy said more than 10,000 people "became infected with HIV....You compare that 6 years before, it was only 4,000, so it's a dramatic increase in a short time."

    August 30, 2017
    CNN
  • One of the world’s poorest regions is making itself more friendly to new products from Novartis AG, Roche Holding AG and other drugmakers by combining the pharmacy regulators of six countries....Modeled on the European Medicines Agency, the [East African Community Medicines Registration Harmonization] program is designed to slice through red tape in a region of 160 million people grappling with high rates of malaria, HIV, and other infectious diseases.

    August 30, 2017
    Bloomberg
  • Most of the United States’ special envoys will be abolished, their responsibilities reassigned as part of the State Department overhaul, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Congress Monday....[The] administration plans to keep envoys for religious freedom, fighting anti-Semitism and LGBT rights...[and] will keep envoys or at-large ambassadors for women’s issues, hostages, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS and Holocaust issues.

    August 30, 2017
    AP
  • Studies show that medical male circumcision (MMC) can reduce a man’s chances of contracting HIV through vaginal sex by about 60% — findings that prompted South Africa to commit to medically circumcising about 4.3-million men by 2016. But only 2.4-million men had undergone the procedure by 2015....To find the ["missing"] men..., HIV nonprofit Right to Care's...team plotted information on MMC uptake against data that showed, [e.g] how many men were eligible for MMC in an area and how many local health facilities offered the service.

    August 29, 2017
    Bhekisisa
  • Religious young women are less knowledgeable about a vaccine that guards against several different types of cancer, suggests a new study from Utah. Compared to women who didn’t practice a religion, those who did were nearly 60 percent less likely to know about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and about half as likely to have received at least one dose.

    August 29, 2017
    Reuters
  • The activists are concerned Gilead may have reached agreements with the companies that allow it to improperly forestall competition to its Truvada HIV prevention pill, according to an Aug. 4 letter they wrote to Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general. Specifically, the activists want to know whether those agreements were so-called pay-to-delay deals.

    August 29, 2017
    STAT
  • There is a lot we don’t know about trans women’s HIV risk, why they are so vulnerable to HIV and who trans women are acquiring HIV from. A study presented at IAS 2017... uncovered another mystery:...whether there is a hidden population of heterosexual men who have sex with trans women and are themselves at high risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV. One thing the study did make clear...is that a lot of HIV infections in trans women may be due to injecting drugs rather than sex.

    August 29, 2017
    AIDSmap
  • Efforts to boost the national HPV vaccination rate are yielding some positive results, new data from the CDC show. Nationwide, 60% of teens ages 13 to 17 received at least one dose of the shot last year, a 4% increase from 2015, while the vaccination gap between girls and boys continues to narrow....However, only 43% of teens completed the schedule.... Rates lagged in rural areas as well.

    August 29, 2017
    Fierce Pharma
  • It has been rare for a major company to take the leading role in propelling a vaccine candidate toward efficacy testing. The only example to date [is]...Merck’s adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vector,...ultimately discontinued after being associated with enhanced…risk of HIV acquisition....Given Merck’s cautionary tale, it is all the more notable that Janssen Vaccines and Prevention B.V. is rapidly advancing an experimental prime-boost HIV vaccine to...a large-scale “proof of concept” efficacy trial in women in late 2017/early 2018.

    August 29, 2017
    BodyPRO
  • A research team at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences will study the body's natural defenses against HIV and look for ways to eliminate the infectious HIV reservoirs in the white blood cells of people taking antiretroviral therapy. Brad Jones, assistant professor of microbiology, immunology, and tropical medicine at GW,...and senior author, was awarded a $2 million grant from NIAID...to conduct this research.

    August 28, 2017
    News Medical
  • The Global Health Supply Chain Procurement Supply Management contract is a $9.5 billion effort implemented by Chemonics International [that] coordinates a supply chain for lifesaving commodities such as HIV tests and treatments, malaria drugs, and high-tech laboratory equipment, [and] supports the U.S. government’s largest and most important global health initiatives....In its latest quarterly report, Chemonics disclosed that only 7 percent of shipments delivered through the project arrived on time and in full.

    August 28, 2017
    Devex
  • Of those assessed...at high risk of HIV, only 11% started PrEP within 30 days. However, people outside the risk score criteria...[could] also request PrEP, and although there were fewer in this group, nearly 40% started PrEP within 30 days, meaning that more people who self-referred ended up taking PrEP than those told they were at risk....PrEP was offered within SEARCH, a large community-randomised study of enhanced HIV testing and treatment in Kenya and Uganda.

    August 28, 2017
    AIDSmap
  • Defying U.S. safety protections for human trials, an American university and a group of wealthy libertarians, including a prominent Donald Trump supporter, are backing the offshore testing of an experimental herpes vaccine...on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts....Most of the 20 participants were Americans with herpes who were flown to the island several times to be vaccinated, according to Rational Vaccines, the company that oversaw the trial.

    August 28, 2017
    Kaiser Health News
  • Legal groups on Monday filed a class-action lawsuit against health insurer Aetna, alleging the company violated the privacy of its customers by sending many of them letters through which the phrase “filling prescriptions for HIV” was visible through envelope windows. The federal suit alleges the breach affected as many as 12,000 Aetna customers living in 23 states.

    August 28, 2017
    STAT
  • Scaling back aid to South Africa and Côte d'Ivoire would increase projected HIV transmissions by 0.5% to 19.4% and deaths by 0.6% to 39.1% over a decade, Rochelle Walensky, Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues....reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine...."Over the past decade and a half, we've spent considerably more money to save lives in these and other African nations. Would the relatively small savings realized by currently proposed budget reductions be worth these large humanitarian costs?"

    August 28, 2017
    MedPage Today
  • When Canadian researchers asked HIV-positive people over age 50 how they would define “successful ageing”, six key themes emerged – accepting limitations, staying positive, maintaining social support, taking responsibility, living a healthy lifestyle, and engaging in meaningful activities. Writing in the International Journal of STD & AIDS, Patricia Solomon and colleagues note the emphasis on individual control.

    August 26, 2017
    AIDSmap
  • Zambia is moving forward with mandatory HIV testing for all patients who visit government health facilities, Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya told The Lancet, confirming President Edgar Lungu's surprise announcement of the new policy in mid-August. The move appears to contradict WHO recommendations against mandatory or coerced testing. And it has sparked an outcry among international and local HIV activists, who are pushing the government to reverse its decision.

    August 25, 2017
    Lancet
  • This week, a study finds that the average time it takes to for newly diagnosed patients to enter care in the US is three months. Meanwhile, researchers presented an assay that can evaluate the ability of latency reversal agents to awaken dormant HIV. And another study finds that HIV can hide in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, which can provide more clues into cure research.

    August 25, 2017
    BodyPRO
  • In a statement to Pan African Radio, Zambian DNA Spokesperson Spuki Mulemwa says President Lungu has assured the nation that the results of the Compulsory HIV/AIDS Testing, Counselling and Treatment for anyone who will visit a public health facility across the country will be held in the strictest confidence hence there is no need for people to be scared to be tested.

    August 24, 2017
    Lusaka Times
  • Nicola Gianotti and colleagues report in an article recently published in PLOS ONE: “We compared patients switched to generic antiretrovirals with a matched population who continued taking branded drugs, and did not find evidence of reduced efficacy or increased toxicity...." Moreover, their findings on virological failure would suggest that “the virological potency of these generic formulations is at least as high as that of the patent drugs”.

    August 24, 2017
    AIDSmap
  • In an updated position paper, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine argue[s] that while abstinence can be a healthy choice, adolescents should decide for themselves when they're ready to initiate sex, and that young people have a right to "accurate and complete information" to become empowered about their sexual choices through comprehensive sexuality education programs. Prominent children's and women's health organizations have already agreed in part with these findings.

    August 23, 2017
    MedPage Today

Published Research

  • In the last month, the Greek and Italian Ministries of Health have expressed concern about increasing numbers of parents refusing to vaccinate their children against preventable infectious diseases. But their policy responses have been very different....Why have two left-wing governments in southern Europe responded to the same public health problem in contrasting ways?

    September 1, 2017
    Lancet
  • The detected circulating HBV genotype A in Nairobi reflects its possible spread in the population with its origin being within the country. We suggest that patients should not be on lamivudine monotherapy....[but] managed on combination of tenofovir plus lamivudine or emtricitabine therapy to prevent emergence of HBV drug resistant variants alongside a continuous surveillance monitoring of drug resistance.

    September 1, 2017
    AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
  • HIV-infected patients who have viral suppression due to treatment are still at enhanced risk of comorbidities such as neurological or cardiovascular complications, so Schechter et al. explored how inflammation and coagulation intersect in chronic HIV. To do so, they examined monocytes...[that] appear to be crucial to coagulopathy....Treatment with a compound isolated from tick saliva, Ixolaris, can interrupt this damaging pathway.

    August 30, 2017
    Sci Transl Med
  • Katharine Looker and colleagues provide the first systematic review and meta-analysis in over a decade to assess the effect of HSV-2 infection on subsequent HIV acquisition....Their findings...showed that the risk of HIV acquisition was roughly tripled in general populations and almost doubled in high-risk populations....[M]ultipurpose prevention technologies for HSV-2 and HIV are needed...to target lifestyles and preferences of the most susceptible populations, including young women in Africa who have the highest incidence of HIV and HSV-2 worldwide.

    August 23, 2017
    Lancet
  • If long-acting (LAI) PrEP were offered for free or covered by health insurance, 62% were very likely, 25% somewhat likely, and 12% unlikely to use it....Correlates of being very likely versus somewhat likely/unlikely...included age <30 years, reporting ≥6 sex partners in the last year, previous oral PrEP use, and being newly identified as HIV-infected during study testing. Black (vs. White) men and men with an income of <$20,000 were less likely to prefer LAI to oral PrEP.

    August 21, 2017
    PLoS ONE
  • Newark, New Jersey, is disproportionately affected by HIV with one of the highest prevalence rates in the United States. Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is a major healthcare provider to Newark’s underserved population and implemented a HIV testing program that can diagnose and link newly diagnosed individuals to care....This study demonstrates that, even in a high prevalence institution with HIV counseling, testing, and referral service, HIV screening is lacking at multiple points of care.

    July 4, 2017
    AIDS Research and Treatment

Announcements

  • You are invited to submit to a special supplement issue on the Integration of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Services (SRHR) and HIV Prevention, Treatment, and Care Services across Sub-Saharan Africa. Selected papers will be published in BMC Infectious Diseases, BMC Public Health and Reproductive Health. Full details, including how to submit manuscripts, can be found here.

    August 30, 2017