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10 APRIL 2015 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 15

Media Coverage

  • The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has for more than 60 years supported research to improve the health and prolong the lives of people in the United States and around the world. Mean life expectancy worldwide has doubled to more than 70 years, due in large part to medical and public health interventions developed with NIH funding...

    April 10, 2015
    Science
  • Treating HIV with an antibody can reduce the levels of the virus in people's bodies — at least temporarily, scientists report on 8 April in Nature....Several trials are under way in humans, and researchers hope that the approach could help to prevent, treat or even cure HIV. The work is a milestone towards those goals, says Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “This is an early study, but it’s a study with some impressive results,” he says.

    April 9, 2015
    Nature
  • Many health care providers across the United States may be reluctant to prescribe an increasingly important prevention approach to some of their patients who are at substantial ongoing risk for HIV. The quarterly HIV Specialist magazine of the American Academy of HIV Medicine published these survey results: "Providers' Perspectives on Prescribing Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV Prevention." The survey was the first to be conducted since the US Public Health Service released detailed PrEP guidelines in May 2014.

    April 9, 2015
    Medical News Today
  • Nokwanda Dlamini was 14 when she tested positive for HIV....but hid the truth about how she caught HIV - she had been raped by her uncle....Nokwanda's story is all too familiar in Swaziland....While new HIV cases are declining overall, young women aged 24 and under are at least three times more likely to contract the disease than their male counterparts. This is attributed to high levels of sexual violence, widespread poverty and patriarchal norms that limit women's decision-making on their sexual health.

    April 9, 2015
    Al Jazeera
  • Young people continue to bear the brunt of challenges facing the globe today, including unemployment, poverty, insecurity and lifestyle diseases. No challenge, however, is more pronounced than reproductive health issues, especially sex education. That the young occupy the largest demographic strata means any nation planning, to be alive and vibrant in the next phase of global development, cannot afford to ignore this vital population.

    April 9, 2015
    The Star (Nairobi)
  • Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health is currently gathering evidence on acceptance of a new Cupid Female Condom before rolling it out. Zimbabwe was among the first countries to introduce the female condom in 1997 as a woman-controlled method to prevent sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and unintended pregnancy....The study of the new female condom is being conducted in partnership with UNFPA. If accepted, the Ministry will introduce it, thereby widening the choice of female condoms in the public sector.

    April 9, 2015
    Key Correspondents
  • Earlier this year, Bill Gates caused a ripple in the media by expressing optimism that a vaccine and a cure for HIV will become a reality within the next 15 years....From TAG’s perspective, Gates’s buoyancy does have some scientific basis—there have been encouraging signs of progress on both the vaccine and cure fronts in recent years—but the challenges that lie ahead must not be underestimated.

    April 9, 2015
    TAGline
  • Three international funding bodies are giving seed cash of around US$4.5 million to establish the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), a platform for managing Africa-focused research programmes and think tank to direct the continent’s science....“Much research done in Africa is still predominately financed by global funders...and managed from Western capitals from funders’ head offices,” says [alliance director] Tom Kariuki.

    April 8, 2015
    Nature
  • As the industry turns its attention to low-cost, easy-to-use diagnostics for developing countries, researchers at Florida Atlantic University are developing a biosensing tool that uses a smartphone and a paper microchip to screen for diseases such as HIV. 

    April 8, 2015
    Fierce Diagnostics
  • Aid spending by the world’s richest states hovered around an all-time high last year, but development assistance to the least-developed countries (LDCs) fell by 16% from the year before, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has said....Sub-Saharan African countries received $36bn in ODA last year, the most of any region, according to the OECD’s preliminary estimates.

    April 8, 2015
    Guardian
  • Would sex workers take a single pill daily if it prevented HIV infection? This is what researchers at the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute are trying to determine...Technical head at the Institute, Mariette Slabbert said “we want to see if a treatment that works [90% of time] in clinical trials [if taken daily], can be given to sex workers in a real life setting”.

    April 8, 2015
    Times Live
  • The African archipelago nation of Cabo Verde could bring its HIV epidemic under control within 10 years by ramping up a combination of four interventions already underway, according to projections from a sophisticated computer model led by public health researchers. Much of the progress could be achieved, the model predicts, by focusing the effort just on the most at-risk populations.

    April 8, 2015
    Science Daily
  • In the first results to emerge from HIV patient trials of a new generation of so-called broadly neutralizing antibodies, Rockefeller University researchers have found the experimental therapy can dramatically reduce the amount of virus present in a patient's blood. The work, reported this week in Nature, brings fresh optimism to the field of HIV immunotherapy and suggests new strategies for fighting or even preventing HIV infection.

    April 8, 2015
    Science Daily
  • Gilead Sciences has filed for US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a new version of the dual-combination HIV antiretroviral (ARV) Truvada that is less toxic to the bones and kidneys. The tablet, which will receive a new name, is intended for use in combination with other ARVs to treat HIV in adults and youths age 12 or older.

    April 8, 2015
    AIDS Meds
  • NEW DELHI: SAARC nations today pledged to combat AIDS collectively to free the region of the "dreaded" disease by 2030.... Health Minister JP Nadda, chairing the 5th meeting of health ministers of SAARC nations here, said:..."Few issues were decided. India is doing good as far as combating AIDS strategy is concerned. We have to keep the pace and see to it that by 2030 we end this dreaded disease."
    April 8, 2015
    Economic Times
  • US National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded biomedical research generates a respectable return on investment, according to the recent report 'Patents as proxies revisited: NIH innovation 2000 to 2013', released in March 2015 by the Battelle Memorial Institute. NIH grants yielded, on average, nearly $106 million in downstream R&D for each [NIH-related patent]…

    April 7, 2015
    Nature Biotechnology
  • The years-old deliberation over the value of investment in health systems versus support for programs aimed at individual diseases took center stage at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health March 27 in Boston. Sandro Galea, dean of the school of public health, Boston University, and Olusoji Adeyi, Director of Health, Nutrition, and Population Global Practice, the World Bank, ably and convivially debated the statement, “investment in the [Sustainable Development Goal] framework should be in strengthening health systems, not specific diseases.”

    April 7, 2015
    CUDG Blog
  • Three former managers of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Inc. (AHF) have filed Federal and Florida State Whistleblower Act claims against the nation’s largest supplier of HIV/AIDS medical care for illegal patient referral kickbacks. AHF is charged with defrauding Federal healthcare programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Health and Human Services HIV/AIDS grant programs of at least $20 million a year in false claims since 2010.

    April 7, 2015
    Globe Newswire
  • Only a limited number of surveillance drug-resistance mutations are responsible for most instances of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor- and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-associated resistance, and most strains of HIV-1 transmitted drug resistance in sub-Saharan Africa and south/southeast Asia arose independently, according to a new study.

    April 7, 2015
    Science Daily
  • When NIH director Francis Collins presented his agency's 2016 budget request to a US House of Representatives subcommittee on 3 March, he received a warm but ominous welcome....To increase NIH funding, Congress must raise revenues or cut other discretionary programs. Republicans reject new taxes; Democrats dislike cuts. The impasse has sent politicians, scientists, and private organizations scrambling for other ways to pay for research. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is heading one such effort.

    April 7, 2015
    Nature Medicine
  • The use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) by teens increased from 2005 to 2013 but still remained relatively low, [CDC] researchers reported. The percentage of female teens, ages 15 to 19, selecting LARC, which includes subdermal implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs), at Title X National Family Planning Program sites was 7.1% in 2013, up from 0.4% in 2005....The increase resulted from efforts to reduce barriers to obtaining LARC.
    April 7, 2015
    MedPage Today
  • Cuts to global health research budgets and people’s wariness of vaccines could hamper efforts to improve health around the world, two separate reports have warned in the run-up to World Health Day, which is marked today. One of the reports, published by the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC), reveals that total US government spending on global health research and development (R&D) is now US$185 million — or 11 per cent — lower than it was in 2009.

    April 7, 2015
    SciDevNet
  • HIV induces age-associated changes to the DNA, which in turn lead to earlier onset of age-related illnesses such as some cancers, renal and kidney disease, frailty, osteoporosis and neurocognitive diseases by more than 14 years, new research demonstrates.

    April 6, 2015
    Science Daily
  • World Health Day marks a time to reflect on the many public health challenges to be addressed around the globe, such as the 35 million people living with HIV and AIDS. It's also a call to address such issues closer to home. In Canada, we can lead the way forward towards ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but a federal level commitment is sorely lacking.

    April 6, 2015
    Huffington Post
  • PEPFAR joined with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Nike Foundation to launch the $210 million DREAMS Partnership to ensure that adolescent girls and young women have an opportunity to live Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe lives. DREAMS will provide a core package of evidence-based interventions that have successfully addressed HIV risk behaviors, HIV transmission, and gender-based violence combined with intense ongoing evaluation...

    April 6, 2015
    Huffington Post
  • AIDS has been largely kicked out of the headlines by newer concerns like Ebola and avian flu. But Minnesota still sees about 300 new HIV infections every year. And around the world, around 35 million people are living with HIV. MPR News' Mike Mulcahy talked to Dr. Chris Beyrer, who was there at the beginning of the AIDS crisis and has spent his career working on the issue. He is the first gay man to lead the International AIDS Society, is in town to speak at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

    April 6, 2015
    Minnesota Public Radio
  • Testing rates for bacterial sexually transmitted infections were low among sexually active patients with HIV, particularly those at elevated risk, according to the Medical Monitoring Project,...a complex-sample, cross-sectional survey, [that] collects behavioral and clinical characteristics of adults with HIV receiving medical care in the US....While 46% of MSM in this study were at elevated sexual risk, only 26% received repeat syphilis testing; repeat testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia was only 7%.

    April 6, 2015
    Healio
  • Throughout the developing world, potentially lifesaving devices like GeneXpert gather dust for lack of affordable transportation that might connect patients to the technology, and for lack of trained staff, electricity and relatively expensive materials necessary for their operation. GeneXpert could indeed be revolutionary if these pieces were put in place — and it’s feasible to do so.

    April 3, 2015
    New York Times
  • In 2010, Bill Gates teamed up with his friend Warren Buffet to launch a campaign called The Giving Pledge to convince other super wealthy people...to give away at least 50 percent of their money to charity....Nearly 130 billionaires...have signed the pledge. This year, the Gateses are rallying other global citizens to get involved. “Having individuals stand up and say I care about the rest of the world...and I’m going to hold my government accountable for what they do — that’s what we’re hoping will happen,” Melinda Gates said.

    April 3, 2015
    Washington Post
  • This study examined a new culturally targeted multi-component intervention to address emotional, attitudinal, and social/structural barriers to ART initiation and HIV care. Participants (N=95) were African American/Black and Latino adults with CD4<500 cells/mm3 not taking ART, randomized to intervention or control arms, the latter receiving treatment as usual. Primary endpoints were adherence, evaluated via ART concentrations in hair samples, and HIV viral load suppression. The intervention was feasible and acceptable....This highly promising intervention merits further study.

    April 3, 2015
    Science Daily
  • This study examined a new culturally targeted multi-component intervention to address emotional, attitudinal, and social/structural barriers to ART initiation and HIV care. Participants were African American/Black and Latino adults with CD4<500 cells/mm3 not taking ART, randomized to intervention or control arms, the latter receiving treatment as usual. Primary endpoints were adherence, and HIV viral load suppression. The intervention was feasible and acceptable....and merits further study.

    April 3, 2015
    Science Daily
  • "Zambia has been recognized worldwide for its successes in improving childhood survival and tackling many deadly diseases, including malaria and HIV/AIDS,” said Emmanuela Gakidou, a researcher at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation....But Gakidou and her colleagues, including researchers at the University of Zambia, found evidence that these disease-specific programs (which represent the lion’s share of most international health funding) may have undermined other forms of routine care.

    April 2, 2015
    Humanosphere
  • Using herpesvirus, molecular immunologists [at University of Southern California] have discovered a cellular process that activates a critical immune defense against pathogens, which could have implications for developing drugs to bolster one's immunity to infection. Some herpesvirus infections lead to cancer.

    April 2, 2015
    Science Daily
  • India is likely to add more HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis drugs to its list of essential medicines that are subject to price caps, people directly involved in the process said, in a move to improve affordability of drugs to treat the deadly diseases. All the drugs on the government's HIV/AIDS and TB control programmes are likely to be added in the list, the people said.

    April 2, 2015
    Reuters
  • A new model for HIV progression finds that it spreads in a similar way to some computer worms and predicts that early treatment is key to staving off AIDS. HIV specialists and network security experts noticed that the spread of HIV through the body using two methods -- via the bloodstream and directly between cells -- was similar to how some computer worms spread through both the internet and local networks respectively to infect as many computers as possible.

    April 2, 2015
    Science Daily
  • When it comes to the wrappers of India's state-supplied condoms, boring is out, attractive is in, but erotic is too much. India is readying a redesign of the staid packaging of its half-century-old condom brand, incorporating pictures of handsome men and gorgeous women, in a desperate bid to seduce customers drawn to fancier versions sold by private firms. The government gives away 650 million 'Nirodh' condoms each year in its safe sex campaign, but the text-heavy display and condoms crammed into a white plastic wrapper are a turnoff for many.

    April 1, 2015
    Reuters
  • Durham’s Argos Therapeutics (Nasdaq: ARGS) received $6.6 million to continue development of a drug that could treat HIV....HIV would actually be a secondary use for the therapy. Argos is primarily working on the therapy as a cancer treatment, but the federal government has pumped money into Argos so it will develop the same therapy as a possible treatment for HIV.

    April 1, 2015
    Triangle Business Journal
  • An HIV-positive man who argued that he didn’t believe he subjected two women he had unprotected sex with to a threat of becoming infected because he had a nearly undetectable viral count was sentenced on Monday to 18 months in jail by a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge....Court records show that the two women with whom he had sex in Montgomery Country have not become HIV-positive following repeated testing.

    April 1, 2015
    Washington Blade
  • In [this] study, researchers evaluated the cost-effectiveness of introducing HIV self-testing in 2015 over a 20-year period in a country such as Zimbabwe. Overall, the researchers maintained that [their] findings support the cost-effectiveness and potential cost savings of self-testing in low-income countries. “Under these assumptions, self-testing should be made available even in settings where resource-constraints are greatest,” the researchers wrote. “Notably, in some circumstances, it may be necessary to target self-testing to individuals who have certain risk factors.”

    March 31, 2015
    Healio
  • William Cooke, [the only doctor in rural Austin, Ind.], sensed a crisis building:....“There’s a lot of poverty and very few resources available to the community. We’ve been asking for help for some time”....“When you don’t have a health-care system where people have access to testing and treatment, introduction of one infection into a community of drug users can turn into an outbreak,” said Tony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases....Abuse of painkillers—and sharing needles—compounds the risk. The problem is growing across the country.

    March 30, 2015
    Washington Post
  • The High Court has declared unconstitutional a section of the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act that sought to criminalize reckless spreading of the disease. A three-judge bench...ruled Section 24,... criminalizing the reckless spreading of HIV, was unclear and had no limits on which group of people was targeted...AIDS Law Project adopted the view that Section 24 of the Act was likely to promote fear and stigma.

    March 24, 2015
    Standard

Published Research

  • Studies have demonstrated that self-testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is highly acceptable among individuals and could allow cost savings, compared with provider-delivered HIV testing and counseling (PHTC), although the longer-term population-level effects are uncertain. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of introducing self-testing in 2015 over a 20-year time frame in a country such as Zimbabwe.

    April 10, 2015
    Journal of Infectious Diseases
  • Scale up of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in resource-limited settings has changed the face of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and dramatically reduced HIV-related mortality. Despite major progress, however, approximately 50% of HIV-infected persons who live in resource-limited settings do not yet know their HIV status. Efforts to reduce the burden of HIV infection therefore require interventions to expand the reach of HIV screening.

    April 10, 2015
    Journal of Infectious Diseases
  • Rates of male partner involvement remain low worldwide, and detailed guidelines to increase involvement are lacking in South Africa. We propose recommendations for improving male partner involvement at a policy, facility, and community level. Challenges to improving male partner involvement include the nature of relationships and family structures in South Africa and the capacity of health systems to implement recommendations.

    April 9, 2015
    PLoS Med
  • Combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) can suppress HIV replication to undetectable levels in patients infected with HIV. A definite cure of HIV infection, however, is impeded by the formation, early after primary infection, of viral reservoirs of integrated provirus in long-living blood cells. As a result, HIV rebounds after treatment interruption in most patients. Research towards an HIV cure is therefore one of the top priorities on the HIV research agenda.

    April 9, 2015
    Lancet Infectious Diseases
  • Although the test lubricant caused acute cytotoxicity in rectal tissues, it did not increase susceptibility to infection in this macaque model. Thus neither the lubricant-induced type/extent of inflammation nor the presence of PQ15 affected infection risk. This study constitutes a first step in the in vivo evaluation of lubricants with regards to HIV transmission.

    April 8, 2015
    PLoS One
  • Recently developed single-cell-based antibody cloning methods have uncovered a new generation of far more potent broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1. Here we report the results of a first-in-man dose escalation phase 1 clinical trial of 3BNC117, a potent human CD4 binding site antibody, in uninfected and HIV-1-infected individuals. We conclude that, as a single agent, 3BNC117 is safe and effective in reducing HIV-1 viraemia, and that immunotherapy should be explored as a new modality for HIV-1 prevention, therapy and cure.

    April 8, 2015
    Nature
  • Current treatment guidelines for HIV infection recommend routine CD4+ lymphocyte (CD4) count monitoring in patients with viral suppression. This may have a limited impact on influencing care as clinically meaningful CD4 decline rarely occurs during viral suppression. Conclusions: Annual CD4 monitoring in virally suppressed HIV patients with a baseline CD4 >=250 cells/[micro]L may be sufficient for clinical management.

    April 4, 2015
    JAIDS

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