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10 February 2017 VOLUME 18 ISSUE 6

Media Coverage

  • After Hungary's conservative Fidesz party took power in 2010, it began cutting funding for needle exchange programs....Study after study has shown that giving drug users clean needles, and collecting dirty ones, can be a cost-effective way of preventing disease and death and doesn't increase drug use or related crime. But the evidence often loses out to squeamish politicians and public misperceptions. So it was in Hungary, where they have forced closure of the nation's two largest programs.

    February 10, 2017
    Science
  • Mark Walport is preparing to take on the most powerful job in UK science. From 2018, he will be the first head of a new central funding organization called UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which will oversee more than £6 billion (US$7.4 billion) of research funding per year. The UKRI will unite the activities of 9 existing research-funding agencies, including the UK’s 7 research councils [including the Medical Research Council].

    February 9, 2017
    Nature
  • Eight countries have joined an initiative to raise millions of dollars to replace shortfalls caused by President Donald Trump's ban on U.S.-funded groups around the world providing information on abortion. Sweden's deputy prime minister Isabella Lovin told Reuters a conference would be held on March 2 in Brussels to kick-start the funding initiative to help non-governmental organisations whose family planning projects could be affected.

    February 9, 2017
    Reuters
  • Among global public health advocates, there is a growing concern that President Trump may cut back, or even eliminate, programs that have played a critical role in fighting diseases worldwide. While every administration should strongly review our nation’s overseas commitments, and there are undoubtedly programs that we should cut, I hope he recognizes the success and importance of one in particular: the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

    February 9, 2017
    NY Times
  • Antigone Barton profiles House Appropriations subcommittees including Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) and Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), who joined the House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), who joined the House Appropriations Labor, Health, and Human Services and Education Subcommittee (2/6).

    February 9, 2017
    Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Legislation to be introduced Monday would update California's laws criminalizing HIV, adopted during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s....Another law on the books targets sex workers who are HIV-positive...."We have been working to get this issue on the radar of legislators in California for the last couple of years," said Naina Khanna, who is living with HIV and is executive director of the Oakland-based Positive Women's Network USA.

    February 9, 2017
    Bay Area Reporter
  • The Trump administration decided early last month to keep Obama-appointee Deborah Birx, US Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, in her position, at least for the time being. [But] three days after Birx was asked to stay on, Trump issued a presidential memorandum re-instating the Mexico City policy, [AKA] the 'global gag rule'....It's unclear how the new global gag rule will be implemented and how PEPFAR's support of other organizations will be affected.

    February 8, 2017
    The Atlantic
  • The story of how the country secured this remarkable achievement may serve as a model for other countries in the region....Health experts believe that this success is due to the country's efforts to follow WHO and UNICEF's strategy to reduce mother-to-child transmission. In an article published in Paediatrics and International Child Health, a scientist from Chulalongkorn University has retraced the different initiatives taken by the country's health authorities to eradicate transmission from mother to infant.

    February 8, 2017
    International Business TImes
  • HIV doctors and patients said they’re bracing for what might happen with Medicaid expansion, and any changes to the preexisting condition clauses and lifetime and annual caps on spending. Those who gained coverage through Ryan White in the states that didn’t expand Medicaid could lose it....Any cuts could help spur an uptick in the epidemic — already on the increase in gay and bisexual populations, particularly in the southern US.

    February 8, 2017
    Vox
  • Older adults are sexually active and report risk behaviors that are consistent with HIV transmission, found a Mpumalanga, South Africa, study....The study, conducted by Molly Rosenberg, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatics in the Indiana University School of Public Health, looked at the unmet needs for HIV prevention among older adults in sub-Saharan Africa, one of the first studies of its kind to report sexual risk-taking among older adults in that region.

    February 8, 2017
    Medical Brief
  • During a call with investors Tuesday, James Meyers, Gilead's EVP of worldwide commercial operations, said that awareness of Truvada for PrEP is high in certain cities like San Francisco but low in others....Cities in which Gilead hopes to promote Truvada include New Orleans, Baltimore, Washington DC, Oakland, and Newark....The second part of Gilead's Truvada strategy is to press its case with payers. According to media reports, the drug costs about $1,300 per month, excluding the costs of office visits and lab work.

    February 8, 2017
    MM&M
  • A great volume of HIV and AIDS research enters the medical literature every month. It’s difficult to monitor everything, so here’s a quick look at some notable news items and journal articles published over the past few weeks.

    February 8, 2017
    PM360
  • A systematic review of numerous studies [in low-, middle-, and high-income nations] of pregnant women with HIV [published in Lancet HIV] has found that there are higher risks of various negative pregnancy outcomes associated with starting antiretroviral treatment before rather than after conception. Such findings cannot establish, however, whether preconception treatment of HIV contributes to a raised risk of such outcomes as preterm birth or low birth weight.

    February 8, 2017
    POZ
  • Aldatu Biosciences said Tuesday that it had received the small business innovation research [SBIR] grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease....The award will allow Aldatu to develop ways to diagnose resistance to protease inhibitors, a common part of anti-HIV drug cocktails. Patients identified as having resistance to protease inhibitors could be placed on alternative treatment regimens.

    February 7, 2017
    Business Journals
  • When controversies arise, researchers return to the science. So at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) 2017, which will convene next week amid funding concerns and boycotts, researchers will be diving deep into the evidence....Said Susan Buchbinder, MD, University of California San Francisco, CROI conference committee chair: "We're at a critical juncture. We need to increase our efforts to realize the benefits of new testing technology, better therapies, and dissemination of treatment."

    February 7, 2017
    Medscape
  • This new expanded version of the [Mexico City] policy is clear: any non-US organisation working in global health—whether HIV prevention, TB or malaria—must agree to its terms or be prohibited from receiving USAID funding. There has been no announcement on any exemptions to this. We can stay hopeful, but at this stage we would be hoping for a miracle.

    February 7, 2017
    Global Health Now
  • Some experts worry that Trump’s focus on slashing rules is wrong-headed—and possibly dangerous...[But] Matthew Kavanagh of Health GAP, which advocates for affordable HIV/AIDS drugs, says Trump was right about one thing: “The way to drive down drug prices is to import generic versions of these drugs to allow for competition. This is why AIDS drugs are available for so much cheaper outside the United States—because they encourage real market competition.”

    February 6, 2017
    NewNowNext
  • On top of its currency being in free fall for three years running..., Venezuela has a serious shortage of medicines, including life-saving anti-HIV drugs. This led a network of Venezuelans living with HIV to seek 'urgent humanitarian aid' in June 2016 from the Global Fund....But because the World Bank classifies Venezuela as a high-income nation, the Fund on 18 January denied the request.... A petition at change.org is urging the Global Fund to bend its policy.

    February 6, 2017
    Science Insider
  • Community organizations may be important settings for youth to get tested [for HIV], according to authors of a new report. Their study in Baltimore, Maryland, however, showed that most organizations serving youth there do not test for HIV and few can connect youth to places to get tested. “These settings are often located close to where young people live and thus may be alternate testing locations easier to access than traditional clinical settings,” lead author Dr. Arik Marcell told Reuters Health by email.

    February 6, 2017
    Reuters
  • The business model of research-based pharmaceutical companies is under significant pressure. Return on investment has dropped to its lowest levels in decades, their reputation in the US and abroad worse than ever....One antidote...is to transform “access to medicine” from a relentless activist slogan to a fully-fledged business strategy....Pharma companies should develop innovative treatments for pervasive unmet medical needs; avoid...unethical marketing practices; and make sure their products reach as many patients around the world as possible.

    February 3, 2017
    Harvard Business Review
  • A Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researcher has received a $2.5 million grant from Gilead Sciences...to see if two so-far separately-used AIDS treatments are even more effective when used as a pair. Lead researcher Michael Lederman, Scott R. Inkley Professor of Medicine, and colleagues will combine interleukin-2, a protein made by the body that stimulates human killer-cells, with a lab-engineered monoclonal antibody that targets HIV.

    February 1, 2017
    Medical Xpress
  • A large international team of researchers has created what they are describing as the most powerful HIV-attacking antibody ever made. In their paper published in the journal Science Immunology, the team describes how they were able to use naturally occurring antibodies with unique HIV fighting abilities to create the new antibodies and what it means for the development of a vaccine.

    January 30, 2017
    Medical Xpress

Published Research

  • Few black, Hispanic, or white social media-using YMSM have used or plan to use oral fluid rapid HIV self-testing [and] are more interested in fingerstick than oral fluid rapid HIV self-testing despite its lack of commercial availability. Opinions identified in the study might assist future interventions to influence YMSM to use the oral fluid rapid HIV self-test.

    April 1, 2017
    Public Health
  • [Analysis of] nationally representative data from the 2013 National (United States) Health Interview Survey [found that]...foreign-born, African Americans and males had lower rates of HPV vaccine initiation [and that] health insurance coverage [and] having a medical home [were both] positively associated with HPV vaccine initiation.

    March 1, 2017
    Public Health
  • It is becoming clear that although HIV-infected individuals can control the amount of virus in their system with antiviral treatments, there are still negative health consequences that look like premature aging, including cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment,” says Thomas Hope, Editor-in-Chief of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. “[This paper and others] in the Cure issue seek a better understanding of the cause of this accelerated aging."

    February 9, 2017
    AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
  • 103 HIV-infected individuals aged 50 and older were recruited from the Modena HIV Metabolic Clinic in Italy....Despite no differences in average chronologic age between groups, successful cognitive aging participants had significantly fewer HIV-associated non-AIDS conditions, a lower frailty index, and were less likely to have hypertension. This defines an opportunity to apply knowledge from geriatric population research to people aging with HIV to better appreciate the complexity of their health status.

    February 1, 2017
    AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses

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