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10 OCTOBER 2014 VOLUME 15 ISSUE 41

Media Coverage

  • Ten years ago, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the US$458-million Grand Challenges in Global Health programme....The foundation and its partners have since set up a variety of other challenge programmes, including three announced on 7 October. Steven Buchsbaum, deputy director of discovery and translational sciences for the Foundation, talked to Nature about the lessons learnt from ten years of Challenges.
    October 9, 2014
    Nature
  • The Uganda AIDS Commission Director General, Dr. Christine Ondoa, yesterday told MPs that girls in the university age group are at a high risk of contracting the killer virus....According to the findings of the Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey 2011, the average Ugandan girl begins to have sex at the age of 17 although many of them are already sexually active by the age of 15 while a few remain virgins until their 20s.
    October 8, 2014
    New Vision
  • Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have developed technologies that allow investigators, for the first time, to watch what they call the "dance" of HIV proteins on the virus' surface, which may contribute to how it infects human immune cells. Their discovery is described in the Oct. 8 issue of Science, and is also a part of a study published the same day in Nature.
     
    October 8, 2014
    Science Daily
  • Limited funding and personnel, as well as misconceptions and cultural beliefs, are some of the challenges hindering Uganda's goal of circumcising at least 4.2 million men by 2015 in a bid to lower the country's HIV/AIDS incidence. Just 26 percent, about 1.4 million, of the men targeted under the Safe Male Circumcision programme launched in September 2010 had been circumcised by end 2013, according to Uganda's AIDS Commission mid-term review report of the National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan.
    October 8, 2014
    IRIN
  • Remember “3 by 5,” the World Health Organization articulated goal of getting life-saving antiretroviral treatment to three million people in low-and-middle income countries by 2005? It became “3 by 7″ — 2007 before treatment available in wealthy countries since the mid-1990s fell within the reach of those three million less fortunate people. But the goal, even if it was missed by two years, went beyond numbers, Chris Collins of UNAIDS said today.
     
    October 8, 2014
    Science Speaks
  • The introduction of antiretroviral drugs in Botswana has increased life expectancies of people living with HIV—many of whom are women co-infected with the human papillomavirus virus (HPV)...and at much higher risk of developing HPV-associated cervical cancer. To better understand these co-infections and develop optimal prevention and therapeutic approaches, the University of Pennsylvania has received a $3.5 million grant over five years from the National Cancer Institute.
    October 7, 2014
    Medical Net
  • Government should formulate a tough law to punish churches as thousands of HIV/AIDS patients defaulted on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment after receiving false healing prophecies, HIV activists have said. Sebastian Chinhaire, national chairman of the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+), said AIDS-related mortality is increasing due to false prophecies, and reiterated that there was still no cure for HIV.
    October 6, 2014
    Daily News Live
  • Here is what officials at the CDC and NIH have been telling us: America has some Ebola infections...but does not have an Ebola outbreak, extremely unlikely in a health system capable of basic public health measures. So: Infections but no outbreak. Some in the media have used this response to criticize governmental doublespeak, diagnose institutional rot or slam immigration laxity. This pits people with limited credibility on this issue against national experts who actually know their business....But the main response is: the STEP trial. 
    October 6, 2014
    Washington Post
  • The Medical College of Wisconsin has been awarded $8.7 million for its Center for AIDS Intervention Research. The five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health will help fund the center, one of only six such federally-funded sites across the country.
    October 6, 2014
    Journal Sentinel
  • As the 193 member countries of the United Nations struggle to agree on development priorities to be adopted next year, the rights of women and sexual minorities have again become a contentious issue. As the Sustainable Development Goals for 2015 to 2030 are drafted, there is a danger that women’s reproductive rights—control of their own bodies—may be diminished in emphasis globally depending on how they are placed in the goals....
    October 6, 2014
    The Nation
  • Once touted as an HIV success story, Thailand is now faced with infection rates in its gay population comparable to those in Africa's AIDS hot spots. Waking up to the scale of the problem, Thai authorities have embarked on a campaign to raise awareness about HIV and encourage testing among those most at risk: men who have sex with men and transgender people....
     
    October 6, 2014
    Reuters
  • The majority of the world's rich donor nations failed to meet their development aid pledges in 2013...., a report said Monday. Aid by members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee rose 5.3 percent to a record $131.2 billion in 2013 after two consecutive years of decline, the One Campaign said in its annual aid data report. Only a third went to the least developed countries, most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, despite high-level support for a new target of 50 percent of all aid to be directed towards the poorest nations.
    October 5, 2014
    Reuters
  • More than half of gay and bisexual men in the US are not personally concerned about being infected with the human immunodeficiency virus and less than half of men with the virus are being properly treated, according to two new reports. The data show that significant barriers still exist in the fight against the still-growing epidemic of HIV, experts say. “I think we have the tools at our disposal to arrest the epidemic in the US and clearly these data are very concerning,” said Dr.
    October 3, 2014
    Fox News
  • Uganda's president on Friday signalled he is having second thoughts over tough anti-homosexuality legislation, arguing the east African nation needed to consider the impact on trade and economic growth. In an editorial carried by a leading national daily, veteran President Yoweri Museveni said he only signed off on a controversial anti-gay law earlier this year because he wanted to protect children and stop people being "recruited" into homosexuality.
    October 3, 2014
    Agence France Presse
  • So, if we know that we can accelerate achievement of health goals for women and children by investing in toilets, contraception, education, roads, electricity, water and women's incomes, why don't we see more partnerships beyond the health sector? Why do single disease (e.g. AIDS) and single intervention (e.g. vaccines) investments still proliferate?...Too often it is the arbitrary divisions that we erect among ourselves that prevent the truly transformative work from happening.
    October 2, 2014
    Huffington Post
  • AAs the Ebola epidemic spreads, new information has emerged on the origins of a far more deadly killer. A new family history of the HIV virus that causes AIDS, reported Thursday, is troubling but instructive: Modernization in mid-20th-century Africa, especially in the city Kinshasa, played a profound role in shaping that global epidemic. [T]he new study highlights the importance of understanding the social forces that drive epidemics as well as the mechanics of viral transmission.
     
    October 2, 2014
    National Geographic
  • Marlice House was determined to take a different path from her mother so when she heard about a study offering sexually active teenagers in St. Louis free birth control, she signed up. Overwhelmingly, Ms. House and...72 percent of the 1,404 participants chose long-acting birth control. And it had an enormous effect....Like most contraceptive methods, long-acting ones do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases [STIs].
    October 1, 2014
    New York Times
  • Reporter Lorna Stewart travels to the German island of Lindau to meet 600 of science’s brightest young minds and 37 rock stars - Nobel laureates. In a series of four films, Lorna asks some of the most profound questions in medicine. In one film,...Lorna delves into the past 40 years of cancer research, wonders if we'll ever eliminate side effects when we take medication, and receives a reality check on the battle against HIV.
     
    September 24, 2014
    Nature

Published Research

  • Limited data exist regarding attitudes and acceptability of topical and oral HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among US Black women. This investigation explored interest in HIV chemoprophylaxis and modes of use. 

    October 10, 2014
    AIDS Patient Care STDS
  • 2 months ago, when the numbers  known to have died from Ebola in  west Africa could still be counted in hundreds, WHO made an important statement about investigational drugs 
    and vaccines. This crisis is so acute, WHO declared, that it is ethical to offer interventions with potential benefits but unknown efficacy and side-effects, though every effort should be made to evaluate benefits and risks and share all data generated.
    October 10, 2014
    Lancet
  • This study shows that MSM are still engaging in risk behavior, such as unprotected anal intercourse, despite taking part in a cohort study on various preventive measures. New preventive strategies in touch with the epidemic’s development and the specificities of this particular population are needed.
    October 9, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • We introduce a practical model of HIV acquisition, including both a personalized risk calculator for clinical management and a cost-effectiveness calculator for population-level decisions. PrEP results vary widely across individuals and populations. Risk calculators may aid in patient education, clinical decision-making, and cost-effectiveness evaluation.
    October 9, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • To discover whether a hand-out explaining the benefits of intrauterine contraceptives (IUCs) and implants could increase their uptake in Hull, UK. We conclude that when implemented as intended, this simple, very low-cost long-acting reversible contraception intervention was highly effective and also extremely cost effective.
     
    October 9, 2014
    J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care
  • A crystal structure of the human immunodeficiency virus Env trimer, used by the virus to infect cells, is determined here; the new structure, which shows the pre-fusion form of Env, increases our understanding of the fusion mechanism and of how the conformation of Env allows the virus to evade the immune response.
     
    October 9, 2014
    Nature
  • The clinical focus on exemplary adherence makes it more difficult for healthcare workers to discuss with children the social challenges they may experience in taking treatment every day. If adults could approach non-adherence with greater empathy,..then children may feel more willing to tell about missed doses. Their poor adherence is not an inevitable element of being a child, but rather, like many adults, a substantial challenge if they are to manage their life-long treatment.
    October 9, 2014
    J AIDS Research
  • Lack of connectedness was linked to young people's low self-esteem and risky sexual behaviour, while unplanned pregnancies seriously undermined young women's connectedness with their parents. Since material provision was perceived to be a central element of parent–child connectedness, structural factors limiting provision made transactional sex more likely both through direct material pathways and emotional ones. Motives for transactional sex were said to be material needs and to feel loved and cared for.
     
    October 9, 2014
    African J AIDS Research
  • Using the case study of an intervention to reduce intimate partner violence and HIV risk behaviours, four major challenges were identified: taxi fares, ongoing need to work, and food and journals provided during the intervention, all of which impinged on emergence of a safe social space. Understanding the challenges of implementing interventions are critical for scaling them up, as is the need to work with participants to help them negotiate the challenges of participating.
     
    October 9, 2014
    African J AIDS Research
  • If a cash transfer program were to be taken to scale, the intervention would not have a substantial effect on decreasing the force of the epidemic in middle- and low-income countries. The integration of cash transfer programs into other sectors and linking them to a broader objective such as girls’ educational attainment may be one way of addressing doubts raised by the authors regarding their value for HIV prevention.
     
    October 9, 2014
    African J of AIDS Research
  • This study used sexual history narratives to investigate how South African men and women experience and attribute meaning to their sexual debut, and their SRH practices....Many men attributed the timing of their sexual debut to peer pressure, which typically generated higher social status and rarely included consideration of the need to practice safer sex....Several women felt pressured by their partner to sexually debut, which could have informed their perceptions of men being sexually controlling and aggressive.
     
    October 9, 2014
    African J of AIDS Research
  • This paper explores the concept of three transition points: economic, epidemiological and programmatic. The first two have been developed and written about by others. We add a third transition point, namely programmatic, argue this is an important concept, and show how it can become a powerful tool in the response to the epidemic....We argue these concepts can and should be applied to any country or HIV epidemic.
    October 9, 2014
    African J AIDS Research
  • David, a 45-year-old auditor in South Africa, needed a new kidney, he says, “but at that time, no one would transplant with my condition”....In 2008, David got a call.
    October 8, 2014
    Nature Medicine
  • STI/HIV test result disclosure was highly prevalent within FSWs’ primary partnerships, suggesting couples-based STI/HIV testing with facilitated disclosure may be feasible for these and potentially other high-risk, socially marginalised couples.
     
    October 8, 2014
    Sex Transm Infect
  • An Italian child who started antiretroviral treatment soon after birth and had undetectable plasma viral load, no apparent HIV DNA, and tested HIV antibody negative nevertheless experienced viral rebound shortly after a treatment interruption, once again disappointing hopes for a cure, researchers reported in the October 4 edition of the Lancet.
    October 8, 2014
    HIV & Hepatitis
  • A high-resolution crystal structure of the HIV-1 Env trimer proteins, in their form before they fuse with target cells, will aid the design of vaccines that elicit protective immune responses to this protein complex.
    October 8, 2014
    Nature
  • “The best is the enemy of the good”, wrote Voltaire, in 1772. This quote, in its many variations, has been used to point out that good solutions to problems can be passed over or actively discarded in the quest for an often elusive best or perfect solution. In the Lancet Infectious Diseases , Jared Baeten and colleagues report the final results of the Partners PrEP study, and suggest that one drug might be as good as two for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

    October 7, 2014
    Lancet Infectious Diseases
  • Effective treatment of HIV-virus is a race against time: Many of the drugs that have been potent killers of HIV-virus, have today lost their power, because the virus has become resistant to them. As a result science must constantly develop new drugs that can attack the virus in new ways. Now researchers from the University of Southern Denmark present a method to speed up the important development by an order of several hundred percent. 
    October 7, 2014
    Science Daily
  • Rising HIV infection rates have been observed among elderly people in Guangxi, China. Inexpensive aphrodisiacs are available for purchase in suburban and rural areas. Aphrodisiac use was significantly associated with increased HIV infection risk in men over 50 years old who purchased commercial sex in the suburban and rural areas of Guangxi. Further research and interventions should address the links between aphrodisiac use, commercial sex work, condom use, and increased HIV transmission.
    October 6, 2014
    PLoS One
  • Thirty years after the discovery of HIV-1, the early transmission, dissemination, and establishment of the virus in human populations remain unclear. Using statistical approaches applied to HIV-1 sequence data from central Africa, we show that from the 1920s Kinshasa was the focus of early transmission and source of pre-1960 pandemic viruses elsewhere....Our results...emphasize the role of social changes and transport networks in the establishment of this virus in human populations.
    October 3, 2014
    Science
  • We included 700 sexually active young women in a rural KwaZulu-Natal....We did computer-assisted measurements of the ectocervical area covered by columnar epithelium (ectopy) in colposcopic images and STI analyses on lavage and serum samples. All participating women answered a questionnaire about sexual behaviour and use of contraceptives. In conclusion, cervical ectopy is associated with Chlamydia trachomatis infection and HIV in the youngest women.
    October 3, 2014
    Sex Transm Infect

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