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11 JULY 2014, VOLUME 15, ISSUE 28

Media Coverage

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging all sexually active gay men to take antiretroviral drugs to reduce the spread of HIV. The organisation says the move may help prevent a million new HIV infections over 10 years. Officials warn rates of HIV in this group remain high across the globe. But activists suggest this could discourage the use of condoms - one of the best methods to stop the virus spreading.

    July 11, 2014
    BBC News
  • If Alistair Coia lived in any of Australia's poorer neighboring countries, he likely would not have seen his 50th birthday. But he celebrated it on 17 March this year, in a spacious hospital room, decorated with large balloons that his friends brought to mark the big five-zero. He is staying at a wing of the Alfred, Melbourne's venerable public hospital, specifically designed for AIDS patients.
     

    July 11, 2014
    Science
  • The transmission network of HIV in a human population has been mapped using genetic sequencing for the first time. Researchers from University of California San Diego have developed a network model that allows them to predict the likelihood of new HIV infections and identity those individuals at greatest risk....However, these methods are of limited value for infections such as HIV, with long incubation times, and low transmission rate per contact.

    July 10, 2014
    Digital Journal
  • Research suggests that women who have secure access to ownership and control over land and other assets are better able to avoid relationships that threaten them with HIV, and to manage the impact of AIDS. Gender inequality and the economic disempowerment of women and girls have contributed significantly to the spread of HIV....In all regions, the proportion of women living with HIV increased over the past decade, including among married women....

    July 10, 2014
    Swazi Observer
  • Failure to provide adequate HIV services for key groups – men who have sex with men, people in prison, people who inject drugs, sex workers and transgender people – threatens global progress on the HIV response, warns WHO.
    These people are most at risk of HIV infection yet are least likely to have access to HIV prevention, testing and treatment services. In many countries they are left out of national HIV plans, and discriminatory laws and policies are major barriers to access.

     

    July 10, 2014
    WHO
  • The child known as the "Mississippi baby"— whose seeming cure was reported as in the New England Journal of Medicine last fall—now has had the virus return after more than two years of not taking antiretroviral therapy, according to specialists involved in the case who spoke in a Thursday press briefing.
     

    July 10, 2014
    USA TODAY
  • Virus has returned in a child in Mississippi thought to have been cured of an HIV  infection, dashing hopes that scientists had found a strategy that would have widespread impact. After the girl went 27 months with no detectable virus in her blood, the sobering news  “felt very much like a punch to the gut,” said her pediatrician, Hannah Gay of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, who spoke at a media teleconference today.

     

    July 10, 2014
    Science
  • The average age of people in Taiwan infected with AIDS is 31, the lowest since 1991, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Wednesday, citing its 2013 data. The data also showed that the number of AIDS patients 15-30 years old rose from 795 in 2007 to 1,301 last year, the CDC said. The drop in the average age of Taiwan's AIDS patients, coupled with the increase in the number of cases in the 15-30 age group, suggests a growing threat of the fatal disease among young people....

    July 10, 2014
    China Post
  • “Smoking is bad for your health. But do people just stop smoking because you tell them that? No. It takes time and support from others to really make that change.” This is how Nancy Abwola, senior programme officer of Raising Voices, explained the process it takes to change the power imbalance between men and women in Uganda....She and the Raising Voices organisation attribute violence against women as both cause and consequence of HIV/AIDS. That is why the organisation started the programme SASA!, Start Awareness Support Act....

    July 9, 2014
    Daily Monitor
  • A digital health company that developed wireless pill bottles to record and convey messages when their pills have been taken has closed a Series A round. AdhereTech will use the fresh capital to manufacture a new generation of bottles that are smaller and easier to mass produce....Last year, the...company collaborated with Weill Cornell Medical College to evaluate the effectiveness of its smart pill bottle for patients taking HIV drugs over a 12-week period.

    July 9, 2014
    MedCity News
  • The field of HIV treatment and prevention has been freshly energised by the findings from several recent clinical trials. Maintaining the momentum of scientific discoveries and breakthroughs is critical to preventing further HIV infections, improving care for the 35 million people living with HIV and because other critical global health priorities compete for funding in our fiscally-constrained world....I’m going to explore five of the most significant of these.

    July 9, 2014
    The Conversation
  • The website of India’s health minister, Harsh Vardhan, currently states: “So called ‘sex education’ to be banned. Yoga to be made compulsory.” The media has not been impressed, and controversy rages as health professionals and educators debate the merits of age appropriate sex education in schools. Vardhan has since retracted his original statement....

    July 9, 2014
    BMJ.com
  • A new contraceptive implant developed by Lexington, MA-based MicroCHIPS could give women remote-controlled access to their hormone administration, offering up to 16 years of specifically dosed delivery and thus more authority over their birth control regimens. The MIT partner uses technology that came after Microsoft's Bill Gates asked MIT professor and entrepreneur Robert Langer whether a long-term, controllable birth control option could work in reality....

    July 8, 2014
    FierceDrugDelivery
  • Research results published Tuesday in JAMA suggest there is no evidence that Merck & Co.'s human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil is associated with a higher risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE) in the period following vaccination....Researchers assessed the incidence of VTE in a source population of about 1.6 million Danish females aged 10 to 44, of whom approximately 500 000 had been vaccinated with at least one dose of Gardasil.

    July 8, 2014
    FirstWord Pharma
  • An AIDS research team at Iowa State University will not get the final $1.38 million payment of a National Institutes of Health five-year grant after a team member admitted last year to faking research results, the NIH said Tuesday....The research team, led by biomedical sciences professor Michael Cho, was awarded $6.8 million to be paid over five years by the NIH, but it won’t see the last payment....
     

    July 8, 2014
    Time
  • To realize the dream of an AIDS-free generation sometime in the next few decades, we will need a combination of widespread implementation of strategies already known to be successful, plus the ultimate development of a vaccine....Imagine the socioeconomic impact of no child anywhere being born with HIV, of teenagers being vaccinated, and, for those individuals who do happen to become infected, the availability of a cure....

    July 7, 2014
    Wall Street Journal
  • May 14 should have been PrEP’s big coming out moment. That’s when the federal government issued new guidelines urging doctors to adopt the use of PrEP – a powerful tool that when used daily is over 90% effective in preventing new HIV infections. But for most gay Americans, the news hardly registered....If you scour the websites of leading LBGT or HIV organizations, you’ll find there is little information on how and where to actually access PrEP. It’s one of the best-kept (and therefore tragic) secrets in the gay community. So what’s keeping PrEP in the closet?

    July 6, 2014
    MSNBC
  • Over 200,000 boys and men have been voluntarily circumcised in Tanzania during the past five years. The Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) campaign is being implemented by USAID's Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP.) It is being led by Jhpiego in partnership with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The Jhpiego's Technical Advisor for MCHIP Program, Dr Aggrey Mosha, told East African Business Week in Iringa last week that the program is [on] course to attain the Ministry of health target of 264,000 clients by 2014....

    July 6, 2014
    East African Business Week (Kampala)
  • Philippe Douste-Blazy is a former minister in the French government and President of UNITAID. He wants to eradicate extreme poverty and raise awareness of the need to tackle AIDS in the world’s poorest countries. In this edition of The Global Conversation he shared his ideas and philosophy with Isabelle Kumar answering a series of questions with challenging answers....

    July 3, 2014
    EuroNews

Published Research

  • A vaccine against HIV-1 must prevent infection against genetically diverse virus strains. Two approaches are currently being pursued to elicit antibody-mediated protection: vaccines that induce potent and broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) or vaccines that induce “conventional antibodies,” which are less potent and broadly neutralizing in comparison.A

    July 11, 2014
    Science
  • We have the tools at our disposal to significantly bend AIDS-related morbidity and mortality curves and reduce human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) incidence. It is thus essential to redouble our efforts to reach the goal of placing 15 million people on life-saving and -enhancing antiretroviral therapy (ART) by 2015.

    July 11, 2014
    Clin Infect Dis.
  • HIV is sexist. A woman is twice as likely to catch the virus from an infected partner in a heterosexual relationship than a man is. And homosexual men are at even greater risk. They're more than 20 times as likely to get infected from an HIV-positive partner than partners in a heterosexual relationship. Now scientists at Microsoft Research and the Zambia-Emory HIV Project have a clue about why these disparities exist, Jonathan Carlson and his colleagues report Thursday in the journal Science....
     

    July 10, 2014
    NPR
  • New science and policy guidance for maternal HIV care and prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV offers—for the first time since the start of the HIV epidemic—a pathway towards an AIDS-free generation. However, in many African settings....poor adherence to drugs and high losses during follow-up are the two largest threats to the effectiveness of programmes for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission. We argue that perinatal depression is epidemic in many countries and, when untreated, can substantially amplify both of these threats....
     

    July 10, 2014
    The Lancet Psychiatry
  • The latest revision of the Declaration of Helsinki weakens protections for trial participants in low and middle income countries. Rafael Dal-Re and colleagues argue that this is a step in the wrong direction....
     

    July 10, 2014
    BMJ
  • Sequence data from an HIV-1 screening program focused on 478 recently infected persons and 170 of their social and sexual contacts in San Diego, California, enabled the characterization of a highly connected transmission network. The network-based risk score was highly correlated with transmission risk behaviors and outcomes, and can be used identify and target effective prevention interventions, like ART, to those at a greater risk for HIV-1 transmission.
     

    July 10, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in Scotland rarely talk explicitly about HIV status with their sexual partners, but make sexual decisions based on their beliefs about their own HIV status and that of their partners, argue the authors of a recent needs assessment. This is a particular issue within long-term relationships....“There is a need to encourage men to question the safety of [their] assumptions and equip them to find more effective ways of reducing their risks,” they write.
     

    July 9, 2014
    aidsmap
  • HIV infects human immune cells by turning the infection-fighting proteins of these cells into a ‘backdoor key’ that lets the virus in. Researchers have now found that another protein is involved as well. A peptide in semen that sticks together and forms structures known as ‘amyloid fibrils’ enhances the virus’s infection rate by up to an astonishing 10,000 times, the findings showed. The HIV fibrils are known as semen-derived enhancers of viral infection (SEVI)....The findings were published online in the journal Biochimica et Biophysica Acta.
     

    July 9, 2014
    Health Site
  • Work conflicts, hidden HIV status, and bad treatment by staff are among the hurdles keeping women living with HIV from continuing antiretroviral treatment for life following childbirth, according to an article published last month ahead of print in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes [titled] “What they wanted was to give birth; nothing else”: barriers to retention in Option B+ HIV care among postpartum women in South Africa....

    July 8, 2014
    Science Speaks
  • Data from this ongoing study indicate that the bivalent HPV vaccine induced high anti-HPV antibody levels up to 6 years after vaccination, which were predicted to remain above those induced by natural infection for at least 20 years and had a clinically acceptable safety profile....“These results support the introduction of the HPV-16/18 AS04-adjuvanted vaccine in immunization programs for young adolescent girls,” the researchers concluded.
     

    July 3, 2014
    Healio
  • The authors of a pair of new studies have created mathematical models to show how a small per-act risk of HIV transmission can translate to more substantial long-term risk after many sexual acts. While these studies’ findings can’t be applied to individual circumstances and aren’t necessarily an exact roadmap to navigating risk, they do teach important lessons about how to think about risk....

    July 2, 2014
    POZ

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