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11 November 2015 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 45

Media Coverage

  • Gilead Sciences said Thursday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the biotech company’s single tablet regimen treatment for HIV-1 infection.

    November 5, 2015
    WSJ
  • A few months ago patients living with HIV/Aids would be seen queuing at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu every Thursday morning awaiting to collect antiretroviral drugs. But now only a handful stroll in, and they do not have to wake up early there is no queue to beat. What changed is that the clinic introduced a Sh50 fee per patient before they are given ''free'' ARV drugs.

    November 5, 2015
    Business Daily Kenya
  • A Senate committee has launched an investigation into exorbitant drug price hikes by Turing Pharmaceuticals and three other companies [and]....called for a face-to-face meeting with Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO, Martin Shkreli....Shkreli has become the public face of the pricing controversy after his company raised the price of the anti-infection drug Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent,...the only U.S.-approved treatment for a deadly parasitic infection that can affect pregnant women and patients with HIV.

    November 5, 2015
    Denver Post
  • The Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV Service, an initiative of the Ghana AIDS Commission to assist pregnant women in seeking ante-natal and HIV prevention services to know their status and get treatment, only reaches 60 percent of pregnant women in the country. This implies that 40 percent of pregnant women still do not have access to HIV prevention services despite the country’s achievement of over 50 percent reduction of new HIV infections among babies.

    November 5, 2015
    Daily Guide
  • Scientists from nine nations of the European Union together with scientists from Australia, Canada and the United States, have officially launched the European AIDS Vaccine Initiative 2020. The initiative, made possible by a grant of some 23 million Euroes as part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program, aims to yield an unprecedented level of cooperation to enable scientists from over 20 separate institutions to work toward creating a vaccine to protect people from contracting HIV.

    November 5, 2015
    Care2
  • Jim Pickett, director of prevention advocacy at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, said the foundation’s Project Ready, Set PrEP! helps spread awareness not just to high-risk communities PrEP could benefit, but those who work within those communities....“We have seen an enormous increase in interest,” Pickett told The Nation’s Health. “We’re seeing (apprehension about PrEP) melt away, and that’s because of education work,...the power of the personal story, [and]...breaking down people’s preconceived notions.”

    November 5, 2015
    Nation's Health
  • We need government officials and international stakeholders to recognize that young people have a right to lead healthy and productive lives. We need leaders to prioritize access to youth-friendly programs that educate young people about the risks of pregnancy, HIV, and sexually transmitted infections. And we need to stop talking about contraception as a tool to plan families and start talking about what it really is: one of the most important future-planning tools young people have.

    November 5, 2015
    Guardian
  • As HIV Update previously reported, the results of a groundbreaking study which demonstrated the benefits of starting HIV treatment early were released in the summer.....Researchers continue to examine the data from the study and better understand what they can tell us about how HIV causes disease.

    November 5, 2015
    aidsmap
  • Researchers are one step closer to finding an effective vaccine against HIV thanks to a new approach to systematically understanding the immune response to the virus. The technique, termed 'Systems Serology', was developed by University of Melbourne researcher, Dr Amy Chung, from the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) in conjunction with researchers at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard, Boston in the USA.

    November 5, 2015
    Medical Xpress
  • There is no better time than World AIDS Day to recommit ourselves to achieving an AIDS-free generation. This year, we will celebrate the tremendous progress we have made together in expanding access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care services, and focus on the potential to achieve sustainable epidemic control and end AIDS as a public health threat.

    November 5, 2015
    White House
  • Speaking at the official unveiling of the study on the PrEP in Abu­ja, recently, the Director Gener­al of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Profes­sor John Idoko, disclosed that Ni­geria is joining other countries of the world to conduct a study on the mode of halting the spread of the virus on humans.

    November 5, 2015
    The Authority
  • We've recognized for quite some time that rates of HIV/AIDS transmission are exceptionally high in the U.S. South....Care networks in cities such as Atlanta and here in Charlotte are clearly struggling in their prevention and treatment efforts...However, an uncomfortable and not confronted truth of the matter, both throughout the South and nationally, is that the leadership of AIDS service organizations usually does not reflect the communities that need care most.

    November 4, 2015
    TheBody.com
  • According to Rebecca Winthrop at the Brookings Institution..., educating adolescent girls is the most important economic issue developing countries need to address...."Climate change, HIV, AIDS, and global health could be taken up" at Davos, she said, "but for some reason, global education as a topic has...not captured global leaders' imaginations until very recently....The first lady...can reach whole groups of people who never would have thought about why girls aren't getting educated worldwide, or why it's so important."

    November 4, 2015
    Cosmopolitan
  • China’s decision to allow all families to have two children...has rightly been celebrated as a welcome expansion of reproductive rights. But...what should the government do with the hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats who work for China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission?...There might be a very good use for them....Over 70 percent of Chinese say they’ve had premarital sex. Yet almost none receive proper sex education...[and] HIV infections among students aged 15 and above are growing rapidly.

    November 4, 2015
    Bloomberg View
  • Recently, the World Health Organization issued new HIV treatment and prevention guidelines that encourage anyone with HIV to begin antiretroviral therapy immediately after diagnosis....These revisions bring us a step closer to controlling HIV/AIDS....While we agree the WHO’s new guidelines are a powerful step to eliminating this disease, more can be done. To support the WHO’s early treatment mission, we must first prioritize HIV testing.

    November 4, 2015
    AJC
  • It’s safe to say that in the 18 months since PrEP first appeared in this publication’s pages, the practice of taking Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV infection has gone from being a divisive, dirty little secret on the fringe to being applauded in the mainstream for what it really is: a life-altering new tool in our prevention kit — one that is steadily gaining users.

    November 4, 2015
    Desert Sun
  • Canada's new prime minister, Justin Trudeau,...as one of his first acts created the post of Minister of Science. Kirsty Duncan, University of Toronto, will be the first to hold the job....Trudeau also appointed Navdeep Bains as Minister of Industry, Science and Economic Development.... Rees Kassen,...chair of the Partnership Group for Science and Engineering,...suspects Duncan will work to ensure government conducts research in areas universities and businesses are not exploring, whereas Bains will encourage technological innovation in the private sector.

    November 4, 2015
    Nature
  • Appointment of a new head of the Office of AIDS Research at the NIH has been delayed again....What is going on here?...OAR is where the research money is. Its director...determines where it should go to do what and by whom. Its last director,...retired on June 30....One would think in a decent, well-managed, sensible, practical, and humane institution, his replacement would have been ready to seamlessly take over control on July 1. But the NIH is none of these things.

    November 4, 2015
    Advocate
  • Seeking to throw support into a field that has seen recent scientific advancements, the European Commission is stepping up with funding to form the European AIDS Vaccine Initiative (EAVI2020)...by bringing together experts from 22 institutions, both public and private. With €23 million in grant money, EAVI2020 will seek to develop HIV vaccine candidates that can be taken to human trials within 5 years.

    November 4, 2015
    FierceVaccines
  • Tivicay (dolutegravir) and its combo-drug cousin Triumeq drove a 65% increase in ViiV revenue in the third quarter, with £157 million and £211 million in respective sales. In fact, talk of extending that franchise was among the few presentations that got a thumbs-up from analysts after Tuesday's R&D day....Leerink Partners analysts went a bit farther, saying, "We agree that dolutegravir is quickly becoming a cornerstone of future HIV treatment."

    November 4, 2015
    FiercePharma
  • Swazi teens have never known a world without AIDS....Perhaps this accounts for the sense amongst young people that AIDS is just a natural part of life....From Pretoria we learn...from the Human Sciences Research Council survey of 15 000 households in Southern Africa that the message of "self-preservation" is not proving more powerful than teenage sexual urges or the inducements of older, gift-giving partners.

    November 4, 2015
    Swazi Observer
  • District AIDS coordinating advisor Stephen Ndebele says [that]...local proverbs that teach women to be tolerant of men’s promiscuity are not appropriate in this era when there are a lot of sexually transmitted diseases....“Women usually stay in marriage where the husband is involved in multiple sexual relationships with a consolation that she is doing it for their children,” he said.

    November 4, 2015
    Zambia Daily Mail
  • This month (November) in Cape Town, a group of global scientists working to find a vaccine to prevent HIV are meeting. Human rights activist, Tian Johnson, was there and writes about what the discovery of HIV vaccine would mean to him.

    November 3, 2015
    NGO Pulse
  • Roche is rolling out rapid tests for HIV, hepatitis C and hep C genotyping in Europe, continuing its molecular diagnostics winning streak a couple of weeks after scoring FDA approval for related tests and unveiling promising numbers for its testing business.

    November 3, 2015
    FierceMedicalDevices
  • I believe women can make the best male circumcision ambassadors,” Muti said. “They have the power to convince their husbands and boyfriends to go for it.”...“Women possess this rare power of influence and if they can use that same influence to persuade their spouses to go and get tested and eventually circumcised, then they would have done a favour to themselves,” she said.

    November 3, 2015
    NewsDay
  • A systematic review published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes found that women made up about 19% of patients taking part in clinical studies of antiretroviral treatments, 38% of those in vaccine trials and 11% of those in HIV cure studies....Another finding...is that publicly funded trials include fewer women than those funded by private sources. “There are mandates for gender parity in research but they have to be enforced,” says Mirjam Curno, lead author of the study.

    November 3, 2015
    SciDev.net
  • A long-acting two-drug injection given once every eight weeks worked as well as three daily pills in suppressing HIV,...according to a clinical trial backed by Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline. Paul Stoffels, J&J’s head of pharmaceuticals, said the finding offered a potentially "transformational" way to fight HIV, if the result is confirmed in larger final-stage trials. He believes the combination could be on the market by 2020.

    November 3, 2015
    Reuters
  • Preliminary testing of two long-acting injectable drugs indicates it might be possible to keep HIV at bay indefinitely with injections every month or two. Johnson & Johnson and partner ViiV Healthcare,...announced results from the first 32 weeks of the planned 96-week study, which combines one drug from each company. Significant additional testing is needed, but the combination treatment would be a first if approved and could eventually be a huge advance over a disease once almost universally fatal.

    November 3, 2015
    AP
  • For the first time, tuberculosis infections rivaled HIV/AIDS as a leading cause of death from infectious diseases, the World Health Organization said in a report released on Wednesday.

    November 3, 2015
    CNBC
  • The Union Minister for Science, Technology and Earth Science, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and the South African Minister for Science, Technology Ms. Naledi Pandor expressed satisfaction at the on-going India-South Africa collaboration in key areas such as Health Sciences and Biotechnology; Astronomy & Astrophysics, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Green Chemistry and the Mega project in the area of “HIV Vaccine Research Collaboration” with co-funding to the tune of US $ 1 million from both sides.

    November 3, 2015
    Foreign Affairs
  • This November, the AMP Study (also known as HVTN 703/HPTN 081) will bring a fresh approach to HIV prevention research.... It's also engaging transgender people and people of color at every step of the process, and is the first HIV prevention clinical efficacy trial to explicitly name transgender men as an eligible population to be included in the study.

    November 3, 2015
    The Body Pro
  • A long-acting shot to suppress HIV worked as well as a combination of three daily pills, a study from GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Johnson & Johnson found. If borne out in larger trials, such a treatment could revolutionize treatment of the deadly virus.

    November 3, 2015
    Bloomberg
  • Of the 1.2 million HIV patients treated in the US, 574,000 patients are currently using a Gilead HIV product.... Despite competition from companies such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and J&J in 3Q15, seven of every 10 HIV patients in the US opted for Gilead’s HIV regimen. Additionally, the company’s HIV sales in the US rose on account of increased purchases from the Department of Veteran Affairs [and] an increase in wholesaler inventory.

    November 3, 2015
    Yahoo Finance
  • Salt mining is labour-intensive and involves rudimentary techniques [in] which women miners are particularly vulnerable and negatively impacted....Says a press release by the WoMin-African Gender and Extractives Alliance and Friends of the Earth Uganda: “Due to influx of transient traders from other parts of Uganda and beyond, prevalence of HIV infection is also high and women, again, are most vulnerable due to poor access to healthcare and a work environment that can only exacerbate their already precarious circumstances.”

    November 2, 2015
    Radio Mundo Real
  • Enabling women to maintain good reproductive health requires innovative and improved prevention technologies. A revolutionary class of women’s sexual and reproductive health prevention products in development may be a linchpin for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals....Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (MPTs) are a new class of product in development that deliver varying method combinations to simultaneously prevent HIV, STIs, and unplanned pregnancies....Without increased investment however,...these powerful new prevention methods may never reach women’s hands.

    November 2, 2015
    Health Affairs Blog
  • Stigma can limit choices young people can make relating to planning families and accessing health services. It is an issue Ninido Mergen, an 18-year-old living with HIV, faces. She says:....”I only use male condom as a contraceptive method because the nurse told me that any other family planning method I use could result in me infecting my partner. To her, I should not even be having sex unless my partner is also living with HIV.”

    November 2, 2015
    Thomson Reuters
  • FDA guidance issued Monday will provide recommendations for drug manufacturers developing HIV therapeutic biologic products and antiretroviral drugs. The HIV guidelines will cover “all phases of development,”...from non-clinical research and early stages of clinical development to protocol designs and treatment endpoints. The FDA is primarily concerned about drugs aimed at helping “treatment-experienced patients” who are HIV-positive and not responding well to other drugs....The public can submit comments at any time.

    November 2, 2015
    The Hill
  • Around 20 per cent of girls from ethnic minority backgrounds are not being vaccinated against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) because they feel they don't need to have it, according to a Cancer Research UK survey presented at the National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference in Liverpool. This is the first study done with an ethnically diverse group of girls to look at why they are not vaccinated, or do not complete the series of injections.

    November 2, 2015
    Science Daily
  • A survey of gay men in London using drugs during sex – known as "chemsex" --has shown high levels of unprotected sex and hepatitis C among both HIV-positive and HIV-negative men, high levels of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) use, and a high frequency of injection drug use, according to research presented at the 15th European AIDS Conference last month in Barcelona.

    November 2, 2015
    HIV&Hepatitis
  • Adam was shocked when Mary, a nurse at Magomeni Government Hospital, grabbed Hamisi's hand, smiled warmly and led them to an examination room....Mary did not always feel this comfortable. But in 2011, she and her co-workers attended a training by Population Services International and Engender Health to learn how to better help gay men,...intravenous drug users and sex workers. The training started because Tanzania's once-successful national HIV/AIDS strategy had hit a wall.

    November 1, 2015
    Al Jazeera
  • Researchers have seen no decline in new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among HIV-positive men who have sex with men in 16 European CASCADE cohorts, according to a poster presented at the 15th European AIDS Conference last week in Barcelona....While new HCV infections still appear to be increasing in Southern Europe and Northern Europe, incidence in Western Europe seems to be stabilizing.

    November 1, 2015
    HIV&Hepatitis
  • [Podcast] For today’s Humanosphere podcast, we’re talking with Larry Corey – virologist, former president and CEO at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and founder of the world’s largest international scientific initiative aimed at finding an effective vaccine against HIV – the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

    October 30, 2015
    Humanosphere
  • [Russia's health minister] Veronika Skvortsova earlier last week raised the alarm about the HIV epidemic in Russia, saying...that with current funding the government can provide care for less than a quarter of its HIV-positive patients. Skvortsova said Friday that the Russian budget will allocate more than $600 million next year to double this year's spending. Some of the funding...will go to NGOs who help to raise HIV awareness in Russia.

    October 30, 2015
    NY Times
  • Zimbabwe is one of the countries hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic. For the past couple of years, the government has been urging men to get circumcised, a procedure that lowers the risk of getting infected with the HIV virus. Now, officials are pushing the newly-introduced ring method that makes the procedure easier.

    October 26, 2015
    VOA

Published Research

  • 11 years of civil war left Sierra Leone in a terrible state. After hostilities ended in 2002, over 50 000 people had lost their lives, 500 000 people had fled the country, and some 10 000 children had been turned into soldiers. Most of the health-care infrastructure had been damaged, much of it beyond repair. But one problem was notable by its absence. “In war, HIV/AIDS spreads rapidly as a result of sexual bartering, sexual violence, low awareness about HIV, and the breakdown of vital services in health and education”, Save the Children wrote in 2002.

    November 5, 2015
    Lancet
  • A systematic literature search was conducted, and 6132 articles, including randomized controlled trials, observational studies with or without comparators, cross-sectional studies, and descriptive documents, met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 1047 articles were used to generate 36 recommendations to optimize the HIV care continuum for adults and adolescents. Recommendations are provided for interventions to optimize the HIV care environment; increase HIV testing and linkage to care, treatment coverage, retention in care, and viral suppression; and monitor the HIV care continuum.

    November 5, 2015
    J Intl Assn Providers of AIDS Care
  • The VHT selection process created distrust, damaging the programme's legitimacy....Community members questioned the credentials of those who were selected, not seeing the VHTs as those to whom they would go to for help and support. Resentment grew, and as a result, the ways in which the VHTs operated alienated them further from the community. Without the support of the community, the VHTs soon lost morale and stopped their work.

    November 5, 2015
    Human Resources for Health
  • Neutralization breadth is thought to be an important feature of an effective vaccine against HIV-1. A study in one individual has now identified the specific viral variant that engaged the necessary antibody precursor, as well as the viral immunotypes that drove neutralization breadth, improving understanding of how to mimic this process with a vaccine.

    November 5, 2015
    Nature
  • The current VMMC program plan in Zimbabwe is targeting an efficient and impactful age bracket (13–29 year old), but program efficiency can be improved by prioritizing a subset of males for demand creation and service availability. The greatest program efficiency can be attained by prioritizing young sexually active males and males whose sexual behavior puts them at higher risk for acquiring HIV.

    November 5, 2015
    PLoS ONE
  • Drug resistance mutations were verified in 12.2% of drug users. Our findings reinforce the importance of the permanent HIV-1 surveillance in distinct Brazilian cities due to viral resistance and increasing subtype heterogeneity all over Brazil, with relevant implications in terms of treatment monitoring, prophylaxis and vaccine development.

    November 4, 2015
    PLoS ONE
  • The HIV-1 subtype B epidemic amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) is resurgent in many countries despite the widespread use of effective combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). The resurgent HIV epidemic amongst MSM in the Netherlands is driven by several large, persistent, self-sustaining, and, in many cases, growing sub-epidemics shifting towards new generations of MSM. Many of the sub-epidemics have been present since the early epidemic, to which new sub-epidemics are being added.

    November 3, 2015
    PLoS Med
  • This project, designed by a pediatric HIV nurse in Tanzania, applied sequential quality improvement interventions to reduce the lengthy turnaround time between dried blood collection from exposed infants and return of test results. Low-cost interventions successfully reduced the turnaround time from 55 to 38 days, and increased the number of results given to caregivers to >90%. This work can serve as a model in other resource-poor settings.

    November 3, 2015
    PLoS Med
  • Fifty-two articles, including 71 independent effects representing more than 3 decades of research on 25 314 adolescents were synthesized. Sexual communication with parents, particularly mothers, plays a small protective role in safer sex behavior among adolescents; this protective effect is more pronounced for girls than boys. We discuss the implications for practice and make suggestions for future research on parent-adolescent sexual communication.

    November 2, 2015
    JAMA Pediatrics
  • It is time to challenge the rule that only randomised trials provide evidence that we consider acceptable to guide policies....Studies are urgently needed to better understand how antiretroviral drug interventions can be most effectively used in women, including how to support uptake and adherence,...and to understand better how antiretrovirals work for prevention of HIV in women so dosing, formulations, and the specific agents used are as safe and effective as possible. Randomised placebo-controlled trials offer little to this research agenda.

    November 1, 2015
    Lancet
  • Tuberculosis is the leading cause of mortality among individuals infected with HIV, killing more than 1000 people every day. Even if they receive treatment for tuberculosis, people with HIV are more likely to die from tuberculosis than people without HIV....They do not die because we cannot treat HIV or cure tuberculosis. They die because of substantial gaps in the delivery of care and innovation, despite decades of knowledge about the synergy between tuberculosis and HIV, about how to stop the spread of tuberculosis, and how to optimise HIV treatment.

    October 25, 2015
    Lancet

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