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12 SEPTEMBER VOLUME 15 ISSUE 37

Media Coverage

  • Since 2002, rich countries have poured more than $10 billion into malaria control. The money has helped pay for planeloads of bed nets treated with insecticides, hundreds of millions of doses of a powerful combination therapy, widespread indoor spraying of homes, and prophylactic treatment of pregnant women, an especially vulnerable group. The generous, large-scale programs have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, most of them African children.
    September 12, 2014
    Science Magazine
  • A clinical trial known as Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) - originally designed to answer important questions about possible connections between risk of HIV infection and the use of non-barrier hormonal contraceptives - now hangs in the balance because of a funding shortfall.

    September 12, 2014
    RH Reality Check
  • Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam yesterday called on agencies and localities to speed up the treatment of drug addicts throughout the nation. Dam, also chairman of the National Committee for AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Prevention and Control, hosted a meeting yesterday on the implementation of the Law on Handling Administrative Violations in Drug Rehabilitation and other issues related to drug prevention and prostitution....
    September 11, 2014
    Viet Nam News
  • The Caya- contoured diaphragm is expected to be available to US consumers within the next year. Its clearance by the USFDA is also important for increasing women's access to non-hormonal contraceptive options worldwide.... Called the SILCS Diaphragm during its design and clinical validation stages, the Caya-contoured diaphragm was developed by PATH, CONRAD, and partners at multiple sites through a user-centered process.
    September 10, 2014
    News-Medical.net
  • The Female Health Co. has unveiled new packaging for its FC2 Female Condom in the United States. The company said Tuesday that the new look marks Global Female Condom Day on Sept. 16, in which events around the world will raise awareness and availability of the female condom.
    September 10, 2014
    Chain Drug Review
  • When Uganda President Yoweri Museveni visited the White House during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit last month, a high court had just overturned his country's "Anti-Homosexuality Law" which penalized "aggravated homosexuality" with life in prison, and criminalized provision of services and support to gay people, threatening progress in that country's long battle against HIV....Elimination of the law allowed Museveni to focus on the summit....
    September 10, 2014
    Huffington Post
  • America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are currently developing 44 medicines and vaccines for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, according to the latest Medicines in Development report by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America issued Wednesday....The 44 medicines and vaccines in the development pipeline include 25 antivirals, 16 vaccines and three cell/gene therapies. Today, there are 94 active clinical trials for HIV medicines and vaccines in the United States.
     
    September 10, 2014
    Drug Store News
  • PrEP is an HIV-preventing...effective, safe, revolutionary drug many gay men should consider taking. But the AHF has decided to wage war against PrEP, claiming [it] is a “public health disaster in the making.” Why? Because “people won’t adhere and take the pill,” leading more to become infected. Actually, the alarming uptick in unprotected anal sex...among gay men is the “public health disaster in the making,” and PrEP is a smart, effective way to forestall calamity.
     

     

    September 10, 2014
    Slate
  • The NIH [has] devoted $20 million to a group including Miriam Hospital in Rhode Island to develop an HIV drug-delivering intravaginal ring....The “pod-IVR” is set to be tested with multiple antiretroviral drugs so researchers can determine what combination works best to prevent HIV, [and] can deliver up to 5 drugs at a time...."The joint effort builds on The Miriam's earlier research focused on developing effective HIV prevention products designed with the user in mind," lead researcher Kathleen Morrow said.
     
    September 10, 2014
    Fierce Drug Delivery
  • Ten years ago, I was working as a doctor in Ghana. I specialized in HIV/AIDS, but at the time, there was little I could do.... Back then, AIDS was a heartbreaking death sentence. In the decade since, so much has changed. The cost of ARV medication has come down dramatically -- from what was as prohibitively high as $20,000 a year to as little as 40 cents a day in sub-Saharan Africa....This very medication, which keeps people living with HIV alive and healthy, can also enable HIV+ pregnant women to deliver HIV-negative babies.
    September 9, 2014
    Huffington Post
  • Puerto Rico's governor says the island's largest public university is partnering with federal agencies to oversee a US-funded project aimed at trying to develop a prophylactic vaccine for HIV....Officials said 30 scientists and students will participate in the five-year project....NIH will invest $1.1 million, while the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust will provide $365,000 in matching funds to buy equipment.
    September 9, 2014
    Associated Press
  • An investigational single-pill regimen for HIV -- the first to be based on a protease inhibitor -- was less toxic than a similar regimen using separate drugs....In a phase II trial, the single-pill regimen also yielded the same efficacy as the multi-pill regimen, according to Anthony Mills at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy [Abstract H-647c]....The alternate tenofovir formulation used in the combination agent leads to lower blood levels and higher mononuclear cell levels of the drug, which may decrease toxicity."
    September 9, 2014
    MedPage Today
  • Sexual shame creates a breeding ground for HIV within the gay community, says activist Hussain Turk.
    September 8, 2014
    Advocate.com
  • A subtle yet significant shift is taking place as we transition from PEPFAR II to PEPFAR III. While shared responsibility and sustainability are still key, the focus is now on accelerating, not just scaling-up, core interventions, so that we can deliver the right services, in the right place, at the right time. As we refine our approach, US government guidance now includes an emphasis on taking a geographic approach to the HIV response....
     
    September 8, 2014
    Science Speaks
  • Gambia has passed a bill imposing life imprisonment for some homosexual acts, potentially worsening the climate for sexual minorities in a country with one of Africa's most vocal anti-gay leaders. The bill amending the criminal code was passed last month and brings life sentences for "aggravated homosexuality", minority leader Samba Jallow said. The charge is levelled at repeat offenders and people living with HIV/AIDS.
     
    September 8, 2014
    Guardian
  • A billionaire Harvard University graduate whose career blended academia and business is giving back to his alma mater in a big way....The family charity founded by real estate tycoon Gerald Chan is donating $350 million to the Harvard School of Public Health, which will be renamed after his father....The money, will broadly fund research on obesity, cancer, infectious pandemics, poverty, health systems, and more....
    September 8, 2014
    Science
  • AIDS was once considered a virtual death sentence. Scientific advances have turned it into a manageable disease. Now there’s reason to hope that final victory — a vaccine preventing infection, and an actual cure — may be possible in the foreseeable future....And the discoveries keep coming....This staggering transformation of one of the most relentless diseases into something that can be lived with bears evidence that the expenditure of billions of dollars and untold hours of research and treatment are paying off....
     
    September 7, 2014
    San Diego Union Tribune
  • How well your project goes will depend in large part on how you communicate with the research participants. So where do you start? What communications skills do you need to engage with communities and build trust? I’ve worked through these questions while conducting research in eight developing countries, and I want to share my experience to help guide you through the essentials of communicating effectively with the people who make your research possible.
    August 9, 2014
    SciDev Net

Published Research

  • The devastating Ebola epidemic in West Africa is the result of a perfect storm: dysfunctional health services as the result of decades of war, low public trust in government and Western medicine, traditional beliefs and even denials about the cause or existence of the virus, and burial practices that involve contact with contagious Ebola-infected corpses. 

    September 12, 2014
    Science Magazine
  • Experimental Ebola vaccines started human tests last week and beginning in November may be rolled out to as many as 10,000 people in West Africa. The two vaccines being tested first must prove safe and capable of stimulating relevant immune responses in small trials taking place in four countries. No vaccine has ever moved more quickly into widespread use. 

    September 12, 2014
    Science Magazine
  • Introduction of a partially effective preventive HIV vaccine would make a substantial long-term impact on HIV epidemics in southern Africa, in addition to the effects of ART. Development of an HIV vaccine, even of relatively low apparent efficacy at the individual level, remains a critical global public health goal.
    September 11, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • We developed carrageenan-based vaginal suppositories and evaluated how physical properties such as firmness, size and shape influence women’s willingness to try them. In the first test, women compared pairs of brittle and elastic suppositories and indicated their preference. In the second test, women ranked samples in order of preference; brittle suppositories were most preferred. Release of tenofovir was quantified; initial rate of release was 20% slower with elastic compared to brittle suppositories.
     
    September 11, 2014
    Pharmaceutics
  • After accounting for under-ascertainment of mortality, with increasing duration on ART, the mortality rate on HIV treatment in South Africa declines to levels comparable to or below those described in participating North American cohorts, while substantially narrowing the differential with the European cohorts.
    September 11, 2014
    PLoS Med
  • This paper presents examples from two studies. In both studies, research staff and community advisory groups collaborated to review and revise materials.....[and] staff gained better understanding of issues and concerns that could influence trial participation. A collaborative engagement process can provide important insights into local culture and knowledge beyond what is needed for development of clinical trial participant information materials.
    September 11, 2014
    J Intl AIDS Society
  • User-centred private sector companies have contributed to successful launch of many products, employing methods drawn from behavioural and social sciences to shape product designs, marketing messages and communication channels. These types of user-centred techniques have helped create effective messaging, product positioning and packaging of health products as well as family planning information. Introduction of microbicide products presents an ideal opportunity to draw on insights from these approaches.
    September 11, 2014
    J Intl AIDS Society
  • We explored perceived HIV risk and worry about acquiring HIV among participants who had seroconverted in FEM-PrEP sites in Kenya and South Africa, of whom 52% had reported no chance of acquiring HIV in the next four weeks. We identified four processes of risk rationalization, finding that women at substantial risk of acquiring HIV underestimate their actual risk and others who accurately understand their risk unable to act on their concerns.
     
    September 11, 2014
    J Intl AIDS Society
  • We explored views and experiences of VOICE participants, male partners, and community members regarding use of ARV as PrEP in the trial and the implications of these shared meanings. VOICE participants and community members struggled to conceptualise ARV for prevention, influencing  trial adherence. Greater investments are needed to increase community understanding of ARV for prevention and to mitigate pervasive HIV stigma.
     
    September 11, 2014
    J Intl AIDS Society
  • Product adherence and its measurement are a critical challenge to evaluating new HIV prevention technologies. Long-acting ARV-based vaginal rings may simplify product use, thereby facilitating adherence. We outline an interdisciplinary framework for systematically investigating promising strategies to support uptake and adherence, and measure adherence in clinical trials.
    September 11, 2014
    J Intl AIDS Society
  • Women continue to be at special risk for HIV acquisition due to a complex mix of biological, behavioural, structural, cultural and social factors, with unacceptable rates of new infection....This paper reviews the evidence base for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and treatment to prevent onward transmission (TasP), describes new products in development and the need to translate research findings into programmes with impact at the population level.
     
    September 11, 2014
    J Intl AIDS Society
  • Vaccines have proved to be one of the most powerful and effective ways of reducing disease. However, if we are to maximize their impact on global health, then we need to develop new vaccines for additional diseases as well as to improve their supply and delivery, particularly in developing countries.
     
    September 10, 2014
    Sci. Transl. Med
  • The discovery of a new HIV antibody by researchers at the US National Institutes of Health highlights the need to create vaccines with trimeric delivery systems that resemble those found naturally, said Mark Connors, the team's principal investigator and chief of the HIV-Specific Immunity Section of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases....More details are available in the journal Nature.
     
    September 10, 2014
    Fierce Drug Delivery
  • New research shows that polydrug use is common among HIV-positive MSM and is strongly linked to sex without a condom. The study collected self-reported data on drug use and sexual behaviour of 2248 MSM with HIV during 2011-2012....In a linked Comment, Associate Professor Martin Holt, University of New South Wales, points out that, “Only 7% of the 2248 MSM in the analysis reported such high-HIV-risk sex. This...suggests that most HIV-positive MSM take care to prevent HIV transmission….
    September 8, 2014
    The Lancet
  • Several people with HIV whose CD4 T-cells were modified to make them resistant to viral entry have maintain low-level viral load after interrupting antiretroviral therapy (ART), with 1 individual having HIV RNA <1000 copies/mL for more than a year, according to a presentation at the 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy this week in Washington, DC.
     
    September 8, 2014
    HIVandHepatitis.com
  • Embattled UK biomedical researchers are drawing some comfort from a new survey showing that a sizable majority of the public continues to support the use of animals in research. But there’s another twist that should interest social scientists as well: The government’s decision this year to field two almost identical surveys on the topic offers fresh evidence that the way you ask a question affects how people answer it.
    September 5, 2014
    Science
  • Influenza vaccination was immunogenic in pregnant women with and without HIV, researchers reported. In two randomized, placebo-controlled trials, a trivalent inactivated vaccine also offered partial protection against lab-confirmed influenza for both groups of women, according to Shabir Madhi, Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, and colleagues. Moreover, the vaccine offered protection...in infants born to the HIV-negative women...as reported in the Sept. 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
    September 5, 2014
    MedPage Today
  • Results of a new study in St. Petersburg, Russia, show that decreasing HIV transmission among Russian HIV-infected drinkers will require creative and innovative approaches....Published online in Addiction, the study showed that a behavioral intervention did not lead to a reduction of STIs and HIV risk behaviors in Russian HIV-infected heavy drinkers....The study was led by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center and First St. Petersburg Pavlov State Medical University.
    September 4, 2014
    Science Daily
  • New research from Johns Hopkins suggests that health care workers in lower-income countries lack adequate personal protective equipment to guard against HIV and other bloodborne infections during surgical procedures. The findings underscore the risks health care workers (HCWs) face in the world’s poorest countries, especially in light of the Ebola outbreak currently spreading in West Africa.
    September 3, 2014
    Healio
  • Among young people in Australia, a significant decline has been reported in hospital admissions related to a diagnosis of genital warts since the introduction of a national HPV vaccination program, according to recent findings. Notably, there has been a 90% decrease in genital warts among women aged 12 and 17 years. The researchers acquired data from the National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD), a dataset composed of admission information from nearly all of Australia’s private and public hospitals.
    September 2, 2014
    Healio
  • The news in July that HIV had returned in a Mississippi toddler after a two-year treatment-free remission dashed hopes of the possibility of a cure. But a new commentary by HIV experts at Johns Hopkins argues that despite its disappointing outcome, the Mississippi case and two other recent HIV "rebounds" in adults have yielded critical lessons about the virus's most perplexing feature: its ability to form cure-defying viral hideouts (DOI:10.1126/science.1259452) .
     
    August 28, 2014
    Science Daily

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