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13 FEBRUARY 2015 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 7

Media Coverage

  • The Food and Drug Administration has proposed a greatly simplified process for doctors to obtain experimental drugs for patients who are suffering from serious or life-threatening illnesses and have no other alternative....Dr. Peter Lurie, associate FDA commissioner, described the new form as a continuation of a policy that started in the early years of the AIDS epidemic even though their safety and efficacy had yet to be demonstrated. 
    February 12, 2015
    New York Times
  • In May 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance for HIV prevention, recommending that uninfected people at risk of contracting the virus take a daily pill as protection against HIV/AIDS. But only adults 18 and older are allowed to take Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP - and that is a problem, according to a growing number of public-health researchers and advocates....So far, only one study is investigating the potential use of PrEP among adolescents....
    February 12, 2015
    Atlantic
  • India has run out of critical supplies under its state-run HIV/AIDS program, activists say, leaving tens of thousands of infected patients without access to life-saving drugs. An HIV support group, in a check conducted earlier this month, said it found that out of nine government-run treatment centers in New Delhi, at least five had no stock of antiretroviral drugs....The supply shortages aren’t restricted to Delhi, activist groups say.
    February 12, 2015
    Wall Street Journal
  • There are so many projects in global health that sometimes it's hard to figure out which ones are the most important. So Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory set out to list the 50 breakthroughs that would most transform the lives of the poor, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia....Here's a sampling:...Vaccines to control and one day stop HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. 
     
    February 12, 2015
    NPR
  • WOMEN Creative Solutions Association (WCSA) has introduced a project known as Sauti Yetu, aimed at helping people living with HIV/ Aids in urban and rural areas. Acting Director of WCSA Ms Magreth Ringo said that the project will cover four regions in the country....WCSA targets primary and secondary audiences in urban and rural areas such as women, children, policy makers, community members, civil organizations, nongovernmental associations among others.
     
    February 12, 2015
    Tanzania Daily News
  • The emotional, mental and social consequences of HIV/AIDS are often left untreated in developing countries, where resources are scarce. So, for instance, women experiencing stigma may withdraw from daily chores, children grieving for a parent or sibling can flounder in school, while caregivers may become overwhelmed and fall into depression.
    February 12, 2015
    Global Health Matters
  • The National Development Plan, South Africa’s blueprint for how things will look 15 years from now....The NDP makes a number of recommendations including...improving the coverage of antiretroviral treatment to all HIV-positive people, and offering microbicides to all women 16 years and older....What is important...is that as you listen to the State of the Nation tomorrow, you listen out to hear whether any of these commitments are mentioned, or any plans to support them are introduced.
    February 11, 2015
    Mail and Guardian
  • People with HIV and chronic kidney disease can safely and successfully get a new organ from an HIV-positive donor, researchers reported. In a prospective case series in South Africa, 74% of HIV patients getting an HIV-positive kidney were alive after 5 years, according to Elmi Muller of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and colleagues...[and] reported in the Feb. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
     
    February 11, 2015
    MedPage Today
  • Zaw, an illegal Myanmar migrant dying of AIDS-related illnesses, spent a weekend in waiting rooms at three Thai hospitals near Bangkok - each denying him care as he gasped for breath. At a fourth hospital that admitted him,...Zaw died 40 days later....Hospitals across the country are denying care to migrant labourers like Zaw, despite an insurance scheme launched over a year ago, officials and rights advocates say.
    February 11, 2015
    The Nation
  • Authorities in Tanzania and their development partners on Tuesday signed a new commitment aimed at intensifying efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage in the country....Sophia Simba, Tanzania's minister for Community Development, Gender and Children,...said the government has integrated FGM issues into the reproductive health and HIV/AIDS programs which empowered vulnerable groups, especially young women in protecting themselves against HIV infection.
    February 11, 2015
    Global Times
  • Even while being held hostage by Islamic State extremists, Kayla Mueller found good in everything....In Arizona, from Prescott, she helped raise awareness of HIV and AIDS and offered comfort at a women’s shelter. In Flagstaff, where she attended Northern Arizona University, she protested genocide in Darfur. Her desire to help others stretched beyond Arizona to Palestinian territories, Israel, India, France and Syria.
     
    February 11, 2015
    Detroit News
  • People with HIV who used antiretroviral regimens containing the ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor atazanavir (Reyataz) had better outcomes than those taking lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra), including lower likelihood of AIDS-defining illnesses or death, less virological failure, and larger CD4 T-cell increases, according to a study published in the January 6 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.
    February 11, 2015
    HIV & Hepatitis
  • Treatments to prevent the spread of HIV are extremely effective, only when people take them correctly.  A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine produced surprising results when proven treatments against the spread of HIV did not work as well as expected....“It was, I would say, a very, very unexpected, sobering, initially incredibly depressing result,” said Jeanne Marrazo, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Washington and the study’s lead author.
    February 11, 2015
    Humanosphere
  • ...The Caribbean is one of the most heavily affected regions in the world, with adult HIV prevalence about one percent higher than in any other region outside sub-Saharan Africa. The HIV pandemic in the Caribbean is fuelled by a range of social and economic inequalities and sustained by high levels of stigma, discrimination against the most at-risk and marginalised populations, and persistent gender inequality, violence and homophobia.
    February 10, 2015
    IPS
  • The AIDS Institute applauds the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) announcement of its proposed decision that Medicare will cover routine HIV testing for its beneficiaries. Until now, Medicare has only paid for HIV tests for people at an increased risk of HIV and pregnant women. The AIDS Institute has led an effort to urge CMS to make this change.
    February 10, 2015
    Edge San Francisco
  • While the introduction of a new prevention method is great news, not everyone in the public health world is excited about Truvada -- in part because it only addresses HIV and does not provide protection against other STIs common among MSM....It is tempting to look at these STIs as merely nuisance infections that come and go, especially when comparing them to HIV. But we can't just dismiss STIs as unimportant, as all of these infections cause significant health issues.
    February 10, 2015
    The Body
  • In 2014, UNAIDS proposed an ambitious set of targets for the global scale-up of HIV treatment....The new UNAIDS strategy emphasizes that the tremendous potential of HIV treatment is not being realized, not even in developed countries like Canada. This must change to bring the HIV epidemic under control. In this article we will explore the crucial role HIV prevention work can play in the UNAIDS call for a “new narrative on HIV treatment.”
    February 9, 2015
    Positive Lite
  • Two House Democrats introduced legislation on Monday that would make funding for the National Institutes of Health no longer subject to the annual congressional budget process. The bill would make the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) medical research funding a non-discretionary program, meaning it wouldn't be part of debates over the federal discretionary spending budget every year....
    February 9, 2015
    The Hill
  • There was one crumb of comfort for the [VOICE trial] researchers: in women randomised to use tenofovir microbicide gel, there was a 66% reduction in HIV infection in women who actually did use it. However, as the researchers themselves admit, the gel users were not a random sample of trial participants, and could have been at less risk of HIV. So the actual efficacy of the gel may have been lower.
    February 9, 2015
    aidsmap
  • Scientific literacy is poor among non-medical members of the HIV-related workforce, and steps must be taken to address this in order to better fight the epidemic. This is according to a national report by the Black AIDS Institute, produced in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Latino Commission on AIDS, the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, Johns Hopkins University–Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Janssen Therapeutics.
    February 9, 2015
    AIDSmeds
  • The Washington Post reports on an intriguing HIV vaccine developed by French hematologist Jean-Marie Andrieu that uses probiotics to help condition the body’s reaction to the HIV virus....Andrieu’s work was first reported in 2012.
    February 9, 2015
    New Hope360
  • While the conference is still weeks away, a preliminary schedule of events is available at CROI's websi....CROI will feature sessions on HIV prevention including: Preventing HIV and HSV-2: What Will It Take? [and] Immune Mechanisms: The Road to Protection. These two sessions in particular will feature some key HIV prevention research, ranging from studies on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and microbicides to circumcision and vaccines. 
     
    February 9, 2015
    The BodyPRO
  • When it comes to reporting on scary infectious diseases, our nation's news media sometimes fail to distinguish between genuine threats and perceived or even imaginary ones. Because virtually all of our health information now comes from television, radio newspapers and the digital world, these miscues can have serious consequences, especially for vulnerable populations like our children. That's why it's critical that we scientists and physicians take greater responsibility for communicating effectively....
    February 8, 2015
    USA Today
  • Media can have an impact on global diseases, not only by giving people important information, but by changing behaviors that spread illness, aid experts told a recent panel in Washington organized by the Voice of America and USAID....Moeun Chhean Narridh, director, Cambodian Institute for Media Studies, said that in Cambodia the media have played an important role in curbing diseases and have reported important health stories....
     
    February 7, 2015
    Voice of America
  • Drugs to treat HIV and AIDS are being priced out of reach for many patients enrolled in insurance plans through the new health care exchanges, despite warnings that such practices are illegal under the Obama administration’s health care law, according to a new analysis by Harvard researchers....The study, to be published in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at 48 health plans in 12 states. 
    January 28, 2015
    New York Times
  • Controversy over an advert on condom use to prevent HIV among married couples led by a cross section of Kenyan religious leaders has left many HIV activists astonished at the ‘denial of reality’....The TV advert,...sponsored by the Ministry of Public Health and USAID, was tailored to educate millions of married or cohabiting couples on the importance of using condoms to avoid getting infected or infecting their sexual partners should they engage in extra-marital affairs.
    January 27, 2015
    Key Correspondents

Published Research

  • Daily doxycycline taken prophylactically was associated with a decreased incidence of N. gonorrhoeae, C. trachomatis, or syphilis incident infections among a core group of HIV-infected MSM at high risk for these infections. Safe and effective biomedical tools should be included in the efforts to control transmission of syphilis, especially in this population. A randomized clinical trial should be conducted to confirm and extend these findings.
     
    February 12, 2015
    Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • In this issue of the Journal, Muller et al. report the results in 27 HIV-positive patients who received kidneys from HIV-positive donors....[The] study shows that using infected donors is a reasonable strategy for renal-replacement therapy and has implications that extend beyond South Africa....The HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, which President Obama signed into law in November 2013, permits both transplantation of organs from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients and research related to such transplantation.

    February 12, 2015
    N Engl J Med
  • We review the current state of both acquired and transmitted drug resistance in Africa over the past 10 years...to identify drug resistance associated with the different drug regimens...and help guide affordable strategies for drug resistance surveillance....The prevalence of drug resistance has remained low in several African countries although the emergence of drug resistance mutations varied across countries.
    February 12, 2015
    AIDS Reviews
  • The social context of the early HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States provided fertile ground for rumors about transmission. Today, however, rumors about HIV/AIDS persist only within the African American public....To improve public health results in the African American community, HIV/AIDS efforts must acknowledge the sources and meanings of rumors, include rumors as a measure of trust, and address the underlying distrust that the rumors signify.
    February 12, 2015
    Am J Public Health
  • The United States is facing two healthcare challenges — the equitable distribution of healthcare and...a sustainable biomedical research foundation for the discovery of new therapies and diagnostics. Although the US biomedical research infrastructure is currently strong, it is not a foregone conclusion that it will remain this way. Here, we propose a plan to help provide the funding needed to address the associated challenges....

    February 12, 2015
    Nature Reviews Drug Discovery
  • The development of an AIDS vaccine presents a number of challenges stemming from HIV’s structure and behavior...Ideally a vaccine would induce both antibody and T-cell responses without inducing too many T cells that could serve as additional targets for the virus and therefore potentially increase the risk of HIV infection....This makes designing a vaccine candidate the immunological equivalent of Goldilocks—finding one that induces immune responses that aren’t too little or too much, but just right.
    February 12, 2015
    Vax Report

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