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13 November 2015 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 46

Media Coverage

  • A new change.org petition is calling for Health Minister Sussan Ley to approve the use of Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in Australia. The petition was launched by Victorian AIDS Council of Australia.

    November 13, 2015
    Gay News Network
  • Immunologist and physician Anthony Fauci reminds us that “more people are getting infected [with HIV] than we are able to put on therapy… an economically unsustainable situation.” Fauci recognizes two options — either prevent infection or wean people off therapy. This article focuses on the first option: prevention and vaccination.

    November 12, 2015
    Cornell Sun
  • Why is the WHO following in Pfizer's footsteps? Why has it totally discounted the serious scientific studies that show a credible link between Depo-Provera and HIV? Why is it undermining its own ECHO trial? This is the mystery begging to be solved.

    November 12, 2015
    Truthout
  • Preliminary results from a demonstration study being conducted by the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) show that Truvada offers discordant couples up to 70 per cent protection when used for preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP)....The study dubbed "partners' demonstration study", now in its fifth year, enrolled 1,013 discordant couples from across the country and administered Truvada and Tenofovir to different couples.

    November 11, 2015
    The Observer
  • The 1980s are back: not in the form of male pop stars wearing eyeliner, but headlines dripping with stigma. “Hollywood HIV panic,” booms the Sun newspaper....For those who have spent much of their lives campaigning to overcome the stigma of this treatable illness, it is a bleak day.

    November 11, 2015
    The Guardian
  • When people hear about vaccine deniers,...they most often think about parents refusing to vaccinate their children. But there’s another type of vaccine refusal.... Doctors sometimes promote the use of some vaccines with less enthusiasm than others. Sometimes, they don’t talk about them at all. This occurs most often with the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine. The low immunization rates with this vaccine, and the behaviors of the physicians who might be contributing to that, have consequences.

    November 11, 2015
    NY Times
  • One of Asia's largest red light districts, Sonagachi, will next month roll out an experimental project for providing HIV-preventive medicine to sex workers in what will be the first such initiative in the country....Under the project, 'Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis' (PrEP), regular medicine would be given to an HIV-negative sex worker who engages sexually with an HIV-positive person....The project is to be financed by the Melinda Gates Foundation.

    November 10, 2015
    MSN
  • For the second year in a row, Oregon State University has claimed the number one spot across 140 major universities in every state in the US in the annual report card’s ranking system. The study surveyed student health center representatives at each participating university and conducted additional follow-up research....After a significant jump from 25th to 1st place in 2014, OSU has maintained its lead as a model for effective university sexual health promotion.

    November 10, 2015
    Daily Barometer
  • Studies have shown that individuals with HIV are 50–100 percent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than individuals without HIV; however, more research is needed to determine if use of statins is the answer. The National Institutes of Health is now funding REPRIEVE, a Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV,...the first large-scale randomized clinical trial to test a strategy for heart disease prevention among people living with HIV.

    November 10, 2015
    LGBT Weekly
  • Sex Workers and Sex Work in South Africa -- This guide for journalists and writers produced by Sonke Gender Justice, Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), Sisonke Sex Workers Movement and Women’s Legal Centre, explores how to avoid making difficult circumstances worse simply by getting facts straight, keeping an open mind and following the golden rule....[It] offers facts, perspectives, responsible wording, and tips for ethical and insightful ways to bridge gaps between preconceptions and realities.

    November 10, 2015
    Science Speaks
  • AIDS is the No. 1 cause of death for adolescents in Africa. We must not fail this generation....They deserve a chance at the future that they imagine for themselves....At Keep a Child Alive, we not only strive to get more people tested and stay on treatment, we also look to address the issues that drive the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including poverty, gender inequality and especially stigma.

    November 10, 2015
    CNN
  • This World AIDS Day, the spotlight should fall on Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) which according to experts could avert more than one million new HIV infections in South Africa by 2025.

    November 10, 2015
    Overport Rising Sun
  • Johnson & Johnson's Janssen announced that a Phase IIb study of a combination regimen of two investigational long-acting injectable HIV drugs found that the therapy performed similarly to a regimen consisting of three oral medications. The oral medications are given daily, while the injectables are administered once every 4 to 8 weeks, meaning the results have implications for improving medication adherence....If successful, the injectable combination regimen would mark a big change in HIV treatment.

    November 10, 2015
    Fierce Drug Delivery
  • Namibia could be the second country in the world after Cuba to eliminate mother-to-child transmission....“Only 1 to 3% of all babies born to HIV-positive mothers in Namibia are contracting HIV,” Health Minister Bernhard Haufiku told Namibian Sun....Haufiku, however, cautioned against complacency.

    November 9, 2015
    Namibian Sun
  • Researchers at Yale University are testing whether a humorous card game can help young, black women reduce their chances of contracting HIV and AIDS — part of a new but growing trend examining whether games can spur health behavior changes....The game, developed by play2PREVENT, a gaming lab within the Yale School of Medicine, is still a prototype, but designers are hoping to launch a video game version eventually and bring it to a broader audience.

    November 9, 2015
    New Haven Register
  • Civil Society groups and Development Partners of Ghana were full of praise for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection at a mid-term review of Ghana's Gender Agenda event in Accra on November 3....They encouraged the Ministry to do more in respect of defusing stigmatization of women with HIV and AIDs, preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, reducing stigmatization of adolescents in witches camps, as well as pushing for the passage of the Affirmative Action bill.

    November 9, 2015
    News Ghana
  • Ndaula Hamidu, 24, was born with HIV and is now an advocate for sexual and reproductive rights and services, including family planning - issues he says concern young men as well as young women. "Having access to friendly services has helped me live positively and happily, and helped me serve as an example to my fellow people," said Hamidu, from Bugiri district, Uganda. "At the beginning, accessing services was difficult but it has become possible after knowing my rights."

    November 9, 2015
    Key Correspondents
  • Kaduna State has been selected as the best performing state in the first phase of the 2015 Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCH)...because its hospitals counselled and tested 84,000 pregnant women for HIV during the period, and referred those that tested positive to a treatment facility. UNAIDS stressed that the state advanced the objective to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and pledged $14,000 to support Kaduna State in the next phase of the MNCH Week.

    November 9, 2015
    Daily Independent Nigeria
  • US Ambassador Robert Godec said Monday that much more needs to be done to curb endemic corruption in the East African country as he launched a major aid initiative to provide life-saving drugs. While media reports exposing corruption are good for raising public awareness of the problem, actual steps need to be taken to investigate, prosecute and convict suspects....He spoke at the launch of a USAID program that will provide US $650 million to the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority to acquire and supply life-saving drugs, HIV testing kits and contraceptives across the country.

    November 9, 2015
    Stars and Stripes
  • Ghanzi District AIDS Coordinator Ms Tshoganetso Mahupe says HIV prevalence in Ghanzi district has drastically increased...from 13 per cent to 17 per cent, despite many workshops conducted in the district regarding HIV issues, [as well as] a shocking increase of sexually transmitted infections. Safe male circumcisions have also decreased in large numbers....Gender based violence cases as well as teenage pregnancy have also increased, said Ms Mahupe.

    November 9, 2015
    Botswana Daily News
  • After peaking in 2007, AIDS mortality in South Africa has decreased with the widespread introduction of effective antiretroviral therapy, according to updated estimates by Debbie Bradshaw of the South African Medical Research Council and colleagues published in AIDS. They emphasize that continued reluctance to acknowledge AIDS as a cause of death is hindering efforts to monitor the impact of HIV control efforts in South Africa.

    November 9, 2015
    Science Daily
  • A counsellor from African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP), Ms. Iponeng Tiro, has implored Metsimotlhabe residents to encourage their children to go for Safe Male Circumcision (SMC).

    November 9, 2015
    Daily News Botswana
  • Last Friday, former US Senators Tom Daschle and Bill Frist launched a landmark BPC report entitled: "The Case for Strategic Health Diplomacy: A Study of PEPFAR". In it, they argue that "There is no better example of the power of a well-executed global health initiative than the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief"....In short, the report asserts that PEPFAR is not only the right thing to do -- it's also the smart, strategic, and secure thing.

    November 9, 2015
    Huffington Post
  • Last week's announcement by the Elton John AIDS Foundation and PEPFAR commits $10 million of grants for organizations working to meet the HIV-related needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people....Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, it aims to break down barriers to HIV services for LGBT people by putting control back in the hands of local communities....Yet reporting of HIV in the mainstream media has been sporadic, with the recent Ebola outbreak dominating health news coming out of the region.

    November 9, 2015
    Newsweek
  • The concept of this unique restaurant is to provide access to family planning programs and AIDS awareness for the entire population of Thailand. The owners want to make these services as easy to access as everyday vegetables, hence the name....Instead of after-meal mints, they provide condoms (of course)! All proceeds go toward the Population & Community Development Association (PDA), a sex education and AIDS prevention organization.

    November 8, 2015
    The Examiner
  • The more than 300 transgender women in the pivotal iPrEx trial had similar overall HIV infection rates...but those with drug levels indicating consistent PrEP use appeared protected, researchers reported in The Lancet November 5th Online. "While this analysis did not include a large enough sample to draw firm conclusions, we did find strong evidence pointing to efficacy," said Robert Grant, University of California/San Francisco. "Additional research designed specifically for transgender women is needed to confirm this finding."

    November 8, 2015
    HIV & Hepatitis
  • In Malawi men who have sex with men...do not always get adequate treatment, care and support....The Malawian National HIV Prevention Strategy specifically acknowledges that these populations must be targeted in its HIV programming. But homosexuality is still a crime in the country. And even though there is a moratorium on criminalising male-male sexual relationships, men who have sex with men have difficulty getting access to health services....Health care providers themselves face a number of challenges.

    November 8, 2015
    The Conversation
  • HIV-positive women can safely use hormonal contraception, according to research published in JAIDS Online. Hormonal implants and injectable contraceptives were associated with a reduced mortality risk, and use of injectables delayed need for antiretroviral therapy (ART). Pregnancy did not increase risk of death or the need to start ART, while breastfeeding was protective against both outcomes. The study was conducted in Lusaka, Zambia, and involved 1656 HIV-positive women.

    November 6, 2015
    aidsmap
  • Acute kidney injury (AKI) associated with tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) was prevalent among HIV-infected patients and demonstrated a high morbidity rate in a new center-based study presented at ASN Kidney Week 2015 November 3-8 in San Diego, CA. More than half of patients with TDF-associated AKI did not recover baseline kidney function during follow-up, and about one-third of the patients required dialysis.

    November 6, 2015
    Science Daily
  • In a new look at the groundbreaking iPrEx trial for people at high risk of HIV infection, UC San Francisco researchers have identified strong evidence of efficacy for transgender women when PrEP, a two-drug antiretroviral used to prevent HIV, is used consistently.

    November 6, 2015
    Science Daily
  • Prescription drug prices are getting more attention on Capitol Hill, with two senators from opposite sides of the aisle announcing plans to investigate while House Democrats declared they were forming a task force on the issue as well....Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) pointed out that AIDS drug assistance programs in Georgia have begun rationing a hepatitis C drug because of its high cost -- $80,000 for a 12-week treatment.

    November 6, 2015
    MedPage Today
  • Gilead Sciences announced its Truvada as PrEP co-pay assistance program will cover a total annual benefit of $3,600 with no monthly limit, according to Gilead spokesperson Ryan McKeel. The new program is effective November 6....AIDS activist Peter Staley and PrEP advocates had approached Gilead about making the med more accessible and affordable. Staley told POZ he views the new co-pay program as a “significant victory, even if it’s not everything we asked for".

    November 5, 2015
    POZ
  • Truvada...is a pharmacological breakthrough that has the potential to consign Aids to the history books....In the US, the Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada for use over three years ago. Truvada is even covered by insurance companies....Yet in this country [the UK], a conspiracy of silence surrounds Truvada, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), as it is termed. The NHS claims that it is waiting on the results of its own studies to decide whether Truvada should be introduced.

    November 5, 2015
    The Spectator
  • A campaign to speed access to viral load testing began with a march...through Lusaka, Zambia last week and targets policymakers [and] people living with HIV, with a message to make use of a tool taken for granted in the US and other well-resourced countries. It calls on policy-makers to follow WHO recommendations that viral loads of people living with HIV be monitored once or twice a year to detect and more quickly respond to failing treatment.

    November 5, 2015
    Science Speaks
  • The FDA approved a new one-pill HIV. treatment Thursday with a new, apparently safer form of tenofovir called Genvoya [that]...Gilead said more efficiently enters cells where HIV replicates, resulting in 91 percent less tenofovir in the bloodstream. That should make the pill less likely to cause kidney damage or loss of bone density, ...major problems among people with HIV who survive into old age.

    November 5, 2015
    NY Times
  • “How we think about the AIDS epidemic becomes its own reality,” Alex de Waal, World Peace Foundation, wrote in 2006....Ideas about disease, language and perception appeared throughout the Royal Society of Medicine’s Global Health Film Festival in London, United Kingdom, last week. Films on polio in Pakistan, TB in Swaziland and HIV in Malawi made important points about the relationship between language, rumour and disease, and how changing the way we perceive and talk about diseases can make them less deadly.

    November 5, 2015
    SciDev.Net
  • Rock star Elton John is working to use his global fame and charitable foundations to help overturn homophobic laws around the world....On Thursday John and his husband, David Furnish, will unveil a new partnership...with the Elton John AIDS Foundation and PEPFAR each contributing $5 million to a fund to increase access to medication for people with HIV and AIDS in countries that are prejudiced toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The fund's early focus will be on sub-Saharan Africa.

    November 4, 2015
    CNBC
  • The prevalence of cephalosporin-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae appears to have decreased from 2006 to 2014, according to recently published CDC surveillance data....Although these resistance trends appeared to follow CDC guideline changes, the researchers said it would be premature to claim a direct relationship. In addition, the increase seen in 2014 may imply that improvements in halting drift toward resistance are short-lived.

    November 4, 2015
    Healio
  • Louise Kuhn, PhD, of Columbia University, New York, and colleagues found that switching to efavirenz-based therapy compared with continuing ritonavir-boosted lopinavir-based therapy, did not result in significantly higher rates of viral rebound or viral failure....among children with viral suppression.

    November 3, 2015
    Science Daily
  • A computer model developed at Johns Hopkins University estimated that strengthening programs to keep patients with HIV engaged in lifetime care plus enhanced screening would prevent 720,000 new HIV infections and 276,000 AIDS-related deaths over a 20-year duration....“Recent emphasis has been placed on increasing screening, particularly among persons at high risk. However, our model suggests that focusing some of these resources toward retention and re-engagement of persons with known HIV...might be a more cost-effective use of resources.”

    November 2, 2015
    Healio
  • Rape victims can be prevented from contracting HIV infection if 'post-exposure prophylaxis' (PEP) treatment is given within eight hours of the sexual assault....However, the treatment...is neither mandated nor provided in India due to lack of awareness, AIDS Society of India President Dr Ishwar Gilada [said]...A proactive three-day movement for creating public awareness for use of PEP...started in Mumbai Saturday, where HIV clinicians deliberated on how to put evidences into policy and take swift action.

    November 1, 2015
    MSN News

Published Research

  • Between January 2008 and June 2014, we retrospectively collected data on 91 HIV serodiscordant couples presenting to Beijing Youan Hospital with childbearing desires. HIV counseling, effective ART on HIV infected partners, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in negative female partners and timed intercourse were used to maximally reduce the risk of HIV transmission. There were 196 unprotected vaginal intercourses, 100 natural conception and 97 newborns. There were no cases of HIV seroconversion in uninfected sexual partners.

    November 5, 2015
    PLoS One
  • Among HIV-infected children exposed to nevirapine for prevention of mother-to-child transmission and with initial viral suppression with ritonavir-boosted lopinavir–based therapy, switching to efavirenz-based therapy compared with continuing ritonavir-boosted lopinavir–based therapy did not result in significantly higher rates of viral rebound or viral failure. This therapeutic approach may offer advantages in children such as these.

    November 3, 2015
    JAMA
  • Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate [TDF] is a prodrug for tenofovir used as part of combination antiretroviral therapy for treatment of HIV. Since its US approval in 2001,...TDF's once-daily dosing and reassuring safety profile (combined with similar characteristics of other antiretroviral medications developed in the past decade) helped revolutionise HIV treatment, allowing ART to be recommended earlier in the course of HIV disease, averting HIV-related morbidity and onward transmission.

    November 1, 2015
    Lancet
  • Between April 12, 2013 and April 3, 2014, we enrolled 1443 patients. 959 patients were randomly assigned to the tenofovir alafenamide group and 477 to the tenofovir disoproxil fumarate group....Switching to a tenofovir alafenamide-containing regimen from one containing tenofovir disoproxil fumarate was non-inferior for maintenance of viral suppression and led to improved bone mineral density and renal function. Longer term follow-up is needed to better understand the clinical impact of these changes.

    November 1, 2015
    Lancet
  • The risk of acquiring herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) was reduced by 46% among women who regularly used the vaginal gel containing tenofovir, according to secondary analysis of the VOICE trial presented at the R4P Conference in Cape Town. There was no significant difference in the age, marital status, country, practice of anal sex, HIV status or hormonal contraceptive use between those who acquired HSV-2 and those who did not.
    November 11, 2014
    AIDSMEDS

Announcements

  • "At the forthcoming 2015 Biomedical HIV Prevention Forum, Professor Elizabeth Bukusi of KEMRI, Kenya, will receive the 2015 Special Award, unanimously nominated by the Forum Organizers for her significant contributions to the science and development of biomedical HIV prevention interventions in Africa.

    November 11, 2015