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14 August 2015 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 33

Media Coverage

  • HIV/AIDS prevalence is increasing significantly among female commercial sex workers and the gay community despite the epidemic being generally controlled at 3 percent, according to a survey report released by the Rwanda Biomedical Centre. The findings, which serve to give updates on the HIV status in the country, revealed that the prevalence of the disease among female commercial sex workers was 41.4 percent, varying from province to province.

    August 15, 2015
    The East African
  • In an effort to improve HIV outcomes, the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and the National HIV/AIDS Initiative at the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law have published a report detailing more effective HIV strategies at the state level. Lead author Jeffrey S. Crowley, program director for Georgetown’s National HIV/AIDS Initiative, exclusively told Pharmacy Times how pharmacists in particular can provide support to HIV-infected patients.

    August 13, 2015
    Pharmacy Times
  • The first data from a Brazilian open-label demonstration project of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis show, in common with other studies presented at the IAS Conference 2015 in Vancouver last month, that the higher a person’s risk of HIV, the more likely they are to seek and use PrEP. People at higher risk were more likely to enroll in the Brazil study, and people who self-referred to the study were more likely to join it than ones referred by doctors.

    August 13, 2015
    Aidsmap
  • Interventions which can reduce the very high incidence of HIV in young women in southern Africa are urgently needed, and cash transfers are one means by which the protective effect of education might be promoted.

    August 12, 2015
    HIVandHepatitis
  • Dazon Dixon Diallo from SisterLove, Inc. in Atlanta and the US Women and PrEP Working Group offered a community perspective at a press briefing at the International AIDS Society Conference last month in Vancouver. "We know that we have consensus about the science...[but] we need to extend it to the real world," Diallo said. While global HIV/AIDS leaders talk about the 90-90-90 goals, "there are still voices concerned about the 10-10-10 that still need to be reached."

    August 12, 2015
    HIVandHepatitis
  • The Lordina Foundation, on Monday organized a health screening exercise for women groups in selected communities in Accra in line with the ‘Prevention of Mother-to Child-Transmission of HIV and Keeping Mothers Alive Campaign’, part of a broader operational plan of the Ghana chapter of the Organization of African First Ladies Association. The partnership intends holding health outreaches in five selected sites in the Greater Accra Region in 2015, and had already held similar ones in Weija, Kasoa and Ningo Ada.

    August 12, 2015
    Ghana Web
  • Mr. Felix Berewono, HIV Coordinator, Upper West Regional Health Directorate [Ghana], said some men from the Region were preventing their wives from taking the HIV test when they visited the health facility during pregnancy. He said when some pregnant women came for antenatal at the hospital and were referred for blood testing which included the HIV test, they often beg for permission to seek the consent of their husbands before doing so. The Coordinator alleged that many...ended up receiving threats of divorce if they dared to take the test.

    August 12, 2015
    Business Ghana
  • Our Time To Be Heard is a collection of stories [commissioned by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance] highlighting the current challenges that young people are facing in the context of the HIV epidemic. Cédric Nininahazwe, executive director of the Burundian National Network of Young People Living with HIV, says: “While the debate on the post 2015 development agenda is still alive and kicking, it is vital that we champion the needs of adolescents, in particular those living with or most at risk of HIV."

    August 12, 2015
    Key Correspondents
  • Despite Uganda making major progress in HIV/AIDS treatment..., a number of patients have developed resistance to available anti-retroviral drugs, with limited access to the hardline treatment known as third line. Results from a new study among 298 people receiving second line treatment at Baylor-Uganda between 2010 and 2013 presented at the 16th Annual Scientific Conference organised by Uganda Society Health Scientists in Kampala last week, showed that there are limited options for the third line ART in settings such as Uganda.

    August 12, 2015
    Daily Monitor
  • HIV testing, particularly for those between the ages of 13 to 64 in New York State, is on its way to being as routine and regular as checking for high blood pressure. Comprehensive testing is a key component of Governor Andrew Cuomo's ambitious initiative to end AIDS in the state by 2020....Implementation of the plan begins this month with 13 regional information meetings taking place around the state.

    August 12, 2015
    City Newspaper
  • Experts argue that vaccinating boys as well as girls for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) would have a dual advantage as it would protect both men and their female partners from infection....The head of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, Shabir Madhi, says men are the ones who transmit HPV to women. “If you want to interrupt the circulation of the virus sooner, then you should be targeting boys as well.”

    August 12, 2015
    Mail&Guardian
  • Botswana’s Safe Male Circumcision Campaign has missed its annual target of 50,000 males, Health Minister Dorcus Makgatho is quoted as saying Tuesday by Yarona FM radio station. Speaking at the re-launch of the campaign in Maun in northern Botswana, Makgatho revealed that despite the campaign running for some time, it had not been able to achieve its intended annual target. Makgatho said the campaign...was being “re-energized” to attract more participants.

    August 11, 2015
    StarAfrica
  • New research on monkeys vaccinated against HIV's relative SIV calls into question an idea that has driven AIDS vaccine work for years. The assumption: a protective vaccine only needs to stimulate moderate levels of antibodies that neutralize the virus.

    August 11, 2015
    Medical Xpress
  • The National Health and Family Planning Commission and the Ministry of Education have jointly issued a circular calling for strengthening AIDS prevention and control work at school. Colleges and secondary schools are required to report epidemics of HIV/AIDS, at least every six months to the local education administrative departments for further analysis on the cause and factors that influence the outbreak, according to the notice.

    August 11, 2015
    People's Daily Online
  • The US Department of Health and Human Services last week released an update to its Recommendations for Use of Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnant HIV-1-Infected Women for Maternal Health and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States. Notable changes include discussion of antiretroviral treatment as prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for serodiscordant couples wishing to conceive, and a new section on options for perinatally infected women who are now pregnant themselves.

    August 11, 2015
    HIVandHepatitis
  • A new regional task team is to be established to drive the response to HIV prevention in East and Southern Africa....The decision to establish the team was taken at a Regional Think Tank meeting on HIV prevention on revitalising/reinvigorating HIV prevention in Johannesburg, South Africa on 4 August. The team is to take on the responsibility of advocacy, providing guidance and technical assistance, and implementation of prevention programmes or pilots.

    August 11, 2015
    Republikein
  • The World Health Organization released recommendations on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment care and needs of transgender people. Titled Transgender People and HIV, the policy brief is the first WHO document to focus exclusively on the global transgender population.

    August 10, 2015
    POZ
  • Recent data suggested that retreatment HIV drug resistance in sub-Saharan Africa was associated with a nearly fourfold increase in switching to second-line ART, but did not influence mortality or AIDS-related events. “The expanding exposure to antiretroviral drugs at a population level will lead to increased transmission of drug-resistant viruses,” the researchers wrote. “As a consequence, ART programs will be confronted with increasing numbers of patients that already carry drug strains before starting standard first-line ART.”

    August 10, 2015
    Healio
  • An early-2015 outbreak of HIV and hepatitis C virus in rural Indiana, USA...offers a good example of how to track and contain a localised outbreak, according to presentations at a late-breaking session at the International AIDS Society Conference last month in Vancouver. Attendees stressed that we already know how to prevent such outbreaks and called for implementation of needle exchange programmes and other proven-effective harm reduction measures.

    August 10, 2015
    Aidsmap
  • Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that more than one in four female sex workers in two Mexican cities on the US border entered the sex trade younger than age 18....These women were more than three times more likely to become infected with HIV than those who started sex work as adults. They were also...seven times less likely to use a condom during their first month in the sex trade. The study is published August 4 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    August 9, 2015
    Imperial Valley News
  • Margaret McCluskey, Senior Technical Advisor in USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS working on HIV vaccines, writes a tribute to the late Dr. Suniti Solomon, "who woke India up to HIV threat".

    August 7, 2015
    US Department of State
  • The former Soviet-ruled state hopes the policy change will help improve its relations with Europe. The European Union demanded the repeal of the ban, which has lasted 14 years, during its ongoing visa-free travel talks with Ukraine. Kiev currently aspires to strike a deal for an unrestricted travel agreement with Brussels next year, and hopes to apply for EU membership by 2020.

    August 6, 2015
    International Business Times
  • Those who want to take Truvada as [PrEP] say there are obstacles to actually getting the drug. For some,...it's that their primary care physicians say they don't know enough about the drug to prescribe it....Jim Pickett, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, said that the negative connotations surrounding Truvada's rollout as PrEP reminded him of the early days of the women's birth control pill...."There was a lot of attitude and a lot of shaming," Pickett said.

    August 6, 2015
    MedPage Today
  • In 2013, the CDC reported that the rate of new HIV infections (incidence) among women in the US had dropped by 21 percent between 2008 and 2010. This news led some people to assume that the impact of HIV on American women was diminishing. But, on closer examination, the data show that what we know is incomplete. The key question is how many women have HIV but don't know it.

    August 6, 2015
    The Body
  • The improved survival rate of HIV patients in sub-Saharan Africa due to effective treatment programs is increasing the ability of researchers in Africa to study the impacts of cardiovascular disease in HIV patients, according to a guest editor page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

    July 27, 2015
    Science Daily
  • High diversity among certain cells that help fight viruses and tumors is strongly associated with the likelihood of subsequent infection by HIV, researchers have found. Natural killer cells, or NK cells, are lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell....The findings, described in a study published in Science Translational Medicine, could spur the development of blood tests capable of flagging individuals' susceptibility to viral infection.

    July 22, 2015
    Science Daily

Published Research

  • This study shows that the high prevalence of HIV drug resistance observed among the ART-failed individuals should be of increasing concern (monitoring of resistance mutations) in ART regions and facilitate developing novel strategies for prevention and control of HIV infection in China.

    August 31, 2015
    AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
  • In 70 local health clinics run by the Indian state of Haryana, the parents of a child who starts the standard series of vaccinations can walk away with a free kilogram of sugar. And if the parents make sure that the child finishes the injections, they also get to take home a free litre of cooking oil. These simple gifts are part of massive [randomized] trial testing whether rewards can boost the stubbornly low immunization rates for poor children in the region.

    August 13, 2015
    Nature
  • Randomized controlled trials are providing evidence about interventions in health, education and international development, but...perhaps more important is what happens next. Politicians, government bureaucrats, activists and phil­anthropists will all be happy to talk about the value of randomized trials when the results support their policies and programmes. They must also have the courage to do so when the evidence goes the other way.

    August 13, 2015
    Nature
  • Even though the elimination of congenital syphilis has been on the maternal and child health agenda for over a decade, elimination has not yet been achieved; what, then, are the factors currently facilitating the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of syphilis?...The papers in this Supplement describe examples of the progress and achievements toward elimination, as well as a description of the remaining challenges.

    August 13, 2015
    Intl J Gynecology & Obstetrics
  • Baker et al. exposed fetal rhesus macaques to simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a close relative of HIV, during a prenatal period. They found that...the animals [experimentally infected after birth] did have...significantly lower viral loads after infection and altered immune responses associated with the control of viral replication. This study supports a new avenue for HIV vaccine design.

    August 12, 2015
    Science Translational Medicine
  • At current coverage, Options B and B+ reduced [adult] heterosexual HIV incidence by about 5 percent and 15 percent, respectively, in both [Uganda and South Africa]. With current ART and high PMTCT coverage, Option B+ reduced HIV incidence by 35 percent in Uganda and 19 percent in South Africa, while Option B had smaller, but meaningful, reductions. The greatest reductions in HIV incidence were achieved with high ART and PMTCT coverage. In this scenario, all PMTCT strategies yielded similar results.

    August 12, 2015
    PLoS ONE
  • These findings may not apply to settings such as HIV clinics in sub-Saharan Africa where patients do not always see the same care provider or to women. Nevertheless, this study identifies the patient-provider encounter as a key factor in ART usage by HIV-positive individuals....The researchers make several recommendations about the role of the provider in ART initiation.

    August 11, 2015
    PLoS ONE
  • It is widely believed that if an HIV vaccine elicits moderate in vitro titers of serum neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) against a challenge virus, it will prevent infection....Our data suggest that the relationship between serum in vitro nAb titers and protection from mucosal SIV challenge is more complex than previously recognized in the setting of active immunization, warranting further studies to understand the balance between immune activation, target cell availability, and protective antibody responses.

    August 10, 2015
    PNAS
  • A secondary analysis of data...was conducted amongst women participating in the MDP 301 trial in Durban, South Africa. Of the 2018 women enrolled, injectable contraception was the most commonly used method (52 percent)....Injectable contraception use was associated with lower crude pregnancy incidence of 4.4 per 100 woman-years compared to women using pills [19.3 per 100 woman-years], condoms [19.7 per 100 woman-years] and other methods [11.5 per 100 woman-years]. This effect remained significant when adjusted for age, level of education, and condom use at last sex act.

    August 10, 2015
    J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care
  • The Lancet Series on HIV and sex workers showed that decriminalisation of sex work would have the greatest effect on the course of HIV epidemics across all settings, averting 33–46 percent of HIV infections in the next decade. Such a move would also reduce mistreatment of sex workers and increase their access to human rights, including health care. The Lancet supports Amnesty's draft policy and urges its Board to adopt it at their upcoming meeting in Dublin.

    August 8, 2015
    Lancet
  • This study describes the epidemiology of BV in women at high risk for STI/HIV in Uganda [N=1027] between 2008–2011. Younger age, a higher number of previous sexual partners and current alcohol use were independently associated with prevalent BV. BV was associated with STIs, including HIV. Hormonal contraception and condom use were protective against BV....BV was highly prevalent and persistent in this cohort despite treatment. More effective treatment strategies are urgently needed.

    August 7, 2015
    Sex Transm Infect
  • The Garífuna, an ethnic minority group in Honduras, have been disproportionately affected by HIV....Using data from a 2012 population-based survey,..[we found that] among both men and women, temporary migration in the last year was associated with an increased likelihood of multiple sexual partnerships and with concurrency, though only the association between migration and multiple sexual partnerships among men was statistically significant.

    August 5, 2015
    AIDS and Behavior
  • Using respondent-driven sampling, 400, 411 and 429 FSW were enrolled in Maputo, Beira and Nampula in 2011–2012. HIV prevalence was 31.2, 23.6, and 17.8 percent in each location respectively. Among HIV-positive FSW, 48.1, 79.8 and 89.6 percent in each city were unaware of their serostatus. Condom use at last sex with a client was 85.8, 73.4 and 62.8 percent among FSW, respectively. HIV was associated with current age, age of first sex for money, low educational level, and having had a genital ulcer in the last 6 months.

    August 4, 2015
    AIDS and Behavior
  • In 2012 an estimated 2.1 million adolescents were living with HIV....In an effort to interest children and adolescents in learning more about HIV, we have created a description of the HIV replication cycle in LEGO mosaic....The hope is to draw in children and adolescents, and maybe adults, with interesting visuals and jumpy music, with a goal of motivating further investigation of the subject.

    August 1, 2015
    AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
  • The Army implemented a comprehensive HIV characterization program in 2012 following repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy banning openly homosexual individuals from serving in the United States military. A majority of HIV-infected soldiers were male and of black/African American racial origin. In the HIV risk period, male soldiers commonly reported male-male sexual contact, civilian partners, online partner-seeking, unprotected anal sex, and expressed surprise at having a positive HIV result.

    July 31, 2015
    JAIDS
  • Sex workers remain a vulnerable population at risk for HIV acquisition and transmission.... International efforts are taking a public health approach calling for decriminalization of sex work as the most effective public health strategy for reducing HIV incidence among sex workers. Although such an approach is not yet politically feasible in the US, some urgent practical policy changes can be implemented to improve... generation of evidence to support HIV programs targeting sex workers.

    July 27, 2015
    Reproductive Health Matters
  • A fundamental question in HIV research is how frequently the virus reactivates from latency, and thus how much the reservoir might need to be reduced to produce a prolonged antiretroviral-free HIV remission. Here we provide the first direct estimates of the frequency of viral recrudescence after ART interruption, combining data from four independent cohorts of patients undergoing treatment interruption, comprising 100 patients in total.

    July 2, 2015
    PLoS ONE

Announcements

  • This announcement encourages empirical and conceptual research projects in relation to research studies or program implementation for HIV or associated co-morbidities affecting one or more of the following: men who have sex with men; people who inject drugs; people in prisons and other closed settings; sex workers; transgender people or adolescent girls and young women at high risk of HIV acquisition or who are living with HIV.

    August 10, 2015