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14 NOVEMBER 2014 VOLUME 15 ISSUE 46

Media Coverage

  • Depo-Provera, an injectable contraceptive given once every three months, is already a popular choice of women in developing countries, who value the convenience and discretion of not having to take a daily birth control pill. But the injections are out of reach for many more women because they live in rural areas that are too far from a health clinic to make the treatments practical.
    November 14, 2014
    New York Times
  • Findings from further studies using a reformulation of the only HIV vaccine that has ever worked in a large efficacy trial were presented at the recent HIV Research for Prevention conference (HIVR4P). They showed evidence of stronger antibody responses, and in-depth analysis of these responses shows that by further developing a similar vaccine it may be possible to push the immune system into generating an antibody response to HIV that is sufficiently strong to prevent most infections.
    November 13, 2014
    AIDSMap
  • What is usually called ‘treatment as prevention’ lies behind the ambitious new target announced by UNAIDS earlier this year...to have 72.9% of all the HIV-positive people in the world virally undetectable by 2020. A symposium at the recent HIV Research for Prevention conference explored whether this was feasible and how its success could be measured – and heard about barriers that could impede progress. (Symposium 3, Treatment as Prevention: The Promise and the Perils)
     
    November 12, 2014
    AIDSMap
  • The Taraba State Aids Control Agency (TACA) said yesterday that it has disbursed N61 million to 17 civil society organisations to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. TACA Director General, Dr Siman Ambita'a, said the over N200 million provided by the World Bank, fhi360 and other partners was to be disbursed to the civil society organisations in tranches. Taraba State has the second highest HIV prevalence rate in the country...10.5 per cent.
    November 11, 2014
    Daily Trust
  • Almost half of the men who have sex with men in Durban are HIV infected and about a quarter of such men in Johannesburg and Cape Town have HIV, according to a Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) study released Tuesday. The Durban figure of 48.2% is significantly higher than the 37.4% HIV infection rate among pregnant women who attend government clinics in Kwazulu-Natal, the country’s highest rate in this category, according to government data. 
     
    November 11, 2014
    Mail & Guardian
  • The latest draft of a bill targeting “unnatural sexual practices” from a Uganda Parliament committee seeking to replace the country’s nullified Anti-Homosexality Act would punish “anyone providing premises, distributing textual or visual material or any other means to interest a person in unnatural sexual practices . . .” with up to seven years in prison....a proposal both painstakingly specific and sweepingly broad.
     
    November 10, 2014
    Science
  • Ebola has focused attention on the inability of local health systems to contain a major disease outbreak. But even in African nations untouched by the epidemic, health systems are struggling with insufficient financing and poor organization, holding back progress against malaria, HIV/AIDS and basic health problems such as infant mortality....Over the last decade, more than half of sub-Saharan countries have either cut the share of government spending devoted to healthcare, or barely increased it....
     
    November 10, 2014
    Los Angeles Times
  • House Democrats on Monday urged Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to include more funding for the National Institutes of Health in the next government funding bill. In a letter to Boehner and Pelosi, more than 100 House Democrats called for setting NIH's funding level to the agency's pre-sequester level, adjusted for inflation.
    November 10, 2014
    The Hill
  • The reduction of gender-based violence in the national response against HIV/AIDS is important for its prevention and mitigation in the country, National Programme Officer of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women in Nigeria), Adekemi Ndieli, has said. She stated this in Abuja at the national stakeholders validation meeting for the National Action Plan on Gender Based Violence.
    November 10, 2014
    Daily Trust
  • ...For Lourenco Zuanza, 17, ... who plays soccer and says he gets good grades, was at the circumcision clinic last week because he learned about HIV in school. He said that among his friends, the circumcision issue is closely linked to masculinity. "Those who don't get cut and take care of themselves -- they are not a strong man," he told HuffPost.
     
    November 8, 2014
    Huffington Post
  • “Prevention is failing for young women,” says Lillian Mworeko, HIV expert with International Community of Women Living with HIV in Eastern Africa, based in Uganda. Among women in East and Southern Africa, four out of ten new HIV infections among women aged 15 years and over happen among  those aged 15 to 24,...with rates among young women double or triple those of their male peers.
     
    November 7, 2014
    IPS
  • The 2014 Aid Transparency Index ranks major international donor agencies on the degree to which they share aid information in a manner that is timely, comprehensive, comparable and accessible. Among US government agencies, the Millenium Challenge Corporation came in first (making it the only US agency among the top 7 internationally)....
    November 6, 2014
    The Hill
  • Gilead  Sciences announced that it has submitted a new drug application to the FDA for its investigational tenofovir alafenamide [TAF]-based regimen for treatment of adults with HIV-1 infection. TAF is a novel prodrug of tenofovir, the active agent in tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Viread)....The company plans to file a regulatory application for the TAF-based regimen in the European Union by the end of the year.
    November 6, 2014
    Healio
  • The number of people using Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the US is increasing, and a growing proportion of users are men, according to an analysis of data from approximately half of American pharmacies presented this week at the HIV Drug Therapy 2014 conference in Glasgow.
    November 6, 2014
    HIV & Hepatitis
  • ...[And] a momentum not just from advances in HIV vaccine science but across the HIV biomedical prevention field....The potential for the sum of those advances has driven an optimism that has researchers talking about which preventive product might be used by whom in what combination with other prevention products, most of which do not exist yet for distribution, all of which face obstacles....At the same time, a heightened circumspection about what is not known and about what additional surprises science might still spring drove the content of much of
    November 4, 2014
    Science Speaks
  • The National Institutes of Health [has] announced the start of a global clinical trial in which newborns infected with the virus that causes AIDS will be given antiretroviral medication within two days of birth. After two years, the infected youngsters will be taken off the medication, stay off it for as long as the virus remains undetectable in their blood, and be closely monitored through at least age 5. 
    November 4, 2014
    Los Angeles Times

Published Research

  • Attitudes changed little between 2011 and 2013; most participants remained sceptical about the preventative benefits of HIV treatment. Agreement was associated with being HIV-positive, having an HIV-positive regular partner, and having received HIV post-exposure prophylaxis. In contrast, 71.8% agreed that early antiretroviral treatment is necessary; younger men were more likely and HIV-positive men and participants with HIV-positive partners were much less likely to agree with this.
    November 14, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • At the recent HIV Research for Prevention 2014 (HIV R4P) conference in Cape Town, South Africa, almost 1400 researchers from around the world came together to discuss advances in biobehavioural HIV prevention science. The rationale for this first-time meeting was that investigators need to understand the latest research findings from a wide array of disciplines, if the most promising approaches to HIV prevention can be transformed into sustained, cohesive responses that will arrest the pandemic.
     
    November 14, 2014
    Lancet
  • MSWs primarily accessed care in emergency rooms, substance use clinics, correctional institutions, and walk-in clinics. Rates of HIV testing were high, but MSWs reported low access to other STI testing, low insurance coverage, and unmet healthcare needs. MSM were more likely to report access to primary and specialist care....more STI testing, insurance coverage, and fewer unmet needs. Preferred PrEP providers for both included primary care physicians, infectious disease specialists, and psychiatrists.
    November 13, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • For women, the order of penile insertion, condom use, and ejaculation by orifice during sexual events affects the probability of HIV transmission and design of HIV prevention methods. For most of the women in our study vaginal intercourse (VI) accompanied anal intercourse (AI), with AI usually occurring after VI. This evidence for use of multiple orifices during the same sexual encounter and low use of condoms across orifices supports the need for a multicompartment HIV prevention strategy.
    November 13, 2014
    J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr
  • The Advances in Mucosal Immunology: Challenges and Opportunities Collection reports the results of the efforts of the HIV Mucosal Immunology Group (MIG) MIG investigators, providing important, practical details on studying immune responses in the genital and rectal mucosa, which will help guide future studies of HIV prevention with vaccines and topical microbicides. New papers will be added to this Collection on a regular basis.
    November 13, 2014
    PLOS Collections
  • Repeated mucosal sampling in [105 HIV candidate vaccines] clinical trial participants in Kenya [was] feasible, with a good proportion of participants consenting to most sampling methods with the exception of rectal samples. Experienced staff members of both sexes and trained counselors with standardized messaging may improve acceptance of rectal sampling.
    November 13, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • [Our] data help to explain why microbicides have failed to protect against HIV in clinical trials and also suggest that the in vitro efficacy of candidate microbicides should be determined in the presence of semen to identify the best candidates for the prevention of HIV sexual transmission. 
    November 13, 2014
    Sci Transl Med
  • MSM engaged in proportionately fewer sexual activities which present a high HIV transmission risk when travelling internationally, namely unprotected receptive and insertive anal intercourse and particularly with HIV serodiscordant partners....These findings suggest that when travelling internationally, MSM may experience behavioural disinhibition to a lesser extent than described previously.
     
    November 13, 2014
    Sex Transm Infect
  • [Our] results demonstrate that high intake of alcohol is associated with an increased risk for prevalent HPV infections among men. The biological role that alcohol plays in genital HPV infection remains understudied and limited epidemiological data exist, especially among men.
    November 13, 2014
    Sex Transm Infect
  • [This article] describes the case of a 22-year-old woman who had advanced HIV infection but no apparent risk factors for acquiring HIV. She reported having shared manicure instruments years before with a cousin later found to be HIV-positive. Genetic analysis of the viruses from both patients suggests that they shared a common viral ancestor, indicating the possibility that HIV was transmitted via the manicure instruments.
    November 13, 2014
    AIDS Research & Human Retroviruses
  • This study illustrated that the facility-level costs of ART are lower than previously understood in these five countries. While limitations must be considered, and costs will vary across countries, this suggests that expanded treatment coverage may be affordable. Further research is needed to understand investment costs of treatment scale-up, non-facility costs and opportunities for more efficient resource allocation.
     
    November 13, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • Oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infections were more common among men who had female partners with oral and/or genital HPV infection, suggesting that the transmission of HPV occurs via both oral-oral and oral-genital routes, according to a McGill University study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
    November 12, 2014
    Science Daily
  • ...But how the virus selects its insertion points has puzzled virologists for over 20 years. Now a team of KU Leuven researchers has discovered that the answer lies in two amino acids [that] determine the integration site, not only for HIV but also for related animal-borne viruses." With Dr. Thumbi Ndung'u (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa), the team studied the impact of these viral variants on the progression towards AIDS in a cohort of African HIV patients....
    November 12, 2014
    Science Daily
  • HIV/AIDS prevention can be difficult in countries with limited resources, especially for the millions of affected children who are less likely to tolerate antiretroviral drugs. To overcome this challenge, researchers at Penn State University have developed a delivery system for the antiretroviral Ritonavir that uses a protein in cow's milk for oral administration of the drug [and] are working with the NIH and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to move the experiments into clinical trials.
     
    November 12, 2014
    FierceDrugDelivery
  • 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
  • New research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that HIV-infected adults are at a higher risk for developing heart attacks, kidney failure and cancer. But, contrary to what many had believed, the researchers say these illnesses are occurring at similar ages as adults who are not infected with HIV. The findings appeared online last month in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
    November 11, 2014
    Science Daily
  • There was widespread misunderstanding and misinterpretation of questions about anal sex asked of participants in the Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic (VOICE) trial, according to findings of a qualitative ancillary study ["VOICE-D"] presented at the HIV Research for Prevention conference (R4P) in Cape Town, South Africa last month (Abstract OA02.05).
    November 10, 2014
    AIDSMap
  • Investigators at Harvard say that they have successfully used CRISPR Cas gene-editing tools to come up with a new approach in curing HIV. And they're prepping for animal studies now to see if they can provide some preclinical proof-of-concept data to back up their lab experiment.
    November 10, 2014
    FierceBiotech Research
  • Microparticles containing conserved HIV epitopes may be able to prime antigen-presenting dendritic cells, which in turn activate antigen-specific CD8 killer T-cells, offering a potential new approach for developing T-cell-based preventive or therapeutic HIV vaccines, researchers with the open-access Immunity Project reported at the HIV Research for Prevention (HIV R4P) conference last week in Cape Town. 
    November 10, 2014
    HIV & Hepatitis
  • Among pregnant women infected with HIV, use of antiretroviral medications early in pregnancy to treat their HIV or to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV does not appear to increase the risk of birth defects in their infants, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health....[T]he researchers did find that one ARV drug, atazanavir, was associated with increased risk of birth defects and should be studied further.
    November 10, 2014
    Science Daily
  • Many young lesbian and bisexual women [are at risk for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cervical disease. but] have not had a recent Pap test. HPV self-testing at home may be a promising future strategy for reaching and screening these women. Findings highlight beliefs and concerns that could be addressed by self-test programmes.
     
    November 9, 2014
    J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care
  • “Early detection and treatment are likely to be critical strategies in chlamydia control to prevent complications and reduce transmission,” the researchers wrote in Clinical Infectious Diseases. “Our study shows that most rectal infections are asymptomatic and confirm previous findings that using a history of anal intercourse to screen for rectal chlamydia is not a reliable triaging tool for anatomical site-specific testing.”
    November 6, 2014
    Healio
  • The widely prescribed non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) efavirenz substantially reduces levels of the hormonal contraceptive levonorgestrel, a component of a progesterone contraceptive implant widely used in developing countries, according to findings from a study conducted in Uganda presented on Monday at the HIV Drug Therapy Glasgow conference.
     
    November 3, 2014
    AIDSMap

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