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18 JULY 2014, VOLUME 15, ISSUE 29

Media Coverage

  • AVAC's thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of our colleagues and all those who lost their lives in the Malaysia airline crash on July 17.
     
    July 18, 2014
    AVAC
  • HIV/AIDS is "not yesterday's issue; it is not a problem that has gone away", HIV campaigner Lord Norman Fowler has told a UNSW audience, arguing that the epidemic needs to be raised higher on the global public health agenda....Lord Fowler is in Sydney for the publication of his new book AIDS: Don't Die of Prejudice based on Lord Fowler's visits to nine cities in countries including Russia, India and Uganda, where he has observed a range of entrenched, prejudicial views that act as "enormous" barriers to HIV prevention.
    July 17, 2014
    Medical Xpress
  • Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued new comprehensive guidelines for addressing HIV/AIDS in so-called "key populations"-- the current global health lingo for often-marginalized populations that are heavily affected by the AIDS epidemic including gay men and other men who have sex with men, people in prison, people who inject drugs, sex workers and transgender people.
     
    July 17, 2014
    Huffington Post
  • ImQuest Pharmaceuticals was recently notified by the US Food and Drug Administration of the approval of its Investigational New Drug application to study the safety in Phase 1 clinical trials of its vaginal gel containing the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase HIV Inhibitor IQP-0528, being developed with the goal of preventing HIV transmission to women worldwide. ImQuest plans to start recruiting trial participants at medical centers in United States by the end of the year....
    July 16, 2014
    PR Newswire
  • Truvada, the once-a-day pill to help keep people from contracting HIV, is on the cover of this week’s New York magazine, and Tim Murphy’s cover story focuses on how the pill is changing sex by drastically reducing gay men’s fear of infection....Mr. Murphy writes, “When taken every day, it’s been shown in a major study to be up to 99 percent effective.” This is a claim I hear thrown around a lot among gay men in New York. And it’s wrong....
    July 16, 2014
    New York Times
  • New HIV infections and deaths from AIDS are decreasing, the United Nations said Wednesday in a report issued ahead of an AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia...."The AIDS epidemic can be ended in every region, country, location, population and community," said Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS director. "We have a fragile five-year window to build on the rapid results that been made," he said. "If we accelerate all HIV scale-up by 2020, we will be on track to end the epidemic by 2030.
    July 16, 2014
    Reuters
  • There is a chance the AIDS epidemic can be brought under control by 2030, according to a report by the United Nations AIDS agency. However, it called for far more international effort as the "current pace cannot end the epidemic"....While some things are improving, the picture is far from rosy.
    July 16, 2014
    BBC NEWS
  • Less than 3 percent of the US population identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday in the first large-scale government survey measuring Americans’ sexual orientation.
    July 15, 2014
    Washington Post
  • Epidemiological intelligence is telling us that HIV is being pushed into "hot spots," or pockets where the disease is most heavily concentrated and where people most at risk of having HIV live....the people most marginalized by society....So when we talk about bringing the epidemic under control we look beyond the tyranny of averages and instead focus our efforts on areas and sub-areas of high transmission and on those most at risk, using the more refined epidemiological data that is available....
    July 15, 2014
    Huffington Post
  • Remarkable events are unfolding at the Scripps Research Institute in California, where faculty members have rebelled against their president’s attempts to merge with the University of Southern California....Highly dependent on funding from the US National Institutes of Health, many independents have closed or merged with larger institutions. But in an interesting departure, Scripps faculty members have said no to the deal, argued against its entire basis and taken matters into their own hands....
    July 15, 2014
    Nature
  • The presence of armed groups and continued fighting causing displacement across the Central African Republic (CAR) has led to an escalation of insecurity leaving women and girls vulnerable to forced marriage and extreme violence, including rape....Women and girls are also recruited into armed groups and militias where they are extremely vulnerable to sexual violence, forced marriage, to HIV/AIDS and the stigma of being in the armed group or militia. 
    July 15, 2014
    IRIN
  • The revolution of the last couple of years is a Rubicon. We now know that any HIV-positive man on meds is no more infectious than someone who is HIV-negative. We also know that an HIV-negative man who is on Truvada cannot get infected. This means that there is no more HIV divide in the gay world – or rather that its empirical basis has just been completely erased. Which means, quite simply, that gay men for the first time since 1981 can live without fear of HIV if they so wish.
    July 15, 2014
    Dish
  • When biomedical answers have supplanted behavior change messages as the most promising measures of preventing HIV transmission, what is the role of health communication in confronting the epidemic now? That is one of the questions an interdisciplinary group met to discuss at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health last year and it led to the just released Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes special issue focused on Health Communication Strategies in Combination HIV Prevention and Care Programs. 
     
    July 15, 2014
    Science Speaks
  • The WHO announced Friday that for the first time, it “strongly recommends” that men who have sex with men should consider antiretroviral drugs along with condoms as an additional method of preventing HIV infection.
    July 14, 2014
    BuzzFeed
  • When the...US-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement was leaked late last year, it confirmed everything public health watchers had warned about for years..., so the US proposed giving the poorest countries more time to comply....
    July 14, 2014
    Huffington Post
  • An easy-to-use new form of the injectable contraceptive Depo-Provera was introduced last week in Burkina Faso, the first of four African countries in which it will be rolled out this year....Injectable contraceptives that last for three months are very popular in Africa and some other places where women may not want their husbands to realize they are using birth control....The country’s health ministry hopes to have contraception available to 25 percent of married women by next year.
    July 14, 2014
    New York Times
  • In Africa, HIV self-testing is being explored as a way of encouraging more individuals, particularly in high risk groups, to know their status as a first step to seeking treatment, an AIDS charity said on Monday....The Southern African AIDS Trust published legal research on Monday comparing laws and outlining the human rights implications of HIV self-testing in 10 countries [and]....identified barriers to HIV self-testing in [those] countries.
     
    July 14, 2014
    Reuters
  • Russia is home to the world's most explosive HIV epidemic, with an estimated 1.2 million infections accounting for 55 percent of the total number in Europe. While the epidemic is concentrated among people who inject drugs - primarily opioids - there is growing evidence that it is spreading to the general population. The government exacerbates the problem by creating a climate of fear, repression and stigmatization for drug users while simultaneously denying them access to effective treatment....
    July 14, 2014
    Moscow Times
  • I am a doctor who specializes in LGBT health and HIV medicine. I have spent the last 30 years working to help my patients who have HIV live with the illness and trying to help those who are HIV negative stay that way. I am also a 60-year-old gay man who has spent those same three decades trying to keep myself from becoming infected with HIV. I am tired of being scared, so I am starting on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). I hope that by sharing my story I may help others make decisions about protecting their own health.
     
    July 11, 2014
    The Body
  • Male-to-female transgender women (TGW) are the most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. However, little data have been generated on the efficacy of new HIV prevention technologies in this community, and concerns have been raised regarding the participation of TGW in HIV prevention research. I want to share some reflections, based on my experience planning and organizing community education, recruitment and retention of men who have sex with men (MSM) and TGW in HIV/AIDS research in Peru, Ecuador and the US for the past 14 years.
    July 11, 2014
    The Body
  • Under-the-radar San Diego startup Hera Therapeutics looks to be raising some early-stage capital to further its work in the antivirals space. The company, which is developing direct acting antivirals for human papilloma virus, human and animal retroviruses and herpes group viruses, filed regulatory paperwork to raise $1.3 million. Hera Therapeutics is housed in the Janssen Labs accelerator in San Diego....
     
    July 11, 2014
    Hera Therapeutics
  • As the United Nations continues negotiations on a new set of Sustainable Development Goals for its post-2015 development agenda, population experts are hoping reproductive health will be given significant recognition in the final line-up of the goals later this year....An upcoming Special Session of the General Assembly in mid-September may further strengthen reproductive rights and the right to universal family planning.
    July 10, 2014
    IPS News
  • Two months shy of her fourth birthday, paediatricians gave the ‘Mississippi baby’ bad news: her HIV infection, seemingly vanquished by aggressive therapy soon after her birth, had rebounded. The young patient will now face years, if not a lifetime, of antiretroviral therapy. And researchers are now scrambling to determine how this will affect clinical trials aiming to repeat the child's apparent cure.
    July 10, 2014
    Nature

Published Research

  • In this open-label trial in sub-Saharan Africa, we randomly assigned 1277 adults and adolescents with HIV infection and first-line treatment failure to receive a ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor plus clinician-selected NRTIs...When given with a protease inhibitor in second-line therapy, NRTIs retained substantial virologic activity without evidence of increased toxicity, and there was no advantage to replacing them with raltegravir. Virologic control was inferior with protease-inhibitor monotherapy. 
    July 17, 2014
    New England Journal of Medicine
  • Rectal-specific microbicides were designed to include those that spread and coat all surfaces of the rectum and distal colon rapidly (liquid) and those that create a deformable, erodible barrier and remain localized at the administration site (gel). Both TFV and UC781 formulations protected the colonic tissue, regardless of tissue source, from HIV-1 and retained tissue viability and architecture. Our in vitro and ex vivo results show successful formulation of unique RMs. 
    July 16, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • The first publicly funded program to provide methadone maintenance therapy to people who inject opiate drugs on the mainland of sub-Saharan Africa retained clients at rates comparable to wealthier countries and, in the process, yielded information that could increase the success of other such programs, a study has shown.
    July 14, 2014
    Science Speaks
  • Increasing prevalence in Australia's men who have sex with men raises questions about treatment as prevention. Only 1253 people received an HIV diagnosis in Australia in 2012, a testament to nearly 3 decades of aggressive prevention efforts. But there's a troubling caveat: The number of new diagnoses jumped 10% from the preceding year, and cases have steadily risen since 1999. And 70% of the new infections occurred in men who have sex with men (MSM).
    July 11, 2014
    Science
  • Science's special section on HIV/AIDS focuses on the success of Australia's approach to combating HIV and its neighbors’ (Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea) efforts emulating some of Australia's methods to stem their own epidemics. However, critical issues remain unresolved about how to develop even more effective responses against HIV than now exist.
    July 11, 2014
    Science
  • Two approaches are currently being pursued to elicit antibody-mediated protection: vaccines that induce potent and broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) or vaccines that induce “conventional antibodies,” which are less potent and broadly neutralizing in comparison....Here, I present evidence that both approaches should be pursued with equal vigor.
    July 11, 2014
    Science
  • Since 2001, HIV incidence has declined by 33% worldwide, and more than 9.7 million people with HIV have gained access to treatment. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS launched the Getting to Zero strategy (2011-2015) that includes zero new infections, zero deaths from HIV, and zero discrimination. Aspirational statements such as "the end of AIDS" have also prevailed. However, do such pronouncements help or hurt? Do they motivate action, or risk incredulity, leading to inaction? Do such aspirations epitomize hype or hope?
    July 11, 2014
    Science
  • If Alistair Coia lived in any of Australia's poorer neighboring countries, he likely would not have seen his 50th birthday. But he celebrated it on 17 March this year, in a spacious hospital room [in] a wing of the Alfred, Melbourne's venerable public hospital, specifically designed for AIDS patients....But now, this state-of-the-art AIDS ward may be closing—not because of lack of funding or political opposition, but because AIDS simply isn't a big problem in Melbourne anymore....
    July 11, 2014
    Science
  • Shortly after the AIDS epidemic surfaced in Australia, an aggressive effort began to prevent the spread of HIV in people who inject drugs....HIV never got a serious foothold in this extremely vulnerable population, and Australia's harm reduction strategies eventually spread to nearby Indonesia and Malaysia, which initially had epidemics driven mainly by injecting drug use.
    July 11, 2014
    Science
  • Antiretroviral treatment (ART) of HIV infection suppresses viral replication. Yet if ART is stopped, virus re-emerges due to the persistence of infected cells. We evaluated the contribution of infected-cell proliferation and sites of proviral integration to HIV persistence....Over time on ART, a greater proportion of persisting proviruses were in proliferating cells. HIV integration into specific genes may promote proliferation of HIV-infected cells, slowing viral decay during ART.
    July 11, 2014
    Science
  • A new study finds that very few scientists—fewer than 1%—manage to publish a paper every year....The research, published 9 July in PLOS ONE, was led by epidemiologist John Ioannidis of Stanford University.... He suspected that only a few scientists are able to publish papers year in, year out. But the finding that less than 1% do so surprised him....If he could pick one thing to do, Ioannidis would recommend spreading resources "to give more opportunities to a wider pool of scientists, especially younger ones...."
     
    July 11, 2014
    Science
  • We have validated a method to identify cases of new diagnosis of HIV infection in large administrative datasets. This method, which has a sensitivity of 83%, specificity of 86%, positive predictive value of 85%, and negative predictive value of 90% can be used in analyses of the epidemiology of newly diagnosed HIV infection.
    July 11, 2014
    AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses.
  • Virus has returned in a child in Mississippi thought to have been cured of an HIV  infection, dashing hopes that scientists had found a strategy that would have widespread impact. After the girl went 27 months with no detectable virus in her blood, the sobering news “felt very much like a punch to the gut,” said her pediatrician, Hannah Gay of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, who spoke at a media teleconference today.
    July 10, 2014
    Science
  • HIV-1 infection depends on effective viral entry mediated by the interaction of its envelope (Env) glycoprotein with specific cell surface receptors. Protective antiviral antibodies generated by passive or active immunization must prevent these interactions. [Our] findings demonstrate the protective efficacy of broadly neutralizing antibodies directed to the HIV-1 Env and suggest that targeting the HIV-1 Env is preferable to the cell surface receptor CD4 for the prevention of HIV-1 transmission.
    July 2, 2014
    Sci Trans Med

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