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18 March 2016 VOLUME 17 ISSUE 11

Media Coverage

  • Well-known researcher Hoosen Coovadia has found Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) strains in India that are identical to the strains found in South Africa. The South African scientist, credited with leading breakthrough research in preventing mother to child HIV transmission, found out that the “C” sub-type of the virus is found both in South Africa and India....According to him, migrants living in South Africa brought the deadly HIV to India.

    March 17, 2016
    International Business Times
  • The state will provide a once-daily pill to sex workers that will reduce their risk of contracting HIV. The intervention, known as Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), was announced last week at the launch of a South African National Sex Worker HIV Plan in Johannesburg. PrEP will be delivered in combination with other HIV prevention methods. The plan also provides for antiretrovirals to be made available to all sex workers who test positive for HIV regardless of CD4 count. This is a step ahead of the current national guidelines on the treatment of HIV.

    March 17, 2016
    GroundUp
  • Until last weekend, not a single presidential candidate had an official strategy for the global AIDS response....Senator Sanders is the only candidate who has offered any sort of vision for ending AIDS in the form of solid campaign commitments. Although Hillary Clinton has a record on global AIDS programs, it is time for her to move past citing her resume and present her plan for the future. And it is long overdue for the republican candidates to do the same.

    March 17, 2016
    Huffington Post
  • The National AIDS Commission says acceptability of the female condom is still worrisomely low in Malawi because of negative attitude of health service providers and a poor and incoherent supply chain in most areas of the country....Some men are claiming that with women wearing the condom, they experience ‘poor’ ejaculation and reduced pleasure during sexual intercourse.

    March 17, 2016
    Zodiak Online
  • The National AIDS Commission (NAC) has called for intensification of efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Malawi....While Malawi is on track...in some aspects, it is falling behind in some crucial prevention measures that have the potential to contribute to onward transmission. According to 2013 studies commissioned by NAC, the nation is still falling behind in some prevention measures like acceptability of female condoms, male involvement in HIV related services and male circumcision among others.

    March 17, 2016
    Capital Radio Malawi
  • Who cannot take Truvada: If you are HIV-positive‚ you cannot take the drug as it will not treat HIV and you will develop resistance to the drug. Do you need it? Read this dummies guide to find out.

    March 17, 2016
    Times Live
  • South Africa has announced that thousands of HIV-negative sex workers will be eligible to receive antiretrovirals (ARV) to help prevention of HIV infection. Confused? Here are the five things you should know about PrEP.

    March 17, 2016
    Move!Mag
  • The only HIV vaccine that currently has the potential to be licensed and used for treatment is being tested in South Africa.

    March 17, 2016
    Times Live
  • Many doctors fail to tell women living with HIV that having an undetectable viral load dramatically reduces their risk of transmitting HIV, according to a new report. The study, conducted by...Positive Women's Network-USA, found that of 180 women surveyed, 38% were not told by their doctors that HIV viral load suppression can minimize the risk of HIV transmission....Researchers also discovered that women 44 years old or younger living with HIV did not receive adequate sexual and reproductive healthcare.

    March 16, 2016
    The Body
  • Despite Hillary Clinton’s apology for controversial remarks last week..., the issue doesn’t seem to be going away for the candidate as the 2016 campaign season continues. In a joint letter dated March 15, a group of more than 70 advocates urge Clinton to appoint an HIV advisor to her campaign, meet with HIV community leadership and declare a commitment to end the AIDS epidemic nationally by 2025. “Silence still equals death, Secretary Clinton,” the letter says.

    March 16, 2016
    Washington Blade
  • The Elton John AIDS Foundation and Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation have teamed up once again in a historic and strategic move to combat the AIDS epidemic in The South, where the focus is desperately needed.....They have awarded a whopping $330,000 in grants to five of the most deserving programs in the Southern US in order to gain momentum in their global assault on this deadly disease.

    March 16, 2016
    Huffington Post
  • Aspen Pharma, local manufacturer of Truvada, and doctors have called on medical aids to cover use of the drug as pre-exposure prophylaxis. Aspen senior executive Stavros Nicolau said the company was reducing Truvada's private-sector price "imminently" from R550 to R480 a month to improve use....Metropolitan manager Siraaj Adams said medical aid schemes his company administered would pay for preventative treatment for high-risk individuals. Adams suggested more "advocacy may be needed to drive down the price of the drug".

    March 16, 2016
    Times Live
  • In Malawi, it is and will be the first time the drone technology is used in the continent to conduct health research in improving HIV services. The country started testing the use of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to try and cut down on the time it takes to test for HIV in infants living in rural areas. The research, being run by the UN children’s agency (UNICEF), is currently using simulated samples.

    March 16, 2016
    Africa News
  • HIV infection can lead to...increased gastrointestinal inflammation, diarrhea and problems with nutrient absorption....Two studies led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified intestinal bacteria and viruses as possible sources of such inflammation and disease....Both [studies] showed that changes in the viral and bacterial makeup of the GI tract were linked to severe immunodeficiency due to progression of HIV in human patients and SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus) in primates.

    March 16, 2016
    Medical XPress
  • The detailed results of the phase IIA clinical trial of Biosantech's candidate anti-HIV vaccine, its main objective being to demonstrate a reduction in viremic recovery as well as in pro-viral DNA after a temporary halt in triple therapy, have just been published in Retrovirology. In light of these encouraging results, Biosantech has announced its intention to carry out an extensive evaluation during 2016, in order to be able to request a Marketing Authorization Application in second half of 2018.

    March 16, 2016
    Business Wire
  • There will be new diseases in future for which there aren’t any vaccines and...countries need to be able to anticipate potential diseases and prepare their health systems. These were some of the biggest lessons Professor Helen Rees, executive director, Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, said the global health community had learnt from the Ebola virus in West Africa and Zika virus in South and Central America. Rees was speaking on the first day of the Global Vaccines and Immunisation Research Forum in Sandton on Tuesday.

    March 16, 2016
    IOL
  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases...announced today that it would move forward with an open-label extension study of the dapivirine ring...to begin to answer the scientific questions...in a setting in which all participants are invited to use the ring. The HIV Open-label Prevention Extension (HOPE) study is a multi-site, open-label, Phase 3b trial that will gather additional data on the safety of the dapivirine ring and study participants’ adherence.

    March 16, 2016
    HIV&Hepatitis
  • Some health workers in Asia are refusing to perform surgery and provide services for people living with HIV, and even expelling patients from hospitals and forcing women to undergo sterilisation....In China and Vietnam, discrimination took the form of changing the recommended option for treatment..., said the four-country study supported by Asia Catalyst....In Myanmar and Cambodia, patients with HIV were relegated to segregated waiting areas and bed spaces.

    March 15, 2016
    Reuters
  • Citing "seriously flawed" methodology and "unjustified" claims, the journal Vaccine has permanently withdrawn a previously published study critical of Merck's Gardasil. The study..., by lead author Yehuda Shoenfeld, [known for research questioning vaccine safety,]...found that mice injected with Gardasil exhibited abnormal behaviors and called for a curb on immunization programs utilizing the vaccine....The developments are likely to add to public confusion surrounding HPV vaccines, which since their launch have been unable to gather the traction analysts earlier predicted.

    March 15, 2016
    FierceVaccines
  • A study of millions of journal articles shows that their authors are increasingly reporting p-values but are often doing so in a misleading way, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. P-values are a measure of statistical significance intended to inform scientific conclusions....The widespread misuse of p-values -- often creating the illusion of credible research -- has become an embarrassment to several academic fields, including psychology and biomedicine.

    March 15, 2016
    Science Daily
  • The Washington Post recently published an article assessing the potential of a new product – a vaginal ring that secretes the antiretroviral drug dapivirine – to protect women from the HIV virus. PSI’s Director of HIV and Tuberculosis Programs, Nina Hasen responds.

    March 15, 2016
    PSI Impact
  • I’m a white gay man living with HIV, and I’m tired of us hogging the HIV spotlight. From ACT UP to PrEP, our experiences and opinions seem to have more weight, despite the fact that we are just one facet of an incredibly diverse community of people living with and affected by HIV. So how can we be better at sharing the stage?

    March 15, 2016
    Out
  • The US government says it will pay for new tests of a drug-impregnated ring that women can use to protect themselves from the AIDS virus...." It's worth finding out why the ring worked so well in older women but not at all in the youngest women", says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which will pay for the study.

    March 14, 2016
    NBC News
  • Call her Margret Nakamya.....When the 32-year old describes what she went through taking care of her late aunt, her eyes become teary and she has to pause several times in her story. Finally she bursts out: “I can protect myself but what about the others?” The mother of four told The Independent that is why she enrolled in trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy in preventing HIV of a vaginal ring containing the anti-retroviral drug dapivirine.

    March 14, 2016
    The Independent
  • A crowdfunding website dedicated to global public health initiatives by healthcare nonprofits hopes to provide a funding vehicle for much-needed healthcare resources for developing countries. Johnson & Johnson is behind CaringCrowd and launched the website in September. In an interview at SXSW’s Medtech Expo with CaringCrowd co-founder Derek Fetzer, he said 33 percent of the projects that have been posted have been funded.

    March 12, 2016
    MedCity News
  • This Week in Sex is a weekly summary of news and research related to sexual behavior, sexuality education, contraception, STIs, and more.

    March 11, 2016
    RH Reality Check
  • Transgender women have among the highest rates of HIV infection but little is known about HIV prevalence among trans men, Tonia Poteat of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said in a plenary lecture on transgender health and HIV at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016) in Boston – the first ever on this population at CROI. A growing number of studies and prevention and treatment programmes are addressing transgender populations, but more research is needed.

    March 11, 2016
    aidsmap
  • Citing growing evidence linking Zika virus to microcephaly and other abnormalities,...lack of funding is hindering planning and delivery of urgent work to confront the disease. In addition, Tom Frieden, US CDC, and Anthony Fauci, NIAID, said that while they are able to reallocate some resources in the short term, that comes at the cost of other ongoing work, including dengue and tick borne viruses, and in HIV as well as flu vaccine research.

    March 10, 2016
    Science Speaks
  • A recently published meta-analysis estimates that nearly 2.3 million people may be coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C virus,...[with] the burden greatest in eastern Europe and central Asia....In a related commentary, Graham Cooke and Timothy Hallett, Imperial College London, were cautious due to the wide confidence intervals of the estimates and their reliance on HCV antibodies as opposed to detectable virus. Regardless, they wrote that analyses are necessary to shape global efforts against HCV.

    March 10, 2016
    Healio
  • Researchers from the CDC in February published a study of HIV rates among female sex workers in the United States....The authors noted that they had little material to work with: The paper reviewed 14 studies, of which only two were done in the last decade. Thus, the authors note, “The burden of HIV among this population remains poorly understood"....This omission is one that HIV-focused activists, at the urging of sex worker rights organizations, are starting to notice.

    March 10, 2016
    RH Reality Check
  • A long-acting bioengineered "combinectin" molecule with a triple mechanism of action demonstrated potent antiviral activity...and lowered viral load in humanized mice, according to research presented at CROI 2016 last month. BMS-986197 is an injectable biologic agent which investigators think could potentially be self-administered as a long-acting subcutaneous injection; combining different modes of action in a single agent could avoid the need for multiple injections.

    February 22, 2016
    CROI

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