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18 September 2015 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 38

Media Coverage

  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) against HIV infection utilizing tenofovir/emtricitabine (Truvada) has been nothing short of revolutionary in changing the landscape of HIV prevention. What has been less discussed are the enormous secondary benefits that have followed the introduction of PrEP.

    September 18, 2015
    The Body Pro
  • I think PrEP is a huge step forward, I prescribe it...But we should report the study results responsibly, in part because tossing around unfounded 100% efficacy estimates can have real danger. If at-risk men hear they are 100% protected by PrEP, and as a result decide they no longer need to use condoms or take any number of complementary risk reduction steps that men in the Kaiser Permanente study likely took, then our sloppy oversell could lead directly to new cases of HIV despite PrEP.

    September 18, 2015
    The Body Pro
  • Next week, the world's 193 governments will meet in New York and agree on a set of ambitious, global targets for 2030....Based on peer-reviewed analyses from 82 of the world's top economists and 44 sector experts organised by the Copenhagen Consensus, three of us...have prioritised more than a hundred of the proposed targets in terms of their value-for-money.

    September 18, 2015
    Bangkok Post
  • WHO Representative for Sudan Dr Neema Al Gasseer said Sudan is considered among first countries that agreed to “health for all without discrimination”, adding that HIV/AIDS is rapidly spreading in Arab countries, excluding Sudan, which she said efforts to prevent the disease are speedily taking place....She added that major problems HIV victims are faced with are shortage of some preventive medicines at some centers, which causes irregularity in treatment and medical screening, in addition to prejudice to HIV victims.

    September 17, 2015
    Sudan Vision Daily
  • As a gay man, the Boston attorney thought he was doing the responsible thing when he asked his doctor to prescribe Truvada, a drug hailed as a way to halt the spread of AIDS. But when he tried to get long-term care insurance, Mutual of Omaha turned him down, saying it does not offer coverage to anyone who takes the drug. Now, the man is planning to sue the insurer, alleging he was discriminated against because he is gay.

    September 17, 2015
    AP
  • Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have created a computational model....to examine how broadly neutralizing antibodies coevolve with HIV.....Traditional vaccine design is based on the premise that infection is protective and that a vaccine should mimic a natural infection. However, Luo and Perelson’s findings suggest that a vaccine should instead present the host with high levels of multiple diverse strains.

    September 17, 2015
    Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday launched an innovative digital application that will monitor Kenya's progress in the war against HIV and AIDS. Policy makers and stakeholders in the health sector will be able to get a national picture of the HIV an AIDS situation in the country from the system that draws its data from several independent sub-systems, including the public sector, counties and health facilities.

    September 17, 2015
    Standard Digital
  • HIV testing and treatment for pregnant women has reduced new infections among children in Asia by more than a quarter since 2000, but many babies born to mothers with HIV are still not being tested or given life-saving medicines. Only one in four children born to HIV-positive mothers in the east Asia-Pacific region were tested soon after birth, and only about half of infants identified as HIV-positive receive the treatment they need, according to the United Nations.

    September 16, 2015
    Health24
  • PrEP...can only be imported for personal use or prescribed by small amount of Australian doctors....Advocates say the drug should not be viewed as a preventative measure for HIV, but as another option of "taking care of yourself." "We don't expect all women of child-bearing age to use condoms if they don't want to be pregnant," Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations President Dr Bridget Haire said, ''[but] to use whatever method is the safest and most convenient for them as organised with their doctor. We need those kinds of options around HIV."

    September 16, 2015
    ECNS
  • Speaking at the launch of the 'See and Treat' cervical cancer national launch in Lobatse on Friday September 11, health minister Dorcas Makgato said cervical cancer...was an important public health condition that negatively affects women's health [and] predominantly affects socio- economically disadvantaged women....USA ambassador to Botswana, Mr Earl Miller, said because of the link between cervical cancer and HIV, the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, popularly known as PEPFAR, supports the Ministry of Health in preventing these dual epidemics among women.

    September 15, 2015
    Botswana Daily News
  • Friday, September 18, is the 8th annual observance of National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAAD), an opportunity to focus on the challenges facing the aging population regarding HIV prevention, testing, care, and treatment, as well as the health and well-being of the growing population of older people living with HIV.

    September 15, 2015
    HIV and Hepatitis
  • Cases of HIV, hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted infections are increasing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities....The Kirby Institute's annual surveillance report showed the rate of HIV diagnosis among Indigenous people had climbed to 5.9 per 100,000, compared to 3.7 for non-Indigenous Australians....Health researcher James Ward said...Australia risked the same fate as Canada, where First Nations people accounted for 20 percent of HIV diagnoses each year.

    September 15, 2015
    Canberra Times
  • A HIV vaccine clinical trial is set to begin in the country [Zimbabwe] in December under the code name HVTN 107....The collaboration has made another announcement that it is expecting results of a related research called “A Study to Prevent Infection with a Ring for Extended Use (Aspire)” which has already been running since 2012.

    September 15, 2015
    The Sunday Mail
  • A small percentage of patients with HIV are elite controllers, meaning they have an undetectable viral load because their bodies naturally control the virus. This occurs, in part, as a result of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs)....Now, researchers from Caltech have taken the analysis a step further by pinpointing one specific bNAb that may be the key to infection prevention...."[I]n this study we...showed in detail exactly how the antibody recognizes the virus,” first author Louise Scharf said.

    September 15, 2015
    HCP Live
  • This year, the Interscience Conference of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) joins forces with the International Congress of Chemotherapy and Infection (ICC) to present ICAAC/ICC 2015. Long conference name aside, this meeting starts on Sept. 17, and TheBodyPRO.com will be on-site to provide news and analysis on the latest HIV research. But before we get there, here's a look at what's noteworthy on the agenda.

    September 15, 2015
    The Body Pro
  • The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations is calling on the Australian government to fast track the availability of a HIV prevention drug called PrEP. The drug is being trialled in Australia and has shown promising results. While it hasn't yet received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, many Australians are importing it.

    September 15, 2015
    ABC
  • Babysitters, housekeepers and other on-site service providers in China are required to prove that they are healthy and not carrying any infectious disease. The proof of that – a health certificate – is mandatory for application. But health certificates can be purchased test-free for only 200 yuan. A woman carrying the HIV virus was recently caught with a fake certificate issued in Beijing when she applied to work as a babysitter in Yiwu, Zhejiang province.

    September 14, 2015
    Beijing Today
  • Thousands of HIV/AIDS advocates met up in Washington, DC, for this year’s United States Conference on AIDS (USCA), which took place September 10 to 13. In a series of lectures, workshops and other events, USCA helped build community and highlight the biggest issues facing activists, educators, care providers and people living with HIV today.

    September 14, 2015
    POZ
  • Around 60 percent of Kenya's annual $1.25 billion health budget is spent on HIV/AIDS, the Thomson Reuters Foundation calculated....The disproportionate focus on HIV/AIDS has come at the expense of other diseases and the wider health system struggling to reach people in slums and remote arid regions, experts say. "We should have tackled the reproductive health issues and HIV together," said one Kenyan working with an HIV charity who declined to be named....Reform is under way.

    September 14, 2015
    Daily Mail
  • The number of Australians contracting HIV has stabilised but about a thousand people a year are still returning positive tests, and about a quarter of those people have had the virus for at least four years without realising it. The latest report card on the nation’s sexual health, by the University of New South Wales’s Kirby Institute, is a mixed bag. While new HIV infections have flattened out over the past three years, along with chlamydia in recent times, more Australians are being diagnosed with gonorrhoea and syphilis.

    September 13, 2015
    Australian Associated Press
  • About 600 sero-discordant couples where one partner is HIV positive and the other is not will take part in a new research study to help decide the best HIV Treatment Strategy....A study by the National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA) is to help decide whether health workers choose to administer the anti-retroviral drug, Truvada, as a prevention or treatment for HIV/AIDS. Director General, National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA), Prof. John Idoko disclosed that the study is being carried out in Nigeria to see if it will work under normal conditions.

    September 11, 2015
    This Day Live
  • An African research fund launched in Kenya on Thursday aims to raise the quality of Africa's scientific output and tackle diseases primarily affecting the world's poorest continent, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and Ebola. The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), based at the African Academy of Sciences in Nairobi, aims to draw increased funding from the West and African governments to set up centres of scientific excellence on the continent.

    September 11, 2015
    Reuters
  • The newest buzzword in the HIV field is “90-90-90,” the UN commitment to make sure 90% of people living with HIV get the medication they need and stay healthy. Yet, in sub-Saharan Africa, less than 1/3 of HIV-positive people reach the viral suppression mark. The US is not in much better shape, with only 43% achieving viral suppression....Recent evidence may help explain why this is the case, at least for women.

    September 11, 2015
    Global Health Now
  • An organization encouraging development of AIDS vaccines [IAVI] and the pharmaceutical company CureVac are collaborating on creating a potent AIDS vaccine technology....CureVac will employ its technology to produce messenger RNA that encodes instructions for HIV envelope trimers....In March 2015, the Gates Foundation invested €46 million ($52 million) to help CureVac continue developing its technology platforms, and build an industrial-scale manufacturing facility.

    September 10, 2015
    Science Business
  • Looking at access to health and harm reduction services in five countries where HIV epidemics intersect with injecting drug use, this report from amfAR points out that “an AIDS-free generation” would need to include everyone, but that most current national policies don’t....Research has shown that when people who earn their income through sex work can work without fear of police action and draw upon each other for support, their access to health services and ability to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases improves.

    September 10, 2015
    Science Speaks

Published Research

  • Policymakers and influential voices in science...have warned of a worrying disconnect between research and the needs and concerns of the public. One proposed solution is integration of social scientists into publicly funded research initiatives. This is expected to contribute to the production of ‘better’ science. Not in my experience....Too many in the physical and life sciences dismiss social sciences as having a ‘service’ role, allowed to observe what they do but not disturb it.

    September 17, 2015
    Nature
  • In partnership with Kaiser Permanente Northern California, we developed and implemented a 10-item assessment addressing sexual and other behavioral risk factors among HIV+ MSM....Overall STD screening increases were observed after this intervention that included didactic training on the urgency of STD screening needs for HIV+ MSM, a presentation of preintervention clinic STD screening data, and the implementation of self-reported sexual risk assessment.

    September 17, 2015
    Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Infants born to CT-infected mothers had almost a 1.5-fold increased risk for HIV acquisition....This cohort of HIV-infected pregnant women is at high risk for infection with CT and NG. Analysis suggests that STIs may predispose to an increased HIV MTCT risk in this high-risk cohort of HIV-infected women.

    September 17, 2015
    Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Variations in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) gene appear to be related to outcomes after receipt of an HIV vaccine that was previously shown to protect some individuals from the virus but not others, according to a study by researchers from the United States and Thailand (Prentice HA et al. Sci Transl Med. 2015;7[296]:296ra112). Genetic variation may be associated with HIV-1 vaccination outcomes.

    September 15, 2015
    JAMA
  • The Phase 2b double-blinded, randomized Phambili/HVTN 503 trial evaluated safety and efficacy of the MRK Ad5 gag/pol/nef subtype B HIV-1 preventive vaccine vs placebo in sexually active HIV-1 seronegative participants in South Africa.

    September 14, 2015
    PLoS ONE
  • (Updated version) We evaluated the PrEP care continuum on an Atlanta cohort of MSM and projected how many MSM might achieve protection from HIV. Even with optimistic estimates, few Atlanta MSM (15%) are projected to achieve protection from HIV with PrEP given the significant barriers described. Each continuum step represents an important point for intervention that could substantially increase the overall effectiveness of PrEP. In addition, novel strategies for PrEP delivery are needed.

    September 11, 2015
    Clin Infect Dis
  • Thirteen cross-sectional studies among HIV-positive women were included. Meta-analysis of five studies showed intimate partner violence (IPV) to be significantly associated with lower ART use. IPV was associated with poorer self-reported ART adherence in seven studies and lower odds of viral load suppression in seven studies. Lack of longitudinal data and measurement considerations should temper interpretation of these results.

    September 5, 2015
    AIDS
  • There is a compelling need for new technologies that protect sexually active women against multiple sexual and reproductive health risks, especially in countries heavily burdened by HIV and maternal and infant mortality. Multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) combine protection against multiple risks, such as unintended pregnancy, HIV and other STIs. More research is needed to develop new MPTs, but private industry is largely absent...because MPTs—designed primarily for use in low-resource settings—[lack alluring] financial returns.

    September 1, 2015
    Guttmacher Policy Institute

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