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2 December 2016 VOLUME 17 ISSUE 48

Media Coverage

  • This special World AIDS Day report from Bhekisisa includes fifteen articles covering a variety of topics from stigma to VMMC.

    December 2, 2016
    Bhekisisa
  • Needle-sharing by opiate addicts is placing rural white communities at much greater risk of HIV infections than ever, and the United States doesn’t have enough syringe programs...to address the problem, according to a federal report released Tuesday....Asked whether the incoming Trump-Pence administration could put federal funding in jeopardy, CDC Director Tom Frieden said: “When people look at the data and are faced with the real challenges, they see that these are programs that save lives and save money.”

    December 1, 2016
    Washington Post
  • Tom Price, an orthopaedist, is US president-elect Donald Trump's choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services....If confirmed by the Senate, Price would oversee the NIH, CDC and FDA....Last year, he voted against a bill that would overhaul FDA regulations and provide US$8.75 billion in mandatory funding to the NIH over five years.

    December 1, 2016
    Nature
  • As we mark World Aids Day with a Trump-Pence administration looming,...advocates, donors and NGOs must work harder than ever to fight for continued investment in HIV prevention for adolescent girls and young women [and] be vigilant against policies that pull the rug out from under women and girls and threaten global public health outcomes. The bottom line is that we can’t turn the tide on HIV without women and girls.

    December 1, 2016
    The Guardian
  • When the first World AIDS Day was marked, on Dec. 1, 1988, only one drug -- zidovudine (AZT) -- had been approved to treat HIV....On World AIDS Day 2016 -- nearly 30 years later -- the picture is dramatically different. There is still no cure for HIV [and] still no vaccine....But some 18.2 million people are on HIV therapy....And -- at least in the developed world -- HIV therapy is more effective, safe, tolerable, and flexible than it has ever been.

    December 1, 2016
    MedPage Today
  • This World AIDS Day, Devex spoke with [Mitchell] Warren during what he said is a precarious time for the epidemic. After working for several decades on HIV/AIDS, he said there is an opportunity to bend the curve by delivering at scale the existing tools for treatment and prevention while also developing additional tools for the future.

    December 1, 2016
    Devex
  • Gates answers questions from several African academics about HIV/AIDS on the continent.

    December 1, 2016
    The Conversation
  • Takeda’s drug suppressed the virus to undetectable levels in eight monkeys, some for two years. The findings raise hopes for a so-called "functional cure" – a treatment that puts the disease in sustained remission.

    December 1, 2016
    Reuters
  • Largest clinical trial in seven years to test the efficacy of an HIV vaccine is kicking off in South Africa

    December 1, 2016
    C&EN
  • Today in Washington D.C., 11 HIV activists were arrested in the United States Congress at the office of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R), voicing concerns about the impact of anticipated budgetary and policy changes in a Republican-controlled legislature and Trump administration....They were removed from the building and placed under arrest while chanting, garnering applause from those gathered for a spirited rally on World AIDS Day.

    December 1, 2016
    The Body
  • In an interview before World AIDS Day on Thursday, Dr. Gao Yaojie, a retired gynecologist who uncovered a major HIV outbreak in central China in the late 1990s, talked about her life in the United States and what she considers the still-untold truth about the AIDS epidemic in China.

    December 1, 2016
    NY Times
  • The myth: We won't ever live in a world without HIV medications again. The truth: If the Trump administration makes good on its promise to gut the Affordable Care Act, many people with HIV could lose their access to affordable medication....Why it matters: If the ACA is stripped down, new HIV diagnoses and AIDS deaths could soar without diagnosis and treatment. History tells us so.

    November 30, 2016
    Esquire
  • Gilead's had an FDA go-ahead since 2012 to market HIV med Truvada as a preventative med for healthy people. But the company has only just started to market it that way....It’s a change of course for Gilead, which has taken heat for failing to pump its own dollars into spreading the PrEP message. The company initially yielded to patient advocate concerns that promoting the med as a preventative could encourage promiscuity and unsafe practices.

    November 30, 2016
    Fierce Pharma
  • A lot has happened since the first World AIDS Day in 1988. Countries in which the topic was once taboo now offer testing and treatment. Mothers with HIV can have healthy babies and live to raise them. Drugs can keep the virus from spreading. More than 18 million people are on lifesaving anti-retroviral drugs that keep HIV in check. And now, scientists are talking about vaccines and a cure.

    November 30, 2016
    VOA
  • The US CDC [has] released its latest report on recently diagnosed HIV infections in the United States. The new HIV Surveillance Report...shows that HIV diagnoses have decreased among both women and men, and among African Americans, Latinos and white people, but have risen among young people age 25-29....This year's edition uses a new approach, made possible by improvements in surveillance methods and data sources, that will no longer involve statistical adjustment to account for delays in reporting.

    November 30, 2016
    aidsmap
  • This special report focuses on what we can do to achieve the 90-90-90 targets to eventually end the Aids epidemic by 2030. There have been many scientific discoveries – antiretroviral drug,...medical male circumcision,...kits that allow you to test for HIV at home, and South Africa is on the verge of an HIV vaccine breakthrough....But we also look at what would stand in our way of ending AIDS.

    November 30, 2016
    Bhekisisa
  • A growing range of HIV self-test (HIVST] kits, however, are bringing renewed hope of achieving the 90-90-90 targets....But it is a largely untested technology and, as a result, the WHO has published new guidelines for its implementation....[and] joined with UNITAID and non-profit PSI to run an HIVST project called STAR...in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, using a range of devices to test how they can be distributed and used in communities.

    November 29, 2016
    Deutsche Welle
  • Around 810,000 people are believed to be living with HIV in the EU's 28 member countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows. But the ECDC estimates 122,000 are unaware they have the virus....Trends vary widely between countries with Greece, Lithuania, Romania and Poland seeing big increases in HIV diagnoses in the last decade while Estonia and Portugal have seen marked declines.

    November 29, 2016
    Reuters
  • Most people who inject illegal drugs don't always use clean needles, and risk HIV and hepatitis as a result,...but more than half use a clean syringe at least sometimes....A CDC analysis from 22 US cities found that 54 percent of people who inject drugs had used a needle exchange program in the past year, up from 36 percent in 2005. But a third said they had shared a needle at least once in the past year. That's not good enough, the CDC said.

    November 29, 2016
    NBC News
  • Scientists are taking the battle to prevent HIV to the next level with large-scale trials set to start using injections to protect vulnerable groups such as gay men and women in Africa for at least two months. Further down the road, the hope is to produce matchstick-sized implants containing slow-release drugs...that could offer year-long protection. Companies with drugs involved include GlaxoSmithKline, Gilead Sciences and Merck.

    November 29, 2016
    Reuters
  • Among the participants at the 21st International AIDS Conference in July 2016 were Pulitzer Center grantees who reported on HIV/AIDS in nine countries in the past year. They have all contributed their stories, photographs, and video to a new e-book called "To End AIDS" available as a free download.

    November 28, 2016
    Pulitzer Center
  • A major trial testing an experimental HIV vaccine regimen begins today in South Africa....In such a moment of optimism, it seems curmudgeonly to offer a question like, “What took so long?”...HIV was discovered, after all, in 1983. Why are we still testing vaccines 33 years later?...But studying the delay...gives us a case study in the challenges of vaccine manufacture....Andrew Witty [GSK CEO], Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI, and I talked about this very real problem at Fortune's Brainstorm Health meeting.

    November 28, 2016
    Fortune
  • The first new trial of a potential vaccine against HIV in seven years has begun in South Africa....Volunteers will get five shots of the vaccine and three boosters – a schedule that the researchers will look to slim down for use in the real world if it is successful....At least two-thirds of the participants will be women, who are more likely to get infected at that age than men.

    November 27, 2016
    The Guardian
  • The study, called HVTN 702, aims to enroll 5,400 sexually active men and women between 18 and 35 at 15 sites across South Africa....“If deployed alongside our current armory of proven HIV prevention tools, a safe and effective vaccine could be the final nail in the coffin for HIV,” Anthony Fauci, director, US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. The vaccine is based on a 2009 trial in Thailand...adapted to the HIV subtype that predominates in southern Africa.

    November 27, 2016
    Time
  • After decades of shadowboxing with the human immunodeficiency virus,...all eyes are on South Africa, where researchers will begin inoculating thousands of volunteers Monday in the latest — and, some say, most promising — effort to develop a vaccine that prevents the disease....Results from the new study are not expected until 2020, though the test could be ended earlier if it shows spectacular results or unexpected problems.

    November 25, 2016
    Washington Post
  • During the US election campaign,...there was little or no talk on global health or HIV. That has left Mitchell Warren, the head of advocates AVAC, worried....[Warren]: "The reason we say this election could imperil that is we have never witnessed an election that was so unpredictable and unprecedented. The AIDS response has enjoyed bipartisan support in the United States....We just don't know what a Donald Trump administration will do."

    November 25, 2016
    Deutsche Welle
  • If passive immunisation works, as it has in monkeys, it will change the landscape of HIV prevention research. It may also change treatment, enabling HIV doctors to follow in the footsteps of cancer researchers and rheumatologists, who routinely use antibodies to treat cancer and autoimmune conditions.

    November 24, 2016
    Bhekisisa
  • East African nations have launched some of the world’s most vicious campaigns against gay men and women, outlawing same-sex liaisons and threatening punishments of years in jail. But in a move that has alarmed health workers, Tanzania is turning its anti-homosexual fury in a new direction — targeting HIV/AIDS programs that have helped tame a disease that once ravaged the region.

    November 24, 2016
    The Washington Post
  • A group of researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation and Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain, has developed a new technology that sheds light on HIV infection, offers the first expression landscape of the HIV in the human genome, and will boost research for drug development.

    November 23, 2016
    Science Daily
  • Andrew Sullivan's review of David France's remarkable book, How To Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS, is a powerful and moving tribute to what will very likely be considered one of the most important books on the subject.

    November 21, 2016
    NY Times

Published Research

  • Optima, a dynamic, population-based HIV model with an integrated program and economic analysis framework was applied in 8 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia....Conclusion: A combination of optimized allocation of resources, improved implementation efficiency and increased investment of non-HIV resources is required to enhance coverage and improve outcomes of programs for PWID.

    December 1, 2016
    Int J Drug Policy
  • Among the 2629 women enrolled [in the ASPIRE trial],...incidence of HIV-1 infection in the dapivirine group was lower by 27% than in the placebo group; in an analysis excluding data from two sites [with] reduced rates of retention and adherence, incidence of HIV-1 infection in the dapivirine group was lower by 37%....Rates of adverse medical events and antiretroviral resistance among women who acquired HIV-1 infection were similar in the two groups.

    December 1, 2016
    NEJM
  • In this randomized, double-blind, phase 3 trial [in the Ring Study], we randomly assigned participants to receive vaginal rings containing either 25 mg of dapivirine or placebo....The incidence of HIV-1 infection was 31% lower in the dapivirine group than in the placebo group [and] there was no significant difference in efficacy among women older than 21 years of age and those 21 or younger. Serious adverse events occurred more often in the dapivirine group (in 38 participants/2.9%) than in the placebo group (in 6/0.9%). However, no clear pattern was identified.

    December 1, 2016
    NEJM
  • This issue of the journal reports results of two trials that move HIV prevention a step closer....These two trials highlight major current challenges in the prevention of HIV infection in women, which in some respects has lagged behind prevention in men, [where trial] results contrast sharply with those observed in women — especially young women — for whom the efficacy of tenofovir-based preexposure prophylaxis has been inconsistent and difficult to translate into effectiveness.

    December 1, 2016
    NEJM
  • Rates of new HIV infection in women are high in sub-Saharan Africa. Antiretroviral pills and gels have not lowered rates, possibly owing to low adherence. Would a monthly vaginal ring inserted by women themselves reduce new infections? New research findings are summarized in a short video.

    December 1, 2016
    NEJM
  • The 14 reviews in this issue of Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS are selected to reflect the breadth of clinical science currently underway in HIV-associated malignancies....In this editorial, we discuss the implications of the advances described in this issue as they apply in resource rich and resource limited settings, and consider the ways in which work in HIV-associated malignancies can help inform and develop clinical care and scientific studies more broadly.

    December 1, 2016
    Current Opinion in HIV & AIDS
  • The most frequently reported individual barriers included forgetting, being away from home, and change to daily routine. Depression was reported as a barrier by more than 15% of patients across all age categories, while alcohol/substance misuse was commonly reported by adults and adolescents. Secrecy/stigma was a commonly cited barrier, reported by more than 10% of adults and children across all regions. Health service–related barriers were also frequently reported.

    November 29, 2016
    PLoS
  • Adolescent boys and girls are disproportionately affected in the current HIV epidemic....This article reviews the epidemiology of HIV infection and violence in adolescents and the available basic science knowledge attending this research area. More importantly, this review highlights the most critical gaps that need to be addressed to design preventive interventions that are safe and effective for this population, which is key to ending the HIV pandemic.

    November 1, 2016
    AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
  • This study compared colorectal distribution and user sensory experiences of two different volumes of rectal gel for suitability as rectal microbicide. There were no adverse effects of Grade 2 or higher and all resolved spontaneously. Both volumes were well tolerated and received high acceptability scores....and both covered the typical gastrointestinal distribution of ejaculate following simulated intercourse based on other studies. Either of these gel volumes could reasonably be pursued for the next phase of development of rectal microbicides.

    November 1, 2016
    AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses

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