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2 June 2017 VOLUME 18 ISSUE 22

Media Coverage

  • There is considerable new information about prevention of HIV transmission in HIV-discordant couples....Insemination with sperm from a donor who does not have HIV infection is the safest option for an HIV-uninfected woman with an HIV-infected male partner to conceive. However, current evidence suggests that the risk for transmission from an HIV-infected male partner to an HIV-uninfected female partner is low if appropriate risk-reduction strategies are implemented.

    June 2, 2017
    MMWR
  • As part of efforts to tackle human immunodeficiency virus, HIV, the New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society (NHVMAS) is advocating government investment in local vaccine research in the area of HIV response.

    June 1, 2017
    New Telegraph Online
  • We're in the middle of a revolution in our efforts to fight HIV. However, you wouldn't know it from a new US health department agency report that advises providers about conception when one partner is living with HIV.
    June 1, 2017
    The BodyPro
  • South Africa’s recently released HIV plan will help to guide the country’s response to everything from sex work, drug use and treatment for the next five years. But the document has been met with fierce civil society opposition amid allegations of high-level political meddling.

    June 1, 2017
    Bhekisisa
  • Citing priorities of HIV research slated to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, dispatching the Fogarty International Center while extolling its contributions, [the NIH budget "justification"] document released by the NIH director tallies steep and devastating cuts without explanation....Cuts to the Office of AIDS Research, which directs and coordinates studies to prevent and treat HIV and related conditions...will be felt across the institutes that comprise the NIH, which will also receive direct cuts in funding.

    May 31, 2017
    Science Speaks
  • As political leaders on either side of the Atlantic set out contrasting positions on science funding, researchers everywhere need to ensure that their voices are heard....As the United Kingdom approaches its 8 June general election, all three major national political parties have pledged a huge increase in research investment....Meanwhile, US scientists might look across the Atlantic with envy. British science may no longer need saving, but the battle for US science is just beginning.

    May 31, 2017
    Nature
  • A hearing on how the US government defrays the cost of doing federally funded research on college campuses might put most people to sleep. But when budgets are tight, the billions of dollars being spent each year on so-called overhead become an irresistible target for lawmakers. This past Wednesday, the science committee of the US House of Representatives weighed in on the subject.

    May 31, 2017
    Science
  • Faced with a barrage of criticism, the NIH has scaled back a plan to cap its support for individual labs in order to free up funds for more scientists. The changes did not appease scientists who gave NIH a tongue-lashing this morning at a meeting of NIH’s Council of Councils.

    May 31, 2017
    Science
  • Garrett considers Tedros’s challenges with... how to give the people a voice at the World Health Assembly....The voice that everybody has the hardest time breaking through, and really hearing, is the average health consumer. The citizen on the street. The civil society groups....[T]hat goes across the board, for every kind of meeting and activity WHO does....[W]e just don’t have it set up in a way that allows those people to have a voice.

    May 31, 2017
    Global Health Now
  • Global health funding takes a huge hit...The administration has tried to obscure this by claiming that it is shielding AIDS funding from debilitating cuts....[D]on't be fooled. AIDS funding would be cut by [roughly] a fifth, which would allow people currently receiving treatment to stay on their meds, but would dramatically reduce the number of new enrollees...[and] would likely disrupt testing too.

    May 31, 2017
    The Guardian
  • Gilead Sciences Inc and GlaxoSmithKline Plc will go head-to-head with rival versions of an improved class of HIV medicines, after clinical studies showed the US company's new drug bictegravir was as effective as GSK's product. Both drugs are so-called integrase inhibitors, a type of medicine that has proved extremely effective at blocking the AIDS virus,...designed to be given alongside older antiretroviral therapies.

    May 31, 2017
    Reuters
  • India's ban on foreign funding for the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), a non-profit group backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, may damage some government health programmes, according to the group and a health ministry official....Affected programmes included those on eliminating black fever, HIV prevention, tobacco control and universal health coverage.

    May 31, 2017
    Reuters
  • Teenagers can use oral contraceptives consistently and correctly, which bolsters the argument for eventually making them over-the-counter products....Researchers writing in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that were oral contraceptives given OTC status, they would reduce unwanted pregnancies in teenagers and not lead to increased sexual activity....Federal policymakers continue to debate giving oral contraceptives OTC status, while HRA Pharma and Ibis Reproductive recently announced intention to file an application for an OTC contraceptive to the FDA.

    May 31, 2017
    MedPage Today
  • Against viruses such as Zika, West Nile or HIV....A small number of T cells called memory T cells are generated following an infection or immunization. Some memory T cells patrol the body looking for repeat infection, while others migrate into organs and remain there; these are called tissue- resident memory cells....[A Pennsylvania State study team]...has uncovered more details about what it takes to generate a good tissue-resident memory T-cell response against repeat infections.

    May 30, 2017
    Science Daily
  • Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine report new evidence that immune cells infected with a latent form of HIV are able to proliferate, replenishing the reservoir of virus that is resistant to antiretroviral drug therapy....The proliferation of such reservoir cells pose a persistent barrier to developing a cure for HIV, researchers say.

    May 30, 2017
    Science Daily
  • ANRS 12286 MOBIDIP(1), a clinical trial running in parallel in three countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Senegal), shows that dual therapy with lamivudine and a boosted protease inhibitor is effective as second-line treatment in patients infected by HIV with multiple mutations....Such treatment deescalation will reduce costs, side effects, and the need for virological monitoring of patients.

    May 29, 2017
    Science Daily
  • The quest to develop a cure for HIV has long been plagued by a seemingly simple question: how do doctors determine if someone is cured? The virus has a knack for lying dormant in immune cells at levels undetectable. Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh...announced in Nature Medicine that they've created a test sensitive enough to detect "hidden" HIV, and yet is faster, less labor-intensive and less expensive than the current "gold standard" test.

    May 29, 2017
    Science Daily
  • It is not often that on the matter of access to medicines, India and the United States agree at the WHO. But the issue of access to medicines is rising on the international agenda and developed countries are feeling the bite of prices of new medicines. Core beneficiaries of the patent system held steady this week, but among their defenders, the issue is blurring as some countries...are not putting up with industry prices and are saying it.

    May 28, 2017
    Intellectual Property Watch
  • With antiretroviral drugs, HIV has become a manageable chronic condition, but only so long as patients continue to take the medication. A large new Brown University study finds substantial momentum in that direction. The study, which examined a national sample of Medicaid patients, showed that the median duration of persisting with treatment increased by more than 50 percent over the decade 2001 to 2010.

    May 26, 2017
    News Medical
  • Though their successful careers are in vastly different genres, both Bono and George W. Bush share a passion for saving lives in Africa. The lead singer of U2, 57, visited the former president’s Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas on Friday, ahead of the band’s sold-out Joshua Tree Tour concert at AT&T Stadium.

    May 26, 2017
    People
  • Researchers at EMBL, ESPCI Paris, and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative have developed a new technique for rapidly sorting HIV viruses, which could lead to more rapid development of a vaccine for HIV, as they report in Cell Chemical Biology. The technique will enable scientists to identify specific features in the proteins on the virus's surface which are recognized by the immune system and elicit a response similar to that seen in elite controllers -- patients able to survive without antiviral treatment.

    May 25, 2017
    Science Daily
  • US aid for international family planning would be eliminated. Programs to combat HIV/AIDS in the world's poorest countries would be slashed by 17 percent. Efforts to fight malaria would be chopped by 11 percent. Those are just some of the cuts to global health spending...in the proposed budget unveiled this week. On one level the reductions did not come as a surprise....Yet advocates...say they are nonetheless reeling as they pore through this week's more detailed release.

    May 25, 2017
    NPR
  • The minute I started thinking of the general public as "other", I compromised my ability to be an effective science communicator....This attitude, held on either side of the divide, makes scientists and non-scientists feel culturally inaccessible to each other....I believe mending the rift starts with disabusing ourselves of three key assumptions: First, we often assume that the gap between scientists and the general public is about knowledge....Second, we assume that there is finality in science.... Third, we assume effective communication is inevitable.

    May 24, 2017
    Scientific American
  • Over three million Nepali migrant workers are in the Middle East, Malaysia and India. Particularly in India and in Malaysia, migrant workers are involved in risky sexual practices....A recent study published in SAARC Journal of Tuberculosis, Lung Diseases & HIV/AIDS shows that wives of migrant workers in Nepal are at a higher risk of HIV, not because they are not aware of it but because they are scared to ask their husbands about their potentially risky sexual behavior while abroad.

    May 23, 2017
    News Medical

Published Research

  • This review explores the scientific issues and regulatory processes involved in switching OCs to OTC status for minor adolescents....We find strong scientific rationale for including adolescents in any regulatory change to switch OCs to OTC status. OCs are safe and highly effective among adolescents; contraindications are rarer among adolescents compared to adult women. Ready access to OCs, condoms, and emergency contraception increases their use without increasing sexual risk behaviors.

    June 1, 2017
    PLoS ONE
  • We estimate that...opioid agonist therapy (OAT), needle-syringe exchange programs (NSP), screening and intensive antiretroviral therapy programs (Test & Treat), and oral HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for prevention of HIV in people who inject drugs...., implemented singly or in combination, have the potential to effectively and cost-effectively prevent HIV in US PWID. PrEP is not likely to be cost-effective in this population, based on the scenarios we evaluated.

    May 24, 2017
    PLoS Med
  • Findings from the ANRS 12249 TasP trial in South Africa showed little impact on HIV incidence....Hayes and colleagues, although suggesting success of universal testing and treatment (UTT) in the first round of trial implementation, do not provide information about sustainability of either HIV test offer uptake or ART adherence....Overall, these results would suggest that it is unlikely that the rather optimistic forecasts, based on statistical modelling, of an imminent end to the global HIV epidemic will be fulfilled.

    May 2, 2017
    PLoS Med

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