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20 January 2017 VOLUME 18 ISSUE 3

Media Coverage

  • The Trump administration will retain Ambassador Deborah Birx as the coordinator of PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) until a successor is named and confirmed. This action was taken, I am told by administration sources, at the urging of Ivanka Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

    January 20, 2017
    Washington Post
  • A global group tasked with more quickly developing vaccines against infectious disease threats worldwide was launched Wednesday by a coalition of governments and nonprofit groups including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    January 20, 2017
    Bloomberg
  • Throughout 2016, the Elton John AIDS Foundation awarded nearly $8.6 million in grants in the Americas and the Caribbean, according to an EJAF press release....In December, 15 organizations fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic were awarded nearly $3.5 million in grants. As the release states, EJAF awards funding based on four strategic goals.

    January 18, 2017
    POZ
  • HHS and 15 other agencies issued a September 2015 proposed rewrite of the Common Rule that drew 2,100 comments, many of them opposing a provision requiring researchers to get consent for using non-identified biospecimens like DNA samples. That part of the proposal was dropped in today’s rule. The final rule, most of which takes effect in 2018, calls for consent forms to include concise explanations of the purpose of a medical experiment, as well as the risks and benefits and alternative treatments a subject might want to consider.

    January 18, 2017
    Politico
  • I read with keen interest the...questions the Trump transition team sent to the Department of State, [which included:]....“Is PEPFAR...worth the massive investment when there are so many security concerns in Africa? Is PEPFAR becoming a massive, international entitlement program?” Let’s look at the raw data and you tell me.....And the follow-on inquiry from the transition, has PEPFAR become a “massive entitlement?” Really?

    January 18, 2017
    The Hill
  • As a medical anthropologist I’ve researched the effects of global health funding on health infrastructures in Tanzania since 2008, when I met President Bush as he showcased two signature global health programs: The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). But, the stated successes of PEPFAR and PMI don’t tell the whole story: selective funding of specific diseases or populations can also harm.

    January 18, 2017
    The Hill
  • President-elect Donald Trump’s new health policy adviser, Katy Talento, tried to kill funding for HIV/AIDS research by claiming the money was going to support Russian prostitution, and she has suggested women can avoid the Zika virus by having their husbands sleep on top of the covers at night. Former Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat,...told BuzzFeed News, “This appointment raises a lot of alarm bells.”

    January 18, 2017
    BuzzFeed
  • People living with HIV gain an additional five years of life if they quit smoking, a computer simulation published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases showed. In the US, more than 40% of those in care for HIV smoke cigarettes, compared to 17% of the general population. Rates of cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and various cancers are higher among smokers who live with HIV than among other smokers...."Smoking cessation should be a major priority in HIV care programs," study authors concluded.

    January 18, 2017
    The BodyPro
  • Boosters of NIH may take heart from comments by Representative Tom Price, nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services....[W]hen Senator Susan Collins (R–ME)...asked him:...“Do you support the increases for NIH that we have passed in the last year and are on track to pass this year?”,...Price’s response was brief: “NIH is a treasure for our country,” he said, and one of the avenues through which medical innovation happens. “I supported the increase.”

    January 18, 2017
    Science
  • When the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) announced that its National PrEP Summit would be in San Francisco in last December, we, like many in the HIV press, were excited. This was, after all, a discussion about PrEP among those communities that need it most, led by people from those very communities. But, as journalists, several of us got a surprise when we attempted to register for the summit.

    January 17, 2017
    The Body
  • On January 31, 2017, the heads of states and governments of the African Union and the leadership of the African Union Commission will officially launch the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia....How successful the Africa CDC becomes in its mission will be determined by its capacity to develop the right partnerships, including with the private sector to invest in public health as a public good, adopting innovative approaches, and mobilising adequate resources.

    January 17, 2017
    The Lancet
  • Current NIH chief Francis Collins and Representative Andy Harris (R/Maryland), both front-runners, met separately with Trump on 11 January, as did billionaire surgeon Patrick Soon-Shiong on 10 January....Other rumoured candidates include Geoffrey Ling, retired Army neurosurgeon and former director of biotechnology at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency...and John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Stanford University in California who has pushed for reproducibility in biomedical science.

    January 17, 2017
    Nature
  • Gay and bisexual men taking antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV infection may be at increased risk for syphilis, new research contends....The finding, [published in the Jan. 16 issue of Sexually Transmitted Infections], might explain why new and repeat cases of syphilis in gay and bisexual men have risen sharply compared to other sexually transmitted infections over the past decade....An editorial that accompanied the study said the theory is "intriguing" and "warrants careful consideration" but also suggested the increase...may be due to other factors.

    January 17, 2017
    Health Day
  • Last Friday, Helene Cooper at The New York Times reported that the [Trump] transition team sent a four-page questionnaire to the State Department about America’s relationship with Africa, on topics ranging from terrorism to humanitarianism....Two [questions] mentioned PEPFAR in particular: “Is PEPFAR worth the massive investment when there are so many security concerns in Africa? Is PEPFAR becoming a massive, international entitlement program?”

    January 17, 2017
    The Atlantic
  • The US may have staked its claim in leading the charge against finding a cure for cancer with the new $6.3 billion “Moonshot” research bill, but when it comes to leading the way on finding a cure for HIV, we can give credit to South African professor Dr. Glenda Gray and her all-female team who are leading the world’s largest HIV vaccine trial in a bid to come up with breakthrough preventative research.

    January 16, 2017
    GirlTalk HQ
  • At his Senate nomination hearing last week, Mr. Tillerson...spoke briefly about US foreign aid for Africa, heaping praise on PEPFAR...But a list of Africa-related questions to the State Department, submitted by the Trump transition team, is highly negative in its tone about PEPFAR and other US aid programs. The list...asks: “Is PEPFAR worth the massive investment when there are so many security concerns in Africa? Is PEPFAR becoming a massive, international entitlement program?”

    January 15, 2017
    Globe and Mail
  • Scientists who do research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are not — for the moment — allowed to publish papers about that work in journals that include Nature, Science, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The bar is a result of the Gates Foundation’s policy in support of open access and open data, first announced in 2014 but came into force at the beginning of 2017

    January 13, 2017
    Nature
  • Even in very early (acute) HIV infection -- before fourth generation HIV test assays are able to detect an HIV infection -- immune activation and inflammatory processes may already be occurring, new research shows....A study published in CID by Irini Sereti and colleagues offers insight into why early antiretroviral therapy vastly improves -- but fails to fully restore -- some health outcomes of people living with HIV, said Peter Hunt, MD, in an accompanying editorial commentary.

    January 12, 2017
    The BodyPro
  • Starpharma Holdings announces that the FDA has granted Qualified Infectious Disease Product and Fast Track status for VivaGel BV for treatment and prevention of bacterial vaginosis. QIDP status allows accelerated review of the marketing application and provides for an additional five-year period of market exclusivity for the indication, if approved. Starpharma plans to submit its US marketing application for VivaGel BV in the near future after the conclusion of two Phase 3 studies.

    January 12, 2017
    Seeking Alpha
  • While there have been remarkable improvements in combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Global South, managed HIV faces other challenges beyond accessing lifesaving drugs. Food production and food security, which are tied to shifting climate dynamics, place additional burdens upon social and natural environments in resource-scarce settings.

    January 9, 2017
    The Conversation
  • Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, [first woman to head WHO Regional Office for Africa]: "We have made significant progress:...deaths due to HIV/AIDS have declined by almost half in the last 10 years,...largely due to greater political commitment, stronger global partnership, increased financing [and] coverage with effective interventions, and the meaningful engagement of AIDS patients....The next five years will be crucial and we have to work hard.

    December 31, 2016
    Africa Renewal

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