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20 MAY 2016 VOLUME 17 ISSUE 20

Media Coverage

  • The United States and the European Union are protesting a UN decision to bar at least 20 non-governmental groups from taking part in a major AIDS conference next month. US Ambassador Samantha Power said the NGOs taken off the list of participants "appear to have been chosen for their involvement in LGBTI, transgender or youth advocacy."

    May 19, 2016
    General
    Agence France Presse
  • In many places in the US, HIV is "hyperendemic" among men who have sex with men, with a prevalence of 15 percent in 2012. A new analysis shows that in many places -- concentrated in the southern US -- the prevalence was sharply higher.

    May 19, 2016
    General
    MedPage Today
  • Self-injectable contraceptives being trialled in Uganda and Senegal could revolutionise women's lives in rural Africa and dramatically cut maternal and newborn deaths, health experts said Tuesday. The disposable $1 device, [called Sayana Press] consists of a small needle connected to a plastic bubble containing the contraceptive Depo-Provera which can be squeezed to inject a dose that lasts three months.

    May 18, 2016
    General
    Reuters
  • An experimental AIDS vaccine that's worked better than anything else tried so far is going to be tested in South Africa, US health officials said Wednesday. They've tweaked the vaccine, which prevented infection by just about a third, and hope it will work better in this trial. NIAID is part of the National Institutes of Health and a co-funder of the trial.

    May 18, 2016
    NBC News
  • The money, to be distributed over the next 3 years, will support national statistics offices to collect and refine reliable information on the contribution women and girls make to society and barriers they face... Specific areas that need more data include the amount of unpaid work women carry out in the home and gender-based violence... The information will be used to shape programmes and policies that will help meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

    May 17, 2016
    General
    Guardian
  • A Food and Drug Administration-approved HIV drug developed in the US will be submitted for review in Korea to be used as a preventive medicine for people at high risk of infection, its developer Gilead Sciences said. The drug, Truvada, is already used in South Korea in treatment for patients with HIV. The upcoming submission... seeks to be recognized by the Korean Drug Ministry as “pre-exposure prophylaxis” – or PrEP.

    May 17, 2016
    Korea Herald (Seoul)
  • Two years after Clinton's call for a focus on vaccine research, the South African government made a significant investment in HIV vaccine research, the first major commitment from an African country... Today HIV vaccine research programmes and clinical research in Thailand, Kenya, Nigeria and several other countries are working on dozens of approaches to find a safe and effective HIV vaccine.

    May 17, 2016
    Bhekisisa Centre
  • Over the past year, high medicine prices have made the headlines... During the early days of the HIV-AIDS crisis, this price problem was relegated to the developing world, where people could not afford the prices paid for antiretrovirals in wealthy countries. Now, however, the high cost of many medicines is just as alarming for rich countries.

    May 17, 2016
    General
    Guardian
  • In the US, many people speak of “the AIDS crisis” as though it were something that happened and is now over... So why do scientists like us continue to devote our professional lives to finding means of preventing HIV transmission? Because the HIV/AIDS crisis is anything but over—even here in the United States, even with the tools that are now available.

    May 17, 2016
    Forbes
  • "I've been HIV-positive for 25 years," says Juno Roche. "But as far as statistics go, I'm invisible. A few years ago, I noticed one of my prescriptions still had 'male' on it." UK-specific data on HIV+ trans women like Roche simply doesn't exist... Given that, globally, trans people are an estimated 49 times more likely to have HIV, the omission is serious.

    May 17, 2016
    General
    VICE
  • People with HIV are more likely to miss out on treatment for 9 common cancers than uninfected people, and the disparity is not explained by comorbidities or lack of insurance... The issue is increasingly important as people with HIV are living longer and their morbidity and mortality attributed to cancer is rising, Gita Suneja and colleagues at the University of Utah wrote online in Cancer.

    May 17, 2016
    MedPage Today
  • Peter Piot, the first executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), discusses the history of infectious diseases and modern advancements toward mitigating their impact on humanity.

    May 17, 2016
    General
    Common Threads
  • New York City and San Francisco want to end their HIV epidemics. As each city makes strides in controlling HIV, will they be writing the rule book for other areas? Or will their successes prove exceptions to the rule?

    May 16, 2016
    POZ Magazine
  • Human immunodeficiency virus is known to be a highly variable virus that adapts to a person's immune response during the lifetime infection, and a new study published in Nature Medicine shows that viral adaptation in HIV can predict a person's current disease status...and how rapidly the disease will progress in that person.

    May 16, 2016
    Science Daily
  • The foreskin carries magical powers that could attract wealth. This myth is so strong for some people in the Eastern part of [Zambia]... Myths abound on the alleged use of foreskins after circumcision, hence the 51-year-old [Ishmael] Sibanda stands firm that he will not lose his foreskin.

    May 14, 2016
    Zambia Daily Mail
  • In early June, global health leaders will convene for the High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, and the balance they strike between ounces of HIV prevention and pounds of treatment will determine the arc of the AIDS pandemic... The Catch-22? There currently isn’t enough money to pay for both approaches at the levels required, leading to difficult trade-offs. Either both prevention and treatment options are possible—an epidemiologically sound formula for balancing ounces of prevention and pounds of care—or the end of AIDS will be indefinitely postponed.

    May 13, 2016
    The Hill
  • “We need to rededicate ourselves to fighting AIDS and leaving no one behind,” Clinton said... The presidential hopeful’s plan to curb HIV and AIDS — which she noted “disproportionately impact gay and bisexual men, communities of color, transgender people and young people” — looks to increase research and expand the use of medications like PrEP. She also focused on the cost of treatment...

    May 13, 2016
    General
    Huffington Post
  • Detecting HIV earlier, through screening programs that can identify the virus shortly after infection, may lead to lower rates of HIV transmission in local epidemics, suggest findings from a new study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. After an acute infection screening program was implemented in San Diego, there were fewer new HIV diagnoses than would have been expected without such testing.

    May 12, 2016
    Science Daily
  • A team led by scientists at the NIH has reported a research trifecta. They discovered a new vulnerable site on HIV for a vaccine to target, a broadly neutralizing antibody that binds to that target site, and how the antibody stops the virus from infecting a cell. The new target is a part of HIV called the fusion peptide.

    May 12, 2016
    Science Daily
  • Although the country [Malawi] set out five years ago to see about 2.5 million males in all 28 districts throughout the country get circumcised by December 2016 – 60 per cent of all males aged between 10 and 34 years – to date, only 260,188 men have undergone the procedure.

    May 12, 2016
    Malawi24.com
  • In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Anthony Fauci, longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, talked about the best AIDS president, the real threat of Zika, and what he’ll do if Trump wins. Fauci, 75, has served under five presidents during his tenure, leading the US government’s response to every outbreak from AIDS to Ebola to Zika.

    May 9, 2016
    General
    BuzzFeed

Published Research

  • We identified 30 eligible studies, most of which were completed in Africa. Conclusions: POC CD4 technologies reduce the time and increase patient retention along the testing and treatment cascade compared to conventional laboratory-based testing. We also carried out a non-systematic review of the literature observing that POC CD4 increased the projected life expectancy, was cost-effective, and acceptable.

    May 19, 2016
    PLoS ONE
  • Since the virus was first identified in 1983, the search for a safe and effective vaccine has faced challenges on every front... Given these challenges, some have questioned the continued allocation of resources to HIV vaccine research, arguing it is a risky investment of resources that should instead be allocated to existing HIV treatment and prevention options. This view ignores [four] important realities.

    May 18, 2016
    J Intl AIDS Society
  • We demonstrate that transmission of viruses that are pre-adapted to the HLA molecules expressed in the recipient is associated with impaired immunogenicity, elevated viral load and accelerated CD4+ T cell decline. Furthermore, the extent of pre-adaptation among circulating viruses explains much of the variation in outcomes attributed to the expression of certain HLA alleles. Thus, viral pre-adaptation exploits 'holes' in the immune response.

    May 16, 2016
    General
    Nature Medicine
  • Three groups of ‘seed’ patients were enrolled: 45 HIV-infected patients with STI, 45 HIV-uninfected patients with STI and 45 community controls... Each seed was given five coupons and asked to recruit up to five social contacts to the STI clinic... Results: Patients with STI are able to act as health promoters within their social networks and may be a critical link to increasing STI and HIV status awareness among high-risk groups.

    May 13, 2016
    General
    Sex Transm Infect
  • Acceptance of STI treatment for stable sexual partners was lower than that seen in other studies. Factors independently associated with acceptance were: earning ≤ $4 USD per sexual act and a clinical STI diagnosis. The effect of low income on acceptance of partner treatment was seen in those with less education. Interventions to improve economic empowerment among FSWs may increase acceptance of partner treatment.

    May 12, 2016
    General
    PLoS ONE
  • We analyzed data from 436 sexually active 10–19-year-old adolescents recruited from 12 Nigerian states. 18.6 percent reported a history of forced sexual initiation; these participants were significantly more likely to report anal sex practices and transactional sex.... More adolescents with a history of forced sexual initiation who were HIV positive identified as stressors life events related to medical care and body images and loss and grief.

    May 10, 2016
    General
    PLoS ONE
  • Size estimates for FSW, MSM, PWID and transgender women are increasingly available but quality varies widely. The different approaches present challenges for data use in design, implementation and evaluation of programs for these populations in half of the countries assessed. Guidance should be further developed to recommend: a) applying multiple estimation methods; b) estimating size for a minimum number of sites; and c) documenting extrapolation approaches.

    May 10, 2016
    General
    PLoS ONE
  • Seventy-seven black transwomen [mean age 34.5 years] were recruited to participate in a private, face-to-face structured interview. More than one-half of the sample indicated being HIV-infected. Study findings suggest that socially based gender affirmation may play a prominent role in strengthening the resiliency and mental health of black transwomen. This same protective effect may not occur as a consequence of gender affirming body modification practices.

    May 10, 2016
    General
    Transgender Health
  • There were no improvements in condom use or number of sexual partnerships after testing in the National HCT campaign and no significant association between testing in the HCT campaign and HIV knowledge or HIV risk perception. Those who tested... were more likely to disclose their HIV status [and] HIV positive individuals who tested were more likely to be initiated on ART.

    May 10, 2016
    Public Health
  • The Fast-Track approach... aims to reduce new infections and AIDS-related deaths by 90 percent from 2010 to 2030 and proposes a set of targets to achieve that goal... This paper describes the analysis that produced these targets and estimated resources needed to achieve them... The annual resources required from all sources would rise to US$7.4Bn in low-income countries, US$8.2Bn in lower middle-income countries, and US$10.5Bn in upper-middle-income-countries by 2020 before declining approximately 9 percent by 2030.

    May 9, 2016
    General
    PLoS ONE
  • Antiretroviral treatment decreases the risk of HIV acquisition in stable serodiscordant couples and the general population in high HIV prevalence settings. However, HIV elimination will probably not be achieved by one prevention approach to fit all, but will require a combination of effective interventions contextualised to the specific epidemic to achieve virtual elimination, defined as one new HIV infection per 1000 individuals.

    May 9, 2016
    Lancet Infectious Diseases
  • Our study is the first to show that TasP can substantially reduce a country's HIV epidemic, and bring it close to elimination. However, we have shown the effectiveness of TasP under optimal conditions: very high treatment coverage, and exceptionally high (98 percent) viral suppression rate. Unless these extremely challenging conditions can be met in sub-Saharan Africa, the WHO's global elimination strategy is unlikely to succeed.

    May 9, 2016
    Lancet Infectious Diseases
  • In this study, curcumin and efavirenz (EFV) were successfully encapsulated through sol-oil method and used as a controlled delivery system through vaginal route as a microbicide. Efavirenz plus curcumin loaded lactoferrin nanoparticles (ECNPs) showed less toxicity to Lactobacillus crispatus and vaginal epithelial tissue, and release active drug entities in the vaginal lavage. In summary, lactoferrin-loaded curcumin and EFV nanoparticles serves as a highly effective and efficient multi-protective and microbicide formulation.

    May 6, 2016
    Science Reports
  • 18 studies were included, comprising data from 39 articles and 6 conference abstracts. Conclusion: PrEP is protective against HIV infection across populations, presents few significant safety risks [and] no evidence of behavioral risk compensation, and was not associated with increased pregnancy-related adverse events or hormonal contraception effectiveness. The effective and cost-effective use of PrEP will require development of best practices for fostering uptake and adherence among people at substantial HIV-risk.

    May 5, 2016
    AIDS
  • A comprehensive literature search was conducted [and] approaches evaluated as to feasibility and clinical trial implementation, cost and technical strength... We identified four promising approaches... based on the following measurements: intracellular drug levels, drug levels in hair, accumulation of a vaginal analyte that diffuses into the ring, and depletion of an intrinsic ring constituent... A strategy of using complementary biometric and behavioural approaches is recommended.

    May 2, 2016
    J Intl AIDS Soc
  • The 2010 US National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) set key targets for the reduction of HIV incidence (25 percent) and the transmission rate (30 percent) by 2015... At the conclusion of the original NHAS time period, important incremental but ultimately insufficient progress was made in attempting to reach key incidence and transmission rate targets for the NHAS. HIV prevention efforts must be reinvigorated in the NHAS’s second era.

    April 29, 2016
    AIDS and Behavior
  • A novel pod-IVR delivering a combination of TDF and MVC was evaluated... The device exhibited sustained release at controlled rates... and maintained steady-state drug levels in cervicovaginal fluids. Dilution of CVFs... was measured by ion chromatography using an inert tracer allowing corrected drug concentrations to be measured for the first time... No adverse events were observed. These findings, together with previous pod-IVR studies, have allowed several lead candidates to advance into clinical evaluation.

    April 11, 2016
    Antimicrobicial Agents & Chemotherapy

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