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22 July 2016 ISSUE 17 VOLUME 29

Media Coverage

  • Europe's medicines watchdog said Friday it has recommended the licensing of the first-ever AIDS prevention pill for the European Union.

    July 22, 2016
    AFP
  • Statistics show that voluntary male circumcision is a crucial weapon in the fight to control HIV.

    July 21, 2016
    Bhekisisa
  • Although sex workers are among the highest risk group for contracting HIV, many feel that this is the group that has largely been marginalised in the debate on HIV....On the first day of the conference on Monday, Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu led a robust session which focused on debating the South African National Sex Workers HIV Plan, which sets to focus on sex work and HIV prevention over the next five years.

    July 19, 2016
    East African Business News
  • Svetlana Izambayeva, 36, is one of Russia's most unusual beauty queens. The former hairdresser from the Volga River city of Cheboksary was crowned Miss Positive during a 2005 pageant for HIV-positive women,...one of the first Russians to publicly disclose their status...Four years later, Izambayeva's widowed mother died, and she was denied custody of her two little brothers. Russian law does not allow an HIV-positive person to become a child's legal guardian.

    July 19, 2016
    Al Jazeera
  • The number of Kenyans injecting heroin has surged in recent years as the East African nation has become a major transit route for international drug cartels moving heroin from Afghanistan to Europe....Narcotics have spilled on to the local market, where people are largely unaware that injecting drugs can lead to HIV infection, sparking concerns that Kenya's success in tackling HIV could be reversed.

    July 19, 2016
    Reuters
  • Racism is one of the underlying causes of the HIV epidemic and...why it has not yet been brought to an end, according to actress and AIDS campaigner Charlize Theron, who says that people are afraid to talk about it. Theron...is South African by birth and started a foundation in 2007 to help prevent adolescents and young people becoming infected with HIV in ever greater numbers.

    July 19, 2016
    Guardian
  • Dr. Carlos del Rio,...Rollins School of Public Health, has a pair of maps he shows medical students entering the field of infectious diseases. One shows the countries of the world sized according to the numbers of adults living with HIV in each. The other shows the countries of the world sized according to the number of physicians living in each. With 24 percent of the world’s disease burden,...Africa has 3 percent of the world’s workforce, and less than 1 percent of the world’s financial resources.

    July 19, 2016
    Science Speaks
  • Complete suppression of HIV replication appears 100 percent effective in preventing transmission of the virus. The landmark HPTN 052 trial assessed risk of HIV transmission in 1,763 heterosexual couples, in which one partner was HIV-positive and the other was not, according to Myron Cohen, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, here at the International AIDS Conference. But, dramatically, not one of the cases occurred when the infected partner's virus was suppressed.

    July 19, 2016
    MedPage Today
  • The finding comes from the latest cut at the data from a phase III, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of the so-called dapivirine ring, according to Jared Baeten, University of Washington, [at the International AIDS Conference]. The basic findings, reported earlier this year, showed that using the ring during sexual intercourse reduced the risk of HIV by 27 percent compared with a placebo ring....Analyses that took into account evidence of use showed the benefit was at least 56 percent and possibly greater than 75 percent when the device was used consistently.

    July 19, 2016
    MedPage Today
  • Women who took part in ASPIRE, a trial that found a vaginal ring containing an antiretroviral drug called dapivirine was safe and helped protect against HIV, will soon be offered the opportunity to use the ring as part of a new study called HOPE. The first of HOPE's sites opened just today, at the Medical Research Council of South Africa's Verulam clinical research site in KwaZulu-Natal. Other South African sites, and sites in Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe, will open in coming months.

    July 18, 2016
    Science Newsline
  • A massive effort in South Africa is under way to launch clinical HIV-vaccine trials. Bill Gates announced his foundation will invest $5 billion in Africa — in what is another Seattle connection to a massive effort to wipe out AIDS. The Gates Foundation has spent heavily on research and other programs to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases in Africa. The $5 billion will be invested over the next five years.

    July 18, 2016
    Seattle Times
  • More than 18000 scientists, clinicians, experts, civil society representatives and government leaders are gathering in Durban for the International AIDS Conference which started yesterday. Some have suggested that these sorts of conferences are little more than “talk shops” that do little to further the fight against HIV-AIDS. Prof Mzi Nduna of the department of psychology at Wits University tells Candice Bailey, The Conversation Africa’s health and medicine editor, why she disagrees with these critics.

    July 18, 2016
    Africa News Network
  • When used consistently for a month at a time, a vaginal ring containing the antiretroviral drug, dapivirine, provides significant protection against HIV, suggest results of new data analyses from the ASPIRE study announced today at the AIDS 2016 Conference. Among women who appeared to use the ring most regularly, HIV risk was cut by more than half in all analyses, and in some, by 75 percent or more.

    July 18, 2016
    Science News
  • On Monday, the return of hundreds of AIDS researchers and activists to Durban will highlight how radically the country’s outlook has changed. South Africa now is a global proving ground for treatment and prevention, including a study of an experimental HIV vaccine set to begin later this year.

    July 18, 2016
    Washington Post
  • Fears of a resurgence in the HIV/AIDS virus are growing as the reduction in the number of new infections has stalled and..., in a report released over the weekend, UNAIDS and the Kaiser Family Foundation warned that funding to support HIV efforts in low- and middle-income countries had fallen for the first time in five years in 2015. The drop was significant, amounting to almost $1bn.

    July 18, 2016
    Public Finance National
  • Researchers at Houston Methodist Research Institute were awarded a nearly $4 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study a transcutaneously refillable implant that delivers pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs to people at risk of being exposed to HIV....Alessandro Grattoni and his team will be looking at ways to improve a nanochannel delivery system that can deliver the drugs without using pumps, valves or power supplies.

    July 18, 2016
    FiercePharma
  • When Cleopas Kapembwa Chisanga in Zambia found out he was HIV positive, he wanted to kill himself. "Because when you have HIV you have the monster inside you," Chisanga, 24, says in a new video series about the experience of young people grappling with HIV in Africa....Chisanga's story is part of a project by the Children's Radio Foundation, launched to coincide with Monday's opening of the 21st International AIDS Conference 2016 in Durban, South Africa.

    July 18, 2016
    NPR
  • She's a sex worker....She's drunk and can barely stand up. She triumphantly declares she's going to sleep with 20 men tonight. The woman is one of the many sex workers in the city of Beira in Mozambique — and one of the targets of a new pilot program set up by Doctors Without Borders to prevent the spread of HIV. The initiative focuses on sex workers and another group at high risk of infection — truck drivers.

    July 18, 2016
    NPR
  • Thousands of researchers, activists and donors have opened a global AIDS conference in South Africa, to share ideas about the best ways to treat and prevent the disease. The five-day conference has drawn more than 18,000 attendees,including actress Charlize Theron, Britain's Prince Harry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.... South African bishop and social rights activist Desmond Tutu said in a video message that the poor are the hardest hit by HIV /AIDS.

    July 18, 2016
    VOA
  • Janssen Therapeutics announced that the Food and Drug Administration has expanded the use of Prezista (darunavir) in pregnant women with HIV infection. The updated labeling now includes dosing recommendations and study data investigating the use of Prezista during pregnancy and the post-partum period.

    July 18, 2016
    EMPR
  • The CDC reported Thursday that the wily Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria may be developing resistance to the only two antibiotics left that can cure the sexually transmitted disease....The rates are still modest...but are red flags for scientists tracking gonorrhea’s march through the antibiotic armamentarium....The first author of the report, Dr. Robert Kirkcaldy, told STAT, “The potential for untreatable gonorrhea is a very real possibility.”

    July 18, 2016
    STAT
  • History suggests that finding a "classic" cure for HIV -- clearing the virus from the body -- is going to be a tough chore, a top US official said here. On the other hand, a less aspirational goal -- that of achieving sustained remissions from the virus -- looks closer to hand in the current state of medical science, according to Anthony Fauci, director, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

    July 18, 2016
    MedPage Today
  • For HIV-infected mothers whose immune system is in good health, taking a three-drug antiretroviral regimen during breastfeeding essentially eliminates HIV transmission by breast milk to their infants, according to results from the PROMISE study, a large clinical trial conducted in sub-Saharan Africa and India.

    July 18, 2016
    NIH/NIAID
  • Trump’s pick for vice president, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has spent his lengthy political career building a reputation for his conservative stance on social issues, especially gay rights. In light of Trump’s announcement, his reputation is elevating fears that a Trump candidacy could diminish US contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

    July 18, 2016
    Humanosphere
  • The 21st International AIDS Conference began with the question: “What will it really take to achieve the end of AIDS?” A lot of hype focuses on the upcoming ‘special session’ with Sir Elton John and Prince Harry of Wales....But a group of high-profile experts and advocates drew its own standing-room-only crowd on Sunday to discuss the current state of AIDS in the world, which they say is at a critical crossroads.

    July 18, 2016
    Humanosphere
  • At the International AIDS Conference today, researchers at the Center for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) will unveil startling new evidence of a bacterial culprit that could be responsible for as many as two out of every five new cases of HIV among women [and] how another bacteria blocks the effectiveness of [HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, PrEP]. At the heart of these discoveries is an area of research once considered a biological dead zone: the vaginal microbiome.

    July 18, 2016
    PBS NewsHour
  • Today’s HIV goals are even more ambitious, and rightly so. Thanks to a spate of scientific advances, this decade could be the beginning of the end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. But it won’t be if the focus stays only on scaling up treatment.

    July 18, 2016
    STAT
  • Everyone agrees it sounds like a wonderful goal: The UN AIDS agency aims to end the deadly epidemic by the year 2030....In the next five years, low-income countries will need as much as $9.7 billion, and lower-middle-income countries will need $8.7 billion. That means the bill will fall on wealthier international donors, like the United States and other Western nations....Even the optimists say such goals won't be easy to reach.

    July 16, 2016
    VOA
  • Not many years ago, the idea of defeating the resilient virus that causes AIDS was far-fetched. But as 18,000 people gather this coming week in Durban, South Africa, for the 21st International AIDS Conference, the prospect of a cure is plausible enough that it is attracting increasing amounts of money, scientific research and attention.

    July 16, 2016
    Washington Post
  • Thirty-five years ago, alert physicians in the United States spotted a new disease, caused by a virus that had been in circulation, unnoticed, for decades in people, and millennia in monkeys....Over time, the virus' transmission shifted...to general heterosexual spread. That was HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, which currently infects more than 37 million people all over the world....Now the world is facing a virus that seems poised to make a similar leap: the Zika virus.

    July 15, 2016
    CNN
  • It’s human nature to compare AIDS 2000 to the convening happening in Durban, South Africa....However, that same then-and-now comparison serves to highlight persistent blind spots in the global response to HIV and AIDS....Policymakers, scientists and implementers agree that an effective HIV response must be viewed through the lens of human rights. Yet overall AIDS funding for human rights is remarkably low....Here is where philanthropic resources can make a difference.

    July 15, 2016
    Devex
  • Andile Madondile set out from his home in Cape Town’s biggest township to give a presentation to his neighbors on HIV....To describe how HIV drugs work, he projected slides with terms like “reverse transcriptase enzyme” onto battered pink wallboard....Then, the 38-year-old educator with South Africa’s largest HIV activist group, the Treatment Action Campaign, ventured into new territory: a clinical trial that needs 1,500 women across southern and east Africa.

    July 15, 2016
    Seattle Times
  • In this final installment of an exclusive 4-part Q&A before next week’s AIDS conference, International AIDS Society President Chris Beyrer explains what it means for the conference to return to Africa and what global leaders don’t understand about the epidemic. He also reflects on his tenure as IAS president and offers advice for his successor, Linda-Gail Bekker.

    July 15, 2016
    Global Health Now
  • A new type of HIV drug currently being tested works in an unusual way, scientists have found. They also discovered that when the virus became resistant to early versions of these drugs, it did not do so by blocking or preventing their effects, but rather by circumventing them. The study, published online today in Science, presents the most detailed view yet of part of the immature form of HIV.

    July 15, 2016
    Science Daily
  • In a study published July 11 in the peer-reviewed Journal of Virology, researchers from the UCLA AIDS Institute and Center for AIDS Research found that recently discovered potent antibodies can be used to generate a specific type of cell called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs, that can be used to kill cells infected with HIV-1.

    July 15, 2016
    Science Daily
  • HIV cure research has a long way to go before it becomes practical. Not all HIV researchers think a cure is possible. At present, managed HIV disease may be the best for which we can hope, but a minority of researchers continues to look for a cure. Managed HIV disease leaves people in a state of chronic low-level inflammation, leading to more health problems. Cure research is still worth following.

    July 15, 2016
    South Florida Gay News
  • Sixteen years after the last International AIDS Conference in South Africa, the global picture is mixed.

    July 15, 2016
    US News
  • Showing how simple it can be, Prince Harry took an HIV test at a London clinic Thursday morning – and broadcast the event live on Facebook. Harry took the test to help "de-stigmatize" the issue and to show how easy it is to be checked.

    July 14, 2016
    People
  • South Africa’s universities have long been viewed as among the strongest in sub-Saharan Africa. But ongoing financial and political turmoil are endangering research at the nation’s centres of higher learning....Funding cuts have threatened agencies such as the South African Medical Research Council (MRC), harmed researchers’ abilities to run labs and recruit young scientists, [and] delayed planned projects at South African universities.

    July 13, 2016
    Nature
  • Despite recent scientific advances, a cure for HIV remains elusive and it would be more realistic to focus on putting the disease into remission, according to one of the world’s leading HIV cure researchers.

    July 12, 2016
    Business Day Live

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