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23 November 2016 VOLUME 17 ISSUE 47

Media Coverage

  • We are writing in response to a commentary by Dr Ronald Goldman titled, “Recommendation of circumcision for HIV prevention is biased” that appeared in the 2 November 2016 edition of The Namibian...Dr Goldman's commentary has many unsubstantiated and incorrect claims and we want to address some of them here and why we believe VMMC is an important part of Namibia's response to HIV.

    November 23, 2016
    The Namibian
  • President Hage Geingob yesterday bemoaned the lack of private sector funding support for the fight against HIV....[and] said his declared war on poverty would be meaningless if no shots are fired in the direction of the AIDS pandemic.... Speaking at the same occasion, executive director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé urged Geingob to push for the local production of medicines in Namibia and on the African continent in general.

    November 22, 2016
    New Era
  • In much of Africa, HIV is no longer the medieval plague it used to be. Which is not to say the virus still doesn’t pose a significant threat to the continent’s future. HIV is a wily fiend and our hard-earned gains can be quickly eroded if complacency slips in. Thankfully, as Kenyan HIV activist Jacqueline Wambui explains, science is helping keep the virus at bay by giving women greater control in the bedroom than they've traditionally had.

    November 22, 2016
    This Is Africa
  • A 2-dose series of the human papillomavirus 9-valent vaccine was comparable to a 3-dose series in younger adolescents, according to results of a small noninferiority trial [that]....included 52 ambulatory care sites in 15 countries recruiting adolescent girls and boys. Researchers examined data from five groups of adolescents and young women, all of whom received the HPV 9-valent vaccine.

    November 22, 2016
    MedPage Today
  • Decades of unchecked mining and militarization in Papua, Indonesia, have resulted in an HIV epidemic linked to rampant sex trade and inadequate health services. In 2013, Indonesia’s health ministry found the infection rate in the small western province 20 times the national average—and 88% of people infected unaware of their condition. A key source: Brothels at mining sites where some 80% of sex workers are estimated to be HIV positive.

    November 22, 2016
    Global Health Now
  • Much of Picker’s work now involves fighting for grant money in a dwindling pot of research funds to keep his laboratory at Oregon Health & Science University running. To win those grants, he must continually prove that his unorthodox approach to creating a vaccine is probably going to work, which means that he needs a string of victories in the laboratory.

    November 22, 2016
    Newsweek
  • In advance of World AIDS Day, a new [UNAIDS] report finds more people with HIV than ever before receiving life-saving treatment, leading to fewer deaths from AIDS-related illnesses around the world....Peter Ghys of UNAIDS said: "We estimate that if the funding is there and coverage targets are... achieved by the 2020, that will lead to ending the HIV epidemic by 2030. If the money is not there, then it is almost impossible to achieve that end."

    November 21, 2016
    VOA
  • The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the New York Blood Center, in partnership with local community consulting groups, have received a $769,578 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to embark on designing an awareness program on the usage of the daily oral medication Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)...in the Philadelphia and New York metropolitan areas, surveying women's thoughts and obstacles surrounding PrEP usage.

    November 21, 2016
    ScienMag
  • A growing number of people in Sweden now live with HIV, yet ignorance about what this means can lead to discrimination. This is why we need to increase public awareness....“I view HIV as any other chronic illness like diabetes or high blood pressure,” says Anna-Mia Ekström, a specialist in infectious diseases and HIV researcher at Karolinska Institutet, in the promotional film for the hividag.se campaign.

    November 21, 2016
    The Local
  • In a report on the AIDS pandemic, which has infected 78 million people and killed 35 million since it began in the 1980s, UNAIDS said consistently strong scale-up of treatment has seen annual AIDS-related deaths drop by 45 percent to 1.1 million in 2015 from...about 2 million in 2005. But as more HIV-positive people live longer, the challenges of caring for them as they get older, preventing the virus spreading, and reducing new infections are tough.

    November 21, 2016
    Reuters
  • Researchers [at the University of Adelaide] have shown that a combined approach, using a common cold virus to introduce a vaccine into the body, as well as an injection of a DNA-based vaccine, results in the immune system actively protecting against HIV in the gut and bodily cavities. The studies, published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, represent an important step forward in attempts to introduce a first line of defense against HIV at the site of infection.

    November 21, 2016
    Science Daily
  • Young women in sub-Saharan Africa are living through a “particularly dangerous time” when it comes to risk of HIV infection, according to the annual [UNAIDS] World AIDS Day report...The reasons are complex, according to the report....The new update...offers a far more nuanced take on the epidemic than in previous years. For the first time, the report examines the disease in four age brackets that it calls “the life-cycle approach to HIV.”

    November 21, 2016
    Science
  • Too little has been done to help girls protect themselves and stay well, according to Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS executive director. “Young women are facing a triple threat,” he said. “They are at high risk of HIV infection, have low rates of HIV testing, and have poor adherence to treatment."....Girls are particularly vulnerable in southern Africa because of their low status in a strongly patriarchal society.

    November 21, 2016
    The Guardian
  • A pioneering initiative that builds on earlier successes could open a new chapter in the history of Aids in South Africa.

    November 20, 2016
    Times Live
  • With the (unsurprising) concession that I too felt that watching the election returns was akin to witnessing an...incomprehensible train wreck, I remind you that the expression of gratitude is well known to make you happier. Plus, it's the season. So here's a brief list of things in our fascinating field to be grateful for as you get the turkey ready.

    November 20, 2016
    theBody.com
  • A quadrivalent HPV vaccination program for females dramatically reduced the prevalence of virus among unvaccinated young men, according to researchers from Australia. The data indicated male patients may benefit as much as female patients from a female-only, high-coverage vaccination program, they wrote.

    November 19, 2016
    Healio
  • When Dr. Wanjiru Mukoma began educating at-risk communities about a new preventative HIV treatment in Kenya, interest appeared high. Her company, LVCT Health, reached out to hundreds of members of at-risk communities.... But when LVCT Health began its demonstration study to test the new treatment in three Kenyan communities, many of the same people who appeared enthusiastic didn’t take part....Mukoma suspected multiple factors pushed the numbers down, “But underlying all of that is stigma,” she said.

    November 18, 2016
    Devex
  • While many Americans are expressing fatigue from the election cycle, people living with HIV do not have the choice to ignore the result....In addition to winning the White House, Republicans held onto control of Congress. Many believe the Trump administration may aim to roll back Medicaid expansion, eliminate the individual health insurance mandate, and get rid of subsidies to help middle-income families purchase health insurance, possibly leaving an additional 22 million Americans without health coverage.

    November 18, 2016
    HIV Equal Online
  • While African Americans make up 12% of the US population, they made up 44% of new HIV infections in 2014....After reviewing literature on criminal drug policies, researchers from the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences developed the Drug War HIV/AIDS Inequities Model [which] led to identification of two main factors which eventually put this population at a greater risk of contracting HIV – disproportionate drug arrests and sentencing of African Americans.

    November 18, 2016
    Medical News
  • How undercover police infiltrated a criminal network that spent years hiding behind a curtain of shelf companies, Swiss bank accounts and pseudonyms....[Results of] a joint investigation between the African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting, Beobachter (Switzerland) and Bayerischer Rundfunk (Germany).

    November 18, 2016
    Bhekisisa
  • Over the last five years, governments and private companies have made some $7 billion in global health commitments affecting more than 600 million lives and, according to a new report, most have followed through....While global health pledges have seen follow-through overall, the authors raise concerns about the shifting trend in funding...[and] also warn that success stories can make the global community lose sight of the continued need for funding health systems.

    November 18, 2016
    Humanosphere
  • Five graduates from The Moth Global Community from different African countries shared the stories of their lives and how HIV/AIDS played a role in their decision to become social activists. The storytelling showcase 'Beneath the Armour' took place at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg Wednesday evening.

    November 18, 2016
    ENCA
  • Every year since 2010, POZ has honored the POZ 100, a roundup of HIV and AIDS advocates fighting the virus. This year’s list focuses on the American South, where 44 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV live, and where Black women account for 69 percent of women with the virus....Oriol Gutierrez, POZ editor in chief, said: “We can’t end the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic without addressing the impact of the virus in the South.”

    November 17, 2016
    Color Lines
  • PrEP drugs like Truvada can drastically lower the risk of HIV transmission. But young women in South Africa are pushing for a different kind of change....I traveled to South Africa with questions about what makes young women so vulnerable to the disease. That's when I learned about the blessers...who give younger women gifts or money in return for sex.

    November 17, 2016
    VICE News
  • Dana Hines, Ph.D. M.S.N., didn't want to come to Atlanta on Wednesday, Nov. 9, despite the importance of the annual conference of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC)....Yet, somehow,...she did land in Atlanta. And what she found on the other side, at the annual ANAC event, was an oasis.,...a safe space, she said, to talk and mourn and prepare to fight -- all with people who are also dedicated to the care of those affected by HIV.

    November 17, 2016
    theBodyPro.com
  • There is already much speculation as to President Donald J. Trump's likely policy toward Africa. During the campaign, the Trump team did not speak very much about foreign policy in general, and said almost nothing about Africa....There is little doubt that PEPFAR will be sustained, but the Trump administration might decide to scrutinize the MCC [Millennium Challenge Corporation] because of budgetary restrictions.

    November 17, 2016
    All Africa
  • The review showed that in those studies which provided incentives, such as free school uniform or small cash payments to young people who stay in school, that while there was no definitive change in the number of HIV, one showed a reduction in other STI infections, and overall there was a significant reduction in adolescent pregnancies, although more high quality evidence is needed to confirm this.

    November 16, 2016
    Medical Brief

Published Research

  • HIV testing uptake among men was 28% in 2005, 43% in 2008 and 59% in 2012. Reduced likelihood of HIV testing was significantly associated with males aged 15–24 years, Black African race group, being single and unemployed, those residing in urban informal and rural informal areas, and those men who ever had sex. The observed sociodemographic differentials suggest that an effective expansion strategy for HIV testing needs to prioritize those most unlikely to test as identified by the current findings.

    February 1, 2017
    Public Health
  • Cochrane researchers conducted a review of the effects of school-based interventions for reducing HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pregnancy in adolescents. After searching for relevant trials up to 7 April 2016, they included eight trials that had enrolled 55,157 adolescents.

    November 23, 2016
    Chochrane
  • We did a 48 week, single-arm, open-label trial in [50] treatment-naive adolescents with HIV from ten hospital clinics in South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, and the USA....Although non-comparative with a small sample size, [our] data support the use of this regimen in HIV-infected adolescents and its timely assessment in younger children.

    November 22, 2016
    Lancet
  • In this review, we focus on PrEP as a new prevention tool for MSM at high risk in Europe, including its evidence for effectiveness, challenges for implementation, ongoing European demonstration studies; as well as how PrEP relates to other existing prevention tools. In light of European Medicines Agency's recent recommendation for approval of PrEP we briefly review the potential implications.

    November 21, 2016
    Sex Transm Infect
  • The winners in Trump's America [are] likely to be the defense industry, oil and energy, private prisons, and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Not health... [W]e must admit that we now have no idea what he has in mind for health care....Advances for sexual and reproductive health and rights are likely to falter. His skepticism about the value of US leadership suggests that his nation's commitment to global health and development could be at risk.

    November 19, 2016
    Lancet
  • People who inject drugs are a key population being left behind in the global HIV prevention programmes; they comprised 51% of people with new HIV infections in eastern Europe and central Asia and 13% in Asia and the Pacific in 2014, according to...UNAIDS. Despite abundant evidence that HIV infection rates decline when PWID have access to harm reduction and other evidence-based interventions, only 80 of 192 reporting countries have opiate substitution therapy programmes, and 90 offer needle and syringe programmes.

    November 17, 2016
    Lancet
  • We analysed the VDRL results and the clinical records of 1150 men followed up in our centre during the study period. Mean age was 40.9 years. No significant differences in incidence according to age group were found, but there was a trend towards a lower incidence in older men. The incidence of syphilis in this cohort of men with HIV (predominantly MSM) was very high.

    November 17, 2016
    Sex Transm Infect
  • In an extension to the [Bangkok Tenoforvir Study, participants were offered 1 year of open-label tenofovir....More than 60% of returning, eligible participants started PrEP, which indicates that a substantial proportion of PWID knowledgeable about PrEP might be interested in taking it. Participants who had injected heroin or been in prison were more likely to choose to take PrEP, suggesting that participants based their decision to take PrEP, at least in part, on their perceived risk of incident HIV infection.

    November 17, 2016
    Lancet
  • We performed a comprehensive characterization of the rectal mucosal immune environment for the phenotype and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by CD4 and CD8 T cells, global transcriptomic analyses, and the composition of microbiota in HIV-negative MSM. Our results...provide a high-resolution model of the immunological, molecular, and microbiological perturbations induced by CRAI, will have direct utility in understanding rectal HIV transmission among MSM, and will enhance design of future biomedical prevention interventions, including candidate HIV vaccines.

    November 16, 2016
    Mucosal Immunology
  • No statistically significant differences were observed between TDF and comparison non-TDF regimens in pregnancy incidence, stillbirth/pregnancy loss, preterm delivery, small for gestational age, birth defects, infant or maternal mortality. Given available safety data, there does not appear to be a safety-related rationale for prohibiting PrEP during pregnancy/lactation or for discontinuing PrEP in HIV-uninfected women who become pregnant and are at continuing risk of HIV acquisition.

    November 7, 2016
    AIDS
  • Patients with HIV and treatment-associated lipodystrophy syndromes often have physical and cardiovascular health complications as well as devastating psychological effects, and can face stigma associated with these changes. Among several strategies devised to reverse or minimise treatment-associated lipodystrophy syndromes, particularly lipoatrophy, several have been based on switching to N(t)RTI-sparing regimens.

    November 1, 2016
    Lancet
  • We find compelling evidence for a real-world benefit of 4vHPV vaccination in sexually-active minority, inner-city adolescent and young adult women against cervical and anal HPV infection with vaccine targeted types, as well as for HPV31 and 45....Nevertheless, we see that delayed completion of the 3-dose vaccine schedule among women immunized at 15 years and older is associated with increased risk of incident infection or re-infection with anogenital HPV6/11/16/18 and risk of associated cytological abnormalities.

    October 17, 2016
    J Infect Dis
  • For many individuals, antiretroviral therapy means that an HIV-1 diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. But... complying with the drug regimen to keep virus loads down can be challenging....Seeking an alternative, Byrareddy et al. treated ART-suppressed monkeys with antibodies targeting α4β7 integrin. When ART was halted in the treated animals, viral loads stayed undetectable, and normal CD4 T cell counts were maintained for over 9 months and persisted even after stopping the therapy.

    October 14, 2016
    Antibody Related Research
    Science

Announcements

  • Under the Preventive Technologies Agreement supported by the US Agency for International Development, FHI 360 implemented two projects designed to increase understanding of the gender issues likely to affect women’s microbicide use. Findings, including the role of male partners, will inform the future introduction of a microbicide product. Resources developed under these projects are now available at the FHI 360 website here.

    November 22, 2016