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23 October 2015 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 43

Media Coverage

  • Young men participating in a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) demonstration project experienced modest but significant bone loss after starting Truvada, according to findings presented yesterday to a joint session of the 15th European AIDS Conference and the 17th International Workshop on Co-morbidities and Adverse Drug Reactions in HIV by Kathleen Mulligan of the University of California at San Francisco.

    October 22, 2015
    aidsmap
  • The year 2015 is likely to turn out a decisive one for the story of pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV. After a slow and faltering beginning, with trials in sub-Saharan Africa dogged by problems of poor adherence (Haberer & Bangsburg/STI/blog; VOICE D/STI/blog; Hendrix & Bumpus/STI/blog), this intervention appears at last to have proved its worth – at least in high-risk populations such as MSM in Europe and America. This is to be seen in a succession of results from recent or still ongoing trials.

    October 22, 2015
    BMJ Blogs
  • The story of the HIV denialist movement demonstrates that scientific agreement is not necessarily enough....South Africa’s HIV denialism was home-grown, but it gained strength from the denialist community in the United States....Denialism still gets articles in reputable scientific journals, and is still influencing people, to this day...And in South Africa, the government is still dragging its feet on providing Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to HIV-negative people.

    October 22, 2015
    Gizmodo
  • Among people living with HIV, it is almost impossible to predict which of them will best adhere to antiretroviral therapy medication, said Carlos Del Rio, M.D., professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. "The first lesson in adherence is that preconceived ideas about who will be adhering and who will not are often wrong," Del Rio said, speaking at IDWeek 2015 in San Diego, California.

    October 21, 2015
    TheBodyPro
  • Carrying a badge and wearing a uniform have not stopped Kuruman police from allegedly threatening sex workers in an attempt to coerce sex workers to provide their services for free, according to Northern Cape Provincial AIDS Council Chairperson Beau Nkaelang....He added that sex workers were not the only ones who could benefit from an education in HIV prevention and human rights.

    October 21, 2015
    Health24
  • What practical steps does the global healthcare community need to take in order to expand HIV treatment so that it can reach everyone who is diagnosed? And how do we expand testing so that as many HIV-positive people as possible are diagnosed, on treatment, and virally suppressed? These were the themes of the strand of discussion concerning what used to be called 'Treatment as Prevention' at the recent 2015 IAPAC Controlling the HIV Epidemic with Antiretrovirals summit in Paris.

    October 21, 2015
    aidsmap
  • A report released jointly by the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and the International Network of People Who Use Drugs notes [that] the needs of [these] populations continue to be addressed in isolation, in efforts of limited scope, and without the input of the populations themselves. In fact, the report argues, the most pervasive responses to both sex work and injecting drug use continue to be punitive ones that further intensify harms.

    October 21, 2015
    Science Speaks
  • Medical advances toward the creation of an ‘AIDS vaccine’ are encouraging scientists and health policymakers to think realistically of the first generation of Swazis since the 1980s who will be living their lives entirely free of having to be infected by HIV or worry about AIDS.

    October 21, 2015
    The Observer
  • South Africa has made significant strides in HIV prevention and treatment in the past decade. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV being has dropped to 1.5%,...lower than the national target of 2%, according to the 10th edition of the District Health Barometer, an annual publication that provides a detailed breakdown of public health services in the country. The publication, released by the Health Systems Trust in Pretoria Tuesday, also notes that 91% of HIV-positive pregnant women in government clinics are on antiretroviral therapy.

    October 21, 2015
    Mail&Guardian
  • An AIDS vaccine trial that will infuse people with antibodies known to neutralise 85 percent of HIV strains will begin in southern Africa, the USA and South America within months....The vaccine will inject people with “broadly neutralising antibodies” (bNA) that have been isolated by the US National Institutes of Health, based on decades of research on HIV-infected people who have been able to hold the virus in check.

    October 21, 2015
    Health-E News
  • An emergency syringe exchange program implemented after an outbreak of HIV earlier this year in the state of Indiana led to a decrease in risk behaviours including needle sharing during its first five months, researchers reported at IDWeek 2015 this month in San Diego. These findings add to the evidence that needle exchange is an effective harm reduction intervention for people who inject drugs.

    October 20, 2015
    aidsmap
  • Pregnant refugee women in Ontario have a higher prevalence of HIV than immigrants and Canadian-born women, a new study examining serious pregnancy and delivery complications has found. Refugee women were 34 per cent more likely to experience serious complications - such as HIV, blood clots and severe bleeding after giving birth - than Canadian-born women, according to the study by Dr. Susitha Wanigaratne, a researcher at St. Michael's Hospital.

    October 20, 2015
    Medical News Today
  • Last Sunday marked the UN Day of the Girl Child...with a call for governments and others to prioritise adolescent health and nutrition, including sexual reproductive health and campaign for zero tolerance for violence.... Adolescent girls with disabilities are even more vulnerable to violation of their rights.

    October 20, 2015
    SciDev.net
  • At its sixth annual 2020 Leading Women’s Society Awards, SisterLove honored 20 women from across the country who’ve been living with HIV for at least 20 years and have been fighting the AIDS epidemic....Actress and HIV/AIDS advocate Sheryl Lee Ralph received the Pandora Singleton Ally Award for her 20 years of service as an HIV-negative ally. “There is no better inspiration for leadership and determination than what we find with our 2020 Leading Women,” said SisterLove president and CEO Dazon Dixon Diallo.”

    October 20, 2015
    POZ
  • Brenda Bakobye, 19, is among teenagers living with HIV/Aids in Kenya, but counts herself lucky. When she was in secondary school, the matron kept her anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs and reminded her to replenish. But, she said, “Some girls began avoiding me, speaking in low tones when I walked past...." Despite the stigma, Ms Bakobye is grateful that the school had a well-thought out plan for students living with Aids. However, Johnson Birgen and Jerry Kitiabi’s stories are different.

    October 20, 2015
    Business daily
  • For National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, Tonya Lewis Lee -- lawyer, activist and Spike Lee's wife -- led a powerful conversation about dealing with HIV and domestic violence....More than one-third of all women and 44 percent of black women in the U.S. experience intimate partner violence;...even more shocking is that 50 percent of women with HIV are abused by their partner, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

    October 20, 2015
    Huffington Post
  • As the U.S. closes in on its 35th year battling the HIV/AIDS epidemic, one of the first organizations in the fight raises an important conversation that is largely absent from the cultural zeitgeist: Although we now have the tools to make HIV history, new infection rates in America remain largely unchanged....“So why aren’t we talking about it?” actor Titus Burgess asks in the PSA, as he looks pointedly into the camera.

    October 20, 2015
    MSNBC
  • One in three women in the United States experiences intimate partner violence. For women living with HIV, it is one in two. Having an abusive partner is associated with a higher risk for HIV and, for those living with HIV, worse health outcomes. Coinciding with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Greater Than AIDS today launched Empowered: Women, HIV and Intimate Partner Violence to bring more attention to the issues and provide resources for women...at risk.

    October 20, 2015
    KFFNews
  • An unlicensed medical practitioner who infected more than 100 villagers in northwestern Cambodia with HIV by reusing unclean needles went on trial Tuesday, facing three charges including murder, his lawyer said. Yem Chhrin...was arrested last December and taken into protective custody, fearing revenge lynching by residents of Roka village, where at least 106 of the 800 people tested were found to be infected with HIV....At least 10 victims are reported to have died.

    October 20, 2015
    AP
  • NIH scientists have created a protein that awakens resting immune cells infected with HIV and facilitates their destruction in laboratory studies. The protein could contribute to a cure for HIV infection by helping deplete the reservoir of long-lived, latently HIV-infected cells that can start making the virus when a person stops taking anti-HIV drugs. Further studies in animals and people are needed to determine the viability of this approach.

    October 20, 2015
    Science Daily
  • Two new studies show that artificial antibodies could “redirect” the immune response to latently [HIV-] infected cells and help drain those HIV reservoirs in the body. But this creative strategy also carries risks. “The rationale is sound, and the data are exciting, but we will need to move carefully,” says Steven Deeks, an HIV/AIDS clinician at University of California, San Francisco, who tests cure strategies. “There really is zero room for error.”

    October 20, 2015
    Science
  • There were 6,151 new HIV diagnoses in 2014, including the highest number on record among gay and bisexual men, (3,360), Public Health England announced today....In the wake of the findings, the National AIDS Trust today issued a statement calling on the NHS to make PrEP available as an HIV prevention option....Yusef Azad, Director of Strategy at NAT, [said]: “We can look at the example of San Francisco for what works.”

    October 20, 2015
    Attitude
  • An [online] survey from the U.S. and Canada recently published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes reveals that, on the whole, HIV-negative gay men would rather take pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) intermittently and only before they anticipate sex, in what has been called "event-driven" or "on-demand" PrEP.... Of 18,710 men who clicked through to the survey from its ad, 6993 answered an initial screening questionnaire, 5079 enrolled, and 3217 completed all questionnaire items.

    October 19, 2015
    HIV&Hepatitis
  • Protease inhibitors are a class of antiviral drugs commonly used to treat HIV. Scientists have designed a new delivery system for these drugs that, coupled with another investigational drug, rid immune cells of HIV and kept the virus in check for long periods....The new regimens' long-lasting effects suggest that HIV treatment could be administered perhaps once or twice per year.

    October 19, 2015
    Science Daily
  • A multicomponent outreach program increased completion of the three-dose human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination series that reduces the risk of cervical cancer caused by the virus. Published in the journal Pediatrics, this study is the first to compare effectiveness in safety-net populations of HPV-specific information and follow-up calls to those overdue for later doses of the vaccine versus more traditional general vaccine information.

    October 19, 2015
    Science Daily
  • The United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime said Monday that an “unfortunate misunderstanding” had led to the impression that it would advocate the legalization of all drugs for personal use. A briefing paper to be presented at a conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,...had never been cleared by the agency’s executive director, the agency said, and was meant to describe only how legalization was permitted under existing international drug-control treaties and how it would benefit the fight against AIDS.

    October 19, 2015
    NY Times
  • Genocea Biosciences' vaccine for pneumococcal infection missed its goals in a Phase IIa trial, leading the company to pause development and shift its attention to a more promising effort in genital herpes. Earlier this month, Genocea disclosed positive 6-month efficacy results from a 310-patient Phase II trial on GEN-003, and the company believes it's on track to begin late-stage development in 2017.

    October 19, 2015
    Fierce Biotech
  • Mary-Jane Matsolo, wearing tight jeans, gold high-heeled sandals, and a white t-shirt with navy blue block letters reading “HIV Positive,” strides to the front of the Johannesburg conference room. “I’m the one who will make you understand patent laws and intellectual property rights,” she says to the dozen people gathered before her....Matsolo is a campaign officer for the South Africa-based Treatment Action Campaign, known as TAC.

    October 18, 2015
    Foreign Affairs
  • PLOS Blogs’ “Your Say” this week began a six-part series, titled “Talking about Drug Prices & Access to Medicines.” Featured bloggers will discuss issues surrounding drug pricing and access, including “misaligned incentives around drug R&D efforts and the related unavailability of necessary medicines to people around the world.”

    October 16, 2015
    Kaiser News
  • Clinicians who prescribe ART fewer than 20 times each year may be providing lower quality care to HIV patients than practitioners frequently recommending the therapy....“With the eventual retirement of providers who have delivered HIV care since the beginning of the epidemic...and perceived lack of young providers expressing interest in HIV care, the urgency of developing workforce policies to assure high-quality care must be addressed by policymakers and educators,” the researchers wrote.

    October 15, 2015
    Healio
  • Groups such as the Positive Women's Network of the USA, SERO Project and the US Caucus of People Living with HIV have helped to foster connection between individuals and networks. Earlier this year, the SERO Project launched an initiative to survey and document the state of networks composed of and led by HIV-positive people throughout the US....The survey marks the start of SERO's Network Empowerment Project, which intends to re-energize networks of people living with HIV nationwide.

    October 15, 2015
    TheBody.com
  • Tests that can distinguish whether HIV-positive people are infected with a drug-resistant strain or a non-resistant strain allow patients to get the most effective treatment as quickly as possible. In the November Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, Brown University researchers describe a new method that works faster and more sensitively in lab testing than the current standard technologies.

    October 15, 2015
    Science Daily
  • Enemas are commonly used by men who have sex with men (MSM) and transwomen (TW) before sexual intercourse. But these groups are vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) because enemas can seriously damage the thin tissue lining the rectum. A research group that worked recently with Peruvian MSM and TW proposes a rectal microbicide formulated as an enema to prevent HIV and possibly other STIs.

    October 15, 2015
    Science Daily
  • Three powerhouses in the global health sector have teamed to open a new vaccine center in Seattle. The new...Global Health Vaccine Center of Innovation is the result of a partnership between Seattle global heath nonprofit Infectious Disease Research Institute, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and French pharmaceutical company Sanofi's vaccine development arm....[It] aims to speed up development of vaccines while decreasing development costs [and] to boost availability of vaccines to people in developing countries.

    October 15, 2015
    Puget Sound Business Journal
  • Enrolling low-income and under-insured people with HIV in one of the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans in the US improves the likelihood of achieving undetectable HIV viral load, according to a presentation at IDWeek 2015 in San Diego. "We found patients fared better under ACA health plans, possibly due to broader access to medical care and medications beyond those that target HIV," said lead researcher Kathleen McManus of the University of Virginia.

    October 12, 2015
    aidsmap
  • New research may revolutionize the slow, cumbersome and expensive process of detecting the antibodies that can help with the diagnosis of infectious and auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and HIV. An international team of researchers have designed and synthesized a nanometer-scale DNA 'machine' whose customized modifications enable it to recognize a specific target antibody.

    October 7, 2015
    Science Daily

Published Research

  • We surveyed HIV risk behavior prior to recent pregnancy amongst South African, HIV-infected women (N = 209) and men (N = 82) recruited from antenatal and antiretroviral clinics....Only 11% of women and 5% of men had planned the pregnancy; 40% of women and 27% of men reported serostatus disclosure to their partner before conception....Interventions to improve understandings of serodiscordance and motivate mutual HIV-serostatus disclosure and pregnancy planning are necessary.

    December 1, 2015
    AIDS and Behavior
  • In The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Eric Chow and colleagues report on the near elimination of the major human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6, 11, 16, and 18 after introduction of vaccination against these types in Australia when analysed in high-risk women. The authors use the innovative strategy of establishing HPV prevalence in women who are chlamydia positive.

    November 1, 2015
    Lancet
  • Co-infection with hepatitis B virus and HIV is common because of shared routes of infection. Prevention is paramount because HIV-infected patients have a higher risk of chronic infection after exposure, and have a faster progression to cirrhosis and hepatitis B-related complications than do HIV-negative healthy people....However, only 18–71% of HIV-infected adults receiving the standard hepatitis B vaccine series develop a seroprotective response.

    November 1, 2015
    Lancet
  • The Table of Contents and associated links for AIDS and Behavior, December 2015. Volume 19 Number 12 are now available online.

    October 23, 2015
    AIDS and Behavior
  • This validation of the epidemiology behind sexual transmission carries an urgent imperative to realign prevention resources and scale up effective targeted interventions in sex work settings, and, given declining HIV resources, to do so efficiently. Eighteen articles in this issue highlight the importance and feasibility of such interventions under four themes: 1) epidemiology...; 2) implementation science...; 3) community mobilisation and 4) the treatment cascade for sex workers living with HIV.

    October 21, 2015
    PLoS ONE
  • The partial efficacy reported in the RV144 HIV vaccine trial in 2009 has driven the HIV vaccine field to define correlates of risk associated with HIV-1 acquisition and connect these functionally to preventing HIV infection....[R] researchers have expanded their search with nonhuman primate studies using vaccine regimens that differ from that used in RV144; these studies indicate that non-neutralizing antibodies are associated with protection from experimental lentivirus challenge as well [and] have provided the basis for design of a next generation of vaccine regimens.

    October 21, 2015
    Science Transl Med
  • The drop-out from eMTCT programs before cART initiation ranges from 33%–88% while retention rates at 18–24 months are less than 50%. Comprehensive strategies including peer-to-peer education, social support and laboratory monitoring can reduce refusals to less than 5% and attain retention rates approaching 90%. Several components of the model of care for reduction of HIV-1 MTCT are feasible and implementable in scale-up strategies. A review of this model of care for HIV eMTCT is provided.

    October 21, 2015
    Int J Environ Res Public Health
  • HSV-2 shedding frequency and quantity are high among HSV-2–seropositive adults in sub-Saharan Africa, including persons with and those without HIV infection. Shedding rates were particularly high among men, which may contribute to the high prevalence of HSV-2 and early acquisition among African women. No differences in shedding rates or lesion frequency were observed based on HIV serostatus.

    October 20, 2015
    J Infect Dis
  • Here we report an approach to reduce the viral reservoir by activating dormant viral gene expression and directing T lymphocytes to lyse previously latent, HIV-1-infected cells. An immunomodulatory protein was created that combines the specificity of a HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibody with that of an antibody to the CD3 component of the T-cell receptor....This immunomodulatory protein could potentially help to eliminate latently infected cells and deplete the viral reservoir in HIV-1-infected individuals.

    October 20, 2015
    Nature
  • We discuss the reasons for and methodological approach to using mathematical modelling and cost-effectiveness analysis in this agenda. We provide a brief description of the proof of concept for cure and the current directions of cure research. We then review the types of clinical economic evaluations, including cost analysis, cost-benefit analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis.

    October 20, 2015
    J Virus Eradication
  • The Lancet Editors recently commented on successes in Cuba in elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV infection as a public health threat; however, this Editorial neglected to address the important point that this was a dual effort to validate the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of both HIV infection and syphilis....In women with HIV, syphilis infection during pregnancy is associated with more than a 2·7 times increased risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission.

    October 17, 2015
    Lancet
  • Despite high levels of efficacy, the implementation of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as a strategy to prevent new HIV infection has been slow....Social marketing needs to redress PrEP-related stigmas through health promotion campaigns aimed at clinicians, HIV-affected communities, and people at high risk of HIV who might benefit from PrEP access. PrEP access needs to be reframed as a positive and responsible option to help people remain HIV-negative.

    October 13, 2015
    Dove Press
  • We examined the prevalence of and factors associated with rectal douching among a sample of 415 Peruvian MSM and 68 TW. In the previous 6 months, 18% of participants reported rectal douching using pre-filled commercial kits or plastic bottles or enema bags filled with water, water/soap or saltwater....Rectal douching among Peruvian MSM and TW is similar to reports from other studies and supports the potential uptake of a douche-formulated RM in these populations.

    October 12, 2015
    AIDS and Behavior
  • We conducted an online survey of North American MSM to characterize their sexual frequency and planning behaviors and correlate these with PrEP dosing preferences...Our findings suggest that preferences for different PrEP regimens are associated with the sexual frequency and planning behaviors of potential users.

    September 11, 2015
    JAIDS
  • The specific aim of this paper is to review recent vaccine efficacy trials and associated advancements and discuss the current challenges and future directions....Over the years, a number of scientific approaches have gained popularity and include the induction of neutralizing antibodies in late 1980s, induction of CD8 T cell in early 1990s, and combination approaches currently....Future studies should focus on the continuous fight between host immune responses and ever-evasive viral factors for effective vaccines.

    April 25, 2015
    J Immunology Research

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