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24 APRIL 2015 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 17

Media Coverage

  • Finding that magic bullet that can keep women from getting HIV, STIs or becoming pregnant is a promising new field of research for doctors across the globe. Disappointing news from the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle about the failed trials of Tenofovir vaginal gel for HIV prevention has taken some wind from their sails.

    April 24, 2015
    EDGE
  • “Strengthening and expanding community-based approaches to delivering HIV treatment is vital to the long-term success of the AIDS response," according to a new report by Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and UNAIDS. The report highlights MSF’s innovative approaches to the critical challenge of how to scale up treatment to ensure that people living with HIV have access to antiretroviral therapy through ways that fit in with their daily lives"....

    April 23, 2015
    Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report
  • [T]he President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has launched a new addition to its global health program, New Directions, which is entirely aimed at ultimately achieving an HIV free generation....As part of the New Directions schedule, the PEPFAR team...hosted a seminar in Selibe Phikwe,...one of the hardest hit regions and at the centre of controversy....It therefore came as no surprise when it was selected as a strategic location from which the launch and roll out of the New Directions Program will be staged.

    April 23, 2015
    Sunday Standard
  • Let us now praise Newt Gingrich....There he was, the scourge of Big Government, on the op-ed page of the New York Times Wednesday calling for doubling the National Institutes of Health budget. “It’s irresponsible and shortsighted to let financing for basic research dwindle,” he wrote, noting that government investments in preventing and curing disease could save the government money in direct health care costs....But his argument raises a larger issue....

    April 23, 2015
    Washington Post
  • In light of the Ebola epidemic, it is entirely sensible that the African Union intends to set up a pan-continental organization to guard against infectious disease. The African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention will be modelled...on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Although the goal is excellent and the effort should be cautiously welcomed, the plans for the agency are woefully inadequate. In terms of funds and staff — at least initially — it will be in no position to achieve its lofty ambitions.

    April 22, 2015
    Nature
  • The Zulu king blamed for sparking the violence against foreigners which has seen South Africa's streets turn into battlefields...over the past two weeks is no stranger to scandal. Just a couple of years ago King Goodwill Zwelithini...labelled homosexuals as 'rotten'. The dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist has also courted the wrath of women's rights and HIV/AIDS campaigners for his hard line stance on controversial traditional virginity testing.

    April 22, 2015
    Capital Bay
  • If New York State implements all the recommendations of a blueprint created to end the AIDS epidemic, it will save a net $4.5 billion in Medicaid costs by 2020 and an additional $120 million through improving the lives of HIV-positive New Yorkers who are homeless or in unstable housing, according to a press release and report.

    April 22, 2015
    POZ
  • This week the Swaziland media contained several articles about the damage caused by relatives of gender-based violence victims who do not report the crimes for fear of ‘airing dirty family laundry’ in public (tibi tendlu or ‘house rubbish.’) Gender-based violence has many causes and many consequences, including injuries and deaths and the social and economic damage caused by the loss of Swazi women....Specifically, the need to overcome gender-based violence is essential if Swaziland is to conquer AIDS.

    April 22, 2015
    Swazi Observer
  • The Deep South region has become the epicenter of the US HIV epidemic. Despite having only 28% of the total US population, nine states in the Deep South account for nearly 40% of national HIV diagnoses....And new research has found that the five-year survival rate for people diagnosed with HIV or AIDS is lower in the Deep South than in the rest of the country....The reasons are complicated, but poverty, social stigma, lack of health-care infrastructure and more rural geography likely all play a role.

    April 22, 2015
    The Conversation
  • Stakeholders in the health sector have attributed the recent sharp rise in the number of men undergoing voluntary medical circumcision in Masvingo Province over the past three years to increased awareness campaigns. According to figures recently released by the National AIDS Council, the number of men who went under the knife in Masvingo shot from 1,720 in 2012 to 10,986 in 2013 before reaching the 18,500 mark in 2014....

    April 22, 2015
    NewsDay Zimbabwe
  • Vical Incorporated today announced a $4 million contract with the IPPOX Foundation to manufacture plasmid DNA for HIV vaccine clinical trials. IPPOX is a Swiss non-profit foundation that participates in the conduct of HIV vaccine clinical trials under the auspices of the Pox-Protein Public-Private Partnership (P5), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The new contract builds upon recent encouraging clinical data.

    April 22, 2015
    Globe Newswire
  • Women ages 18 to 25 who received the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine before exposure to the virus are strongly protected against future infection at three risk-prone anatomic sites. And the vaccine appears to provide some protection even in those previously exposed. These are the latest findings reported from the [National Cancer Institute-funded] decade-old Costa Rica Vaccine Trial presented [this week] at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

    April 22, 2015
    MedPage Today
  • Unfortunately, since the end of the five-year effort that roughly doubled the NIH budget by 2003, funding for the institutes has been flat....That should trouble every fiscal conservative....It’s irresponsible and shortsighted...to let financing for basic research dwindle....Doubling the institutes’ budget once again would be a change on the right scale, although that increase should be accompanied by reforms to make the NIH less bureaucratic, give the director more flexibility,...and place a stronger emphasis on truly breakthrough research.

    April 22, 2015
    New York Times
  • Zambia National Women Lobby Board Chairperson Beauty Katebe said it is wrong for the some former commercial sex workers to abandon the skills which they were being empowered with and get back into immoral activities. Speaking in an interview with ZANIS, in Lusaka today, Ms. Katebe said it was unfortunate and irresponsible that a woman can think of getting quick money through prostitution instead of engaging in tangible business ventures to earn a living.

    April 21, 2015
    Lusaka Times
  • The Catholic Church administers 25 percent of all AIDS treatment worldwide, especially in hard-to-reach rural areas. But it's facing new obstacles as funding declines and African governments are under pressure to provide services themselves.

    April 21, 2015
    Christian Science Monitor
  • The government on Tuesday officially repealed a controversial legal provision issued three years ago “to curb the spread of infectious diseases” but was widely condemned for stigmatizing women with HIV, particularly prostitutes, as it allowed their details to be made public. The decision was published in the Government Gazette after a committee of health experts deemed that the provision unfairly stigmatized members of vulnerable social groups.

    April 21, 2015
    Ekathimerini
  • As uncomfortable and politically sensitive as it may be, the road to ending AIDS in the United States runs through the criminal justice system....And so President Obama’s goal of an AIDS-free generation will not be realized without criminal justice reform. This is the message that Human Rights Watch and 13 other organizations recently sent to the Office of National HIV/AIDS Policy as it revises the national strategy for combating the epidemic in the US.

    April 21, 2015
    Human Rights Watch News
  • A new analysis by Population Council researcher Nicole Haberland provides powerful evidence that sexuality and HIV education programs addressing gender and power in intimate relationships are far more likely to be effective than programs that do not. The research appears in International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health....Haberland studied the common characteristics of the effective interventions and offered recommendations for integrating content on gender equality and power dynamics into sexuality and HIV education.

    April 21, 2015
    Medical News Today
  • Mymetics is leading a consortium to receive project grants with a total value of €8.4 million, [of which] €5.3 million is funded as part of the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework program....Dr. Sylvain Fleury, Mymetics CSO, stated: "We look forward to work with our consortium partners to start the efforts on our promising virosome-based HIV vaccine candidate, with the overall objective to make this scalable and applicable for all our virosome based vaccines".

    April 21, 2015
    Fierce Vaccines
  • There is a high treatment failure rate among children taking second-line ART, Thai investigators report in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Therapy was based on a protease inhibitor and 50% experienced virological failure within five years of switching to second-line treatment. “Treatment failure was independently associated with longer exposure to first-line ART, older age and thinness at second-line initiation as well as undetectable drug levels after second-line investigation,” note the investigators, who suggest these issues should now be addressed.

    April 20, 2015
    aidsmap
  • “We found that men in New York City who have been diagnosed with [primary and secondary] syphilis are at high risk for HIV,” Preeti Pathela and colleagues wrote in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Pathela and colleagues studied 2,805 males listed in New York City’s STD registry for syphilis from January 2000 through June 2010. The numbers were higher for men who have sex with men....The researchers said the “epidemiologic link between syphilis and HIV” makes pre-exposure prophylaxis initiation imperative for men with syphilis who are HIV-negative.

    April 20, 2015
    Healio
  • Fake and substandard drugs are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths each year, and the persistent lack of reliable medicines in poor countries threatens to roll back decades of efforts to combat malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and other conditions...."The pandemic of falsified and substandard medicines is pervasive and underestimated, particularly in...countries where drug and regulatory systems are weak or non-existent," said Jim Herrington, University of North Carolina, who co-edited a collection of articles in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

    April 20, 2015
    Washington Post
  • University at Buffalo researchers have discovered a way to easily and effectively fasten proteins to nanoparticles -- essentially an arranged marriage -- by simply mixing them together. The biotechnology, described April 20 online in Nature Chemistry, is in its infancy. But it already has shown promise for developing an HIV vaccine and as a way to target cancer cells.

    April 20, 2015
    Science Daily
  • Researchers at Yale and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System compared the number of drinks that men with HIV infection, versus those without it, needed to get a buzz. They found that HIV-infected men were more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than uninfected men. The study was published April 17 in AIDS and Behavior.

    April 20, 2015
    Science Daily
  • Can HIV be cured? A decade ago, that question would have made most researchers decidedly uncomfortable....Now the mood is changing, prompted by an increasing understanding of the virus and its interaction with its host, Steven Deeks, University of California San Francisco, told MedPage Today. Deeks is one of the principal investigators in a group, the Delaney AIDS Research Initiative, that is specifically focused on overcoming the barriers to a cure.

    April 18, 2015
    MedPage Today
  • The custom in Malawi of sending girls to sexual initiation camps is just as harmful as child marriage and must end if the nation is serious about protecting girls' rights, a teenager who escaped being a child bride said. Memory Banda, 18, said the tradition of early sexual initiation, seen as a way of preparing pubescent girls for marriage, was forcing girls to have sex and exposing them to the risk of HIV infection.

    April 17, 2015
    Reuters
  • GeoVax is also developing MVA-vectored HIV vaccines that also express virus-like particles and were constructed in NIAID-developed vectors....GeoVax said on Tuesday it plans to both advance [its preventive clade B HIV vaccine] GOVX-B11 into a Phase IIb trial and pursue a second program that uses GOVX-B11 as a boost within a Phase I trial of the company’s clade B HIV vaccine, with or without a gp120 protein vaccine.

    April 17, 2015
    GEN News Highlights
  • Annual CD4 count monitoring may be sufficient for people taking antiretroviral treatment who have a suppressed viral load and a CD4 count above 250 cells/mm3, investigators report in the online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Their study showed that people in this situation had a very low risk of experiencing a drop in their CD4 count below 200 cells/mm3 or of developing a serious HIV-related illness.

    April 15, 2015
    aidsmap

Published Research

  • The purpose of this article is to describe mortality trends in different highly active antiretroviral therapy periods and associated factors among AIDS patients in Guangxi, China....Of 19,020 AIDS patients, overall mortality declined from 41.1 per 100 person-years in 2001 to 13.3 per 100 person-years in 2011 with treatment coverage increasing from zero to 72.1%....A decline in AIDS mortality was observed in Guangxi with a concomitant increase in treatment coverage. Some subpopulations of AIDS patients, such as males, rural residents, and the old, require more medical care.

    April 23, 2015
    AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
  • We evaluated HIV-1 subtypes in seroincident and seroprevalent HIV-1-infected men enrolled in the Bangkok MSM Cohort Study (BMCS) between 2006 and 2011. A significant increase in the proportion of nontypeable strains was observed among seroincident MSM between 2006 and 2011. The presence of complex recombinants and a significant rise in nontypeable strains suggest ongoing changes in the genetic makeup of the HIV-1 epidemic in Thailand, which may pose challenges for HIV-1 prevention efforts and vaccine development.

    April 23, 2015
    AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
  • New evidence has emerged regarding when to commence antiretroviral therapy (ART), optimal treatment regimens, management of HIV co-infection with opportunistic infections, and management of ART failure. The 2014 guidelines were developed by the collaborations of the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and the Thai AIDS Society (TAS).

    April 23, 2015
    AIDS Research & Therapy
  • .This Viewpoint proposes that development of an infant human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 vaccine is equally important as adult HIV-1 vaccine development to reduce maternal-child HIV transmission....Because of... established gaps in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, there is a critical need to develop safe, feasible supplemental strategies to be used with the current ART-based strategies, such as a universal infant HIV-1 vaccine.

    April 23, 2015
    JAMA
  • Retrospective clinical study of all reproductive-aged women (n=128) treated for HIV between 2010 and 2012 at two metropolitan hospitals [in Australia]. Discussions regarding sexual activity and contraception between HIV-infected women of reproductive age and their clinicians were inconsistent and suboptimal. Mechanisms to facilitate regular discussion about sexual activity and contraception between clinicians and women with HIV warrant further investigation.

    April 23, 2015
    J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care
  • There are three fundamental messages...from this paper. First, we have presented a new methodology for calculating the basic reproduction number in the presence of episodic [HIV transmission] risk,...which helps in understanding not only the reasons for the effects of episodic risk itself, but for its interactions with other behavioral or biological phenomena. Second, we have shown how episodic risk can increase prevalence....Third, we have shown how strong these effects can be.

    April 23, 2015
    Nature
  • Several clinical trials have demonstrated that daily treatment of HIV-infected individuals with the antiherpes drug acyclovir slightly decreases HIV-1 viral load and slows disease progression. This study examines if this slowing in clinical progression is a direct cause of the decrease in viral load or an indirect effect of lower immune activation due to lower levels of herpetic reactivation. [Our] data suggest that decreased monocyte activation may play a minor role in the ability of daily acyclovir use to slow HIV disease progression.

    April 22, 2015
    Sex Transm Infect
  • We read with interest the Global Burden of Disease Study by Christopher Murray and colleagues...,, which included an estimate of 35,665 new HIV cases and 12,145 deaths in China in 2013....All estimates are uncertain, and national estimates...based on reported cases are almost always lower than the true value....However, we feel it important to clarify that the reported (not estimated) number of HIV-related deaths in China was a third higher than that estimated by Murray and colleagues' analysis.

    April 18, 2015
    Lancet

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