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24 July 2015 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 30

Media Coverage

  • The first malaria vaccine is set to be given the green light by regulators on Friday, opening the door for the World Health Organization to recommend its use in developing countries....Dr Seth Berkley, chief executive officer of Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), and Dr Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, say it won't be a straightforward decision.

    July 24, 2015
    BBC
  • The White House has said that President Obama’s trip to Africa, where he will attend the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, will focus on accelerating economic growth, strengthening democratic institutions and improving security in African countries. When the president arrives in Kenya he will find that new and innovative approaches to fighting disease on the continent have the potential to invigorate progress in each of those priority areas.

    July 23, 2015
    The Hill
  • The International Partnership on Microbicides (IPM) hopes that the “Dapivirine Ring” could be the solution we have been waiting for.....The need for a female-controlled form of HIV protection is so desperately needed.

    July 23, 2015
    MotherBoard
  • More than a third of gay men mistakenly believe pre-exposure prophylaxis treatment – or PrEP – which prevents HIV transmission is affordable and widely available in Australia, prompting calls for the government to fast track the medications for general use.

    July 22, 2015
    Star Observer
  • The majority of men who have sex with men – especially those with the greatest tendency to perform riskier sex acts – consistently took their pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection in a "real-world" setting,...said Albert Liu, MD, director of HIV Prevention Studies, San Francisco Department of Public Health,...in a press briefing at the International AIDS Society meeting....The study had some limitations.

    July 22, 2015
    MedPage Today
  • The study, called Adapt, found that wide majorities of young women in Cape Town, South Africa — as well as gay men in Bangkok and younger gay men in Harlem — were willing and able to take the pills daily.

    July 22, 2015
    NY Times
  • The use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV transmission appears to be successful in an open-label extension trial among a cohort of men and women in Botswana, researchers reported here.

    July 22, 2015
    MedPage Today
  • The PrePex disposable device uses an elastic ring that compresses the foreskin enough to cut off circulation, killing the foreskin tissue after about a week.....The device....is being promoted to 6,000 HIV/AIDS experts from 125 countries in Vancouver this week attending the International AIDS Society conference.

    July 22, 2015
    Vancouver Sun
  • It is a case that only a few years ago might have been hailed as a medical miracle. An 18-year-old woman in France, infected with HIV by her mother at birth or in late pregnancy, has been living healthily with the virus apparently in remission, despite not having received treatment for 12 years....But scientists have reacted with caution and no one is yet claiming the woman might have been “cured”. Why? Because, unfortunately, we have been here before – and been disappointed.

    July 21, 2015
    The Independent
  • The Vancouver Consensus statement – intended to place pressure on donors and governments to support expanded HIV treatment and prevention – has been endorsed by leaders of major agencies including UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

    July 21, 2015
    HIVandHepatitis
  • Heterosexual participants in a study of Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis in Botswana apparently adhered to PrEP at very high rates, and there were no new HIV infections among them. The 229 participants in this open-label extension (OLE) phase of the TDF2 trial also reported taking fewer sexual risks during the year-long study....The OLE phase was set up to more closely resemble a real-world scenario, because participants knew they were taking Truvada and were not paid to be in the study.

    July 21, 2015
    POZ
  • South Africa may join just ten countries in the world that provide antiretrovirals to people living with HIV upon diagnosis as new research spurs activists to demand immediate treatment for all people living with HIV....The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has called on government to allow people living with HIV to start ARVs regardless of CD4 counts, following the release of several ground-breaking studies released yesterday.

    July 21, 2015
    Health-e News
  • A Phase III, individually randomized trial [HPTN068] has found conditional cash transfers for school attendance did not reduce the risk of HIV among high-school aged women in South Africa, investigators from the HIV Prevention Trials Network reported today at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference in Vancouver.

    July 21, 2015
    Press-News
  • Although much progress has been made in combating the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, to halt new infections and end the pandemic, a combination of non-vaccine and vaccine prevention modalities will be needed. Even with these tools, significant implementation gaps must be closed, including targeted deployment of proven prevention methods to populations that need them most, says Anthony Fauci, [NIH/NIAID Director,] addressing the International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Vancouver, Canada.

    July 21, 2015
    Science Daily
  • Starting antiretroviral therapy early not only prevents serious AIDS-related diseases, but also prevents the onset of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other non-AIDS-related diseases in HIV-infected people, according to a new analysis of data. This is the first large-scale randomized clinical trial to establish that earlier antiretroviral treatment benefits all HIV-infected individuals. Rates of both serious AIDS-related events and serious non-AIDS-related events were significantly reduced with early therapy.

    July 21, 2015
    Science Daily
  • A new combination of drugs that effectively treats hepatitis C (HCV) patients co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) has been discovered by researchers searchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, who report that the novel treatment has a 97 percent success rate in co-infected patients.

    July 21, 2015
    Science Daily
  • The Towards an HIV Cure two-day symposium has become a fixture in advance of the International AIDS Society conference and this year's meeting featured a more varied range of experimental approaches than ever....What there was not this year was any one significant breakthrough or research direction.

    July 21, 2015
    aidsmap
  • A systematic effort to promote HIV testing, linkage to care for people diagnosed with HIV and circumcision for those testing negative can result in high levels of diagnosis, linkage to care and viral suppression in rural communities, a randomised study of combination HIV prevention conducted in South Africa and Uganda has shown....The Linkages study, developed by the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health, was designed to test a number of different approaches to maximising linkage to care....

    July 21, 2015
    aidsmap
  • For some people in some settings, less frequent PrEP regimens with doses linked to sexual activity are feasible,...studies presented Monday to the International AIDS Society Conference show....But the studies also found that more people are able to adhere to daily PrEP than non-daily regimens. Further, the actual effectiveness of non-daily regimens remains uncertain....Challenging social circumstances were more commonly experienced by participants in Harlem and Cape Town. Adherence was generally not as good in these two locations.

    July 21, 2015
    aidsmap
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb has nabbed a breakthrough therapeutic designation for a next-gen HIV therapy aimed at offering an option for patients who become resistant to the therapies now in use,....BMS-663068, an oral "attachment inhibitor" now in Phase III....The Breakthrough Designation recognizes the unmet need for novel therapies for this growing group of heavily treatment-experienced patients.

    July 21, 2015
    FierceBiotech
  • Final results of a landmark trial [HPTN 052] among discordant couples – one partner with HIV and one without – showed that treating the infected partner reduced the risk of transmission by 93%, Myron Cohen, MD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill....told reporters at the International AIDS Society (IAS) meeting....But that "may well underestimate the true power of an intervention," he said.

    July 21, 2015
    MedPage Today
  • In 1996, a baby infected with HIV at birth was started on anti-AIDS drugs. But at age 6, against advice of doctors, her family stopped treatment. Twelve years later, the young French woman is still healthy, with no detectable virus in her blood. Her unusual case, reported today at an international AIDS conference in Vancouver, may hold clues that might help other HIV-infected people control their infections without antiretroviral drugs and offer insights to AIDS vaccine developers.

    July 20, 2015
    Science
  • Mostly, the findings of the START trial...give rise to words of unbridled vindication and ambition. With that they have also brought a challenge....[T]he trial gave scientific backing to what many treatment activists, human rights advocates, researchers, clinicians and people living with the virus had long urged: Everyone should have equal access to treatment.

    July 20, 2015
    Science Speaks
  • A dramatic 35 percent reduction in the price for HIV early infant diagnostic technologies today has been announced by the United Nations-backed Diagnostics Access Initiative, in partnership with Roche Diagnostics. “This agreement is a powerful step towards ending the unconscionable failure of the world to meet the treatment needs of children living with HIV,” said Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director.

    July 20, 2015
    UN News Centre
  • Heterosexual men and women in Botswana were highly adherent to pre-exposure prophylaxis, resulting in no new HIV infections during the course of 12 months, according to results from CDC’s TDF2 open-label extension trial....The...trial may be more representative of real-world settings because its participants had received no compensation and were aware they were taking an active drug rather than a placebo, according to study team leader Allan W. Taylor..

    July 20, 2015
    Healio
  • WHO will recommend that everyone with HIV be given antiretroviral drugs as soon as possible after diagnosis, following a series of convincing trials proving the benefit of early treatment. The agency discussed plans to change its guidelines at the annual meeting of the International AIDS Society, where impressive results from trials of ARV treatment were also announced....The update,...expected to take effect in December...would raise the number of people eligible for the drugs from 30 million to 36.9 million.

    July 20, 2015
    Nature
  • New research shows that...African women living with HIV still face much stigma and discrimination. The community-led research was commissioned by WHO...and conducted by the International Community of Women Living with HIV....The report, entitled "Early Infant Diagnosis: Understanding the Perceptions, Values and Preferences of Women Living with HIV in Kenya, Namibia and Nigeria", was released at the International AIDS Society Conference....WHO is considering new recommendations based on the study.

    July 20, 2015
    Voice of America
  • A French teenager has been effectively cured of AIDS, showing no signs of active infection a dozen years after stopping treatment – a development helping spur the largest trial ever aimed at curing patients of HIV....The teenager is similar to...14 French adults described in a 2012 study....Together, the cases indicate a way to keep HIV at bay without side effects and costs associated with lifelong treatment. Researchers now aim to replicate those results on a grander scale.

    July 20, 2015
    Bloomberg
  • Self-testing is not yet recommended...because the evidence base for its effectiveness and the best ways to provide it is still emerging. But the substantial time that WHO gave to discussing self-testing at the International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2015) in Vancouver on Sunday, suggests that the approach will have an important place in future guidance.

    July 20, 2015
    aidsmap
  • In April, Gayle Smith was nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama to serve as the next administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the world’s largest bilateral development agency. But she must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before taking on the role, and sources close to the process tell Devex that Smith’s confirmation is in trouble.

    July 20, 2015
    Devex
  • This week’s International AIDS Society conference opens in the wake of recent encouraging news....And research findings to be released at the conference are expected to contribute more positive results. But good news, while encouraging, goes only so far in a world where 22 million people who are HIV+ still lack treatment, cautions Chris Beyrer, IAS president....In this first of a 2-part Q&A, Beyrer share insights into treatment and prevention synergies, the challenge of keeping donors engaged and the value of ambitious goals.

    July 19, 2015
    Global Health Now
  • On 6 December 2013, Pedro Robles spent 14 hours in an ambulance being driven up Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula....Robles had an advanced case of AIDS...He died 6 days later without ever having seen a doctor. As the dream of ending AIDS catches hold in a growing number of locales, Tijuana is hardly anomalous.

    July 17, 2015
    Pulitzer Center
  • Cities, states, and provinces are gearing up to halt their AIDS epidemics—though the definition of success varies. The drive to end AIDS is spreading worldwide, and there is even something of a good-natured race to be first. Washington, D.C., New South Wales in Australia, and Brazil are now in the running as well, and San Francisco has attracted intrigued delegations from Amsterdam, France, and the White House’s Office of National AIDS Policy.

    July 17, 2015
    Science
  • One year ago today, the missile attack on Malaysia Airlines flight 17 (MH17) ended the life of Joep Lange, a towering figure in the world of HIV/AIDS and global health. But Lange's work will live on in a new institute that aims to bring his characteristic combination of research and on-the-ground action to bear on health problems in developing countries. The Joep Lange Institute was formally announced on Wednesday.

    July 17, 2015
    Science
  • The International AIDS Society meeting here "nicely closes the circle" on a journey that began in this Canadian city nearly 20 years ago, meeting co-chair Julio Montaner said. In 1996, the International AIDS Conference heard the first evidence that highly active antiretroviral therapy could halt the deadly course of HIV....Over the past 2 decades, the world has seen "a very dramatic evolution" in the epidemic....The science to be presented at the meeting will form the basis for the next stage – turning HIV into a "sporadic, infrequent condition".

    July 17, 2015
    MedPage Today
  • Some HIV patients who do not receive ART may not develop AIDS for several years due to the increased efficiency in which their immune cells metabolize cholesterol, according to study data presented at the International AIDS Society Conference. Giovanna Rappocciolo, University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues examined 30 years of data...for patterns in gene expression that might help explain why the disease progressed more rapidly in some than others.

    July 17, 2015
    Healio
  • Julie Lade and colleagues from Johns Hopkins performed a study to analyze the chemical processing required to convert tenofovir to its pharmacologically active form in the body...."Tenofovir has been shown in trials to be very effective, so when it doesn’t work, researchers and clinicians tend to assume the individual just wasn’t taking the drug as directed. That is probably true in most cases, but in others, it’s possible that genetic variation is actually at fault."

    July 16, 2015
    HIVandHepatitis
  • The only HIV vaccine to show promising efficacy in clinical trials stimulated an antibody-based defense in some individuals but not in others....The results of this latest analysis were published July 15 in Science Translational Medicine....“Understanding why [the vaccine] appeared to work in some individuals and may not have worked in others is really paramount to moving the field closer to an effective [HIV] vaccine,” said Bruce Walker, director at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT, and Harvard.
    July 15, 2015
    The Scientist
  • A Canadian research team has made a significant discovery on how HIV escapes the body's antiviral responses. The team uncovered how an HIV viral protein known as Vpu tricks the immune system by using its own regulatory process to evade the host's first line of defence. The findings pave the way for future HIV prevention or cure strategies.

    July 15, 2015
    Science Daily
  • An examination of state vaccination requirements for adolescents finds that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is currently required in only two states, many fewer than another vaccine associated with sexual transmission (hepatitis B) and another primarily recommended for adolescents (meningococcal conjugate), according to a study in the July 14 issue of JAMA.

    July 14, 2015
    Science Daily
  • New analyses [of the VOICE trial] suggest the product did guard against infection among the women who used it....Jeanne Marrazzo and colleagues developed a novel approach to assess whether the adjustment for confounding variables in regression models...effectively removed confounding....“While we used the VOICE study as an illustrative example, this approach should be generally applicable to placebo-controlled PrEP trials with drug detection as a proxy measure of adherence in the active product arm,” Marrazzo and colleagues wrote.

    July 10, 2015
    Healio

Published Research

  • Participants had considerable knowledge about syphilis symptoms, transmission and consequences, and most felt that syphilis was a highly stigmatized disease....Concern about syphilis often decreased as men experienced more infections. Most participants reported short- term sexual behavior changes after a syphilis diagnosis to prevent transmission; however, few were willing to make long-term behavior changes.

    December 1, 2015
    Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health
  • In the face of a global pandemic, the search for an effective vaccine against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains an urgent priority.... a tension has existed between the desire to move quickly to clinical trials to stem the spread of the epidemic and the view that research into HIV pathogenesis and host immunity were necessary predicates to and informative of vaccine design.....Ultimately, the theoretical and empirical approaches will coalesce, converging upon the effective vaccine so critically needed to end HIV transmission worldwide.

    July 24, 2015
    Science
  • Unfortunately, the same applies to many other infections: vaccines against them are not available because collectively we have not been willing or able to invest in the costly and complex development process that would be required to establish safety and immunogenicity, at a minimum.

    July 23, 2015
    NEJM
  • The CAPRISA 058 study was conducted between 2007 and 2009 to test the efficacy of individualized motivational counselling to enhance ART adherence in South Africa. Four themes emerged that characterize the participants’ experiences and high motivation to adhere to ART....Participants told us that their adherence motivation is enhanced by free accessible care, approachable and supportive healthcare workers, broad social acceptance of ART, and past first-hand experiences with AIDS-related co-morbidity and mortality.

    July 22, 2015
    AIDS Patient Care and STDs
  • Because social, political and logistic barriers remain, optimal PrEP implementation will require better dissemination of new evidence and additional implementation research from various disciplinary perspectives....In light of these needs, the Network for Multidisciplinary Studies in ARV-based HIV Prevention (NEMUS) and WHO co-organized this special, [Open Access] issue of JIAS,...comprising timely contributions from global leaders in HIV research and policy that address geographic diversity, use a trans-disciplinary approach and cover a variety of the complex issues raised by PrEP.

    July 20, 2015
    J Intl AIDS Society
  • We randomly assigned HIV-positive adults who had a CD4+ count of more than 500 cells per cubic millimeter to start antiretroviral therapy immediately...

    July 20, 2015
    NEJM
  • Tenofovir (TFV) requires two phosphorylation steps to become pharmacologically active; however, the kinases that activate TFV in cells and tissues susceptible to HIV infection have yet to be identified....Our results demonstrate that TFV is activated in a compartment-specific manner. Further, genetic variants have been identified that could negatively impact TFV activation, thereby compromising TFV efficacy in HIV treatment and prevention.

    July 2, 2015
    EBioMedicine
  • In this issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Dai et al reexamine the VOICE trial, whose primary study outcomes failed to indicate that topical tenofovir, oral tenofovir, or oral tenofovir/emtricitabine protect women against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) infection.... Statistical methods like those presented here by Dai et al may well be needed to gain the most value from ongoing studies and are most welcome in this complex HIV prevention research arena.

    June 29, 2015
    J Infect Diseases
  • We developed an analytical strategy to evaluate whether conventional covariate adjustment has removed confounding, thereby leading to the causal prevention effect among adherers. We applied this strategy to the VOICE study....After adjusting for baseline predictors of HIV risk, the confounding when comparing adherers in the tenofovir gel arm to placebo recipients was nearly eliminated....While intent-to-treat analyses yield null results, this exploratory approach presented suggestive evidence of a prevention effect among gel users.

    June 29, 2015
    J Infect Diseases

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