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28 July 2017 VOLUME 18 ISSUE 30

Media Coverage

  • ART has greatly increased the lifespan of patients with the virus, and now the negative health consequences of excessive fat gain that plague the general population have been added to the list of comorbidities that patients with HIV face. David B. Clifford, MD, Washington University in St. Louis, told Infectious Disease News: “The risks of secondary morbidity driven by excess fat are, if anything, increased in the HIV population and thus of great importance.”

    July 27, 2017
    Healio
  • A long-acting injectable formulation of cabotegravir given every 8 weeks produces high enough drug levels in both men and women to offer protection against HIV, according to results from the HPTN 077 study.

    July 27, 2017
    AIDSmap
  • A study of 343 gay couples, where one partner had HIV and the other did not, has not found a single case of HIV transmission in 16,889 acts of condomless anal sex, the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) in Paris, France, was told today.

    July 25, 2017
    aidsmap
  • A vaginal ring used to prevent HIV in women has been deemed safe and acceptable for adolescent girls. This is the first time that the ring, which contains an antiretroviral (ARV) drug called dapivirine, has been tested in girls under age 18.

    July 25, 2017
    IB Times
  • For now the HIV prevention pill‚ Truvada‚ is only licensed for adult preventative use.....A small South African trial tested the HIV pill in teens aged 15 to 19 in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The study included 99 girls and 49 boys..... The trial showed it was safe for teenagers to use with minimal side effects.

    July 25, 2017
    Sowetan Live
  • Countries are being warned against the increasing trend of resistance to HIV drugs, in a new WHO HIV Drug Resistance Report 2017 co-authored by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    July 25, 2017
    New Vision
  • The antiretroviral drug dapivirine contained in a vaginal ring for HIV prevention, is absorbed in very low concentrations into breastmilk, according to a study of the dapivirine ring in women who were no longer nursing their babies but still producing milk. Researchers are now planning studies of the ring in African women who are breastfeeding as well as during pregnancy, when there may be a greater risk of acquiring HIV.

    July 24, 2017
    Science Daily
  • A bipartisan task force of U.S. senators and former diplomats is pushing back against the Trump administration’s effort to cut funding for foreign aid and development, urging instead that the strategy for overseas assistance should be revamped. Far from reducing the role of such “soft power” diplomacy, the task force...proposed giving USAID a seat on the White House’s National Security Council.

    July 24, 2017
    Bloomberg
  • Maintaining the strict regimen required to keep [HIV] at bay still poses a major challenge to many who are infected [and] adherence is low among some populations....That may soon change. On Monday, scientists reported an important advance in development of a long-acting injection that combines two drugs, cabotegravir and rilpivirine,[that] appears to be as safe and effective at suppressing HIV as the daily oral regimen.

    July 24, 2017
    Washington Post
  • According to a new report co-authored by the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC), the U.S. invested nearly $14 billion in research and development for global health from 2007 to 2015....Most of the money — including 89% in 2015 — has remained in the U.S., according to the group, creating almost 200,000 jobs and generating an additional $33 billion in economic output.

    July 24, 2017
    Healio
  • Australia is very near the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goal of having 72.9% undetectable, but HIV diagnoses had remained stubbornly stable between 2006 and 2015. The decision was therefore taken to introduce PrEP, first in three small demonstration projects in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria states,...then expanding these into large implementation studies....[In New South Wales],...HIV diagnoses...started to decline and numbered 54 in the first quarter of 2017, a 29% decline relative to the average quarterly figure over the last five years.

    July 24, 2017
    aidsmap
  • Gonorrhoea diagnoses among gay men attending the largest STI clinic in the UK...declined by 24% in the last year, the clinic’s Professor Sheena McCormack...told the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) in Paris today....Although McCormack said the reason for the fall in gonorrhoea cases was as yet unclear, a greater frequency of testing for HIV and STIs among clinic users could be the cause....Interestingly the same fall has not been seen in chlamydia cases.

    July 24, 2017
    aidsmap
  • The case study, described by researchers before a presentation Monday at an international AIDS conference in Paris, suggests a paradigm shift in the treatment of those infected. It establishes that HIV may be controllable in some way other than a daily and lifelong regimen of antiretroviral drugs. “This is really the first step toward HIV remission and a cure,” said Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.

    July 24, 2017
    Washington Post
  • Scientists may be inching toward a vaccine that could tackle HIV’s genetic diversity and prevent the virus from taking hold in people. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health and Johnson & Johnson at the International AIDS Society conference in Paris Monday morning presented data on a clinical trial of what’s called the “Ad26-env mosaic vaccine.”

    July 24, 2017
    Vox
  • New data from Swaziland, a tiny country in southern Africa, provide some of the most convincing evidence yet that aggressively ramping up treatment for HIV/AIDS works on a population level to cut the rate of new infections.

    July 24, 2017
    Science
  • Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson is to take a big step closer to inventing a vaccine for HIV when it publishes the results of a groundbreaking clinical trial this week.

    July 23, 2017
    Telegraph
  • A new package of measures to ensure rapid initiation of antiretroviral treatment and diagnosis of opportunistic infections has been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to reduce the still high rates of death in people diagnosed with HIV at a very advanced stage of disease.

    July 23, 2017
    aidsmap
  • The world's premier conference focusing on the science of HIV returns this year to the City of Light....But the 9th International AIDS Society conference on HIV science comes as US leaders are proposing to slash support for research in health and science, cuts that would affect how HIV studies are supported...."We will again call out any reluctance on the part of leadership...to continue to prioritize HIV science," said IAS president Linda-Gail Bekker.

    July 22, 2017
    MedPage Today
  • Scientists at...the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) are finding inspiration for a new type of HIV vaccine in antibodies that cows’ bodies produce naturally. These antibodies have long loops—a feature that may allow them to attack hard-to-reach areas on the surface of viruses, thereby preventing infection...."This surprising set of results...has potential applications not only to HIV prevention and treatment, but to rapid development of antibodies and vaccines against other infectious diseases," said IAVI CEO Mark Feinberg.

    July 21, 2017
    Fierce BioResearcher
  • University of Alberta researchers believe they have a clearer picture of why people living with HIV so commonly suffer from dementia and other neurocognitive disorders. They found a number of critical peroxisomal proteins were virtually absent in the brains of HIV patients [and] believe the finding offers a strong clue as to the underlying cause of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) and that it could lead to new biomarkers to rapidly diagnose HAND in patients.

    July 20, 2017
    Science Daily
  • The United Nations body charged with combating HIV and AIDS published its latest report today. On the plus side, the death rate from AIDS continues to fall. In 2016 there were 1m fatalities, down from 1.9m in 2005. Less happily, the number of new infections has dropped by only 16% since 2010, to 1.8m. The UN’s target of reducing the figure to 500,000 a year by 2020 looks hopelessly optimistic, writes our science editor.

    July 20, 2017
    Economist
  • Nancy Kanwisher and colleagues in related behavioral research fields—from cognitive psychology to vision science—were dismayed to learn that the NIH could soon deem their studies to be clinical trials....Kanwisher and others say that the agency’s widening definition of clinical trials could sweep up a broad array of basic science studies, resulting in wasted resources and public confusion.

    July 19, 2017
    Science
  • It took two years on a supercomputer to simulate 1.2 microseconds in the life of the HIV capsid, a protein cage that shuttles the HIV virus to the nucleus of a human cell. The 64-million-atom simulation offers new insights into how the virus senses its environment and completes its infective cycle. The findings are reported in the journal Nature Communications.

    July 19, 2017
    Science Daily
  • Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have designed a gel-like material that can be coated onto standard plastic or rubber devices, providing a softer, more slippery exterior that can significantly ease a patient's discomfort....In addition to enhancing the comfort of existing latex condoms by reducing friction, a coating of hydrogel could help improve their safety.

    July 18, 2017
    Science Daily

Published Research

  • In a Phase 2b, multicenter, parallel group, open-label study in ART-naïve HIV infected adults, long-acting injectable 2-drug therapy given either every 8 weeks (Q8W) or every 4 weeks (Q4W IM) demonstrated high rates of virologic response and was well tolerated through 96 weeks. Difference in virologic success between Q8W and Q4W is primarily due to non-virologic reasons. Phase 3 studies are evaluating Q4W dosing.

    July 27, 2017
    IAS
  • In summary, as the article by Simms and colleagues illustrates, PITC can play an important role in increasing uptake of testing among older children and adolescents but needs to better address barriers to testing in this population and is likely not sufficient on its own. Community-, home-, and school-based approaches that recognize the unique needs of adolescents will also be required in order to adequately address the problem of undiagnosed HIV infection among older children and adolescents.

    July 25, 2017
    PLoS
  • Conclusions: Facility-based approaches are inadequate in achieving universal coverage of HIV testing among older children and adolescents. Alternative, community-based approaches are required to meet the UNAIDS target of diagnosing 90% of those living with HIV by 2020 in this age group.

    July 25, 2017
    PLoS
  • Starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) as soon as possible after HIV infection has clear biological and clinical benefits....Optimizing how to approach treatment in a way that enables same-day start is more important than ever given global ambitions to treat all persons living with HIV. How we conduct treatment initiation could ultimately play a crucial role in determining epidemic trajectory.

    July 25, 2017
    PLoS
  • The 2016-17 Population HIV Impact Assessment Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey provides the first measure of the impact of national HIV programs scale-up on the epidemic's trajectory since 2011. Since 2011, wiral load suppression (VLS) prevalence in Swaziland has doubled and national HIV incidence has decreased by nearly half,... remarkable findings in a high prevalence setting and the first direct measure of the national impact of expanded HIV prevention and treatment programs.

    July 24, 2017
    IAS
  • Results: HIV incidence was 0.19 per 100 person-years, compared with 6.60 per 100 in the placebo group of the randomised study, indicating a relative reduction of 97% in the incidence of HIV with on-demand PrEP. Conclusions: On-demand oral PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV infection among high-risk MSM and therefore represents an alternative to daily PrEP. High rates of STIs resulting from low condom use did not undermine PrEP efficacy, but warrant frequent testing.

    July 23, 2017
    Lancet
  • Tony Kirby recently highlighted the global response to HIV through a profile of Nelly Mugo in The Lancet, drawing particular attention to her work on PrEP [and her] nuanced appreciation of many other approaches to empowering and supporting serodiscordant couples....Focusing solely on PrEP risks overemphasising a pill-centred policy at the expense of less glamorous community interventions, diminishing the very diversity that Mugo identifies as a great strength of the worldwide response.

    July 22, 2017
    Lancet
  • The Ukrainian Government is preparing to take more programmatic and financial responsibility for both prevention and treatment of the HIV infection, but as it struggles through a health reform, experts say progress in fighting the disease could stall....HIV advocates are cautiously optimistic about the government's commitments, but they say it is not nearly enough. Beyond additional funding, a reform of the entire health system, which they complain is currently too facility-based, is needed.

    July 22, 2017
    Lancet
  • Reaching the end of AIDS...has already been achieved in some settings. However, to end AIDS globally will require continued effort and a near doubling of the number of people on treatment... Although the true cost is unknown, resources, time, and targets will probably stay fairly fixed and needs projections should explore a more efficient, evidence-based service delivery model that prioritises achieving the 90-90-90 target.

    July 22, 2017
    Lancet
  • On July 20, UNAIDS released their annual report on the status of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic....Progress in the world's most affected areas, eastern and southern Africa, has been striking,....less positive elsewhere....The report points out challenges across all regions...[and] emphasises that there is no room for complacency.....Indeed, in a letter..., Brian Williams and Reuben Granich call for an urgent review of the assumptions used to calculate the effect of ART on rates of new infections and AIDS-related mortality.

    July 22, 2017
    Lancet
  • A greater than expected effect of ageing on episodic memory and motor function with advanced stages of HIV infection suggests that these two domains are most susceptible to the progression of neurocognitive impairment caused by ageing in individuals with HIV....Older individuals with HIV infection should be targeted for regular screening for HIV-associate neurocognitive disorder, particularly with tests referable to the episodic memory and motor domains.

    July 14, 2017
    Lancet
  • We have prioritised five areas that represent particular challenges in STI treatment and control....We review current and potential future control and treatment strategies, with a focus on novel antimicrobials;...review strategies for case management, focusing on point-of-care tests that hold considerable potential for improving STI control;...[and] discuss...new biomedical HIV prevention strategies and risk compensation. Overall, this Commission aims to enhance the understanding of some of the key challenges facing the field of STIs, and outlines new approaches.

    July 9, 2017
    Lancet

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