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29 AUGUST 2014 VOLUME 15 ISSUE 35

Media Coverage

  • In each even year, the Bukusu sub-tribe proudly comes out to turn its boys into men through traditional circumcision ceremonies....As the Bukusu mark this rite of passage, local and foreign journalists are always on hand. On August 12 the Star splashed a front page picture of a boy undergoing the 'surgery'....The next day, the Media Council of Kenya dispatched a cautionary note, citing violation of the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism.
    August 29, 2014
    The Star
  • Stigma, squeamishness and misunderstanding of anal sex is leading to research gaps and inaccurate information about the risks of this common sexual behaviour, and hindering effective HIV/AIDS prevention strategies, experts say...."Heterosexual anal sex has been part of the human sexual repertoire for a long time. Not discussing anal sex and its relationship to HIV transmission leads to wrong assumptions about its risks," Jim Pickett at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago told IRIN.
    August 29, 2014
    IRIN
  • Each International AIDS Conference seems to become associated with its very own mantra. 2012 became indelibly associated with the phrase “AIDS-free generation”, 2014 will be remembered as the year of “90, 90, 90”. The thrice repeated number represents the goal laid out in the UNAIDS document Ambitious treatment targets: writing the final chapter of the AIDS epidemic.
     
    August 29, 2014
    Lancet Infectious Diseases
  • A drug that is highly effective in preventing HIV infection has found a growing clientele in heterosexual women.
    August 28, 2014
    Houston Chronicle
  • A new ad campaign from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has kicked off another round of controversy about HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis,...AHF argues that the scientific evidence does not support widespread use of Truvada for prevention, while proponents say it is more effective than condoms...."We want the public to know that the government-sanctioned widespread scale-up of PrEP appears to be a public health disaster in the making," said AHF president Michael Weinstein.
    August 28, 2014
    Bay Area Reporter
  • Researchers from many corners of the world, including the Nobel Prize winning co-discoverer of the AIDS virus Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, are in Seattle this week to explore the possibility of curing people of HIV. It’s the right place for such an ambitious meeting, given that the first person to ever be cured of HIV infection is a former Seattle man, Timothy Ray Brown....
    August 27, 2014
    Humanosphere
  • Just recently Martin O'Malley, the third Inspector General in three years at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, announced he would step down in December, cutting short a six-year commitment to the quasi-private, intergovernmental organization based in Geneva....So what's going on there? The Global Fund does not seem to be able to keep a senior oversight official in office.
    August 27, 2014
    Huffington Post
  • The secretariat that coordinated all voluntary medical male circumcision in Kenya the last six years has closed. The Male Circumcision Consortium (MCC) started in 2007 in Kenya and has been key in promoting the male cut to prevent HIV in Kenya....It was funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was initially planned to close in 2012 but was extended by two more years....Officials said they sought other funding sources in vain and the closure of MCC was likely to slow down the momentum in Kenya.
    August 25, 2014
    The Star
  • Policy makers in the region are mulling several measures, including voluntary male circumcision, antiretroviral therapy, sustained behaviour change and condom distribution to fight HIV and other STIs. This follows a report by the World Health Organisation that said Kenya has fourth highest HIV prevalence in the world with 1.6 million infected with the deadly virus. South Africa, with a prevalence of 5.6 million, leads the pack of bad news ahead of Nigeria (3.3 million) and India (2.4 million)....
     
    August 25, 2014
    New Times
  • ...As recently as 2008, the AIDS epidemic in South Africa was out of control...Death was everywhere. Now the country has won high praise from world AIDS experts for its response....“South Africa takes this very seriously and has made major, major progress,” said Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, the United Nations agency fighting the disease. But experts say much of that progress is now in jeopardy.
    August 25, 2014
    New York Times
  • South Africa’s AIDS epidemic is at its worst in high-risk subgroups like gay men, prostitutes, truckers, prisoners, miners and patients who don’t take their drugs regularly. To have any hope of beating the epidemic, it must focus on such groups, experts say. Many pilot projects to do that have been started with aid from the United States government program Pepfar. Here are some of them:..The Sex Workers Project...Ndlovu Care Group...Doctors Without Borders’ Ubuntu Clinic.
     
    August 25, 2014
    New York Times
  • Concerns are mounting over a powerful new form of gonorrhoea after a patient was found to have the highest level of drug resistance to the disease ever reported in Australia. It is understood the patient, a tourist from central Europe, contracted the “sex superbug” in Sydney and was eventually treated in Cairns. The discovery of the case...resulted in a health alert in July and has also prompted warnings in New Zealand....
     
    August 25, 2014
    The Guardian
  • In a report released Monday, UNICEF says 70 percent of all sexually transmitted HIV infection cases in Thailand are occurring among people between ages 15 and 24....Despite a gradual drop in the overall prevalence of HIV in the country during the past two decades, new infections are now rising -- especially among young people involved in the sex trade, injecting drugs and young men having unprotected sex with men....
    August 24, 2014
    Voice of America
  • Myanmar will boost its healthcare services with the help of Three Millennium Development Goals (3 MDG) Fund, according to the Ministry of Health Friday. By using 300 million US dollars provided by the 3 MDG Fund, Myanmar will initiate public healthcare services in urban and rural areas, aiming to raise health awareness, provide health- related information, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
     
    August 22, 2014
    Xinhua News Agency

Published Research

  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV has been studied in five large and rigorous randomised controlled trials,...but questions remain. Is PrEP a useful public health intervention? Will those most at-risk use it? Will they adhere to it? What is its real-world safety profile? And will it reduce or increase high-risk sexual behaviour and HIV incidence? Robert Grant and colleagues report the results of iPrEx Open-Label Extension, the first open-label study of PrEP.
    August 29, 2014
    Lancet Infectious Diseases
  • Avahan reached roughly 150 000 high-risk individuals between 2004 and 2008 in the 22 districts studied, at a mean cost per person reached of US$327 during the 4 years. This study provides evidence that the investment in targeted HIV prevention programmes in south India has been cost effective, and is likely to be cost saving if a commitment is made to provide ART to all that can benefit from it.
    August 29, 2014
    Lancet Global Health
  • In this Personal View we identify ethical issues that could arise in research towards achievement of a functional cure for HIV in neonates, including difficult trade-offs associated with choosing the study population and questions about the broader social implications of the research, and propose ways to resolve them.

     

    August 29, 2014
    Lancet Infectious Disease
  • We enrolled 1603 HIV-negative people, of whom 1225 (76%) received PrEP. Uptake was higher among those reporting condomless receptive anal intercourse and having serological evidence of herpes. PrEP uptake was high when made available free of charge by experienced providers. The effect of PrEP is increased by greater uptake and adherence during periods of higher risk. Drug concentrations in dried blood spots are strongly correlated with protective benefit.
    August 29, 2014
    Lancet Infectious Diseases
  • This study describes provision of nPEP through a program embedded within the HIV clinic of a publicly-funded urban hospital.... In these clinical data, nPEP was underutilized by those who would benefit the most from it and perhaps provided too often to patients whose risk for HIV infection is too low to outweigh the cost and risks of the medication, given their exposure. Our results are consistent with previously published literature demonstrating low utilization of nPEP. 
    August 29, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • Over 40% of women with recent pregnancy and a third of men with recent partner pregnancy do not know the HIV infection status of their partner, research conducted in Durban, South Africa, published in BMC Public Health shows. Moreover, only 4% of women and 13% of men knew they were in a serodiscordant relationship (one partner HIV-positive, the other HIV-negative) prior to pregnancy.
    August 29, 2014
    AIDSmap
  • Despite a generally philanthropic orientation, relatively few respondents had ever been involved in charitable giving for HIV and AIDS. Individuals who had donated to HIV and AIDS versus other disease or illness charities tended to be younger, single, more highly educated and to self-identify as a member of a sexual minority group.
    August 28, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • The study was conducted in a university hospital located in Paris metropolitan area from 2006 to end- 2012. We report an increasing trend in the number of sexually-exposed individuals to HIV (SE), mainly among MSM, and rising trends in high-risk behaviours and unprotected sexual intercourses among MSM. Our results indicate that SE should be considered as a high-risk population for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
     
    August 28, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • Findings highlight the importance of comprehension assessments in complex clinical trials that go beyond asking participants if they understand or have any questions. They also indicate the need for continued exploration of objective measures of comprehension in international clinical research settings, so that points in need of clarification can be efficiently and effectively identified and addressed.
    August 28, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • The news that the Mississippi child previously in sustained viral remission now has detectable HIV1 is profoundly disappointing. We write to clarify that research on the use of very early antiretroviral therapy (ART) in infants born to mothers with HIV is still important. This development, however, gives reason to think carefully about how to do this research.
    August 28, 2014
    Lancet Infectious Diseases
  • When publishing observational research, what information should journals make available to the medical community before a result can be considered sufficiently reliable to inform patient care or health policy?....The PLOS Medicine editors, in recent consultation with our editorial board, endorse measures in four areas to advance transparency in the analysis and reporting of observational studies.
    August 27, 2014
    PLoS Medicine
  • [New research by Trama et al. reported in Cell Host & Microbe] suggest that our resident microbes can “prime” the immune response to generate protective immunity against HIV. Although more work needs to be done to identify which microbes induce this response, these studies suggest the exciting possibility that doctors could therapeutically manipulate the microbiota to enhance immune responses so as to develop more effective vaccines against HIV.
    August 27, 2014
    Science
  • Community radio is a potent tool for raising awareness and local knowledge about medical research and, in addition to other methodologies, can be used to promote recruitment into clinical trials. We suggest that future HIV prevention trials consider an investment in community radio beyond recruitment advertisements that incorporates this into the broader community engagement plan as a key element of Good Participatory Practice in clinical trial settings.
    August 26, 2014
    BMC Public Health
  • A novel and relatively simple vaccine that can be administered orally has managed to completely block rectal infection with SIV, the monkey equivalent of HIV, in rhesus macaques and produced rapid re-suppression of viral load in monkeys previously infected with SIV. The vaccine, whose success at blocking infection was described by its own designers as ‘surprising’ and ‘unexpected’, appears to work by stimulating production of a previously unknown group of CD8 T-cells.
    August 25, 2014
    AIDSmap
  • We demonstrate that a select number of HIV-specific monoclonal antibodies potently suppressed entry into CD4+ T cells of HIV isolated from the latent viral reservoir as well as replication of reservoir virus in autologous CD4+ T cells derived from infected individuals receiving ART. These findings provide new opportunities for passive immunotherapy to prevent plasma viral rebound following discontinuation of antiretroviral drugs.
    August 25, 2014
    PNAS
  • Male-to-male anal sex is common among people who inject drugs in Delhi, India; overlaps substantially with other HIV risk behaviour; and was associated with psychosocial vulnerability and other HIV risk behaviour.
    August 24, 2014
    International Journal of Drug Policy
  • The HPV-16/18 AS04-adjuvanted vaccine demonstrated efficacy and immunogenicity without any safety concerns, according to recent study results published in Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics....According to Ronald Ellis, MD, [the journal's editor-in-chief], “The data in this article show persistence of protection for about one decade, which should give adolescents and young adults an increased level of confidence in taking this vaccine and being protected against the development of cervical and other cancers."

    August 20, 2014
    Healio

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