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29 July 2016 VOLUME 17 ISSUE 30

Media Coverage

  • Natalie is a transwoman from Cape Town. She started taking the HIV prevention pill Truvada about a year ago, as part of a project conducted by the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation among men who have sex with men....Natalie says the side effects she’s experienced are nothing compared with the peace of mind the pill has given her.

    July 29, 2016
    Bhekisisa
  • Dr. Ruth Ruprecht and fellow scientists at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute will lead a global team developing a new strategy to combat HIV. This $23 million project from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is the largest program project grant ever received by Texas Biomed....Dr. Ruprecht and her colleagues have been working on this project for 12 years, but this year’s competitive renewal grant brings in new collaborators and a different strategy.

    July 28, 2016
    Rivard Report
  • “When it comes to HIV prevention there are even greater gaps, people don’t have access to or use condoms consistently; uptake of voluntary male medical circumcision is insufficient; and introduction of oral PrEP is not happening fast enough at the scale needed,” warned the Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

    July 28, 2016
    New Vision
  • Graça Machel has called for an end to impunity for violations of the rights of women living with HIV, such as forced sterilisation. The former first lady of Mozambique and South Africa was chairing a debate at the International AIDS Conference in Durban last week. She said the international community must develop a new sense of urgency to support women living with HIV.

    July 27, 2016
    All Africa
  • Eric Aniva, who is HIV positive, unabashedly claimed he has had sex with more than 100 women, most underage.... He was paid to do this, often by the girls’ parents, [and]....arrested on orders from President Peter Mutharika, who learned of the incidents through an interview Aniva gave the BBC last week....Aniva is what’s known as a “hyena,” or a “fisis.” The term...refers to a male hired to have sex with women and girls for ritualistic purposes.

    July 27, 2016
    Washington Post
  • We’ve seen the way members of the British royal family can be an influence for good, but this might be the one of best examples yet. Orders for a new, free at-home HIV test spiked five times higher after Prince Harry underwent an HIV test in video streamed live on Facebook....Upon seeing the “great news,” Kensington Palace tweeted to thank the Terrence Higgins Trust for its “great work in tackling the fear and stigma around #HIV testing.”

    July 27, 2016
    Huffington Post
  • The average number of monthly tuberculosis diagnoses among the HIV patients increased twenty-fold, and pediatric TB was diagnosed for the first time at a busy Malawi hospital after a pilot intervention provided community health workers already experienced in HIV screening and care linkage with a one-day training to learn to screen for tuberculosis, a July 20 presentation here [at AIDS 2016] showed.

    July 27, 2016
    Science Speaks
  • Triumeq showed superior efficacy after 48 weeks compared with atazanavir boosted with ritonavir plus emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate..., according to data presented at AIDS 2016. The results were important for a number of reasons, said John Pottage of ViiV Healthcare, including total inclusion of a population consistently underrepresented in HIV clinical trials. “The most important thing is that it is a treatment study for women,” Pottage said.

    July 26, 2016
    Healio
  • The PARTNER study, which 2 years ago generated headlines by establishing that the chance of an HIV-positive person with an undetectable viral load transmitting the virus was very low and quite possibly zero, released new data last week at the AIDS 2016 conference that further refined this estimate. The findings were also published in the July 12 New England Journal of Medicine.

    July 26, 2016
    HIV & Hepatitis
  • A randomized trial of female sex workers in Zimbabwe, offering enhanced access to HIV treatment and PrEP, has failed to show that the extra services helped reduce the proportion with detectable viral load, Frances Cowan reported at AIDS 2016 last week. However, it appears that the comprehensive set of sex worker-friendly services offered in the control arm may have already been enough to substantially improve the health of participants.

    July 26, 2016
    HIV & Hepatitis
  • The investigative anti-HIV agent cabotegravir, plus rilpivirine – given as a once-monthly intramuscular injection – appears to control viral replication at undetectable levels, but the delivery of the antiretroviral integrase inhibitor has raised some concerns among patients and physicians, researchers reported at the International AIDS Conference.

    July 26, 2016
    MedPage Today
  • A two-drug regimen holds promise of a simple, powerful, and potentially inexpensive first treatment for HIV. In a small proof-of-concept study, the combination of dolutegravir (Tivicay) and lamivudine (3TC) led to rapid and lasting control of HIV replication, Pedro Cahn, Fundacion Huesped, Buenos Aires, said at the International AIDS Conference. The findings still must be confirmed in a randomized clinical trial.

    July 26, 2016
    MedPage Today
  • The 21st International AIDS Conference convened last week amid emerging consensus that the end to [the] epidemic...might be achievable....That optimism faded as delegates arrived in Durban to news that donor countries had reduced global HIV funding by more than $1 billion from 2014 to 2015. The reduction could jeopardize the remarkable gains made from investments over nearly two decades, including tens of billions of dollars from the United States.

    July 26, 2016
    Washington Post
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the Democratic LGBT caucus here Tuesday that Clinton could resolve the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2020. "We can end the [HIV/AIDS] epidemic once and for all and that should be the goal for this nation and for this next president, to say by 2020 the AIDS epidemic should end once and for all," Cuomo said, "and that's something Hillary Clinton can make a reality."

    July 26, 2016
    Washington Examiner
  • Looking for a bright spot in the gloom of Gilead Sciences’ second-quarter numbers? Look no further than its HIV franchise, where the latest generation of meds is grabbing market share--and the single product Genvoya is taking on patients lickety-split....But here's a caveat: 78% of Genvoya scripts have been switches, most from Stribild, some from Atripla. Only 10% of those switches came from Gilead rivals.

    July 26, 2016
    FiercePharma
  • The 21st International AIDS Conference that recently took place in Durban raised important issues on ARVs and treatment as prevention.

    July 26, 2016
    Health 24
  • One of the great unknowns in HIV/AIDS research is how much prevention bang you get for your treatment buck....A giant new study in South Africa failed to show any reduction in HIV transmission even when nearly 50% of infected people received the drugs....Myron Cohen, University of North Carolina, says the TasP study,...a carefully done randomly controlled trial, shows that the real world has lots of complicated variables—like people learning their status and, for whatever reasons, not taking advantage of treatment.

    July 25, 2016
    Science
  • The first major research study of "test and treat" as a public health intervention to report its final results -- ANRS 12249 -- has found that the strategy failed to reduce new HIV infections in the African communities where it was provided, according to a report at AIDS 2016.....The study was far more successful in terms of bringing HIV testing to people who needed it -- 92% of people with HIV knew their status.

    July 25, 2016
    HIV & Hepatitis
  • Young adults taking Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis experienced a modest decrease in bone mineral density early on, but this stabilized after a year and those who stopped taking it began to see a reversal of the decline, researchers reported last week at AIDS 2016. Another study found that clinically relevant declines in kidney function among Truvada PrEP users are rare and monitoring every 6 months is adequate for most.

    July 25, 2016
    HIV & Hepatitis
  • Optimism faded as delegates arrived in Durban to news that donor countries had reduced global HIV funding by more than $1 billion from 2014 to 2015. The reduction could jeopardize the remarkable gains made from investments over nearly two decades, including tens of billions of dollars from the United States.

    July 25, 2016
    Washington Post
  • Lying on a dirty bed in a crowded, squalid hostel in Kampala, emaciated Jovia, 29, managed a weak smile as a doctor delivered her a small green bottle. “I’m so happy they’ve brought the morphine,” the mother told IPS....Jovia was suffering from both HIV/AIDS and cervical cancer, a deadly combination affecting thousands of women in Uganda....One in 500 Ugandans suffers from cancer. But only five per cent of patients will get any form of treatment.

    July 25, 2016
    IPS News
  • China provides free condoms for people living with HIV and allocates funds each year to buy condoms for distribution among at-risk populations, including sex workers. At the same time, police are authorized to crack down on sex work, which is illegal in China, and use condom seizure as its main tactic. "When police arrest sex workers, they will search for condoms, and that will decrease sex workers' willingness to carry and use condoms," said Tingting Shen, director of advocacy, policy, and research for Asia Catalyst.

    July 25, 2016
    Reuters
  • Jim Mahoney at McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research said his team has developed an experimental vaccine to treat chlamydia and so far, it's been very successful. In a study recently published in the journal Vaccine, the researchers describe a novel chlamydial antigen — BD584 — a potential vaccine candidate for the most common species of chlamydia, a common sexually transmitted infection that impacts 131 million people around the world each year.

    July 24, 2016
    CBC News
  • On Sept. 16, Canada will host the triennial “replenishment conference” of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria....Canada has already announced its contribution – $785-million (Canadian) over three years – a 20-per-cent increase over its previous donation....At the AIDS 2016 Conference last week, Health Minister Philpott used the occasion to lobby other countries to continue to invest in global public health, and she was, in turn, lobbied by a number of non-governmental organizations.

    July 24, 2016
    Globe and Mail
  • AIDS workers face setbacks, both epidemiological and financial. But they are about to be handed new weapons to carry on the fight.

    July 23, 2016
    Economist
  • Early data from STAR, the largest study yet of HIV self-testing, suggests that there is a strong demand for self-testing in rural Zimbabwe, the AIDS 2016 Conference heard this week. Other studies examined whether self-testing kits can help the male partners of pregnant women to test and whether such use might sometimes be coercive.

    July 22, 2016
    aidsmap
  • As the curtain fell Friday on the 2016 International AIDS Conference in South Africa, organizers challenged delegates to go back to their countries and start the hard work toward an ambitious goal: ending the pandemic by 2030....The incoming president of the International AIDS Society, Linda-Gail Bekker, made a passionate plea to donors: “Whether people live or die in many countries will depend on how donors respond to the Global Fund’s call to action,” said Bekker.

    July 22, 2016
    VOA News
  • The European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended approval of emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil (Truvada, Gilead Sciences) for preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in combination with safer sex practices to reduce the risk for sexually acquired HIV-1 infection in adults at high risk. The CHMP based its decision on two major studies.

    July 22, 2016
    Medscape
  • “When we say ‘Black Lives Matter,'” said Michael Ighodaro, “Where are ‘Black Gay Lives’ in that?” A young, gay Nigerian refugee living with HIV in New York City, Ighodaro posed this question during a talk leading up to the International AIDS Conference. Now a program and policy assistant for AVAC, Ighodaro is far from alone in using the “hashtag that became a movement” as a lens to view his own community, and to push boundaries in advocacy.

    July 22, 2016
    Charleston Chronicle
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists led a study that reports the first in vivo evidence that strains of chimpanzee-carried simian immunodeficiency virus can infect human cells....The experimental approach employed by the team could help assess the threat posed by additional SIVs and numerous other animal-carried viruses.

    July 22, 2016
    Science Daily
  • “It’s not just for those having risky sex, it’s about taking control of your own life,” Brown said. “People ask, ‘why can’t you use condoms?’ [but] condoms fail, in so many situations they don’t work. PrEP works well in filling in the gaps.”

    July 22, 2016
    Devex
  • Overall, 59% of all people with HIV in Australia have an undetectable viral load, well short of the UNAIDS target of 72%. PrEP roll-out to gay men at high risk of acquiring HIV is intended to bridge this gap....Investigators have identified four factors essential to implementation of the programme: commitment by the health ministry; consensus among medical professionals about the value of PrEP; supportive network of clinics and GPs; proactive LGBT community.

    July 21, 2016
    aidsmap
  • The percentage of people living with HIV in Malawi dropped dramatically to 10 percent from 16 percent over the last decade and the country’s aggressive investment in ‘treatment as prevention’ has led to a widespread shift in perspective on how to eradicate the virus....Malawi has recorded positive change with [Option B+], its focused approach towards preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV....Even with the success of Option B+, Malawi still faces other challenges.

    July 21, 2016
    Venture Africa
  • As the global public health community gathered in Durban this week to talk about the end of AIDS, they were greeted with news that annual international support for combatting the epidemic had fallen by more than US$1 billion. The news added weight to existing calls for middle-income countries to take more responsibility for funding their own responses....However, there are deep concerns, both among officials and activists.

    July 21, 2016
    IRIN
  • Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have mathematically modeled the coevolutionary processes that describe how antibodies and viruses interact and adapt to one another over the course of a chronic infection, such as HIV/AIDS.... The finding suggests that, in order for a vaccine to elicit these antibodies, it should present a diverse set of viral antigens to the host.

    July 21, 2016
    Science Daily
  • Msimango says the pill gives her power against the virus. She can take it even without her boyfriend knowing. "It's all about my safety because I don't know what he does when I'm not around," she says. "If he doesn't want to use protection [a condom], I know that I'm safe from the pill."

    July 21, 2016
    WFDD
  • British musician Elton John on Wednesday committed money for protecting LGBT people in Africa, saying that leaving them behind in the fight against AIDS will only increase the spread of the disease. The rock star spoke at a global AIDS conference in South Africa that has also attracted philanthropist Bill Gates, actress Charlize Theron and Britain's Prince Harry.

    July 20, 2016
    AP
  • Obama’s development initiative has been based in part by building on his predecessors’ work — by expanding George W. Bush’s PEPFAR program to combat AIDS...and strengthening the global health system. Although some development experts have identified areas where Obama could have pushed harder or devoted more attention and resources, most credited the president with working to expand and establish programs that could have an enduring impact.

    July 20, 2016
    Washington Post
  • The session, offered by AVAC, Treatment Action Group, defeatHIV, Internews and The University of North Carolina reviews examples of how HIV cure research has been portrayed in the media and promotes the correct and nuanced use of language to discuss HIV cure research, which would set realistic expectations about the science.

    July 20, 2016
    What's Up HIV Blog
  • Not being able to afford AIDS medicines should not be repeated for people with other diseases, including HIV co-infections, treatment activists told world leaders here. To press the message home, the civil society marched in their hundreds on the eve of the 21st International AIDS Conference on the streets of Durban and backed the act the following day, 18 July by handing a memorandum of demands to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    July 20, 2016
    Intellectual Property Watch
  • Large pockets of HIV infection are not acknowledged, due to a lack of data on HIV occurrence and prevention efforts around the globe, a study has found....In particular, existing data fail to account adequately for adolescent girls, young women, as well as homosexual men and transgender people in HIV/AIDS-affected countries, says the report issued last month...by AVAC.

    July 20, 2016
    Sci-Dev Net
  • Gilead may have won the patent manipulation suit thrown its way earlier this year by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. But outrage over its pricing practices and IP tactics have hardly died down. Protestors took to the 21st International AIDS Conference in South Africa with chants of “Gilead kills” and “shame shame,”...and this time, they had some new ammo, thanks to a report by Americans for Tax Fairness published last week.

    July 20, 2016
    FiercePharma
  • I remember my first International AIDS Conference well....I’m a biomedical scientist,...so I was naturally shocked by the activism at the conference. My perspective on this has changed since then....At this conference, scientists ARE activists,...part of the large and inclusive community of people working to end AIDS....I love the International AIDS Conference because it epitomizes the HIV movement–the coming together of an expansive and diverse community with the common goal of ending AIDS.

    July 19, 2016
    Global Health Now
  • A vaccine against HIV will be trialed in South Africa later this year after meeting criteria needed to prove it could help fight the epidemic in Africa. A small trial, known as HVTN100, took place in South Africa in 2015 to test the safety and strength of immunity the vaccine could provide....The results were presented Tuesday at the 21st International AIDS Conference. Four criteria were set as measures of its likely effectiveness...."It gives the tick on all four, it does look promising and it should launch," Gail Bekker said.

    July 19, 2016
    CNN
  • A major new analysis reveals that although deaths from HIV/AIDS have been steadily declining from a peak in 2005, 2.5 million people worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2015, a number that hasn't changed substantially in the past 10 years....The study,...published today in The Lancet HIV, found that 74 countries saw increases in age-standardized rates of new infections between 2005 and 2015, including Egypt, Pakistan, Kenya, the Philippines, Cambodia, Mexico, and Russia.

    July 19, 2016
    Science Daily
  • America’s birthrate for teenage mothers has hit a historic low — less than 40 percent of its modern peak in 1991.... No one really knows why....It’s not because teenagers are having more abortions; those have dropped even more precipitously....The most important reason appears to be increased contraceptive use, perhaps as a result of comprehensive sex education and fear of HIV.

    July 19, 2016
    NY Times
  • Así, en el primer día de la XXI Conferencia Mundial de Sida, que vuelve este año a Durban, 8.000 activistas de todas las partes del mundo se lanzaron de nuevo a las calles con diferentes demandas pero a la vez con una sola: tratamiento para todos y todas....Aseguró Asia Russell, directora de Health Gap: "....Estamos protestando ...porque sabemos que volveremos a un apartheid sanitario si los líderes políticos no cumplen sus promesas de alcanzar 30 millones de personas bajo tratamiento para 2020".

    July 19, 2016
    Salud Por Derecho
  • A daily pill to prevent HIV infection can reduce new cases among men who have sex with men by a third in the US over the next 10 years, according to a new modeling study. The expected significant drop in HIV incidence, however, will depend on clinicians prescribing the medication according to federal guidelines and on patients using it as directed.

    July 14, 2016
    Science Daily
  • In a new study, researchers apply big-data analysis to reveal the full extent of viruses' impact on the evolution of humans and other mammals....[and] are using the findings to dig deeper into past epidemics....For example, HIV-like viruses swept through the populations of our ancestors as well as other animal species at multiple points throughout evolutionary history. Looking at their effects… could yield new understanding.

    July 13, 2016
    Science Daily
  • Around the world the number of new HIV cases is steadily dropping. But in Chile, one of South America's most prosperous nations, the virus is on the rise. This spike in new cases is affecting some of the country's most vulnerable populations, including young people, women and indigenous groups. While authorities claim they are doing what they can to stop the spread of the disease, decisive action has been limited.

    July 11, 2016
    VICE News

Published Research

  • The therapeutic success permitting people living with HIV to live longer on combination ART is being challenged by reported increases in adverse cardiovascular and metabolic disease profiles in these patients....Benjamin and colleagues, in a recent study in Malawi, have identified HIV as a significant risk factor for stroke, especially individuals aged 45 or younger.... In people living with HIV, cardiovascular risk assessment is becoming an important element of care.

    August 1, 2016
    Lancet
  • At the International AIDS Conference held in Durban, South Africa, last week sobering realities confronted the push to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, a goal set by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). One huge obstacle is funding....At the meeting's opening ceremony, UNAIDS Director Michel Sidibé summed up the widespread sentiment at the huge gathering. "I'm scared," Sidibé said.

    July 29, 2016
    Science
  • Deaths from HIV/AIDS have declined steadily around the world over the past decade — but the rate of new infections has stayed much the same, an analysis in The Lancet HIV shows. The number of new HIV infections peaked at 3.3 million in 1997 and dropped by an average of 2.7% each year to around 2.5 million in 2005. But the infection rate has stagnated since then. In 74 countries, including several in the Middle East, the rate has increased.

    July 27, 2016
    Nature
  • More than 1 million HIV-exposed, uninfected infants are born annually to HIV-positive mothers worldwide. This growing population of infants experiences twice the mortality of HIV-unexposed infants. We found that although there were very few differences seen in the microbiomes of mothers with and without HIV infection, maternal HIV infection was associated with changes in the microbiome of HIV-exposed, uninfected infants [that]....may contribute to the increased morbidity and mortality of [such] infants.

    July 27, 2016
    Sci Transl Med
  • A retrospective chart review of HIV patients diagnosed at Grady Memorial Hospital from 2011 to 2012 was performed and records were matched to Georgia Department of Public Health HIV/AIDS surveillance data....Late diagnosis is a persistent problem in hospitalized patients. Despite relative success with linkage to care and 12-month retention in care, a minority of patients maintained retention and VS for 24 continuous months.

    July 27, 2016
    AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
  • Since discovery of HIV-1 more than 30 years ago, prevention and treatment strategies have dominated the research agenda. More recently, scientists are also focusing efforts toward finding a cure. Margolis et al. [this issue p. 10.1126/science.aaf6517] review an approach that involves HIV-1 latency reversal and viral clearance....By combining a latency reversal strategy with immunotherapies, the body might be able to rid itself of all infected cells.

    July 22, 2016
    Science
  • “Are you afraid to take your meds?” asks the virtual African-American man on the iPhone screen. “I get that....But let’s keep it real, OK? This medicine can save your life.” The app, which its developer fittingly demonstrated to me on the way to the International AIDS Conference..., is called Battery Health—but it has nothing to do with a smartphone’s charge. Instead, researchers hope it will help African-American, HIV-infected men who have sex with men stay on their treatment plans.

    July 22, 2016
    Science
  • Margolis et al. review an approach that involves HIV-1 latency reversal and viral clearance. The idea is to reactivate any dormant virus and coax it to produce viral proteins that the immune system can recognize. By combining a latency reversal strategy with immunotherapies, the body might be able to rid itself of all infected cells.

    July 22, 2016
    Science
  • Two prominent biomedical research institutes in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province announced that they plan to merge and form the Africa Health Research Institute: the Africa Centre for Population Health [and] the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV....[This will be] a new lease on life for both struggling institutes, which plan to combine their clinical and basic research skills to address major research questions in both HIV and tuberculosis.

    July 22, 2016
    Science
  • Participant recruitment represents one of the largest costs of conducting randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and barriers to recruitment can generate problems of selective enrollment and under-enrollment....In this article, we provide a taxonomy of proposed interventions informed by behavioral economic theory to address low enrollment in clinical trials.

    July 20, 2016
    Sci Transl Med
  • By analysing the similarity of viral genetic sequences from nearly 1,600 people with HIV in one community in KwaZulu-Natal, the study shows that adolescent girls and women in their early 20s tend to pick up the virus from men aged around 30. When the women grow older, they go on to infect their long-term partners, who in turn may pass the virus on through affairs with younger women.

    July 18, 2016
    Nature
  • The SEARCH Study is a cluster randomized trial evaluating a “test and treat” HIV and multi-disease prevention strategy in rural Uganda and Kenya. Using a multi-disease community-based approach and patient-centered streamlined care, we increased population viral suppression from 45% to 81%, exceeding the UNAIDS 90-90-90 cascade target within 2 years in the 16 SEARCH intervention communities.

    July 18, 2016
    21st International AIDS Conference
  • To achieve potent activity without emergence of viral escape mutants, co-administration of different bNAbs is necessary....Here we report development of bispecific anti-Env neutralizing antibodies (biNAbs) with potent activity. These findings suggest innovative strategies for generating biNAbs with enhanced neutralization breadth and potency, representing ideal candidate molecules for control of HIV-1 infection.

    July 16, 2016
    Cell
  • While the search for an efficacious HIV-1 vaccine remains elusive, emergence of a new generation of virus-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) has re-ignited the field of passive immunization for HIV-1 prevention. Here we report engineered bispecific antibodies that are the most potent and broad HIV-neutralizing antibodies to date....[and hold promise as novel prophylactic and/or therapeutic agents in the fight against HIV-1.

    June 16, 2016
    Cell
  • For the primary outcome, we included 21 studies..., providing data for 4821 individuals. Dual therapy, especially with regimens excluding maraviroc, could be safe and efficacious, particularly in patients with baseline viral loads of less than 100 000 copies per mL. However, dual therapy seems to have a greater risk of selecting resistance mutations compared with standard triple therapy.

    May 31, 2016
    Lancet HIV

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