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29 MAY VOLUME 16 ISSUE 22

Media Coverage

  • Penile shedding of herpes simplex virus type 2 appeared to be more prevalent among men coinfected with HIV in the weeks after circumcision, according to recently published data...Researchers examined changes in HIV and HSV-2 shedding among Ugandan men offered free MC services from June 2009 to April 2012.

    May 29, 2015
    Healio
  • The Ministry of Health aims at having 800,000 men circumcised by the year 2016 using PrePex, a non-surgical adult male circumcision device....Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, head of HIV, STI and other blood borne Infections at RBC, said "The demand for circumcision actually is very high, especially among youth aged between 18 and 24. Accessibility has also increased overtime since many health providers have been trained and given equipment to carry out professional circumcision."

    May 28, 2015
    New Times
  • Starting HIV treatment early, before immune damage occurs, brings real clinical benefits, a new study has shown. The START (Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment) clinical trial was recently terminated ahead of schedule because the trial results provided conclusive evidence of the extra benefits of beginning antiretroviral therapy early. The question of when to start anti-HIV treatment is of great clinical and public health significance.

    May 28, 2015
    The Conversation
  • Moving forward, prevention research and interventions...that focus on trans women are needed, rather than problematically lumping them in with men who have sex with men. While prevention, treatment, and care efforts for gay and bisexual men must accommodate the experiences and needs of trans men affected by HIV, gay and bisexual men (trans and non-trans) should be raising our voices to ensure that increased resources are dedicated to HIV prevention for trans women.

    May 28, 2015
    CATIE Blog
  • In a new study, Nicole Haberland, senior associate at the Population Council, makes the case that “comprehensive” [sexual education] should include gender and power dynamics. The study, published in International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, reviewed evaluations of 22 sex-education programs for adolescents and young adults....“This review provides strong evidence that content on gender and power in intimate relationships should be considered a key characteristic of effective sexuality and HIV education.”

    May 28, 2015
    The Atlantic
  • Elim Constituency councillor Gerhard Shiimi has urged men to get circumcised in order to prevent the spread of HIV. Shiimi...appealed to the youth to make that bold decision instead of shying away from circumcision points. "There is still a lot of stigma surrounding circumcision, and men do not want to be seen in circumcision queues." However, he said the same stigma clouded the idea of going for voluntary testing and taking ARVs but all that is in the past.

    May 27, 2015
    New Era
  • The [START trial] results are likely to change the way people with HIV are treated all over the world....“This is going to cost money if you have to go out and treat everyone who is infected,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It would be another motivation for getting resources into programmes such as the Global Fund and Pepfar. But treating early would be cost-effective.

    May 27, 2015
    Guardian
  • A study in 35 countries has ended early because results showed that immediate treatment cut the risk of disease and death in half....Michael Saag, who directs the University of Alabama Center for AIDS Research, thought START was a waste of money...But his initial reaction to these data? “Wow! Maybe this effect is even more profound than I was thinking"....Saag, who sits on the WHO panel that issues international guidelines for HIV treatment, says the new data will likely influence the next revision.

    May 27, 2015
    Science
  • People with HIV should be put on antiretroviral drugs as soon as they learn they are infected, health officials said as they announced halting the largest ever clinical trial of early treatment because its benefits were already so clear....Although the CDC recommends immediate treatment, [as of] November only 37 percent of infected Americans had prescriptions for the drugs....Internationally, there is not nearly enough money to put those already sick on antiretroviral medicines, much less those not yet showing symptoms.

    May 27, 2015
    New York Times
  • An international randomized clinical trial has found that people living with HIV have a considerably lower risk of developing AIDS or other serious illnesses if they start taking antiretroviral treatment sooner, when their CD4 cell count is higher, instead of waiting until their CD4 cell count drops to lower levels.

    May 27, 2015
    aidsmap
  • Arizona startup Calimmune just closed out a $15 million Series B for its gene therapy that’s meant to help control HIV halt its progression into AIDS. The round was led by a large (unnamed) pharmaceutical strategic investor, Calimmune said in a statement. The funding will go towards ongoing Phase I/II trials HIV/AIDS clinical trials, as well as further research programs and general corporate operations. Calimmune says its gene therapy has a dual approach.

    May 27, 2015
    Medcity News
  • People who started taking AIDS drugs soon after they were diagnosed were healthier and had fewer side-effects than people who waited, the study found. Researchers were so impressed by the results that they have stopped the study early and will offer the drugs to all the volunteers taking part. "It's just more scientific evidence to back what we've been saying for a time now," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which paid for the bulk of the study.

    May 27, 2015
    NBC News
  • Use of tenofovir/emtricitabine (Truvada) for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was associated with a small decrease in bone mineral density that stabilized after the first 6 months, according to study findings reported in the April 23 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Related research showed that HIV-positive people starting an antiretroviral regimen containing the integrase inhibitor raltegravir (Isentress) experienced less bone loss than those taking protease inhibitors.

    May 27, 2015
    HIV&Hepatitis
  • Australia recently set itself an ambitious goal: put a stop to new cases of HIV by 2020. It will be a tough deadline....Now a major breakthrough in the fight against the epidemic is generating a lot of buzz in the gay community....PrEP, manufactured by Gilead and marketed as Truvada, is not yet approved for preventative use in Australia, so many gay men are forced to come up with creative ways of obtaining the drug.

    May 27, 2015
    ABC News
  • A Swiss study of people diagnosed during early HIV infection has found that a quarter of them presented or developed a wide variety of non-typical early symptoms of HIV infection, many serious and a few life-threatening. Gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms were particularly common....However, although these symptoms were often misdiagnosed at first, they did not, in this study at least, significantly delay the diagnosis of HIV infection.

    May 27, 2015
    aidsmap
  • ViiV Healthcare, Aurobindo Pharma and the Clinton Health Access Initiative announced Tuesday that Aurobindo Pharma has submitted an abbreviated new drug application for dolutegravir 50 mg to the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of HIV. This is the first ANDA for a generic version of dolutegravir, less than two years after FDA approval of ViiV Healthcare's Tivicay (dolutegravir) for sale in the United States.

    May 26, 2015
    Drug Store News
  • [South African] Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has hit back at media reports about drug shortages at public health facilities reaching crisis levels....“Our own findings are that there were more than adequate Fixed Dose Combination [a three-in-one antiretroviral pill] available,” Motsoaledi said. Motsoaledi said the whole “saga” started with a national newspaper’s headline about extreme drug shortages in the country...published on May 18.

    May 25, 2015
    Mail & Guardian
  • Most people who read health journalism with a critical eye would say it's in bad shape....It is often assumed that this state of affairs is linked to the collapse of media as we knew it.... Still, the idea that health journalism is at its end stages is no longer true. We are in the midst of a journalism revolution, and if harnessed for public health, the press can have a greater positive impact than ever before....

    May 25, 2015
    Vox
  • Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the Federal AIDS Centre in Moscow, predicted this month that at least two million Russians are likely to be officially registered as HIV-positive within five years, and a total of three million will have the virus. According to Pokrovsky, the failure stems from a lack of funding and the Kremlin’s family-values-based approach to HIV prevention. Funding for fighting the disease has increased...this year, but most will go to antiretroviral therapy rather than preventative measures, he said.

    May 23, 2015
    Guardian
  • A team led by researchers from UC San Francisco, Organic Health Response, and Microclinic International is reporting results of a study that showed significant benefits of microclinics -- an innovative intervention that mobilized rural Kenyan HIV patients' informal social networks to support their staying in care. The results showed that microclinics cut in half the normal rate of disengagement from care when compared to the control group and reduced the perceived stigma of HIV by 25 percent within the larger community.

    May 18, 2015
    Science Daily
  • Two startup companies out of the University of Washington...recently took home the top two honors at the UW's 18th annual Business Plan Competition. First-place winner, Vie Diagnostics, is developing a 10-minute DNA test that detects all infectious diseases....The company is focusing on sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea....The second-place winner, Empreva, is developing what may be the female birth control of the future....a dissolvable contraceptive for women that also prevents HIV.

    May 17, 2015
    Kiro TV
  • There are nearly 400 HIV-positive potential organ donors who could be sources of donated organs annually for HIV-positive patients waiting for organ donations, a new study has found. Increasing the number of HIV-positive donors could help all patients on the list simply by expanding donor options for the HIV patients...who are waiting for organs....It remains illegal to transplant organs from HIV-positive donors to HIV-negative recipients because of the likely transmission of HIV.

    May 14, 2015
    Science Daily

Published Research

  • Anti-viral T-cell and B-cell responses play a crucial role in suppressing HIV and SIV replication during chronic infection. However, these infections are rarely controlled by the host immune response, and most infected individuals need lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART).

    May 29, 2015
    Current Opinion in Immunology
  • In the world of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) research, there is emerging interest in providing study participants with pharmacokinetic results from drug level testing to guide adherence counseling. The iPrEx randomized control trial was the first study to produce meaningful results of PrEP in humans.

    May 29, 2015
    AIDS Care
  • Genital viral load (GVL) is the main determinant of sexual transmission of human immune-deficiency virus (HIV). Suppressive ART does not necessarily reduce genital level of immune activation. Minimizing all conditions favoring genital inflammation, including active detection and treatment of STIs, might reduce the risk of HIV transmission as supplement to the provision of potent ART.

    May 28, 2015
    PLoS ONE
  • Prevention was one of the big topics at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle (WA, USA, Feb 23–26)....There were high hopes that the eagerly awaited results of the FACTS 001 trial would breathe life back into the prospect of vaginal tenofovir gel for prevention of HIV acquisition, but when the results were presented—an incidence rate ratio of 1 for HIV acquisition in the tenofovir gel group relative to the placebo group—the defeated sigh from the gathered audience was clearly audible.

    May 28, 2015
    Lancet HIV
  • Penile HIV shedding is significantly reduced after healing of MC wounds. Starting ART prior to MC should be considered to reduce male-to-female HIV transmission risk. Research is needed to assess the time on ART required to decrease shedding, and the acceptability and feasibility of initiating ART at the time of MC.

    May 28, 2015
    PLoS Med
  • We recommend that South African national and provincial guidelines and policies for preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission be adjusted to explicitly include a focus on increasing male partner involvement and include concrete descriptions of how to achieve this...at a policy, facility, and community level. Challenges to improving male partner involvement include the nature of relationships and family structures in South Africa and the capacity of health systems to implement recommendations.

    May 28, 2015
    PLoS Med
  • Tenofovir gel is being evaluated for vaginal and rectal pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV transmission. Because this is a new prevention strategy, we broadly assessed its effects on the mucosa.... Tenofovir suppressed anti-inflammatory mediators, increased T cell densities, caused mitochondrial dysfunction, altered regulatory pathways of cell differentiation and survival, and stimulated epithelial cell proliferation. The breadth of mucosal changes induced by tenofovir indicates that its safety over longer-term topical use should be carefully monitored.

    May 28, 2015
    eLife
  • Of the 22 interventions that met the inclusion criteria,...the programs that addressed gender or power were five times as likely to be effective as those that did not; fully 80% of them were associated with a significantly lower rate of STIs or unintended pregnancy. In contrast, among the programs that did not address gender or power, only 17% had such an association. Addressing gender and power should be considered a key characteristic of effective sexuality and HIV education programs.

    May 28, 2015
    International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • We aimed to assess whether two injectable progestin-only contraceptives, DMPA and norethisterone enanthate (NET-EN), confer different risks of HIV-1 acquisition. 3141 South African women using injectable contraception were included in the present analysis....Although moderate associations in observational analyses should be interpreted with caution, these findings suggest that NET-EN might be an alternative injectable drug with a lower HIV risk than DMPA in high HIV-1 incidence settings where NET-EN is available.

    May 27, 2015
    Lancet HIV
  • In countries with high HIV incidence and high use of injectable contraception, findings from [Noguchi et al, Lancet HIV] and recent meta-analyses...suggest that women at high risk of HIV who wish to use injectable contraception should be counselled to consider NET-EN over DMPA [and] to use condoms....[Currentprescribing information for Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection...does not include a statement that DMPA use might increase the risk of HIV acquisition. We recommend that the product labelling information...be updated to include such a statement.

    May 26, 2015
    Lancet HIV
  • Cecilia Van Hollen’s book, Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction and HIV/AIDS in India, is a significant contribution to the literature that explores intersections between reproductive health, societal attitudes and public policy....[T]he book will help understand intricacies of HIV/AIDS healthcare delivery in India [and] offers considerable policy insights for improving quality of reproductive healthcare services in the country. It also helps understand “local manifestations of international initiatives.”

    May 23, 2015
    Economic and Policy Weekly
  • Colonization by Lactobacillus in the female genital tract is thought critical for maintaining genital health. We studied a cohort of asymptomatic young South African women and found that the majority of participants had genital communities with low Lactobacillus abundance and high ecological diversity. Our study proposes a mechanism by which cervicovaginal microbiota impact genital inflammation and thereby might affect a woman’s reproductive health, including her risk of acquiring HIV.

    May 19, 2015
    Immunity
  • Shortcomings in published RCTs render invalid the conclusion that treating STIs and other cofactor infections is ineffective in HIV prevention. Meta-analyses of observational studies conclude that STIs can raise HIV transmission efficiency two- to fourfold. Given the known benefits of STI control, the irreparable harm from not treating STIs and the likely decline in HIV incidence resulting from STI control, it is appropriate to expand STI control programmes and to use funds earmarked for HIV prevention to finance those programmes.

    May 18, 2015
    J Int AIDS Society

Announcements

  • Presented by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Microbiology & Infectious Diseases Discussion Group at the New York Academy of Sciences, HIV 2015: Using Phylogenetics to Enhance the HIV Response will take place on Thursday, June 4, 2015 at 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM at The New York Academy of Sciences.

    May 29, 2015