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3 JULY 2015 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 27

Media Coverage

  • An experimental Johnson & Johnson vaccine completely prevented HIV infection in half of monkeys that got the shot and then were exposed to high doses of an aggressive virus, results that spurred the company to test the vaccine in people, academic and company researchers said on Thursday.

    July 2, 2015
    Reuters
  • The prevalence rate of HIV among pregnant women attending antenatal has consistently reduced in the last five years, the 2014 HIV Sentinel Survey (HSS) report has established,... decreased from 1.9 per cent in 2013 to 1.6 per cent in 2014 nationally....The report, however, noted that the prevalence rate of the disease increased among the age group between 15 and 24 in 2014 as new infections increased from 1.2 per cent in 2013 to 1.8 per cent in 2014.

    July 1, 2015
    Graphic Online
  • A new report just out from the Pew Research Center shows that views on certain other contentious scientific topics, like genetically modified foods and vaccinations, don’t cut cleanly along political lines.

    July 1, 2015
    Washington Post
  • Cuba has become the world's first country to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, "a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation," the World Health Organization announced today.

    July 1, 2015
    Bloomberg
  • Circumcision reduces the risk of contracting HIV, most scientists agree, but the consensus is not universal. One dissenter is Ronald Goldman, a psychologist in Boston, in the US, who wrote to The Times yesterday decrying the use of the procedure as an HIV prophylactic.

    July 1, 2015
    The Times (South Africa)
  • A newly designed diaphragm is hitting the U.S. market for the first time since the mid-1960s. Known as Caya, the new, single-size contraceptive device is comprised of a coiled nylon spring, a silicone cup, and a removal tab

    July 1, 2015
    RH Reality Check
  • It is no surprise that the AIDS pandemic, which began 34 years ago, altered the career paths of female scientists. The pathogen was mysterious, inscrutable, and killing millions of people around the world. Before long dozens of scientists, male and female alike, began studying this new human virus. Their efforts are transforming the fields of virology and immunology.

    July 1, 2015
    IAVI Report
  • on 1 July, Dong-Pyou Han, a former biomedical scientist at Iowa State University in Ames, was sentenced to 57 months for fabricating and falsifying data in HIV vaccine trials.

    July 1, 2015
    Nature
  • Two decades into the antiretroviral era, the often misused term 'AIDS' has an awkward place in the dialogue about the HIV epidemic.

    July 1, 2015
    POZ
  • Safe Male Circumcision (SMC) programme coordinator, Mr Conrad Ntsuape,...said as from April 2014 to March 2015, over 33 000 people were circumcised against a target of 50 000 which translated to 67.5 per cent. Ever since the launch of SMC in 2008 where the country set out to circumcise 80 per cent of the male population, he said 39.9 per cent had been reached so far.

    June 30, 2015
    Daily News
  • First Lady Esther Lungu has commended government for initiating a mass campaign to increase the uptake of HIV counselling and testing services. Mrs. Lungu said government, through the Ministries of Health and of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, has integrated HIV counselling with voluntary medical male circumcision, tuberculosis, maternal and child health services.

    June 30, 2015
    Lusaka Times
  • The new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the U.N. is expected to adopt in September are more diverse, and lack the clarity and focus brought by the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals), experts say. “Health is one piece of a much more crowded space that will compete for attention and finances, when we still haven’t finished the job,” Jen Kates, Kaiser Family Foundation director of global health and HIV policy, said at a Center for Strategic and International Studies forum on Tuesday.

    June 30, 2015
    World Economic Forum
  • Whilst men have been opportunely accused for their poor health seeking behaviour, some stakeholders in the national response to HIV and AIDS believe that the system itself which delivers services needs to be enhanced to promote uptake. First, improvement needs to be in terms of increased awareness and communication on what services are provided. Second, the improvement needs to be in the promotion of the services provided.

    June 30, 2015
    Swazi Observer
  • In a first for HIV prevention, an international team of researchers have completed follow-up of participants enrolled in a pivotal Phase III trial that tested the safety and effectiveness of a vaginal ring for preventing HIV in women. Results of the study, called ASPIRE, are expected to be reported early 2016. [The trial]...involved 2,629 women from 15 sites in Malawi, South Africa, Uganda and South Africa....

    June 30, 2015
    Medical.net
  • Cutting the time, skills and the stitches required for conventional surgical circumcision, the development of devices that can be used by nurses and clinical officers has been seen as important to making circumcision widely available and safe in low-resource settings where physicians are in short supply. And unlike PrePex, the first nonsurgical device greenlit by the WHO, the ShangRing will be available for men and boys aged 13 to 17. AVAC also wrote, at length, about device developments.

    June 30, 2015
    Science Speaks
  • The US Centres for Disease Control estimates that‚ on average‚ a woman would have to have sex 1000 times with an HIV-positive male to get the virus. But this estimate does not hold in South Africa‚ particularly in rural KwaZulu-Natal‚ where more than half of pregnant women will be HIV-positive by the time they are 25 or older. Deputy director of the Wits Centre for Reproductive Health and HIV Francois Venter said: “I’m deeply sceptical that sexual behaviour alone drives the epidemic in our area."

    June 29, 2015
    RDM Newswire
  • Kilimanjaro region has registered remarkable success in retaining HIV/AIDS patients on drugs and constant clinic attendance, resulting in more than 95 per cent of HIV-positive women bearing babies free from the problem....Through funding from the US-based Centres for Disease Control (CDC), many hospitals and health centres have been supported through the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF).

    June 29, 2015
    Tanzania Daily News
  • It’s a situation any parent can relate to: Try to give medicine to a child, and the episode can often end in tears and tantrums....But that could soon change, thanks to an announcement from UNAIDS and UNICEF that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has tentatively approved an antiretroviral medication in pellet form that can be mixed with food, making it quick and easy for children to consume.

    June 29, 2015
    Yahoo News
  • Is the end of HIV near? Findings published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy report that a novel, subdermal implant delivering potent antiretroviral (ARV) drugs shows extreme promise in stopping the spread of HIV. Scientists from the Oak Crest Institute of Science, in Pasadena, CA, report that they have developed a matchstick size implant, similar to a contraceptive implant, that successfully delivers a controlled, sustained release of ARV drugs for up to 40 days in dogs with no adverse side effects.
    June 29, 2015
    EDGE San Francisco
  • Incidence, prevalence and mortality of HIV/AIDS continue to grow at a disturbing pace in the Russian Federation....And yet, Belarus has succeeded in maintaining an overall low prevalence (0.4 percent) and incidence rates of HIV, about a third lower than its immediate neighbors. There are a number of reasons for that.

    June 29, 2015
    Huffington Post
  • Larry Kramer is still fighting the good fight — and ticking off his enemies and critics. He just can’t do it as loudly as he used to....Kramer spoke about his outrage over stalled research for an AIDS cure at the NIH; his ambivalence over gay men taking Truvada to prevent HIV infection...; and what he sees as complacency in the current gay rights movement.

    June 29, 2015
    Boston Globe
  • A research team led by Weill Cornell Medical College scientists has discovered a way to limit replication of the most common form of HIV at a key moment when the infection is just starting to develop. The study, published June 25 in Nature Communications, has shed light on a potential new element of human immunity against HIV-1 and could provide a powerful new strategy – perhaps as part of an HIV vaccine – to limit the severity of the disease.

    June 29, 2015
    Medical Express
  • Health and social services minister Bernard Haufiku has urged the community to stay away from "self-styled prophets and healers" who claim that they can cure HIV-AIDS. He said this at the Odibo St Mary's Mission in the Ohangwena region during the launch of the IntraHealth's new US Agency for International Development (USAID) HIV Clinical Services Technical Assistance Project (UTAP) on Wednesday.

    June 26, 2015
    Namibian
  • Taking cognizance of a TOI report on how doctors at LLRM Medical College branded an HIV+ woman and revealed her identity by sticking a `Bio Hazard+' label on her bed, Meerut district magistrate Pankaj Yadav sent a report on the matter to the state government recommending an inquiry. "It is an abuse of human dignity. This is ethically and morally wrong. If government asks us to probe the matter, we will do it,“ he said.

    June 26, 2015
    Times of India
  • “Siyanda!” Fanelwa Gwashu’s voice carries over the soft chatter inside the two-bedroom shack in Khayelitsha, a township on the Cape Flats in the City of Cape Town.... Every two months Gwashu, a lay health worker employed by Médicins Sans Frontières, meets these 15 Khayelitsha residents in Siyanda’s shack to weigh them, enquire about any other health problems and dispense a supply of HIV medication to each person to last them until their next meeting.

    June 26, 2015
    Mail and Guardian
  • Our Time To Be Heard is a collection of stories published by Key Correspondents highlighting the current challenges that young people are facing in the context of the HIV epidemic. The stories were commissioned by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance to help increase attention to the voices of young people....Our Time To Be Heard is free to download and individuals or organisations are encouraged to use it in their advocacy work to help end adolescent AIDS.

    June 26, 2015
    Key Correspondents
  • The NHS will come under renewed pressure to provide what is being described as a “miracle” HIV prevention, as thousands of people gather for one the world’s biggest LGBT Pride festivals. Campaigners from the Terrence Higgins Trust will carry placards calling on the Government to have pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) made freely available on the NHS as an HIV prevention strategy for gay men.

    June 26, 2015
    The Independent
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released estimates of the rate of people living with HIV who are aware of their serostatus, broken down by state. Out of the 42 states for which substantial data was available, only five have diagnosis rates above the 90 percent benchmark set by the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The CDC published the data in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report to mark National HIV Testing Day, which is June 27.

    June 25, 2015
    AIDSMeds
  • After publishing promising preclinical results, a team from the Scripps Research Institute, led by researcher William Schief, are taking their HIV vaccine candidate to federal regulators to discuss human trials....Though their shot isn't expected to prevent HIV infection, Schief's team says their candidate is ready for clinical trials that will let them know if they're on the right track.

    June 25, 2015
    Fierce Vaccines
  • An international commission of scientists and others involved in...responses to the global HIV pandemic released findings...with conclusions that a “massive and rapid expansion” of current efforts is needed....The report comes...on a day that legislators weigh a proposal to cut funding for infectious diseases research, a proposal inspired in part...by perceptions that the global HIV pandemic has been “substantially addressed.”

    June 25, 2015
    Science Speaks
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb has decided to cancel a program that identifies new antiviral drug candidates, including its work on hepatitis B and HIV. The company said products that have reached market and candidates that have reached clinical development, such as the HIV attachment inhibitor BMS-663068 and hepatitis C drug daclatasvir, will not be affected.

    June 25, 2015
    Reuters
  • Everyone with HIV who is prepared to take antiretroviral treatment should receive it, regardless of CD4 cell count, new draft British HIV Association treatment guidelines recommend. The new guidelines...say that anyone living with HIV who understands the commitment of treatment and is ready to start should receive treatment. The change...follows the results of the START trial [and] two other recent studies.

    June 24, 2015
    AIDSmap
  • While some of the circumstances for tumultuous changes are unique to the period or to the Global Fund, there are lessons of value to reform discussions for the World Health Organization....The Global Fund’s experience in managing its way through crisis and recovery offers five major conclusions.

    June 24, 2015
    Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • A new survey done in the UK finds altruism as the main driver of participation in early phase HIV cure studies. These results are similar to previous surveys conducted with people living with HIV in the US.

    June 24, 2015
    The Body
  • Vical...announced that two herpes vaccine formulations--a monovalent and a bivalent--failed to meet their primary endpoint of significantly reducing HSV shedding in a Phase I/II trial and didn't perform as well as placebo....Though Vical's herpes vaccine hasn't posted encouraging results, Genocea's similar jab recently succeeded in Phase II as that company works its way closer to marketing the immunotherapy.

    June 23, 2015
    Fierce Vaccines
  • Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that some individuals exposed to HIV-1, but who remain uninfected, have a certain pattern of virus-specific immune responses that differentiated them from individuals who became infected. The findings build upon prior research by studying these responses in the context of a controlled clinical trial....

    June 22, 2015
    Science Daily
  • A recent survey by the National AIDS Council (NAC) has revealed that mining and farming communities have remained as hotspots for new HIV and AIDS infections, with people in the 30-49 age group being the most affected. The NAC hotspot analysis and mapping report was jointly funded by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, NAC, UNAIDS and World Food Programme.

    June 20, 2015
    Zimbabwe Situation
  • The total in 2014 was $35.9 billion. As impressive as that number sounds, it's a 1.6 percent drop from 2013. The U.S. contribution: $12.4 billion. The report comes from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington....In 2014...30 percent of development assistance in health went toward HIV/AIDS — about $11 billion. Sixty-three percent is coming from the U.S.

    June 18, 2015
    NPR

Published Research

  • Preclinical studies of viral vector–based HIV-1 vaccine candidates have shown partial protection against neutralization-resistant virus challenges in rhesus monkeys. In this study, we evaluated the protective efficacy of adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vector priming followed by purified envelope (Env) glycoprotein boosting. Rhesus monkeys...demonstrated complete protection in 50% of vaccinated animals against a series of repeated, heterologous, intrarectal SIVmac251 challenges that infected all controls.

    July 2, 2015
    Science
  • There is a critical need to enhance efforts in evaluating community engagement....Evaluation mechanisms should be built into community engagement practices to guide best practices in community engagement and their replication across diverse health research settings.

    July 1, 2015
    BMC Medical Ethics
  • In 2010, we used our HIV clinic database located in the southern USA to develop a clinical profile of what HIV infection means at each decade of life, focusing specifically on adults older than 50 years. Several of our findings were quite revealing. First, the prevalence of depression and anxiety is largely constant across the lifespan at roughly 40% and 20%, respectively. Second, the average number of prescribed drugs for individuals in their 50s was 12·48, which increased to 14·82 for those aged 60 years or older.

    July 1, 2015
    Lancet
  • Regions of PNG with the highest HIV prevalence had the lowest prevalence of male circumcision and other forms of foreskin cutting and vice versa. Male circumcision and dorsal longitudinal cuts were strongly associated with HIV prevalence and able to explain 99% of the observed geographical variability in HIV prevalence in PNG. Further research is warranted to investigate causality of this correlation.

    July 1, 2015
    Sex Transm Infect
  • Access to ART has improved greatly in Latin America and about 600 000 people are on treatment. However, health-care systems are deficient in different stages of the HIV continuum of care, and in some cases only a small proportion of individuals achieve the desired outcome of virological suppression....Many... are unaware of their status, [and] are diagnosed and enter into care late. Stigma, administrative barriers, and economic limitations seem important determinants.

    July 1, 2015
    Lancet
  • Findings centered on concerns about modern contraception methods...and a desire to have the right number of children....Repeat pregnancy was commonly attributed to contraception failure or to lack of knowledge about post-delivery fertility. In addition to cultural context, reproductive health programs for WLWH may need to address issues related to living circumstances and the possibility that reproductive-decision making may extend beyond the woman and her partner.

    June 29, 2015
    PLoS ONE
  • Between 2009 and the first quarter of 2014, only one case of HIV (contracted outside Hungary) was detected among PWIDs in Hungary. However, more recent evidence suggests increased sharing of injecting paraphernalia among PWIDs, linked to the emergence of new designer drugs that require frequent injection, alongside funding cuts to the Hungarian needle exchange program.

    June 23, 2015
    Intl j Drug Policy
  • We report here a new diagnostic approach to the direct detection of HIV in blood or other body fluids that is rapid, sensitive and potentially applicable in a point-of-care setting. The approach follows on the development of a novel BioNanoSensor (BNS) device that utilizes piezoelectric technology to detect the presence of the HIV surface glycoprotein gp120 in a nanoscale format.

    May 8, 2015
    JAIDS
  • The risk of HIV acquisition was significantly higher in women with evidence of genital inflammation, defined by at least 5 of 9 inflammatory cytokines being raised. Genital cytokine concentrations were persistently raised (for about 1 year before infection), with no readily identifiable cause despite extensive investigation of several potential factors, including sexually transmitted infections and systemic cytokines.

    April 21, 2015
    Clinical Infectious Diseases
  • HIV incidence among men diagnosed with syphilis is high; one in 20 MSM were diagnosed with HIV within a year. Our data have implications for syphilis and HIV screening and may be useful for further targeting HIV-negative populations for pre-exposure prophylaxis.

    April 13, 2015
    Clinical Infectious Diseases

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