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3 OCTOBER 2014 VOLUME 15 ISSUE 40

Media Coverage

  • The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), an ally group of the country’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party and a proponent of the movement to boycott Israel, is protesting South Africa’s consideration of approving an Israeli-developed circumcision device [PrePex]....The device has not yet been used in South African hospitals.
    October 3, 2014
    Algemeiner
  • The issue of contraceptive use remains controversial and divisive in this country of 13.72 million people. Parents and educators are agreed that levels of sexual activity among high-school students are on the rise. What they do not agree on, however, is how to deal with the corresponding increase in teenage pregnancies....While Zimbabwe has made huge gains in some areas of reproductive health, including stemming new HIV infections, various United Nations agencies have raised concerns about the growing number of adolescent pregnancies.
    October 3, 2014
    IPS News
  • Disappointed researchers reported Thursday that a second child thought to have been cured of HIV is showing signs of infection....The news was especially devastating because, unlike the child in Mississippi who missed treatments because her mother didn't take her back for follow-up visits, doctors in this case stopped the antiretrovirals on purpose.
     
    October 3, 2014
    Washington Post
  • “PrEP is not a silver bullet.” If you speak to a lengthy roster of HIV advocates and researchers about the controversial HIV prevention pill Truvada, you will hear a good handful of them, unprompted, utter this phrase verbatim....

    October 3, 2014
    POZ
  • The Christian Social Service Commission (CSSC) has handed over medical equipment worth 358.9m/ to Sekou Toure Hospital in Mwanza city. CSSC Executive Director, Mr Peter Maduki, said the donation aimed at sustaining health services at care and treatment clinics and prevention of HIV mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) in Mwanza region. "The objective is to support government efforts in attaining Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) number 4 and 5, to reduce maternal and mortality under-five by a third by 2015," said Maduki.
    October 2, 2014
    Tanzania Daily News
  • Merck's investigational, 9-valent HPV vaccine has the potential to block about 90% of invasive cervical cancer cases worldwide, new research in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention shows. But getting there will be no walk in the park. First, the company will have to solve some uptake problems that have been plaguing the candidate's predecessor, Gardasil, since it rolled out in 2006....
    October 2, 2014
    FierceVaccines
  • How do you win a war when the people who are supposed to be fighting it have become complacent? While an HIV diagnosis may no longer be a death sentence, there are still 50,000 new HIV infections in the United States every year -- and it will stay this way unless we actively stop it. Unfortunately, the current reality is that the majority of New Yorkers -- straight or gay -- who should be leading the fight to stop the spread of this terrible disease are not actively engaged in ending this epidemic.
    October 1, 2014
    POZ
  • India could run out of a critical medicine in its free HIV/AIDS drugs program in three weeks due to bureaucratic bungling, a senior government official said, leaving more than 150,000 sufferers without life-saving drugs for about a month....The supply crunch will be an embarrassment for the four-month-old government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has promised to deliver more affordable and better health services.
    October 1, 2014
    Reuters
  • As slogans anticipating an end to the AIDS epidemic gain popularity, skeptics worry that such promises are hollow and unrealistically ambitious, and that failure to deliver will ultimately set back efforts to combat HIV.
    October 1, 2014
    POZ
  • After almost two decades spent fighting for HIV treatment and access to medicines, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) may close its doors due to a severe funding shortage. TAC has just one-third of its 2015 budget, according to Mark Heywood, head of public interest law organisation Section27. Donor funding cuts have forced the organisation to cull staff and cut programming at least twice in recent years. Heywood says the organisation cannot survive another downscaling.
     
    September 30, 2014
    Health-e
  • In 1993, San Francisco General Hospital established a first-of-its-kind hotline for clinicians nationwide seeking advice in managing HIV and AIDS treatments. More than two decades later, the hospital on Monday launched the first phone-based consultation service in the US for health care workers who prescribe PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a medication that can prevent HIV, said Dr. Ron Goldschmidt, a UC San Francisco professor of family and community medicine at General Hospital.

     

    September 30, 2014
    San Francisco Examiner
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi must not give in to US pressure to change intellectual property laws which allow India to produce generic medicines poor people can afford, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said...."India's patent laws and policies have fostered robust generic competition over the past decade, which has brought the price of medicines down substantially - in the case of HIV, by more than 90 percent....
    September 30, 2014
    Reuters
  • Swiss firm Mymetics is getting a boost from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct a key animal study for its HIV vaccine candidate at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. The foundation's $1.8 million grant will fund a preclinical trial involving 36 rhesus monkeys to compare two antigen vaccination regimens against a placebo....The study will begin in October with results expected at the end of 2015....
    September 30, 2014
    FierceBiotech Research
  • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will consider its first case of forced sterilization of a person living with HIV in Latin America, a rights group has said. The US-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which brought the case of a Chilean woman before the main human rights body in the Americas, says she was forcibly sterilized because of her HIV-positive status by a doctor, without her consent or knowledge, during the delivery of her baby by Caesarean section in 2002.
     
    September 30, 2014
    reuters
  • The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) needs to be an important priority, Clifton Cortez, global cluster leader for governance and human rights within the HIV, health and development practice of the UNDP, said in a recent interview with Xinhua"We can't take our eye off the ball," he said.
    September 30, 2014
    Xinhua
  • Younger men say voluntary medical male circumcision is becoming cool among peers as the country continues rolling out new method. Karabo Nhlapo, 21, chose to be medically circumcised about a month ago. He says his friends have chosen to follow his lead. "I did my circumcision four weeks back using Prepex - it was painless," said Nhlapo, who added that his girlfriend encouraged him to go for the procedure.
     
    September 29, 2014
    Health-e
  • Two years ago, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists officially recommended what health care professionals in the field had known for years; the best and safest form of birth control are intrauterine devices or subdermal implants rather than birth control pills. Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement [saying that]...“The past decade has demonstrated that LARCs [long-acting reversible contraceptives] are safe for adolescents"....While that population is still relatively small, it is growing.
    September 29, 2014
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Fast Track, the strategy geared to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030, which was outlined by UNAIDS at a side event to the United Nations General Assembly last week, notes that international efforts have produced impressive gains against HIV globally. But, the brochure describing the strategy notes, “the gap between where the response is now, and where it should be is wide.” To fill that gap, the strategy proposes going after HIV where it has taken its highest tolls,
    September 29, 2014
    Science Speaks
  • According to a recent study in the journal Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, only 60% of young US women who received the first dose of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine went on to complete the three-dose vaccine series. The study found that minority backgrounds, low income, and low education were associated with non-completion. A higher income and a college degree also were associated with higher completion rates of the vaccine series. 
     
    September 26, 2014
    Science Daily
  • Saturday is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, but the news about knowledge and treatment of HIV is dispiriting. Just 30 percent of gay and bisexual men say they were tested for HIV within the last year as recommended; another 30 percent say they have never been tested. And even when tested, only half of those diagnosed with HIV are receiving care and treatment. Those statistics come from two reports released Thursday....
     
    September 25, 2014
    Washington Post
  • Chlamydia continues to be the most commonly reported notifiable disease in the US, the CDC said. Data from national surveys showed that 1.7% of people 14 through 39 are infected with Chlamydia trachomatis, the agency said in the Sept. 26 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. But among young sexually active females....the rate was 4.7%....Compared with white non-Hispanic participants, positive chlamydia screens were about seven times higher among non-Hispanic blacks [and] about three times higher among Mexican-Americans.
    September 25, 2014
    MedPage Today
  • Gay and bisexual men...are the only population group in the United States for which HIV infections are rising....So it’s a major concern that, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey published Thursday, only a third of gay and bisexual men know that infections are increasing among this group,...almost a third have never been tested for HIV, and more than half don’t know about pre-exposure prophylaxis....Discrimination and stigma are still barriers to spreading the word about testing and new treatments among gay and bisexual men, and there is no o
    September 25, 2014
    Wall Street Journal
  • A study published on September 25th in PLOS Pathogens reports a new primate model to test treatments that might cure HIV/AIDS and suggests answers to questions raised by the "Berlin patient," the only human thought to have been cured so far.
    September 25, 2014
    Science Daily
  • More than thirty years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and at a time when infections among gay and bisexual men are on the rise in the US, a new national survey of gay and bisexual men by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that though HIV/AIDS is named as the number one health issue facing their population, a majority (56%) are not personally concerned about becoming infected, and relatively few report having been tested recently.
     
    September 25, 2014
    Kaiser Family Foundation
  • In most Latin American countries schools now provide sex education, but with a focus that is generally restricted to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases – an approach that has not brought about significant modifications in the behaviour of adolescents, especially among the poor....Until the focus shifts to a rights-based approach, experts say, Latin America will not meet its international obligations to ensure that “every pregnancy is wanted [...] and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.”
    September 25, 2014
    IPS News
  • Scores of patient groups, scientific societies, and university coalitions devote much of their time to lobbying the U.S. Congress for more funding for biomedical research and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This week another group, ACT for NIH: Advancing Cures Today, joined their ranks....[I]t is headed by biomedical science lobbying veteran Patrick White....White discussed his organization’s plans with ScienceInsider.
    September 25, 2014
    Science
  • This month, while working with PEPFAR programs in West Africa, I was reminded by civil society organization leaders of the slogan “nothing about us without us”...used throughout the world for centuries to articulate the need for constituents and communities to engage in inclusive public policy development....Yet, there seems to be an abundance of caution and reticence to scale up investments in these types of community engagement and capacity-building activities....
     
    September 25, 2014
    Science Speaks
  • Prince Nhlanganiso Zulu, son of King Goodwill Zwelethini, has made a passionate plea to male Zululanders to undergo medical circumcision (MMC). Prince Zulu said the King was so dismayed by the high death rate of his people because of AIDS, he had reversed the anti-circumcision policy introduced by King Shaka some 200 years ago.
     
    September 22, 2014
    Zululand Observer

Published Research

  • To extend our observations that single or repeated application of a gel containing the NNRTI MIV-150 (M) and zinc acetate dihydrate (ZA) in carrageenan (CG) (MZC) inhibits vaginal transmission of simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)-RT in macaques, we evaluated safety and anti-SHIV-RT activity of MZC and related gel formulations ex vivo in macaque mucosal explants. Overall, the data suggest that evaluation of candidate microbicides in macaque explants can inform macaque efficacy and clinical studies design.
    October 3, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • Despite global increases in ART coverage, there is a concerning lack of published data on HIV treatment for FSWs. Available data suggest that FSWs can achieve levels of ART uptake, retention, adherence, and treatment response comparable to that seen among women in the general population, but these data are from only a few research settings. More routine programme data on HIV treatment among FSWs across settings should be collected and disseminated .
    October 3, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • We examined the priming dose and administration order of heterologous vectors in HIV Vaccine Trials Network 078 (HVTN 078), a randomized, double-blind phase Ib clinical trial rAd5 prime followed by NYVAC boost is superior to the reverse regimen for both vaccine-induced cellular and humoral immune responses. These data provide a basis for optimizing the design of future clinical trials testing vector-based heterologous prime-boost strategies.
    October 3, 2014
    J Clin Invest
  • Drawing on newspaper articles and conversational journals 1999-2008, we analyze 'moral injunctions'--what individuals should or should not do in response to AIDS. Predominant injunctions in early years were premarital abstinence and marital fidelity.
    October 3, 2014
    Pop & Dev Review
  • Despite significantly different demographics, sexual behaviors, and partnership beliefs, many women in the FEM-PrEP trial were at risk of acquiring HIV....Though gender dynamics differed between the populations, they appear to play a critical role in women’s sexual practices. The findings highlight different ways women from diverse contexts may be at-risk for HIV and the importance of providing HIV prevention options that are both effective and feasible given personal and social circumstances.
    October 3, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • A new analysis of rates of adherence to Truvada (tenofovir/emtricitabine) in the iPrEx study, which proved the drug’s efficacy as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women in 2010, found that while average adherence to the drug was quite poor, American participants in the global study tended to adhere well. 
    October 3, 2014
    AIDSmeds
  • After accounting for under-ascertainment of mortality, with increasing duration on ART, the mortality rate on HIV treatment in South Africa declines to levels comparable to or below those described in participating North American cohorts, while substantially narrowing the differential with the European cohorts.
    October 3, 2014
    PLoS Medicine
  • In the 20 years since South Africa underwent a peaceful transition from apartheid to a constitutional democracy, considerable social progress has been made toward reversing the discriminatory practices that pervaded all aspects of life before 1994. Yet the health and well-being of most South Africans remain plagued by a relentless burden of infectious and noncommunicable diseases, persisting social disparities, and inadequate human resources to provide care for a growing population with a rising tide of refugees and economic migrants....
    October 3, 2014
    NEJM
  • After accounting for under-ascertainment of mortality, with increasing duration on ART, the mortality rate on HIV treatment in South Africa declines to levels comparable to or below those described in participating North American cohorts, while substantially narrowing the differential with the European cohorts.
    October 3, 2014
    PLoS Medicine
  • A new study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation discusses results from a clinical trial that evaluated the immune response following different HIV prime/boost vaccine regimes in healthy volunteers. Individuals that received the rAd5-vectored vaccine followed by the NYVAC-B vaccine exhibited the strongest anti-HIV immune responses. A regime in which individuals received the NYVAC-B vaccine prior to the rAd5-vectored vaccine was not as effective. Results from this study will be important for design of further clinical trials.
    October 1, 2014
    Science Newsline
  • A global health controversy erupted this summer when the prominent scientific journal Nature ran an article entitled “HIV trial attacked"....When first designed, the PROMISE study answered a critical question: Do HIV-infected mothers with intact immune systems need treatment after they deliver their babies? Yet subsequent changes to HIV treatment guidelines from the World Health Organization have made at least some global health experts reconsider whether the question can still be asked and answered.
     

     

    October 1, 2014
    Health Affairs Blog
  • Conclusions:...So PrEP could be theoretically cost-effective but for it to be cost saving in high-income and high-price countries, its use needs to be restricted to those most in need, adherence needs to be maintained and drug costs need to fall, probably considerably – which may be unlikely until 2018 at the earliest, when tenofovir comes off patent.
    October 1, 2014
    AIDSmap
  • De-worming is associated with falls in viral load and increases in CD4 count and haemoglobin, in pregnant women living with HIV and receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to the results of a study conducted in Rwanda and published in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Albendazole – a cheap treatment for helminth infections – was provided to 980 women on a targeted and non-targeted basis, and the investigators showed both treatment modes were equally effective. 
     
    September 26, 2014
    AIDSmap
  • Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have described how a single family of antibodies that broadly neutralizes different strains of HIV has evolved remarkably diverse structures to attack a vulnerable site on the virus. The new research, reported in the September 25, 2014 issue of the journal Cell, is part of a broad effort to "retro design" an effective HIV vaccine, based on an understanding of rare, natural antibodies that effectively hit HIV's most vulnerable sites.
    September 25, 2014
    Science Daily
  • A study of gay men in Ireland that has investigated the prevalence of infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), some types of which cause genital warts and cervical, anal and oral cancers, concludes that 47% of HIV-positive and 64% of HIV-negative gay men would benefit from being given one of the HPV vaccines against the two most common cancer-causing types.
    September 25, 2014
    AIDSmap
  • Since the discovery of the AIDS virus in 1983, only one person is believed to have been completely cured of HIV--called the "Berlin patient." The case of Timothy Ray Brown has raised more questions than answers in the quest to eradicate the immune-compromising disease....Now, a new study, published in PLOS Pathogens [PLoS Pathog 10(9): e1004406. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1004406] sheds light on three different factors that may have contributed to Brown's miraculous recovery.
    September 2, 2014
    FierceBiotech Research

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