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4 OCTOBER 2019 VOLUME 20 ISSUE 38

Media Coverage

  • The national health department has been forced to postpone a nationwide rollout of the latest blockbuster HIV treatment amid persistent concerns about what may be a low risk of birth defects linked to the drug’s use. This is despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) greenlighting the drug for use globally in July.

    October 4, 2019
    Daily Maverick
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a daily tablet which can stop a person from getting HIV. England is the only place in the UK where places on a trial to access the drug through the NHS are restricted. The Department of Health said plans are under way for "routine commissioning" when the trial ends next year.

    October 4, 2019
    BBC
  • It was a photograph that went around the world. The image of Britain’s Princess Diana shaking hands with AIDS patients at a London hospital in 1987 was hailed as a milestone in the battle against the stigma surrounding people with the virus.

    October 4, 2019
    General
    Reuters
  • One of the biggest barriers for people at risk of acquiring HIV, or who have already been diagnosed with it, is the burden of pill taking. Although pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is offered as a once-a-day regimen, as are various antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens, accessibility to these drugs, the stigma of HIV, and simple human error can present significant obstacles to adherence.

    October 4, 2019
    Contagion Live
  • There was a time when the diagnosis of HIV was a death sentence, when thousands of New Yorkers, primarily gay men, succumbed to AIDS-related illnesses, and the end of the epidemic seemed both medically and mentally impossible. On Wednesday, however, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared that New York is on track to meet its goal to end the AIDS epidemic in the state by 2020.

    October 3, 2019
    General
    New York Times
  • HIV is spreading faster in the Philippines than anywhere in the world. The estimated number of new infections in this Southeast Asian nation has more than doubled from 2013 through 2018, reaching epidemic proportions among young men according to the United Nations' AIDS agency. The surge in the virus that causes AIDS stands out against the decline in estimated world-wide infections.

    October 3, 2019
    General
    Wall Street Journal
  • As expected, the FDA granted a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) indication to the HIV drug combination emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide (F/TAF, Descovy), to prevent infection in at-risk individuals except those who have receptive vaginal sex.

    October 3, 2019
    MedPage Today
  • Microarray patches (MAPs) are an alternative option for intradermal delivery of vaccines and pharmaceuticals that are in clinical development. MAPs are applied to the skin like a bandage and consist of an array of micron-scale projections (< 1 mm in height) that are amassed on a baseplate.

    October 3, 2019
    Contagion Live
  • Descovy is now approved for adults and adolescents weighing at least 35 kilograms, or about 77 pounds, to reduce the risk of contracting HIV via sex, with the exception of receptive vaginal sex. It should be taken once daily with or without food. Intermittent or on-demand use of Descovy before and after sex is not included in the approval. People wishing to use Descovy for PrEP should be tested to ensure than they are in fact HIV negative.

    October 3, 2019
    POZ
  • Targeting Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) treatment and prevention, researchers across multiple departments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill collaborated on a seven-year study in animals to make a better injectable drug implant that can combine multiple drugs and is ultra-long-acting, while also addressing many of the challenges faced with current HIV treatment and prevention methods.

    October 2, 2019
    The Guardian Nigeria
  • Global pharmaceutical company Mylan N.V. has launched its first HIV self-test kit that is now also available in Namibia as of last month. The hand-held vitro HIV rapid diagnostic test is designed to detect the presence or absence of HIV antibodies in a single drop of blood through a "finger-stick".

    October 2, 2019
    General
    All Africa
  • Local organizers and elected officials launched registration for the 2020 International AIDS Conference at a media kickoff Monday, September 30. The biennial confab will take place July 6-10 in San Francisco and Oakland. Upward of 20,000 participants from more than 170 countries are expected to attend.

    October 2, 2019
    General
    Bay Area Reporter
  • Social media and dating apps are acceptable platforms through which to reach gay and other men who have sex with men with health information. Particularly those who may not be accessing sexual health services.

    October 1, 2019
    General
    Avert
  • We’re seeing so much action on the HIV prevention front, we want to pause for a quick roundup. But first, a few definitions: Undetectable Equals Untransmittable, U=U, refers to the fact that people living with HIV who take meds and maintain an undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus sexually (it’s the same concept as Treatment as Prevention, or TasP). PrEP, meanwhile, refers to pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is taken by people at risk of contracting HIV.

    September 30, 2019
    POZ
  • The Centers for Disease Control Prevention is working on a HIV vaccine that could see an end to new HIV infections in Kenya. The vaccine study - HPTN-081 - is an antibody-mediated prevention that involves giving antibodies to individuals to protect them from HIV infections.

    September 28, 2019
    Daily Nation
  • These have been exciting times for HIV prevention, with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) making an impact and science finally proving that successfully treating the virus blocks transmission. And now, promising new vaccine candidates have made their way into a trio of major late-stage efficacy trials.

    September 27, 2019
    POZ
  • From his research facility in Cape Town, Dr Kelly Chibale says he is on the cusp of what would be a miracle discovery — a new drug that can kill the malaria parasite at any stage of its life, meaning it can be used to both treat and prevent the deadly disease.

    September 23, 2019
    General
    Financial Times

Published Research

  • These data demonstrate that individuals infected with similar viral strains can generate partially similar antibody responses, but these do not drastically differ from individuals infected with relatively unrelated strains.

    October 4, 2019
    Antibody Related Research
    Journal of Infectious Diseases
  • TasP (treatment as prevention) trial findings, HIV and TB program data, and PHIA study trend data will likely confirm that reaching at least 95–95–95 is both feasible and a key element in ending the epidemic.

    October 3, 2019
    Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS
  • No significant relationship was found between process quality and management practices across 108 VMMC facilities. This study is the first to analyze the potential relationships between management and service quality and efficiency among a sample of VMMC health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa and can potentially inform policy-relevant hypotheses to later test through prospective experimental studies.

    October 3, 2019
    PLoS One
  • The many adolescents aged 15–19 years receiving ART reflect the ageing of children entering care at ages 1–14 years, and increases in care-seeking among horizontally infected adolescents aged 15–19 years. However, many adolescents seeking care do not start ART, suggesting an urgent need for interventions to increase uptake of ART and improve services for this population.

    October 1, 2019
    Lancet HIV
  • How can these gaps in HIV prevention be narrowed and care be improved for individuals who have a lower frequency (eg, up to four) of HIV exposures per year? A PEP-in-pocket (PIP) approach might be helpful in these situations. This approach involves providing selected patients with a 28-day prescription for PEP before an exposure occurs. Patients are counselled to obtain the medications and keep them accessible in case of an exposure.

    October 1, 2019
    General
    Lancet Public Health
  • It is well documented that South Africa has one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV and AIDS in the world, however the findings of this study suggest that even though students were well informed about the perceived risks associated with unsafe sexual behaviours, they continue to engage in risk behaviours including unprotected sexual intercourse, multiple sexual partners and the use of alcohol. Male students were more likely than female students to report risky sexual behaviours. Condom use is occurring but not consistently.

    October 1, 2019
    African Journal of AIDS Research
  • Incentive interventions that are appropriately implemented can increase HIV testing rates and voluntary male circumcision, and they can improve other HIV prevention and treatment outcomes in certain settings in the short term. More research is needed to uncover theory-based mechanisms that increase the duration of incentive effects and provide strategies for susceptible individuals, which will help to address common constraints and biases that can influence health-related decisions.

    October 1, 2019
    General
    Lancet HIV
  • RV144 is the only preventive HIV vaccine regimen demonstrating efficacy in humans. Attempting to build upon RV144 immune responses, we conducted a phase 1, multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial to assess the safety and immunogenicity of regimens substituting the DNA-HIV-PT123 (DNA) vaccine for ALVAC-HIV in different sequences or combinations with AIDSVAX B/E (protein).

    September 30, 2019
    Antibody Related Research, HIV Vaccine
    Journal of Clinical Investigation
  • Encouragingly, SIVnfl vaccinees were significantly protected against intrarectal challenge with SIVmac239, a feat that until now had only been accomplished by live-attenuated strains of SIV. Curiously, combining the aforementioned vaccine regimen with immune checkpoint blockade did not result in protection against SIVmac239 infection in a separate group of RMs. Vaccination with inactivated immunodeficiency virus genomes should, therefore, be considered as a potential strategy for eliciting anti-HIV immunity.

    September 30, 2019
    PLoS Pathogens
  • In the absence of evidence of significantly higher trial screen out for women, approaching more women to screen may increase female representation in HIV trials.

    September 29, 2019
    General
    Clinical Infectious Diseases
  • We examined PrEP awareness and use among people who inject drugs (PWID) in San Francisco in 2018. Of 397 respondents not known to be HIV positive, 56.7 percent had heard of PrEP, 38.9 percent knew that PrEP can prevent HIV transmission from sharing injection equipment, 13.6 percent had discussed PrEP with a health care provider, and 3.0 percent had used PrEP in the last 12 months. All seven male PWID who had used PrEP were also men who had sex with men. There is urgent need to improve messaging on PrEP’s effectiveness for PWID and to tailor ways of engaging PWID in PrEP programs.

    September 28, 2019
    AIDS and Behavior
  • We offer an alternative standard for long-acting products—a measure of the effectiveness of the new product in addition to oral tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine as compared with oral PrEP alone. We term this measure mosaic effectiveness. We illustrate scenarios where a novel product can fail to show non-inferiority but show substantial mosaic effectiveness, thus implying the public health value of the novel product even if it is less effective than oral PrEP. Regulatory standards should consider mosaic effectiveness, not just comparative effectiveness.

    September 27, 2019
    Lancet HIV
  • An abundant pipeline of products is maturing. Accelerating their evaluation as clinical products requires abandonment of noninferiority standards. Randomized trials should be based on the comparison of principled but innovative estimates of background HIV risk and enrich enrollment for those who do not desire current PrEP products. At every stage of testing, innovative analyses can be applied to help inform and accelerate later studies.

    September 24, 2019
    Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS
  • The Fast-Track Cities initiative has served as a catalyst for leveraging accelerated and optimized urban HIV responses to scale up HIV diagnosis, treatment, and viral suppression. Key to attaining and surpassing the 90–90–90 targets is a ‘calculus for success’ that includes political will, public health leadership, data-driven implementation planning, and equity-based interventions facilitated by active engagement with affected communities, notably people living with HIV.

    September 24, 2019
    Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS
  • According to United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the pace of progress toward epidemic control has slowed. Achieving substantial increases in serostatus awareness to meet 2020 and 2030 UNAIDS goals will require attacking complex societal barriers while bringing evidence-based interventions to scale in each nation and key population. A robust advocacy effort is now needed as political will and funding wane.

    September 20, 2019
    General
    Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS

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