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5 JUNE VOLUME 16 ISSUE 23

Media Coverage

  • Nearly two dozen doctors and scientists have signed off on a citizen petition to the US FDA urging the agency to add language to Pfizer Inc.’s Depo-Provera birth control shot indicating that the shot could increase a woman’s chances of being infected with HIV. Heidi Jones, CUNY School of Public Health, led her fellow petitioners in the letter, which alleges two recently published analyses show strong ties between Depo-Provera and HIV infection risk.

    June 4, 2015
    Law360
  • The Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Seif Rashid, told the National Assembly here that until December 2014, more than 25 million people had tested for HIV/Aids [and]....that his ministry has empowered 109 health clinics that issue ART to HIV+ pregnant mothers....The minister also reported that home-based care services have been increased to 338,547 people..., adding that counselling and testing services will also be increased to reach 7,411,619 people and provide ARVs to 880,681 people living with HIV/AIDS.

    June 3, 2015
    Tanzania Daily News
  • Factors such as poverty and patriarchal social structure have been preventing women in Ethiopia from protecting themselves from deadly diseases such as HIV and AIDS and seizing empowerment by their own right. Many organizations are attempting to make a difference in this regard....Although not explicitly linked to HIV and AIDS, systematic efforts to increase women's economic, social, and political empowerment must be supported as key components of a comprehensive AIDS prevention strategy.

    June 3, 2015
    Ethopian Herald
  • For an HIV-negative woman and an HIV-positive male with controlled infection who want to have a child, unprotected sex on fertile days carries a low risk of viral transmission, and is more cost-effective than pre-exposure prophylaxis on fertile days or medically assisted procreation (MAP), a new model-based analysis [published online May 12 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology] shows.

    June 3, 2015
    Healthy Living
  • Patient and leading health organisations in South Africa have now joined a Fix the Patent Laws campaign launched in 2011 by Treatment Action Campaign and Doctors Without Borders to push for reform of the country’s current patent laws....The expanded coalition represents public and private sector patients seeking treatment and care for a range of cancers, mental illnesses, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases, as well as tuberculosis, HIV and sexual and reproductive health diseases.

    June 3, 2015
    IPS
  • A study that looks at the genetic makeup of archived samples of drug-resistant HIV in the UK has found evidence that some drug-resistant strains of HIV are very long-lived and persisting in the population. However they appear to be passed on by people who are undiagnosed or not on ART and are not arising anew in patients on treatment....In contrast, resistance mutations that commonly arise on treatment now...are not being commonly transmitted.

    June 3, 2015
    aidsmap
  • Nearly 95 percent of African children living with AIDS do not have access to treatment, UNAIDS Executive Director Michael Sidibe said Tuesday. Sidibe said there has been nearly a 60 percent decrease in the number of HIV infections among children under age 15, but more than 90 percent of the more than 3 million children living with the disease are in sub-Saharan Africa, where access to treatment has been a major obstacle to stopping its spread.

    June 2, 2015
    Voice of America
  • Deborah Birx wants to wring more from the $6.8 billion the US gives her each year to fight AIDS around the world. Hampered by a stagnant budget, she’s cutting off funding to clinics that fail to find HIV cases and looking to Starbucks and Nike for ideas. Birx...has tapped the Nike Foundation to help craft HIV prevention messages for young women [and] sought advice from...the US unit of private-equity firm Apax Partners on organizational change.

    June 2, 2015
    Bloomberg Business
  • Virologists at Emory University School of Medicine, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta have uncovered a critical detail explaining how HIV assembles its infectious yet stealthy clothing. A small section of the envelope protein, located on the 'tail' of the HIV virus, is necessary for the protein to be sorted into viral particles. Figuring out how to manipulate the envelope protein could help researchers design more effective vaccines.

    June 2, 2015
    Science Daily
  • The fifth edition of the Medical Eligibility Criteria (MEC) for Contraceptive Use sounds like what you might expect—a compendium of guidelines to assist physicians, nurses and midwives around the world in providing women their preferred method of planning their families. But the June 1, 2015, release of highlights of this updated edition will significantly change the family planning (FP) landscape in developing countries, expanding access to long-acting contraceptives and reducing the unmet FP needs of 225 million women.

    June 1, 2015
    Global Health Now
  • A cost-effectiveness model of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis for gay men based on the data from the PROUD study, and adapted to the UK epidemic, finds that providing PrEP from 2016 on will be cost-effective if gay men continue to test for HIV at the current rate, are referred for PrEP using the same criteria as PROUD, and do not substantially reduce their existing rates of condom use....What would happen if large-scale interest in PrEP led to an upsurge in HIV testing in gay men?

    June 1, 2015
    aidsmap
  • The introduction of Craigslist led to an increase in HIV infection cases of 13.5 percent in Florida over a four-year period, according to a new study. The estimated medical costs for those patients will amount to $710 million over the course of their lives, research shows.

    June 1, 2015
    Science Daily
  • Cheating in scientific and academic papers is a longstanding problem, but it is hard to read recent headlines and not conclude that it has gotten worse....There are ways to minimize this kind of fraud, but it will require changing the process, from how scientists share their data to how their peers review it and who is allowed to enforce academic standards.

    June 1, 2015
    New York Times
  • A major international clinical trial has provided the strongest evidence yet that people infected with HIV....should get treated as soon as possible, even if they are feeling well, to ward off serious illness and fatal complications in future years. The finding raises the powerful moral question of whether global and national organizations can find the will — and the resources — to protect millions of people from deaths and diseases that could be prevented.

    May 30, 2015
    New York Times
  • [Guest Blogger] Dr Flora Cornish, Associate Professor in Qualitative Research Methodology at the London School of Economics, on why the aspirations of the evidence-based policy movement for bottom line answers are unscientific and unhelpful when evaluating the efficacy of community mobilisation in tackling HIV.

    May 29, 2015
    International HIV/AIDS Alliance
  • At a secluded research center 25 miles west of Boston, Harvard Medical School scientists have used primates to make key discoveries over the last half-century....They unambiguously showed that nicotine is addictive and did experiments that laid the basis for the ongoing quest to develop an HIV vaccine. At the end of May, the long history of the New England Primate Research Center will come to an abrupt end as Harvard takes the unusual step, one baffling to many researchers, to close the facility.

    May 29, 2015
    Boston Globe
  • This week we read a case report about a patient who was seemingly HIV-free after receiving a stem cell transplant using cord blood. We look at a few updates on HIV vaccine developments,...a study estimates the lifetime cost of treatment and looks at ways to reduce that amount [and] a major study found that starting treatment early led to considerably lower risk of developing AIDS or other serious illnesses. To beat HIV, you have to follow the science!

    May 29, 2015
    The Body PRO
  • Gilead Sciences announced that its investigational fixed-dose combination of Emtriva and tenofovir alafenamide has been accepted for review by the European Medicines Agency for treatment of HIV-1 infection in combination with other HIV antiretroviral agents....HIV is one of the primary areas of focus for Gilead....In 2014, HIV product sales accounted for more than 40% of Gilead's total sales. However, competition in the HIV landscape is gradually intensifying.

    May 29, 2015
    Zacks.com
  • Two qualitative studies, investigating implementation of a massive programme of HIV prevention through community mobilisation in India, have identified challenges to rapid scale-up and roll-out of a programme in which grassroots action was to be central. While the programme was intended to empower sex workers to tackle the social conditions which made them more vulnerable to HIV, a more narrow focus on condoms and clinical services took over, [discouraging] sex workers from getting involved.

    May 25, 2015
    aidsmap
  • It is difficult to fathom today the political firestorm that erupted more than 20 years ago when one of us called for sex education for the nation’s youth...” Since then, the United States has made significant strides....Despite these gains, the United States continues to have one of the highest teen birth rates and some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted disease in the industrialized world....Perhaps most distressing is that our national response continues to misunderstand the challenge.

    May 23, 2015
    Washington Post

Published Research

  • We propose that an evolutionary very fit CRF19_cpx together with co-infections is linked to the increase of rapid progression to AIDS in newly infected patients in Cuba. The robust and significant associations with a fitter protease, more circulating virus, higher immune-activation and CXCR4 co-receptor use suggest that CRF19_cpx may be a more pathogenic virus.

    June 4, 2015
    EBioMedicine
  • The study highlights a significant barrier to healthcare experienced by persons living with disabilities who became HIV-positive (PWD/HIV+), with important implications for the future design and equitable delivery of HIV services in Zambia. Stigma importantly affects the abilities of PWD/HIV+ to manage their health conditions.

    June 4, 2015
    PLoS ONE
  • Most new HIV infections in Nigeria occur in young people....Global interventions have failed because of poor access to healthcare and weaknesses in the health system....Surveillance strategies have not been very helpful and many interventions targeting HIV/AIDS have not been culturally sensitive. This paper attempts to evaluate...the ability of the Nigerian government and non-governmental organizations to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria [and] identify major determinants of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria that are impacted by globalization.

    June 4, 2015
    https://ispub.com/IJPH/3/1/25533
  • Transwomen in the US have a 34 times greater odds of being infected with HIV than all adults age 15-49, and in San Francisco, California, 42.4% of transwomen are estimated to be infected with HIV....[These] findings point to a need for further consideration of PrEP criteria that are specific and tailored to the risks for HIV faced by transwomen that are different from MSM and injection drug users.

    June 4, 2015
    PLoS ONE
  • Community mobilisation interventions targeting female sex workers have been scaled up in India’s national response to the HIV epidemic. This included the...Gates Foundation’s Avahan programme which adopted a business approach to plan and manage implementation at scale....Interventions largely failed to respond to community needs as strong target-orientation skewed activities towards those most easily measured and reported [and were] impacted by and contributed to an increasingly complex sex work environment in Mumbai.

    June 4, 2015
    PLoS ONE
  • Selection of CAB members from within the community...contributed positively to the conduct of the study and enhanced awareness and acceptance of the research. However, establishment of study specific CABs has the potential to compromise CAB independence due to support provided by the research team in the form of transport reimbursements [etc]. Consideration should be given to establishing community wide CABs that could function across a range of studies to increase independent objective decision-making.

    June 4, 2015
    BMC Medical Ethics
  • This was a first and successful attempt to estimate the impact of dual protection of female condoms. The health impact is greater for the use of the Woman’s Condom as an HIV prevention method than for contraception. Dual use of the Woman’s Condom increases the overall health impact. The Woman’s Condom was found to be very cost-effective in all 13 countries in our sample.

    June 4, 2015
    Intl J Womens Health
  • Male partner engagement in either the gender-separate or couples-based interventions led to modest improvements in gender power, adoption of more egalitarian gender norms, and reductions in relationship conflict for females. The aspects of relationship power that improved, however, varied between the couples and gender-separate conditions, highlighting the need for further attention to development of both gender-separate and couples interventions.

    June 4, 2015
    Intl J Womens Health
  • We performed a content analysis of [US] state and municipal health department websites to describe how the female condom is being promoted for pregnancy and disease prevention. We found that only a slim majority (60.8%) of health department Web sites mention the FC at all and those that do include numerous inaccuracies.

    June 4, 2015
    Contraception
  • We conducted four annual surveys (2009-2012) of urban residents (N=1614) in low-income neighborhoods of a northeastern US city where prevalence of HIV and other STIs is high. Findings indicate slow FC uptake but also heterosexual men's willingness to use them. Factors associated with men's and women's FC use included positive FC attitudes, network exposure, and peer influences. These results reinforce the need for targeted efforts to increase FC use in both men and women.

    June 4, 2015
    AIDS Behav.
  • With the recent availability of a wider range of FCs, it is important to know if women with experience in using one type of FC are more proficient in using another type, even if the FC design is quite different. Results: FC failure rates decrease over 20 uses, regardless of FC condom type used.

    June 4, 2015
    Contraception
  • We discuss the need for daily PrEP use only during periods of risk for HIV exposure, describe key issues for measuring and understanding relevant behaviors, review lessons from another health prevention field (i.e. family planning), and provide guidance for prevention-effective PrEP use. Moreover, we challenge emerging calls for sustained, near-perfect PrEP adherence regardless of risk exposure, and offer a more practical and public health-focused vision for this prevention intervention.

    June 4, 2015
    AIDS
  • Multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) are pharmaceutical products being developed for multiple indications, primarily prevention of HIV, pregnancy, and/or sexually transmitted infections. This paper reviews MPT work published since 2013, including technical papers on aspects of product development, papers focused on issues that will be critical to future MPT clinical research and introduction, and selected papers concerning products for prevention of pregnancy or HIV/STIs.

    June 4, 2015
    Curr Obstet Gynecol Rep
  • Overall the study suggests how internal social and reproductive factors can combine with extraneous pathogens to influence the diversity of major histocompatibility complexes (MHCs) in this wild population of our closest relatives....[T]he sustained presence of genetically and functionally equivalent MHC molecules in both humans and chimps (and quite possibly in gorillas) implies that despite the relatively recent origins of HIV and SIV, hominids may have been battling related lentiviruses for the best part of 10 million years.

    June 4, 2015
    PLoS Biol
  • Polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) have the potential to provide effective and safe delivery of antiretroviral drugs in the context of prophylactic anti-HIV vaginal microbicides....Overall, obtained dapivirine-loaded PLGA NPs possess interesting technological and biological features that may contribute to their use as novel safe and effective vaginal microbicides.

    June 4, 2015
    Acta Biomaterialia
  • Debates about Ebola and WHO's response (and future) certainly overwhelmed discussions in Geneva last week. But the most exciting moment...was [that] for the first time in the history of WHO and its Assembly, a civil-society led forum was held to strengthen political accountability for global health—specifically, for women's and children's health....

    May 30, 2015
    Lancet
  • When Peter Parham’s postdoc first showed him data suggesting a gene in some wild chimpanzees infected with the AIDS virus closely resembled one that protects humans from HIV [HLA-B*57:01], he was skeptical....The chimpanzee gene, dubbed Patr-B_06:03, is not identical to HLA-B*57:01, but is closely aligned on a genetic tree....Ultimately, knowledge about the differences and similarities of Patr-B_06:03 and HLA-B*57:01 may inform AIDS vaccine design, which could benefit both species.

    May 28, 2015
    Science
  • Results show that when considering attending an outreach service to access family planning, young people value confidentiality and availability of HIV services, though significant observable and unobservable heterogeneity is present. Young people were able to complete a complex Discrete Choice Experiment and appeared to trade between the different characteristics used to describe the outreach services. These findings may offer important insight to policy makers.

    May 9, 2015
    Health Econ Rev.

Announcements

  • Through the Corporate Grants program, Gilead is looking to support efforts of community-based organizations, public health entities and similar umbrella organizations focused on high-risk populations to educate their constituents and healthcare providers about the role of PrEP as part of comprehensive HIV prevention. Gilead will consider a wide range of ideas that reach diverse geographic locations within the United States.

     

    June 4, 2015