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6 FEBRUARY 2015 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 6

Media Coverage

  • The surprising failure of a large clinical trial of HIV-prevention methods in Africa — and the elaborate deceptions employed by the women in it — have opened an ethical debate about how to run such studies and have already changed the design of some now underway....The final analysis [of the VOICE trial]...said that about 70 percent of the women actually had no tenofovir, the main study drug, in their blood, even though about 90 percent had claimed they were taking their pills or using the gel.
    February 5, 2015
    New York Times
  • President Obama's proposed $4 trillion budget for fiscal year 2016 would increase funding for CDC's viral hepatitis and HIV prevention efforts, boost spending for HIV research, and allocate more to combat antibiotic resistance....But the plan would cut overall global health funding, including support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis. 
    February 5, 2015
    HIV and Hepatitis
  • Most HIV epidemics are still dominated by the first strain that entered a particular population. New  research published in PLOS Computational Biology offers an explanation of why the global mixing of HIV variants is so slow.
    February 5, 2015
    Science Daily
  • A report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention covers the years 2008 to 2012. Though the decline is encouraging, 8,165 African-American HIV patients died in 2012. The report comes just two days before National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
     
    February 5, 2015
    CNN
  • A Chinese invention may promote the procedure at home, and help in the battle against HIV/AIDS overseas. On April 4, 2012, Bill Gates visited Stanford University for a question and answer session with students. During a brief presentation on the innovations that are helping African countries, the billionaire Microsoft boss showed off an ingenious invention from China. 
    February 5, 2015
    ECNS.com
  • Medical researchers have developed a low-cost smartphone accessory that can perform a point-of-care test that simultaneously detects three infectious disease markers -- HIV and syphilis -- from a finger prick of blood in just 15 minutes. The device replicates, for the first time, all mechanical, optical, and electronic functions of a lab-based blood test without requiring any stored energy: all necessary power is drawn from the smartphone.

    February 4, 2015
    Science Daily
  • GlaxoSmithKline set out a roadmap for a potential 2016 flotation of its HIV medicines business on Wednesday as it hired three leading banks to advise on what would be the drug industry's largest ever initial public share sale....GSK said on Wednesday that sales of two key HIV drugs, Tivicay and Triumeq, were running at higher levels than expected, helping push overall ViiV sales 15 percent higher to 1.5 billion pounds in 2014.
    February 4, 2015
    Reuters
  • CDC researchers have estimated how well condoms and PrEP, used independently or in combination, prevent HIV among gay and bisexual men. How much faith can individuals place in these figures?
    February 4, 2015
    POZ
  • More than 180 million people in the world have hepatitis C, compared with the 34 million with HIV/AIDS and the roughly 30,000 who have had Ebola. Yet very little is heard about the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the way of awareness campaigns, research funding or celebrity fundraisers.
    February 4, 2015
    Science Daily
  • Researchers on the front lines of HIV/AIDS eradication have often operated on shoestring budgets and faced an ever-evolving enemy, but perhaps the greatest obstacle to ending the pandemic that has killed an estimated 39 million people in three decades has been stigma....When presented with state-of-the-art drugs that have proved to be powerful, safe and effective at preventing HIV infection, many women were reluctant to take the medications or stopped taking them altogether, according to a study published Wednesday in the

    February 4, 2015
    International Business Times
  • A study by Harvard Medical School has found that the average CD4 count in sub-Saharan African people who are diagnosed with HIV has not risen since 2002. Neither has the average CD4 count on initiation of treatment, which remains well below the AIDS-defining limit of 200 cells/mm3....
    February 4, 2015
    AIDSMap
  • The majority of students pursuing global health careers are female, but less than a quarter of leadership roles in the field belong to women....What is stopping women interested in global health before they reach leadership level?
    February 3, 2015
    Devex
  • The US medical scientist who led a team that helped eradicate outbreaks of smallpox in the 1970s, [scientist Donald Henderson] says the global community is now more responsive to possible pandemics despite challenges posed by viruses such as AIDS and more recently Ebola....But challenges remain.
    February 3, 2015
    Voice of America
  • The Obama administration is proposing to cut funding to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by 18 percent, to $1.1 billion from $1.3 billion in 2014.
    February 3, 2015
    Devex
  • A regime of anti-HIV drugs — components of regimens that have been developed to treat established HIV infection — has the potential to protect against infection in the first place. The effectiveness of this prophylactic approach, however, declines if the medications aren’t taken as prescribed. HIV researchers hope a new compound, known as cabotegravir, could make dosing easier for some because the drug would be administered by injection once every three months. 

    February 3, 2015
    The Suncoast News
  • The National Institutes of Health would rise $1 billion, bringing its total budget to $31.3 billion under President Barack Obama’s 2016 budget request released today....The request includes...$51 million more for vaccines against such diseases as HIV and influenza....But the head of Research!America CEO Mary Woolley, said although her group is “pleased” by what it calls “a starting point,” her group feels the new initiatives at NIH “should supplement, not supplant, the imperative of making up for a decade’s worth of lost g
    February 2, 2015
    Science
  • William...had tested positive for gonorrhea and chlamydia....[But his] girlfriend would not need to face the hassle and embarrassment of being tested. His clinic had issued prescriptions for them both; William himself could give her the antibiotics. For free. Immediately....To reduce rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia, at least 31 states permit health care providers to treat patients’ sexual partners without ever seeing them in person, a public health intervention known as “expedited partner therapy,” or EPT.
    February 2, 2015
    New York Times
  • US-based Mylan will pay $750 million in cash to buy women's healthcare businesses from India's Famy Care, vaulting to first place in emerging markets contraceptive sales. With the deal, Mylan gets Famy's range of women's health products, including oral and injectable contraceptives, intrauterine devices, tubal rings and hormone-replacement therapies....Mylan isn't the only company charting growth in women's health. 
    February 2, 2015
    Fierce Pharma
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has said it is addressing criticism of its funding approach....[The] foundation has been attacked for its technological style of addressing major diseases affecting developing countries. Critics have said that this approach is failing to deliver within the timescales originally envisaged....The importance of such scrutiny is growing....
    January 28, 2015
    SciDevNet
  • Injections of a long-acting formulation of the integrase inhibitor cabotegravir (GSK1265744) showed high efficacy as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent vaginal acquisition of HIV-like virus among monkeys, HIVandHepatitis reports. Publishing their findings in Science Translational Medicine, researchers from two primate studies of cabotegravir reached conclusions that suggested that quarterly injected PrEP (four times a year) may one day become a reality for humans.
    January 27, 2015
    AIDSMEDS
  • Progress has been made in combatting the AIDS epidemic in South Africa, particularly in the free provision of antiretroviral drugs. Yet despite the large number of people on treatment, nearly a third of deaths last year were AIDS related and new HIV infection rates are declining with frustrating stubbornness. Few diseases have had a greater education effort poured into them than HIV/AIDS.
    January 21, 2015
    Africa Check

Published Research

  • HIV epidemiology informs prevention trial design and program planning. Nine clinical research centers (CRC) in sub-Saharan Africa conducted HIV observational epidemiology studies in populations at risk for HIV infection as part of an HIV prevention and vaccine trial network.

    February 6, 2015
    PLoS ONE
  • A greater proportion of men than of women were willing to use a home-based STD test. Willingness was more likely among gay than among bisexual men, among men insured through their parents than among the uninsured, and among those who had had two or more sexual partners in the past year. Overall, respondents’ most common concerns regarded test accuracy, ability to do the test correctly and preference to see a doctor for testing.
     
    February 5, 2015
    Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • A study of SIV-infected rhesus macaques suggests that T follicular helper (TFH) cells, a specialized CD4+ T cell subset within the B cell follicles, are a sanctuary for SIV that is largely inaccessible to CD8+ T cells. These findings may open new avenues for research aimed at eradicating HIV.

    February 5, 2015
    Nature Medicine
  • The striking finding in the VOICE trial is the disconnect between reported adherence and actual adherence to the regimen....At first glance, the study appears to indicate that preexposure prophylaxis [PrEP] doesn't work in women in Africa and that we should explore other approaches to the prevention of HIV transmission in high-risk settings.
    February 4, 2015
    N Engl J Med
  • We conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled trial to assess daily treatment with oral tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, oral tenofovir–emtricitabine, or 1% tenofovir vaginal gel as preexposure prophylaxis against HIV-1 infection in 5,029 women in South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The rate of retention in the study was 91%. None of the drug regimens we evaluated reduced the rates of HIV-1 acquisition in an intention-to-treat analysis and adherence to study drugs was low. 
    February 4, 2015
    N Engl J Med
  • The risk of HZ has declined markedly among HIV-infected patients in the cART era, but remains 3 times higher than in the general population. The risk increases moderately during the first 6 months of cART.
    February 4, 2015
    Clin Infect Dis.

Announcements

  • Source: IAPAC

    Preliminary program now available for the 10th International Conference on HIV Treatment and Prevention Adherence will take place June 28-30, 2015, at the Eden Roc Miami Beach Hotel in Miami Beach, FL, USA. The conference is sponsored by the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC).

    February 6, 2015
  • Source: CROI Conference website www.CROIconference.org
    Date: 5 February 2015
    The preliminary schedule for CROI is online at www.croiconference.org/scientific-program/schedule-of-events. For those not attending, symposium and plenary lectures, workshops, themed discussions, and oral presentations will be available online as Webcasts within 24 hours on the conference website www.CROIconference.org.

    February 5, 2015