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9 JUNE 2017: VOLUME 18 ISSUE 23

Media Coverage

  • In a move that has taken HIV advocates by considerable surprise, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a generic formulation of Gilead Sciences’ blockbuster antiretroviral (ARV) Truvada (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine).

    June 9, 2017
    POZ
  • Large gaps in access remain, driven by sexism, poverty and cultural taboos. In South Africa, contraceptives have long been legal, but young women complain that nurses at reproductive-health-care clinics shame them for asking about sex....HIV rates in South Africa are the highest in the world, and the regions with high HIV tend to be those with high teen pregnancies.

    June 8, 2017
    Nature
  • A survey of Swiss gay men and men who have sex with men recruited through the Grindr networking app has found that while only 4.3% had taken HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), 50% would consider taking it within the next six months and 79% would either take it some time in the future or want to learn more about it.

    June 8, 2017
    aidsmap
  • This ideologically driven policy undermines the very goals of U.S. foreign aid programs by harming the health of people in poor countries, violating medical ethics and trampling on democratic values.

    June 8, 2017
    Guttmacher
  • Among the headline grabbers, serious and less so, emanating from Washington these days a dire threat is being ignored. The White House’s proposed budget cuts would derail efforts to end the biggest infectious disease killers of our time: AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.

    June 8, 2017
    General
    The Hill
  • So far it looks like long-acting injected cabotegravir plus rilpivirine every 4–8 weeks safely maintains HIV suppression. The combination has entered Phase 3 trials in people living with HIV who have been on antiretroviral therapy before, and those who have not....[Yet] pressing questions remain....[A]s for any new strategy, there would need to be a robust agenda of follow-up investigation, should the efficacy trials show positive results.

    June 7, 2017
    AVAC
  • Former FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and his successor Scott Gottlieb have applauded President Donald Trump’s decision to keep Francis Collins as head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), although it may be a poisoned chalice given that billions of dollars in cuts could be on the way.

    June 7, 2017
    Fierce Biotech
  • In a major trial of a Viread (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, or TDF)-based anti-HIV vaginal microbicide, women benefitted from much lower protecting against the virus if they had a less healthy vaginal microbiome, the Associated Press reports. This means that a certain type of unhealthy, inflammation-causing bacteria predominated in their vaginas and likely caused Viread to break down too quickly.

    June 7, 2017
    POZ
  • In December, the [Russian Federal AIDS Center] said that there were more than 1.1 million diagnosed cases of HIV in Russia...."This is not something that suddenly happened overnight," said Vinay Saldanha, Moscow-based regional director of UNAIDS....Experts like Saldanha argue that the worsening HIV epidemic in Russia is due to a perfect storm of factors, including questionable government policies and neglected societal problems.

    June 6, 2017
    CNN
  • Last year, the CDC...predicted that if current rates continue, one in two African-American gay and bisexual men will be infected. That compares with a lifetime risk of one in 99 for all Americans and one in 11 for white gay and bisexual men....Swaziland...has the world’s highest rate of HIV, at 28.8 percent of the population. If gay and bisexual African-American men made up a country, its rate would surpass that of this impoverished African nation — and all other nations.

    June 6, 2017
    NY Times
  • Dr. Francis Collins, a holdover from the Obama administration, will remain director of the National Institutes of Health, the White House announced late Tuesday....President Trump’s show of support for the director comes even as Collins has praised congressional efforts to boost NIH funding in the face of proposed White House cuts, arguing that stability was needed to keep young scientists in the field.

    June 6, 2017
    STAT News
  • Zimbabwe has, since December last year, recruited over 168 women out of the required 330 for HIV vaccine research trials as the battle to end the epidemic continues. The University of Zimbabwe is working in collaboration with the America-based University of California San Francisco on project.

    June 6, 2017
    New Zimbabwe
  • A HIV treatment which is not routinely available on the NHS in England has been dubbed an “essential” medicine by global health leaders. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has added pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to its Essential Medicines List.

    June 6, 2017
    Daily Mail
  • [T]he majority of countries on the continent are struggling to even start to take PrEP to scale....Many are pointing to Gilead, patent holder of Truvada, the only PrEP drug licensed in Europe....The pharma giant is likely to keep prices high while facing no competition from generic manufacturers until 2021...[and] has refused to waive its patent even for pending implementation studies....Short of a Gilead walk-back, activists are encouraging health ministries to advocate for an expedited court case.

    June 5, 2017
    AVAC
  • Once every two years, the WHO releases a list of medications it thinks should be available, if needed, to all the people of the Earth. The latest iteration of the essential medicines list is slated to be released this week....There are real-world implications when a drug makes — or is not approved for — this list. The move to include HIV drugs in 2002 arguably helped to make lifesaving antiretrovirals available to AIDS patients in developing countries.

    June 5, 2017
    STAT News
  • Working alongside our many partners,...we continue to expand PEPFAR's impact by using data to drive accountability, find efficiencies, increase transparency, and leverage partnerships, including with the private sector -- efforts that make PEPFAR a model for development programs everywhere....PEPFAR is now poised to help control the epidemic in up to 12 high-burdened African countries over the next four years and reduce the future costs required to sustain an effective HIV/AIDS response.

    June 5, 2017
    Huffington Post
  • The nongovernmental organization Eney (Aeneas)...was founded in 1999, when it began work with drug addicts. In 2008, it expanded its operation to address sex workers. Viktor Borisov, head of the harm reduction program, says the group works directly with sex workers in apartments, along highways, and on the internet, providing such services as free, anonymous testing for HIV, hepatitis C, and other sexually transmitted diseases.

    June 5, 2017
    VOA News
  • This year’s dinner also marks the debut of the Swarovski Award for Positive Change....The first recipient is veteran designer Kenneth Cole,...not simply being honored for what his advertising has said, but also for what he has done....That includes serving as chairman of the board of The Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR) and helping the organization expand its focus from the domestic AIDS crisis to the international one.

    June 4, 2017
    Washington Post
  • The nation’s top public health agency on Thursday changed its guidance for HIV-infected men who want to father children....The CDC...has been slow to approve a technique called “sperm washing”, [wanting]...substantial evidence that women weren’t becoming infected from washed sperm. After reviewing nearly 4,000 cases worldwide, it has become clear women are not, said the CDC’s Denise Jamieson.

    June 2, 2017
    Washington Post
  • Creating new HIV prevention tools for women has proven frustratingly slow and researchers have found another hurdle: bacteria in the reproductive tract. A new study published Thursday examined what stalled an early attempt at an anti-HIV gel, and found certain types of vaginal bacteria broke down the protective medication before it had time to work.... The research re-examined an early vaginal gel containing the AIDS drug tenofovir that had seemed partially protective in one study only to fail in another, [puzzling] scientists.

    June 1, 2017
    Seattle TImes
  • There were 61,000 new HIV infections last year, with the majority being in youth aged 15 to 24 years, with the National Aids Control Council admitting challenges in curbing new infections despite the decline.

    May 30, 2017
    Daily Nation
  • Inovio is one step closer in the race to create an effective HIV vaccine. Data from an early-stage clinical study showed that its Pennvax-GP could elicit an immune response in nearly all participants. The study [was] supported by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) and NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases....While it is an early-stage result, the news was enough for Inovio’s stock to jump nearly 30% Wednesday.

    May 24, 2017
    Fierce Pharma

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