Back HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS Topics HIV Prevention CROI 2012: Conference Overview Highlights Biomedical HIV Prevention

CROI 2012: Conference Overview Highlights Biomedical HIV Prevention


HIV prevention was the key theme at Monday's opening press overview of the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2012), taking place this week in Seattle.

Conference chair John Coffin from Tufts University noted that this year's meeting will be attended by more than 4000 registrants from 80 countries, including about half from outside the U.S. More than 1000 abstracts were accepted, about 10% as oral presentations, the rest as posters.

Coffin highlighted a number of topics of interest -- among them gene therapy, HIV neuropathology, HIV latency and eradication, hepatitis C, and tuberculosis -- but the opening presser focused on biomedical prevention.

Dennis Burton from the Scripps Research Institute and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, who presented the annual Bernard Fields Lecture, discussed how recent discoveries about broadly neutralizing antibodies are helping advance the field of HIV vaccine development [VIDEO].

Quarraisha and Salim Abdool Karim with the CAPRISA 004 tenofovir microbicide gave this year's N'Galy-Mann lecture, touching on the latest findings from that trial and how international and cross-disciplinary partnerships make such research possible.

Jared Baeten and Deborah Donnell summarized final data from the Partners PrEP study, to be presented later in the week, following up on preliminary findings presented last year. Daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) using either tenofovir (Viread) or the tenofovir/emtricitabine combination (Truvada) reduced the risk of HIV infection by up to 75% among serodiscordant heterosexual couples, but the bottom line was that protection depends on good adherence.

Lut Van Damme presented follow-up data from Fem-PrEP, one of the trials that did not see a significant protective effect of PrEP among heterosexual women in Africa. Supporting the same conclusion, this study found that adherence was poor overall, as only 40% of women had adequate blood drug levels despite 95% self-reported adherence and 85% adherence based on returned pill counts.

Other prevention topic to be discussed over the next few days include adult male circumcision and microbicides. One of the latter studies showed that a new formulation of a 1% tenofovir rectal gel caused fewer side effects and was better tolerated than the product described at last year's CROI. Another study found that a long-acting injectable formulation of the NNRTI rilpivirine (Edurant) may reach protective levels in the vagina and rectum.



Press conference. 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2012). Seattle, WA. March 5-8, 2012.