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Long-term Benefits of Circumcision for HIV Prevention

Adult male circumcision continued to offer men a high degree of protection against HIV infection after nearly 5 years, according to long-term follow-up data from a study in Uganda presented at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2011) last week in Boston. A related study found that elective adult circumcision reduced the occurrence of genital ulcers by about half, though it had no significant effect on genital herpes.

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Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis with Tenofovir plus Emtricitabine Prevents HIV Infection in

Mice genetically engineered to have a human immune system were protected from infection with both injected and rectally administered HIV if they were first given tenofovir plus emtricitabine, the drugs in the Truvada combination pill, researchers reported in the January 21, 2010 issue of the open access journal PLoS One. While most of the mice given a placebo became HIV infected, this was the case for only 1 of the mice that received tenofovir/emtricitabine pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). This strategy is currently being tested in humans in a series of ongoing clinical trials.

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Sperm Cells, in Addition to Semen, May Play a Role in Sexual Transmission of HIV

It is well known that semen can transmit HIV during sexual activity, but sperm cells themselves appear able to capture and transport the virus to vulnerable dendritic cells, according to study results published in the November 23, 2009 Journal of Experimental Medicine.

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Acyclovir Reduces HIV Viral Load in People with Genital Herpes, but Not Risk for HIV Transmission

Suppressing herpes simplex with daily acyclovir did not reduce the likelihood of HIV transmission among discordant heterosexual couples in Africa, even though it was associated with lower plasma HIV viral load and fewer genital ulcers, according to a study in the January 20, 2010 advance online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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U.S. Congress Takes Another Step Toward Repealing Ban on Needle Exchange Funding

The U.S. House of Representative and Senate this week passed a joint spending bill that lifts the long-standing ban on use of federal funds to support needle exchange as part of an effort to prevent transmission of HIV and viral hepatitis. The proposed legislation does not include a prohibition against needle exchange sites within 1000 feet of schools, playgrounds, and other facilities used by children, which advocates said would have prevented needle exchanges from operating in most urban areas.