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Efavirenz Linked to Higher Suicide Risk, May Be Falling Out of Favor

The widely used NNRTI efavirenz was associated with a 2-fold increase in the likelihood of suicidal thoughts, attempted suicides, and suicide deaths, though the absolute risk remained small, according to a study described in the July 1 Annals of Internal Medicine. A related review article questioned whether efavirenz should still be considered a preferred option for initial HIV treatment, given its side effects and the development of equally effective and better-tolerated alternatives.

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HIV Cure Is a Major Priority, Research to be Presented at AIDS 2014

Finding a cure for HIV is a key scientific priority, and researchers have taken promising steps towards a "functional cure" that could enable some people with HIV to stay off antiretroviral therapy without disease progression. In the lead-up to the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) later this month in Melbourne, The Lancet has published a review of the global epidemic and prospects for the future.

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HIV and Hepatitis C Highlights from CROI 2014

Latest Positive Pulse Newsletter

In this overview, Paul Sax from Harvard Medical School and Mark Sulkowski from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine discuss selected highlights from the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2014), focusing on antiretroviral therapy, HIV cure research, and new treatments for hepatitis C and HIV/HCV coinfection.

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Janssen and ViiV to Develop NRTI-free Single-tablet Regimen

Janssen R&D and ViiV Healthcare announced last week that they will collaborate on the development of a dual single-tablet regimen containing the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) rilpivirine and the new integrase inhibitor dolutegravir, to be used as maintenance therapy for people who achieve viral suppression using a traditional regimen.

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Earlier Antiretroviral Therapy Lowers Risk of Progression to AIDS and Related Conditions

Starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) at higher CD4 cell levels can significantly reduce the risk of AIDS-related clinical events, especially tuberculosis, as well as dramatically reducing the likelihood of HIV sexual transmission, according to findings from the HPTN 052 study published in the April 2014 issue of Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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Clinical Trial of Once-Daily Raltegravir Now Underway

Merck announced this week that treatment-naive participants are now being enrolled in the Phase 3 ONCEMRK trial, which is evaluating the efficacy and safety of a ne formulation of the HIV integrase inhibitor raltegravir (Isentress) taken once rather than twice daily.

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Updated Antiretroviral Treatment Guidelines Include Cost Considerations

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) this week released an update to its Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-1-Infected Adults and Adolescents. Among the major changes are the addition of a new section on cost considerations and a recommendation for less frequent CD4 T-cell monitoring for people without advanced disease.

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