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HIV May Cause Cognitive Impairment by Disrupting Brain's Garbage Disposal

HIV's Tat protein interferes with autophagy, a process by which damaged or unneeded cell components are broken down and eliminated, according to research published in the February 4 Journal of Neuroscience. This disruption can lead to neuron damage, but the immunosuppressant drug rapamycin was able to reverse this process in a study of mice.

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Obama Budget Boosts U.S. HIV and Hepatitis Funding, Cuts Global AIDS and TB

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. The proposal would also change the law to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, which could potentially save billions of dollars. But the plan would cut overall global health funding, including support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis. 

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Truvada for PrEP Not Linked to Kidney Impairment, Resistance Is Rare

Truvada (tenofovir/emtricitabine) used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was not associated with clinically relevant declines in kidney function through 36 months in a large clinical trial, researchers recently reported. A related study found that drug resistance is rare among PrEP users, but it can occur in people who have acute HIV infection when they start Truvada and those who become infected despite PrEP.

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HIV Rebound Linked to Liver Fibrosis Progression in HIV/HCV Coinfected

HIV-positive people with hepatitis C virus (HCV) experienced progression to liver fibrosis if their HIV viral load rebounded above 1000 copies/mL or remained detectable on 2 consecutive tests, researchers reported in the January edition of HIV Medicine. Smaller transient HIV "blips," however, were not associated with worsening fibrosis. Optimized antiretroviral therapy, the study authors suggested, may protect the liver.

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Kaiser Study Shows No Elevated Heart Attack Risk for People with HIV

A previously reported increase in the risk of myocardial infarction or heart attack among people living with HIV has been reversed in recent years, according to an analysis of nearly 25,000 Kaiser Permanent members published in the January 18 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. In 2010-2011, HIV positive patients were at no greater risk than HIV negative people.

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FDA Approves 2 New Boosted Protease Inhibitor Coformulations for HIV

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week approved 2 new fixed-dose coformulations of HIV protease inhibitors with a cobicistat booster. Bristol-Myers Squibb's Evotaz contains atazanavir (sold separately as Reyataz) plus cobicistat, while Janssen Therapeutics' Prezcobix contains darunavir (sold separately as Prezista) plus cobicistat.

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Elite Controllers Have Higher Hospitalization Rate, HIV May Hide in B-Cells

Elite controllers -- people who naturally maintain viral suppressed without antiretroviral treatment -- had higher rates of hospitalization than people with HIV on antiretroviral therapy, most commonly for cardiovascular conditions, researchers reported in the December 15 Journal of Infectious Diseases. A related study showed that B cell follicles may act as a reservoir for an HIV-like virus in elite controller monkeys.

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