Gilead Requests FDA Approval of Truvada for HIV Prevention

Gilead Sciences announced this week that it has submitted a supplemental New Drug Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting approval of a new indication for Truvada, its tenofovir/emtricitabine combination pill, for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). If granted, it would be the first antiretroviral to be approved for HIV prevention.alt

HIV Persistence Workshop Highlights Progress Towards a Cure

Researchers meeting this month at the International Workshop on HIV Persistence, Reservoirs and Eradication Strategies in St Maarten presented data from numerous studies looking at various approaches to curing HIV. Some strategies aim to flush latent virus out of hiding, while others are designed to boost immune response. Although the conference largely focused on laboratory and animal research, some early studies in humans were also discussed.alt

Elvitegravir Continues to Look Good at 2 Years

Gilead Sciences announced last week that its experimental integrase inhibitor elvitegravir continued to suppress HIV viral load as well as raltegravir (Isentress) in combination with a boosted protease inhibitor at 96 weeks in a Phase 3 study.alt

Immediate ART during Early HIV Infection May Delay Disease Progression

People who started combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) within 6 months of HIV infection were less likely to experience large CD4 cell decreases or AIDS-related illnesses during follow-up, although viral load set point could not be evaluated, researchers reported in the December 15, 2011 Journal of Infectious Diseases.alt

Occasional Marijuana Smoking Does Not Cause Long-Term Lung Damage

Infrequent smoking of cannabis over prolonged periods did not lead to a decrease in pulmonary function, according to a 20-year study reported in the January 11, 2012, Journal of the American Medical Association. These findings suggest that occasional recreational use of marijuana does not cause lung damage similar to that seen with regular tobacco use, but more study is needed of people who use medical marijuana more frequently.alt

Math Model Suggests PrEP plus ART Would Lower HIV Drug Resistance

An appropriate combination of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) could potentially reduce the prevalence of drug-resistant HIV in resource-limited countries, but the wrong balance could increase resistance and the need for second-line therapy, according to a mathematical model described in the December 7, 2011, Nature Scientific Reports.alt

CDC Announces $300 Million in HIV Prevention Funding Grants

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week announced the first round of grant awards to state and local health departments as part of its new "high-impact" HIV prevention initiative. The CDC launched the initiative earlier this year, emphasizing prevention efforts that target the most heavily impacted regions and population groups -- in particular young black gay men -- and are supported by scientific evidence.alt