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Model Suggests There Are Fewer People with HIV in U.S. and More on Treatment

A study comparing recorded diagnoses of HIV with subsequent records of viral load and CD4 T-cell tests suggests that the number of people living with HIV in the U.S. could have been overestimated by as much as 45% -- and the proportion who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) with undetectable viral loads could have been underestimated by as much as 50%. There could be as few as 820,000 people with HIV in the U.S. compared with the normally accepted figure of 1.2 million -- and up to 55% of those could be on ART and virally suppressed, compared with the most commonly quoted figure of 30%.

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BHIVA 2016: First Data on Uptake of HIV Self-Testing in the U.K.

Between April 2015 and February 2016, almost 28,000 people have paid £29.95 (about US$45) for a kit allowing them to test for HIV at home, according to a presentation at the recent British HIV Association (BHIVA) conference in Manchester. Marketing on Grindr has been important in driving sales, which have been concentrated in non-urban areas.

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April 10 is National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day

April 10 is National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD), an opportunity to promote education and raise awareness about the epidemic among young people in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), youth age 13 to 24 accounted for just over a quarter of all new HIV infections in 2010 -- rising to nearly 40% if those up to age 29 are included -- with an especially high burden among young gay and bisexual black and Latino men.

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High Prevalence of Geriatric Conditions Among HIV+ People Over Age 50 in San Francisco

Older HIV-positive people have a high prevalence of multiple age-related problems, investigators reported in the March 29 online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. The research involved people aged 50 years and older receiving outpatient care in San Francisco. Overall, 40% reported difficulties with daily activities, most reported loneliness, many had mild cognitive impairment, and 30% had only poor to fair quality of life.

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FDA Approves Descovy TAF Combination Pill for HIV Treatment, Not Yet for PrEP

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week approved Gilead Sciences' Descovy, a new combination pill containing tenofovir alafenamide (TAF), which is easier on the kidneys and bones than the older tenfovir disiproxil fumarate (TDF) version. The new coformulation is similar to Truvada, but it has been approved only for use as a component of HIV treatment, not for pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP.

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U.S. Government Updates Guidelines for HIV Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in April issued their latest guidelines for non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for people potentially exposed to HIV through sex or shared injection equipment. The update includes new antiretrovirals approved since the last revision, with the preferred regimen now being raltegravir (Isentress) or dolutegravir (Tivicay) plus tenofovir/emtricitabine (the drugs in Truvada).

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CROI 2016: Long-Acting MK-8591 Could Be Future Option for HIV Treatment and Prevention

Merck's MK-8591, n investigational antiretroviral agent that maintains drug levels that are able to inhibit HIV up to 6 months after dosing could represent a "paradigm shift" in HIV therapy and prophylaxis, according to research presented at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016) in Boston.

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Genvoya TAF Regimen Works Well with Improved Bone and Kidney Safety at 96 Weeks

The Genvoya single-tablet regimen containing tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) suppressed HIV as well as a similar coformulation containing the older tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), but demonstrated better bone and kidney tolerability after 2 years of treatment, according to a report in the May 1 edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

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CROI 2016: Partner Notification of HIV Status Is Feasible and Effective In African Settings

Partner notification programs, offering testing to the sexual partners of people newly diagnosed with HIV, have rarely been implemented in African countries, but can be highly effective there, studies presented at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016)show. A randomized study in Kenya found that partner notification services were able to test 42% of partners mentioned, increasing testing rates 4-fold.

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BHIVA 2016: Which Men Stand to Benefit Most from PrEP?

New data from the PROUD pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) study have identified the characteristics of the gay and other men who have sex with men who are most likely to benefit from PrEP, according to findings reported at the recent conference of the British HIV Association (BHIVA) in Manchester. Gay men with rectal sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and those who had unprotected receptive anal sex with more partners were most likely to benefit from PrEP.

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CROI 2016: VRC01 Antibody Delays But Does Not Prevent HIV Rebound After ART Interruption

VRC01, a broadly neutralizing antibody targeting HIV's CD4 binding site, was able to modestly delay the return of viral replication following interruption of antiviral therapy (ART), according to a study presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016)last month in Boston. VRC01 did not maintain viral suppression on its own, but it may play a role in combination therapy for HIV treatment or a functional cure.

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Positively Trans Survey Looks at Lives of Transgender People Living with HIV

The Transgender Law Center (TLC) released in March the first report of findings from its Positively Trans survey, which aims to learn more about the lives and experiences of transgender people living with HIV.TLC, working with a national advisory board of trans community leaders and with support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation, launched the survey in response to the structural inequities that drive the high rate of HIV/AIDS and poor health outcomes among trans people.

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Johns Hopkins Team Performs Pioneering HIV+ to HIV+ Liver and Kidney Transplants

Doctors at Johns Hopkins announced that they recently performed the first-ever liver transplant and the first kidney transplant in the U.S. from an HIV-positive donor to a recipient living with HIV, made possible by the 2013 HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act. Both transplants were successful and the patients are doing "extremely well," infectious disease specialist Christine Durand said at a March 30 press conference.

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California Demonstration Projects to Study HIV PrEP for Transgender People

The California HIV/AIDS Research Program has announced funding for 3 new pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) demonstration projects that will explore the use of Truvada (tenofovir/emtricitabine) for HIV prevention for transgender women and men, with a focus on improving adherence and monitoring interactions between antiretrovirals and gender-affirming hormone therapy.

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CROI 2016: Dose-Finding Trials of Antibody-Based Drugs for HIV Prevention To Start Soon

The next generation of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and even HIV treatment, may consist of antibodies that could be given as an intravenous infusion or an injection into muscle, according to 2 presenters at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016)last month in Boston.

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Opt-Out HIV, HBV, and HCV Testing in Emergency Departments Identifies Many New Infections

A week-long pilot study involving 9 U.K. emergency departments has shown that routine opt-out testing for HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) can identify a significant number of previously undiagnosed infections, according to study results published in the March edition of HIV Medicine.

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CROI 2016: Personalized Counseling Improves Rate of Entry into HIV Care

Entry into HIV care can be increased by around 40% if people receive a point-of-care CD4 test and counseling sessions to overcome personal barriers to seeking HIV care, according to a large randomized study in South Africa presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016) last month in Boston. However, the study also found that only half of the people who received the most effective linkage intervention and who were in need of immediate treatment made it onto antiretroviral therapy (ART) within 6 months of their HIV diagnosis, highlighting the need for further improvements in linkage to HIV care.

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CROI 2016: Studies Probe Retention in Care for HIV+ Women Who Start ART During Pregnancy

Engaging lay counselors to provide a combination package of evidence-based interventions in Nyanza, Kenya, and addressing partner disclosure, as well as pre-treatment education about the benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for maternal and child health in Malawi’s Option B+ program improved retention in care and reduced loss to follow-up of mothers with HIV and their infants, studies presented at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016) show.

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Study Sheds Light on Why Women Need More Truvada for HIV PrEP

Tenofovir and emtricitabine -- the drugs in the Truvada combination pill used for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) -- reach higher levels in rectal compared with female genital tract tissue, and the rectum also contains fewer of the natural DNA building blocks that compete with the drugs, according to research published in the February 24 advance online edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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Gene Therapy Snips HIV Out of Infected Cells and Makes Uninfected Cells Resistant

For the first time, researchers have used a gene-editing technique related to one already used to produce cells resistant to HIV infection to target HIV-infected cells. They have managed to remove HIV genes completely from infected cells, as shown by reductions in the cells' overall rate of HIV production. In cells not already infected, the therapy has itself become part of their genome, producing cells that are resistant to infection for a prolonged period, according to a report in a recent edition of Nature Scientific Reports.

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CROI 2016: More People with HIV Are Achieving Viral Suppression in U.S.

A growing proportion of people with HIV are reaching an undetectable viral load on antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to a pair of studies from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016)last month in Boston. Despite this improvement, however, a substantial number of people are still not achieving viral suppression, putting them at risk for disease progression and onward transmission.

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