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Injection Drug Use and Hepatitis C Coinfection Increase Risk of Death for People with HIV

HIV-positive people who inject drugs and those who are coinfected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) have elevated mortality rates, according to a report from the ART Cohort Collaboration published in the July 1 Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. HIV/HCV coinfected drug injectors had a high risk of liver-related death, but those without HCV still had higher mortality due to various causes compared with non-injectors.

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HIV-specific Immune Responses Linked to Reduced Infection Risk in PrEP Study

People who remained HIV-negative in the iPrEx pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) trial were more likely to show evidence of HIV-specific T-cell responses, and certain responses were significantly associated with reduced risk of infection, according to research published in the June 22 advance edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. These findings suggest that natural immunity may be giving Truvada PrEP a boost in preventing HIV infection.

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Socioeconomic and Racial Disparities May Drive HIV Infection among Young Gay and Bisexual Men

Young black or mixed-race men who have sex with men were more likely to be newly infected with HIV than gay and bisexual men of other racial/ethnic groups, according to a study from New York City described in the March 27 advance edition of Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Living in an area with higher HIV prevalence, lower perceived socioeconomic status, and starting sex at a younger age were also associated with higher risk of infection.

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Vaccine Combo Demonstrates Protection Against HIV-like Virus in Monkey Study

Administering a 2-part prime-boost vaccine prevented infection in half of a dozen rhesus monkeys repeatedly exposed to simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), and antibody responses against viral envelope proteins appeared to be the key to protection, according to a study published in the July 2 advance edition of Science magazine.

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June 5 is National HIV/AIDS Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day

Friday, June 5, is the second annual National HIV/AIDS Long-Term Survivor Awareness Day (NHALTSAD). Coinciding with the anniversary of the first reported casesof the disease that would come to be known as AIDS, in 1981, the day aims to raise awareness about people living with HIV since the early years of the epidemic, many of whom are facing new and unexpected challenges as they age.

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Gilead Requests FDA Approval of Tenofovir Alafenamide Single-Tablet Regimen

Gilead Sciences has requested U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of a 1-pill-once-daily coformulation containing tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) -- a new formulation that is easier on the kidneys and bones -- plus emtricitabine and Jansen's NNRTI rilpivirine (Edurant), the company announced this week.

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Tenofovir Alafenamide Subdermal Implant Shows Promise for HIV PrEP in Beagle Study

A sustained-release subdermal implant was able to maintain consistently high levels of tenofovir in cells with no adverse events in an animal study, offering proof-of-concept that an implant may be a good candidate for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, according to a study described in the April 20 edition of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

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Use of Truvada PrEP Not Linked to Depression in iPrEx Analysis

Although depression-related symptoms were the most common severe adverse events in the iPrEx trial of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among men who have sex with men, there was no association between depression and use of Truvada (tenofovir/emtricitabine) compared to placebo, according to a report in the June 16 edition of AIDS and Behavior.
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Truvada PrEP Causes Only Minimal Bone Loss, Raltegravir Easier on Bones than PIs

Use of tenofovir/emtricitabine (Truvada) for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was associated with a small decrease in bone mineral density that stabilized after the first 6 months, according to study findings reported in the April 23 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Related research showed that HIV-positive people starting an antiretroviral regimen containing the integrase inhibitor raltegravir (Isentress) experienced less bone loss than those taking protease inhibitors.

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June 27 Is National HIV Testing Day -- Diagnosis Rates Vary Widely in U.S.

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), an opportunity to promote HIV screening and awareness of its importance as an entry point to the continuum of care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 14% of people living with HIV do not know they are infected, but new CDC data released this week show that HIV diagnosis rates vary substantially across the country, ranging from 77% in Louisiana to 90% or higher in 5 states.

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First START Results Show Early HIV Treatments Reduces Risk of Illness and Death

Long-awaited interim findings from the START trial have shown that people with HIV who were randomly assigned to start antiretroviral therapy (ART) while their CD4 count was above 500 cells/mm3 had a 53% lower risk of AIDS-related and non-AIDS illnesses and deaths compared to those who waited until their count fell below 350 cells/mm3, according to an announcement today from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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Supreme Court Allows Continuation of Affordable Care Act Subsidies in All States

On June 25 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision in the King v. Burwell case, ruling that subsidies to help people purchase insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- popularly known as Obamacare -- are valid in all states, not just those that established their own insurance exchanges. The 6-3 decision will enable an estimated 6 million people to keep their subsidized health plans.

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Do Sex and HIV/HCV Coinfection Affect Response to Antiretroviral Treatment?

HIV-positive men and women coinfected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) showed impaired CD4 T-cell restoration after starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) and had a 40% greater risk of death than people with HIV alone, though they were equally likely to achieve HIV viral suppression, according to study findings published in the May 18 advance edition of AIDS Patient Care and STDs.

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New British Guidelines Recommend Treatment for Everyone with HIV

Everyone with HIV who is prepared to take antiretroviral treatment should receive it, regardless of CD4 cell count, new draft British HIV Association (BHIVA) treatment guidelines recommend. The new draft guidelines, published for consultation this week, say that anyone living with HIV who understands the commitment of antiretroviral therapy and is ready to start should receive treatment. The change -- from a recommendation to start treatment before the CD4 cell count falls below 350 cells/mm3 to treatment for all -- follows the results of the START trial, a keenly awaited international study of when to start treatment.

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FDA Reduces Gay Blood Donation Ban to 1 Year After Sex, Critics Say It's Still Discriminatory

On May 12 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued draft guidance stating that men who have sex with men should wait to donate blood until 12 months after their last sexual contact with another man. This is an improvement over the previous policy of lifetime deferral, but some advocates argue that the new regulations still discriminate against gay and bisexual men.

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Better Dendritic Cell Recognition May Explain Stronger Response to HIV in Elite Controllers

Dendritic cells -- the first line of immune defense-- may be better able to recognize HIV in elite controllers, triggering greater cytokine production and interferon-stimulated gene expression, which ultimately results in more effective HIV-specific T-cell responses, according to research reported in the June 11 edition of PLoS Pathogens. Better understanding of this process may be helpful in the search for a functional cure, by improving T-cell immunity against HIV in people who are not natural controllers.

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May 19 is National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Tuesday, May 19, marks the annual observation of National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, an occasion to increase awareness of HIV within these communities and stress the importance of testing, care, and treatment.

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START Study Confirms Benefits of Early HIV Treatment

Long-awaited results from the START study show that people with HIV who start antiretroviral therapy (ART) soon after diagnosis, while their CD4 T-cell count is still high, have a lower risk of illness and death than those who wait, according to a May 27 announcement from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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May 18 is HIV Vaccine Awareness Day

May 18 is HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, an annual opportunity to call attention to progress in vaccine science and the need for further research on both preventive vaccines that stop new HIV infections and therapeutic vaccines that help the immune system fight existing infection.

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Prioritization is Crucial for the Success of PrEP, Model Confirms

A mathematical model developed by researchers at Imperial College in London, based on what would happen if pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was introduced into a high-prevalence region in Kenya, shows that PrEP could be a "runaway success" or a "runaway failure," depending on a number of factors, according to a report in the March 27 edition of AIDS. These factors include adherence, whether new longer-lasting HIV drugs are used, the cost of drugs, and the overall efficiency of distribution.

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Study Suggests Truvada PrEP Should Start 1 Week Before and Continue 4 Weeks After Sex

An intensive pharmacokinetic study of tenofovir/emtricitabine (Truvada) for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) showed that blood and rectal drugs levels corresponding to high PrEP activity for men who have sex with men (MSM) are reached after about 1 week of daily dosing and appear to remain adequate for several days after the last pill, according to a report in the March 1 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. It is not known, however, whether this dosing schedule would work as well for women or other groups.

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