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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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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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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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CROI 2016: Antidepressant Improves HIV-Related Cognitive Impairment

The SSRI antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil) was associated with a modest improvement in cognitive function and reduced central nervous system inflammation among people with HIV-related neurocognitive disorder, but the antifungal drug fluconazole showed no apparent benefit even though it reduced oxidative stress, according to a study presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016) last month in Boston.

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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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England's PrEP Policy in Disarray After National Health Service Turnaround

Activists, individuals at risk of HIV, and clinicians have reacted with anger to an official U-turn on provision of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in England, where National Health Service (NHS) officials have refused to allow a draft policy on PrEP to go forward for further consideration. "By denying full availability of PrEP we are failing those who are at risk of HIV," commented Ian Green of Terrence Higgins Trust, a leading U.K. HIV/AIDS organization. "PrEP has already been approved in the U.S., Kenya, South Africa, Israel, Canada, and France. And yet, our own government refuses to take responsibility for PrEP."

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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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CROI 2016: Women and African Americans with HIV Have a Higher Risk of Stroke

The risk of stroke among people living with HIV is highest among people with unsuppressed viral load, and among women and African Americans, according to findings presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016)last month in Boston.

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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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NIAID To Fund Follow-Up Study of Dapivirine Vaginal Ring for HIV Prevention

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, will support an open-label continuation study of the dapivirine vaginal ring that demonstrated modest protection against HIV infection, especially among older women, in 2 clinical trials in Africa, as reported at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston.

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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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CROI 2016: Combination Inhibitor BMS-986197 Demonstrates Good Anti-HIV Activity in Early Study

A long-acting bioengineered "combinectin" molecule with a triple mechanism of action demonstrated potent antiviral activity and worked against HIV that developed resistance to any of the 3 separate mechanisms in a laboratory study, and lowered viral load in humanized mice, according to research presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016)last month in Boston.

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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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CROI 2016: High STI Rates Among Gay Men on PrEP Supports More Frequent Monitoring

Participants taking tenofovir/emtricitabine (Truvada) for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) continued to have high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in 2 U.S. PrEP demonstration projects, according to a pair of reports at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016)last month in Boston. Semi-annual STI testing missed many cases, leading researchers to suggest that gay men on PrEP could benefit from screening every 3 months.

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