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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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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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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 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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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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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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PD-1 Not Needed for T-Cell Exhaustion and its Absence May Cause Immune Dysfunction

The PD-1 protein is not necessary for exhaustion of CD8 T-cells and the absence of PD-1 regulation may lead to accumulation of more dysfunctional types of T-cells and impaired immune response, according to a mouse study described in the June 29 Journal of Experimental Medicine. These findings shed more light on PD-1 regulation and its role in diseases ranging from HIV infection to cancer.

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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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