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HIV Drug Therapy: Lower-dose Efavirenz Equally Effective with Fewer Side Effects

A reduced dose of efavirenz (Sustiva or Stocrin) for first-line HIV therapy suppressed viral load as well as the standard dose, but was associated with fewer characteristic side effects, researchers reported at the recent HIV Drug Therapy 2014 meeting in Glasgow. A related study found that half the dose maintained viral suppression in people with high efavirenz levels in their blood.

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Neutralizing Antibodies from Llamas Provide Clues for HIV Vaccine Research

Heavy-chain broadly neutralizing antibodies produced by llamas can neutralize a wide range of circulating HIV virus strains, suggesting that immunization could potentially induce protective antibodies against HIV in humans, according to a report in the December 18 edition of PLoS Pathogens.

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CDC Collaboration Issues New Prevention Recommendations for People with HIV

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with several government, professional, and non-profit organizations, last week issued updated recommendations about biomedical, behavioral, and structural interventions to help people with HIV reduce the risk of onward transmission of the virus.

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CDC Researchers Publish Estimate of Effectiveness of Condom Use for Gay Men

A paper published this month in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes finally makes publicly available a study-- originally reported nearly 2 years ago from the 2013 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections but until now unobtainable even as an abstract -- which gives an estimate for the effectiveness of 100% condom use as the strategy of choice for the prevention of HIV infection among gay men. The CDC researchers estimate that condoms used consistently stop 7 out of 10 HIV infections acquired through anal sex between men.

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HIV Has Become More Virulent Over Time, Not Less, European Study Finds

The largest cohort study ever to look at CD4 count and viral loads in HIV positive people around the time of diagnosis has found evidence that HIV -- at least in Europe -- has become more virulent over time. The average time taken to reach a CD4 count below 350 cells/mm3 has halved over the last 25 years, researchers calculate. This conflicts with recently reported findings from Africa suggesting HIV has gotten weaker, suggesting that local conditions may drive viral evolution in opposite directions.

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Happy Holidays from HIVandHepatitis.com

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Obamacare Deadline Coming Up, Guide Offers Covered California Advice for HIV, HCV, PrEP

December 15 is the deadline to enroll in Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare") health plans for insurance coverage starting on January 1, 2015. Finding the right plan can be tricky for people with HIV or hepatitis C, and for those who want coverage for Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), but there are resources to help.

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Smoking Doubles Risk of Death for People with HIV Taking Antiretroviral Therapy

Smoking doubles the mortality risk for people with HIV taking antiretroviral therapy, a study published recently in AIDS shows. Smokers had an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and non-AIDS-related cancers, and the life expectancy of a 35-year-old man with HIV was reduced by almost 8 years due to smoking.

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No New HIV Infections Seen Among San Francisco Kaiser PrEP Users

No new HIV infections have occurred among more than 500 Kaiser Permanente San Francisco members using pre-exposure prophylaxis -- better known as PrEP -- but condom use appears to be declining among a subset of gay men, according to a small survey presented at a December 1 forum commemorating World AIDS Day.

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