Starting treatment soon after HIV infection improves immune health, study finds

Posted November 26, 2014 by administrator
Categories: HIV care, Research

From the National Institutes of Health Website

In many countries outside the United States, decisions on when to start treatment for HIV infection are based on the level of certain white blood cells called CD4+ T cells, which are commonly measured to determine immune health. A study by National Institutes of Health grantees suggests that the best time to start treatment also should be based on how much time has elapsed since becoming HIV-infected. The researchers found that starting treatment within a year of seroconversion—the period within a few weeks of HIV infection when antibodies to the virus are first produced and their concentration reaches a detectable level—can improve immune health.

Read more.

Posted November 25, 2014 by administrator
Categories: Commentary, Community, Media, Stigma

Can Selfies in the Shower Fight HIV Stigma?

If you’re looking for HIV’s answer to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised over US$100 million for the ALS Association, Jack Mackenroth just may have it: the HIV Shower Selfie Challenge. Mackenroth, a famous HIV-positive activist and prior contestant on Project Runway, has partnered with Moovz, a global gay social networking app, to launch the project. Playing to a culture that loves a good selfie, Mackenroth is urging everyone to fight HIV stigma by simply taking a special kind of selfie.

INSTRUCTIONS: 1) Take a selfie or Vine video of yourself in the shower.**NO EXPLICIT NUDITY** 2) Post your photo now on Moovz and all social media platforms with the caption “Take HIV Shower Selfie Challenge raise $$ for AIDS cure bit.ly/CUREAIDS #weareALLclean” 3) Nominate 3 or more other people to participate! 4) (Optional) DONATE!! Please consider a small donation if you are able. Every penny counts! bit.ly/CUREAIDS 5) On World AIDS Day (or before): Monday, December 1st, please change all your social media profile pix to your shower selfie photo and spread the word!!

Jack Mackenroth

“I was inspired by the use of the word ‘clean,’ especially common in gay culture, to describe oneself as STI/STD free. Indirectly this implies that HIV-positive people are somehow ‘dirty,’” says Mackenroth. “I thought a PG or PG-13 shower selfie or Vine video would be a fun way that everyone could easily show their support for finding a cure on social media by using the hashtag #weareALLclean when they post their photo with the link. They then nominate 3 other people to participate and hopefully donate to the project as well.”

Continue reading on TheBody.com.

U.S. HIV ‘Treatment Cascade’ stats dismal compared to other countries

Posted November 20, 2014 by administrator
Categories: Features, HIV care, Research

From AIDSmeds.com

Compared with other high-income Western nations, the United States fares remarkably poorly in getting people with HIV diagnosed, into stable care, on treatment and to an undetectable viral load, aidsmap reports. Researchers conducted an analysis of the “treatment cascade” figures for Australia, British Columbia (statistics for all of Canada were not available), Denmark, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. Results were presented at the HIV Drug Therapy Glasgow conference in Scotland.

The estimated rates of HIV diagnosis among the countries ranged from a low of 71 percent in British Columbia to a high of 86 percent in Australia, with the United States at 82 percent. The United States had the lowest rate of linkage to care, at 66 percent, and Denmark had the highest at 81 percent. The United States had by far the lowest rate of HIV-positive people retained in care at 37 percent, with British Columbia the next lowest at 57 percent. Australia’s 76 percent care-retention rate was the highest. 

Because of the United States’ low retention figures, the remainder of the nation’s figures were also markedly lower than the other countries’. The U.S. rate of people with HIV taking antiretrovirals was 33 percent. The high for that figure was the United Kingdom’s 67 percent. The rates of viral suppression were as follows: the United States, 25 percent; British Columbia, 35 percent; France, 52 percent, the Netherlands, 53 percent, the United Kingdom, 58 percent; Denmark, 59 percent; and Australia, 62 percent.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the conference abstract, click here.

Health Alert – Syphilis infections among gay and bi men growing at an alarming rate

Posted November 18, 2014 by administrator
Categories: Community, Features, Health Alerts

The Allegheny County Health Department has documented an alarming, ongoing increase in Syphilis infections among men who have sex with men in the greater Pittsburgh area. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that, if untreated, can cause serious health problems. You can get Syphilis and not have any initial symptoms so the only way to know you’re infected is to get a simple blood test. Syphilis is 100% curable.

The Health Department suggests all sexually active gay and bi men get tested for Syphilis. To find free testing near you, go to https://gettested.cdc.gov/.

You can also call the Allegheny Health Department to find out more about getting a free test: (412) 578-8332.

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To find out more about Syphilis go to the CDC Website at http://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/

To read the official Allegheny Health Department press release, Syphilis health alert November 17 2014.

The Body’s “10 Moments in HIV Empowerment in 2014″

Posted November 17, 2014 by administrator
Categories: Commentary, Features, Stigma

From TheBody.com

logo_notopicsIt’s more than 30 years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and around 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS,according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). About 50,000 new infections per year happen in the U.S. — and black and Latino Americans are disproportionately affected. Men who have sex with men — especially those of color — have among the highest infection rates across the globe.

The elusive search for a “cure” and a preventive vaccine may succeed one day — but unfortunately it may not be soon enough to help the millions of people living with HIV/AIDS today. But despite significant obstacles, there are some reasons for celebration this World AIDS Day. Here is our look at “10 Moments in HIV Empowerment in 2014.”

Read the 10 moments in HIV Empowerment on The Body

World AIDS Day 2014: Closing the gap in HIV prevention and treatment

Posted November 14, 2014 by administrator
Categories: Events, Features

From the World Health Organization Website

On World AIDS Day 2014, the World Health Organization will issue new recommendations to help countries close important gaps in HIV prevention and treatment services. aids-day500The guidelines will include advice on providing antiretroviral drugs for people who have been exposed to HIV – such as health workers, sex-workers, survivors of rape. They also include recommendations on preventing and managing common opportunistic infections and diseases such as severe bacterial and malaria infections, cryptococcal meningitis and the many oral and skin infections that can affect people living with HIV. In 2013, WHO published consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretrovirals that promote earlier, simpler and less toxic interventions to keep people healthier for longer, and to help prevent HIV transmission. A growing number of countries with a high burden of HIV have adopted these guidelines. In 2013, a record 13 million people were able to access life-saving ARVs. But too many people still lack access to comprehensive HIV treatment and prevention services. The 1 December supplement to the WHO consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection, released in June 2013, aims to help bridge that gap.

“We’re removing the doorway that HIV uses to get into cells”

Posted November 10, 2014 by administrator
Categories: Features, Research

Untitled-1From Time online

Natural immunity is the most reliable way to protect yourself from viruses, bacteria and parasites. And the best way to acquire such immunity, in most cases, is to expose your immune system to the bug in question—either by getting infected or getting immunized. Until now, such protection was only possible with diseases like chicken pox or polio. But now, scientists at Harvard University say that people might soon arm themselves against HIV in a similar way, but through a different method.

Chad Cowan and Derrick Rossi, both in the department of stem cell and regenerative biology at Harvard University, and their colleagues report in the journal Cell Stem Cell that they have successfully edited the genomes of blood cells to make them impervious to HIV. In order survive, HIV needs to insert its genome into that of a healthy cell, and to infect these cells, HIV latches onto a protein on their surface called CCR5. If CCR5 is mutated, however, it’s as if the locks have been changed and HIV no longer has the right key; it can’t attach itself and the cells are protected from infection. So the scientists tried a new gene editing technique called CRISPR that allows them to precisely snip out parts of a cell’s genome, and they spliced out the CCR5 gene. To their surprise, the technique was relatively efficient, transforming about half of the cells they treated with CRISPR into CCR5-free, or HIV-resistant, cells.

Continue reading on Time.com.


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