Few gay teenage boys get tested for HIV

Posted August 26, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Features, Prevention, Research

 From Medicalpress.com

teensThe greatest barriers to these teenage males getting tested are not knowing where to go to get an HIV test, worries about being recognized at a testing site and—to a lesser degree—thinking they are invincible and won’t get infected.

“Understanding the barriers to testing provides critical information for intervening, so we can help young men get tested,” said study first author Gregory Phillips II, a research assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an investigator for the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program at Feinberg.

“Rates of new HIV infections continue to increase among young gay and bisexual men,” said Brian Mustanski, principal investigator of the study, an associate professor of medical social sciences at Feinberg and director of IMPACT. “Testing is critical because it can help those who are positive receive lifesaving medical care. Effective treatment can also help prevent them from transmitting the virus to others.”

The study will be published Aug. 26 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.Continue reading.

HIV/AIDS still holds a powerful stigma

Posted August 17, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Features, Stigma

head-shot-will-you-still-love-me-bbf66e1c54ba224d30e4f1b43a80b972571de120-s800-c85From NPR.org

Indiana was hit with an outbreak of HIV/AIDS this spring, and it got a lot of attention because it is so exceptional.

Our perception of HIV/AIDS has changed since the disease emerged in the early 1980s. There are all kinds of treatments and resources — things that simply didn’t exist when the epidemic began.

In the U.S., an estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV, according to the CDC. New infections are down from the peak in the 1980s, but the epidemic is nowhere near over. HIV/AIDS has affected millions of people around the world. In this country, gay men have been hardest hit.

Today on For the Record: HIV then and now. Two survivors, from two different generations, tell their stories. Click the audio link on this page to listen to the full conversation.

White House AIDS plan echoes In Pittsburgh

Posted August 6, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Features, HIV care, Prevention

rom WESAfm

Allegheny County health officials say they are already in line with new White House standards to fight HIV and AIDS. The plan unveiled Thursday updates one issued by the Obama administration five years ago. Developments since then include new diagnostic tests, a daily pill for infection prevention and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which allows for more American’s to receive treatment and testing.

Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force Executive Director Charles Christian said programs in the region have already been pushing for testing among all populations, not just those considered to be at risk, and for efforts to find ways to get more individuals into treatment programs.

The updated document adds some new goals for 2020, like reducing the death rate among HIV-diagnosed people by at least one-third, and increasing the percentage who control their infection though medication.

Treatment can help suppress the amount of detectable virus in an HIV-positive person’s system, which can also reduce the possibility that he or she will spread the disease.

Christian told Essential Pittsburgh host Paul Guggenheimer Friday that the region and the nation need to get beyond the belief that AIDS is just a risk faced by homosexuals and drug users.

You can listen to the full story here.

Updated HIV/AIDS strategy and amfAR releases report

Posted August 4, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Features, Prevention

From OUT online

Last week the White House released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States updated through the year 2020. It’s vision statement read: “The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare, and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.”

The five-year plan discusses steps that are necessary to take across different facets of the HIV/AIDS topic, including reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care for those infected and improving health outcomes for them, reducing HIV-related disparities and health inequities, and achieving a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic.

To accompany the strategy, the American Foundation for AIDS Research released a report commending the amount of coordinated efforts to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the federal level, but admits that to be successful, the same thing has to happen on a state level.

The foundation gave recommendations for the states so they can improve their HIV prevention and care, and align with the vision set out by the national strategy. “The burden of HIV, and the responses to it, varies across states due to a number of social, political, and economic factors,” said Jeffrey S. Crowley, Program Director of the National HIV/AIDS Initiative at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law in a release. “But we have found that if states focus on a handful of priority action steps and implement them successfully, they can begin to close critical gaps and dramatically accelerate progress toward ending their HIV epidemics.”

Continue reading.

HIV PEP with emtricitabine/tenofovir/rilpivirine has excellent completion and adherence rates

Posted July 20, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Features, HIV care, Prevention, Research

From aidsmap.com

Daily post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) with single tablet emtricitabine/tenofovir/rilpivirine (Complera, Eviplera) has excellent completion rates and good side-effect and safety profiles, Australian investigators report in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The open-label, non-randomised study involved 100 men who have sex with men (MSM) requiring PEP after possible sexual exposure to HIV. Treatment lasted 28 days and was completed by 92% of participants. Side-effects were mild, the most common being nausea and tiredness. There were no serious adverse events.

Prompt PEP, after possible sexual or occupational exposure to HIV, can reduce the risk of infection. Guidelines recommend triple-drug therapy, ideally commenced within 72 hours of exposure. Failure of PEP has been linked to poor treatment adherence or the premature discontinuation of treatment. A recent analysis of 97 PEP studies found that only 57% of patients completed their four-week course of treatment.

The combination pill emtricitabine/tenofovir/rilpivirine provides well tolerated and easy-to-take once-daily HIV therapy. Though it must be taken with food, investigators from Australia hypothesised that the combination pill would provide convenient and safe PEP.

Continue reading.

Black market for Truvada PrEP may undermine treatment adherence in marginalised people living with HIV

Posted July 15, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Uncategorized

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From aidsmap.com

The increasing demand for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is likely to increase the likelihood that some marginalised individuals living with HIV sell some of their prescribed medication to pill brokers and drug dealers, according to a study presented to the Conference of the Association for the Social Sciences and Humanities in HIV in Stellenbosch, South Africa last week.

Steven Kurtz told the conference that several reports have documented street markets for diverted antiretrovirals (ARVs) in the United States. His own research focuses on south Florida, where he recruited 147 HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) who regularly use cocaine, crack or heroin. He purposively sampled (over-recruited) individuals who had sold or traded their antiretrovirals, so that he could better understand the factors associated with doing so.

Economic vulnerability is the key explanation. Within this sample, men who had recently sold ARVs were more likely to have an income below $1000 a month, to have traded sex for money or drugs and to be dependent on drugs. Age, race and education were not relevant factors. Unsurprisingly, men who had sold their HIV treatment had poor levels of adherence to it.

Continue reading on aidsmap.com.

San Diego activist shares his experience taking PrEP for 100 days

Posted July 13, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Commentary, Features, Prevention, Stigma

 From Gay San Diego

Activist Rick Cervantes

Activist Rick Cervantes

In February, I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to go on PrEP. Do I really want to take a pill every day? Do I want to see a doctor every three months? And my own fears kicked in — what if it doesn’t work? I made an appointment with a doctor at Sharp, we talked about it honestly and I was sold.

I had to get some initial bloodwork done, of course an HIV test, and some other general health tests. My test came back negative that same day and the doctor wrote a prescription for Truvada. My prescription was ready later that day, and the next morning I was taking my first pill. I’ve taken one pill every day since then — now over 100 days — and I’m so glad I made that choice.

Sure, it was a little hard at first. After the first couple of days, when the medicine started to settle into my body, I didn’t feel so good. I had some mild nausea and decided to take a couple of days off work to let the symptoms subside — which they did after three days. I’ve never had another side effect since then and I’ve taken other medications in my life that were a lot more common than Truvada and had much worse side effects.

I’ve proudly posted about taking PrEP on my personal social media and many other online groups related to PrEP and HIV, and, as I mentioned earlier, it’s really caught people’s attention.

Working with the #BeTheGeneration campaign, we’ve really made an impact, and I hope more and more people continue to reach out to me, Benny and others at The Center to ask questions. We want people to know about the options available to them, and we want to help people stop being so fearful and put an end to the stigma and shaming.

I know that being on PrEP has made feel more confident and healthier and has given me a better outlook on sex and I want you to be able feel this freedom too. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or anyone else at The Center’s #BeTheGeneration campaign, for more information or just to talk.

Together, we can end new transmissions of HIV!

—Rick Cervantes is the social media coordinator at The San Diego LGBT Community Center and active in its #BeTheGeneration campaign. Reach him at 619-692-2077 ext. 220 or follow his journey on Twitter @mistercervantes.


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