Dept of Health launches program providing coverage for uninsured with Hep C and HIV

Posted February 4, 2016 by administrator
Categories: Community, Features, HIV care

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy and Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne announced today the Special Pharmaceutical Benefits Program (SPBP) is implementing a pilot program offering no cost coverage of hepatitis C antiviral medications for individuals with a dual diagnosis of HIV and hepatitis C. This pilot program will be a collaboration between the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Aging (PDA).

“Protecting Pennsylvania’s more vulnerable residents is one of the Wolf Administration’s primary objectives,” said Secretary Murphy. “Providing drug coverage for individuals suffering from hepatitis C or HIV who couldn’t otherwise afford the proper medical treatments is a part of our goal to ensure that every resident of the commonwealth has the ability to access needed medication.”

The $13 million, six-month program will be made available to hundreds of low-income Pennsylvanians with both hepatitis C and HIV and is funded through additional pharmaceutical liability recoveries made by the Department of Aging’s Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly program (PACE), which offers low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older.
“The opportunity to partner with the Department of Health on this pilot program  is an exciting opportunity to leverage 30-plus years of experience administering an effective prescription drug program with the Wolf Administration’s steadfast commitment to support the health of and improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians,” said Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne.
The SPBP is Pennsylvania’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which is funded by a federal grant through the Health Resources and Services Administration Ryan White HIV/AIDS Part B Program. The SPBP plays a vital role in providing access to medications for people living with HIV, including those with hepatitis C co-infection. The program serves low to moderate income individuals who are underinsured or uninsured and have a diagnosis of HIV. In addition to HIV viral load suppression, maintaining optimal overall health is equally vital to the management of HIV disease and increases the quality of life for commonwealth citizens.
Individuals eligible for or enrolled in other prescription plans must utilize those benefits prior to SPBP. For a full list of the medications, the approval criteria, request form and additional details, please go to the SPBP website at:www.health.pa.gov/spbp. For more information about the PACE program, call 1-800-225-7223.

Injected HIV treatment ready by 2017?

Posted January 28, 2016 by administrator
Categories: Features, HIV care, Research

From HIV Equal

CytoDyn Inc. announced in a news release last week that its ongoing extension study of PRO 140 monotherapy has shown “complete viral-load suppression” for well over a year, with some patients approaching 17 months. The phase I trial included 23 patients.

HIV injection treatment “The company believes that complete virologic suppression through treatment with a single agent, PRO 140, a safe and efficacious antibody, rather than through the widely used HAART combination therapy, could present a significant opportunity to treat HIV patients. Based on these monotherapy results, the company plans to file a second Phase 3 protocol for PRO 140 monotherapy with the FDA. CytoDyn is currently conducting a pivotal phase 3 trial for PRO 140 as an adjunct therapy with expected commercialization in 2017.”

On Jan 22, the company filed a request for Breakthrough Therapy Designation with the FDA for PRO 140 as a treatment for HIV-1 infection in treatment experienced patients with virologic failure, meaning other medications alone no longer work for them.

PRO140 works by blocking the HIV co-receptor CCR5 on T-cells, preventing entry of the virus. So far, CytoDyn claims that PRO 140 does not negatively impact the normal immune functions mediated by CCR5.

“A recent Phase 2b clinical trial demonstrated that PRO 140 can prevent viral escape in patients during several weeks of interruption from conventional drug therapy,” according to a news release.”

Read the article on HIV Equal online.

Ring in the New Year by getting the health care you need (and deserve)

Posted January 7, 2016 by administrator
Categories: Community, HIV care, PMS Matters

embracing_the_rainbow_2If you’re looking for LGBTQ-friendly health care in Western PA, you can now download the Western PA GLBTQ Health Directory 2016. The listing was compiled by the Pitt Men’s Study at the University of Pittsburgh, the Gay and Lesbian Community Center, Persad Center and the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. The list includes mental health professionals, HIV testing and medical care, primary care doctors and dentists. The 2016 list is an expansion on past lists and includes care providers in southwestern PA.

F.D.A. ends ban, allowing some blood donations by gay men

Posted December 22, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Features, Stigma

From the New  York Times

gay men can donate bloodFollowing up on a preliminary recommendation it made a year ago, the Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that the agency would scrap a decades-old lifetime prohibition on blood donation by gay and bisexual men.

The agency continued to bar men who have had sex with men in the past year, however, saying the measure was needed to keep the blood supply safe.

Gay rights groups considered the lifting of the lifetime ban a major stride toward ending a discriminatory national policy, but had wanted blanket bans for gay men to be removed entirely. Donations should be considered on an individual basis, critics said, as some gay men — like some heterosexual men and women — are at far higher risk of H.I.V. infection than others.

GMHC, the advocacy group formerly known as Gay Men’s Health Crisis, harshly criticized the 12-month delay. Kelsey Louie, the group’s chief executive officer, said it “ignores the modern science of H.I.V.-testing technology while perpetuating the stereotype that all gay and bisexual men are inherently dangerous.”

The Food and Drug Administration enacted the lifetime ban in 1983, early in the AIDS epidemic. The virus that would become known as H.I.V. was discovered that year, and no way to test for it in donations existed.

Now, however, tests can tell whether donated blood contains the virus in as little as nine days after the donor has been infected. The “window period” — during which a unit of donated blood might test negative but still infect the recipient — is the reason for continuing time-based bans on people who engage in various kinds of high-risk behavior.

Read the full on the New York Times.

Gay/bi men are 2% of population but 67% of all new HIV infections in 2014

Posted December 9, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Features, Health Alerts, Prevention, Research

From Reuters Health

HIV still on the rise among gay menNew strategies to reduce risky sexual behaviors among young gay and bisexual men with human immunodeficiency virus may be needed to reduce new infections, according to a new study.

Researchers found that most young gay and bisexual men with HIV don’t have the virus suppressed by medication, making them more likely to infect others, and more than half reported recent unprotected sex.

While medications for HIV and access to those treatments improved over time, lead author Patrick Wilson said addressing unemployment, education and mental health is also important.

“I think we have to take a multipronged approach,” said Wilson, of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

Gay and bisexual men represent about 2 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for about 67 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV in 2014, according to the HIV Surveillance Report released on Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (see Reuters Health story of December 6, 2015 here).

The steepest rise in HIV diagnoses between 2005 and 2014 was among young gay and bisexual men, with increases ranging from 56 percent among young white men to 87 percent among young black and Latino men.

Continue reading.

Pitt Men’s Study medical director, Dr. Ken Ho, talks about PrEP

Posted December 4, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Features, Media, PrEP, Prevention

Pitt's Dr. Ken Ho

Pitt’s Dr. Ken Ho

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to inform patients and health care providers of a new, anti-viral pill that they estimate can drastically reduce the risk of infection.  Here to tell us more about this treatment and discuss why it hasn’t been adopted by clinicians in the region are Dr. Ken Ho, an HIV specialist at the University of Pittsburgh and Jason Herring, director of programs and communications at the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force.

Listen to the broadcast on Essential Pittsburgh 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR station.

Video: Living with HIV

Posted December 2, 2015 by administrator
Categories: HIV care, Stigma, video

Michael Rizzi, a 21-year-old YouTube personality widely known for his “strange addiction” to the exclamatory word “yaaaaass,” is taking a more serious note in a recent project.  In the video “Living With HIV Stigma,” Rizzi spoke to five men and one woman who are HIV-positive about the social hurdles they face on a daily basis. Take a look…


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 33 other followers