Free continuing education for clinicians caring for people with HIV

Posted January 29, 2018 by administrator
Categories: Education, HIV care

CDC’s MMWR and Medscape are proud to introduce a new FREE continuing education (CE) activity that describes diagnosis delay among persons infected with HIV: Vital Signs: Human Immunodeficiency Virus Testing and Diagnosis Delays — United States.

This activity is intended for infectious disease clinicians, family medicine specialists, internists, nurses, pharmacists, public health officials, and other clinicians caring for patients with or at risk for HIV infection.

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe diagnosis delay among persons infected with HIV, based on an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National HIV Surveillance System, and missed opportunities for HIV testing, based on CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance.
  2. Identify the proportions of persons in various high-risk populations who tested for HIV in the past 12 months.
  3. Determine the clinical and public health implications of these findings regarding HIV testing, missed opportunities for testing, and diagnosis delay among persons infected with HIV.

To access this FREE MMWR / Medscape CE activity visit https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/cme/medscape_cme.html. If you are not a registered user on Medscape, please register for free or login without a password and get unlimited access to all continuing education activities and other Medscape features.

HIV care continuum: Effects of depression, alcohol use on early retention in ART

Posted January 25, 2018 by administrator
Categories: Features, HIV care, Research

From Infectiousdiseaseadvisor.com

Both alcohol use and depression are associated with increased disengagement from antiretroviral therapy for patients with HIV in South Africa, according to the results of a recent study published in PLoS ONE.

In this prospective cohort study, 136 people living with HIV in South Africa who were initiating antiretroviral therapy were enrolled. Anxiety and depression were measured with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and alcohol use disorder was evaluated with the CAGE questionnaire. Researchers also measured internalized stigma and quality of life in participants. The associations between mental health variables and 6-month retention in care and viral suppression were evaluated.

Read the full article here.

Many at-risk men still don’t take HIV prevention pill

Posted January 10, 2018 by administrator
Categories: PrEP, Prevention

From The Associated Press…

From gritty neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles to clinics in Kenya and Brazil, health workers are trying to popularize a pill that has proven highly effective in preventing HIV but which — in their view — remains woefully underused.

Marketed in the United States as Truvada, and sometimes available abroad in generic versions, the pill has been shown to reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90 percent if taken daily. Yet worldwide, only about a dozen countries have aggressive, government-backed programs to promote the pill. In the U.S., there are problems related to Truvada’s high cost, lingering skepticism among some doctors and low usage rates among black gays and bisexuals who have the highest rates of HIV infection.

“Truvada works,” said James Krellenstein, a New York-based activist. “We have to start thinking of it not as a luxury but as an essential public health component of this nation’s response to HIV.”

A few large U.S. cities are promoting Truvada, often with sexually charged ads. In New York, “Bare It All” was among the slogans urging gay men to consult their doctors. The Los Angeles LGBT Center — using what it called “raw, real language” — launched a campaign to increase use among young Latino and black gay men and transgender women.

“We’ve got the tools to not only end the fear of HIV, but to end it as an epidemic,” said the center’s chief of staff, Darrel Cummings. “Those at risk have to know about the tools, though, and they need honest information about them.”

In New York, roughly 30 percent of gay and bisexual men are using Truvada now, up dramatically from a few years ago, according to Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, a deputy commissioner of the city’s health department.

However, Daskalakis said use among young black and Hispanic men — who account for a majority of new HIV diagnoses — lags behind. To address that, the city is making Truvada readily available in some clinics in or near heavily black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

Read the full article on Newsday.com.

HIV and your brain (HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder)

Posted November 6, 2017 by administrator
Categories: HIV care

From Poz Magazine online

HIV-associated dementia (known as HAD or AIDS dementia complex, ADC) is rarely diagnosed. However, recent evidence suggests that HIV is still affecting people’s brains—even when HIV levels are undetectable in the blood.

This is certainly no reason to panic. So far, it appears that HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) is so mild that people don’t notice it. Often, it can only be picked up with extensive neurological and psychological testing. What’s more, some evidence suggests that people who take ARVs that pass into the brain might be less prone to develop neurocognitive problems.

There is still much we need to understand about how HIV affects the brain in people with well-controlled disease: How common it is, which people are most vulnerable to HIV-related brain damage, and whether and how quickly it can progress from a mild disorder to one that is more serious. Researchers are hard at work to answer these questions and to determine whether there are medications that can slow or minimize HIV-related neurocognitive problems.

In the meantime, there are things that you can do—such as minimizing heavy alcohol and substance use, treating depression and anxiety, and getting physical exercise—to help keep the brain healthy and functioning well. This lesson will help you understand HAND and the latest thinking on how common it is and how it might be prevented or treated.

Read the full article on Poz.com.

Sexually active men in Pennsylvania need to get tested for Syphilis

Posted October 30, 2017 by administrator
Categories: Health Alerts

Pennsylvania is experiencing an alarming increase in Syphilis cases, primarily among men who have sex with men (MSM). The State Department of Health reports that new Syphilis infections are primarily among minority MSM under the age of 25. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that cases of new STDs are at record highs nationwide, including an 18 percent increase in Syphilis infections.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. If it goes untreated, it can lead to serious health problems including paralysis, blindness, and dementia. However, Syphilis is 100% curable with simple antibiotics.

Syphilis is spread through direct contact with a Syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You can get Syphilis and not have any symptoms so the only way to know for sure you’re not infected is to get tested.

Several locations around the state have free Syphilis testing. Click on this link to find testing near you.

To find out more about Syphilis, go to www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/stdfact-syphilis.htm

Fostemsavir controls viral load in half of people with highly drug-resistant HIV

Posted October 29, 2017 by administrator
Categories: HIV care, Research

From aidsmap.com

Fostemsavir, a new experimental attachment inhibitor, suppressed viral load in over half of participants with extensive drug resistance when added to a background regimen selected by resistance testing, Max Lataillade of ViiV Healthcare reported at the 16th European AIDS Conference in Milan on Friday.

The findings come from the phase 3 BRIGHTE study carried out in the United States, France and Brazil.

Fostemsavir (formerly BMS-663068) is a new experimental HIV attachment inhibitor which binds to the HIV gp120 protein, preventing HIV attachment to CD4 cells. Other inhibitors of HIV entry, enfuvirtide and maraviroc, have limited roles in HIV treatment. Enfuvirtide is an HIV fusion inhibitor, an injectable agent that is prescribed only for patients with no other treatment options. Maraviroc is a CCR5 antagonist; it prevents HIV from using the CCR5 receptor on the surface of CD4 cells to gain entry to the cell. It is used in treatment-experienced patients.

Fostemsavir is being developed by ViiV Healthcare as an agent for use in treatment-experienced patients with resistance to several classes of antiretroviral drug. The drug was acquired from Bristol-Myers Squibb along with several other experimental antiretroviral drugs in 2016.

Read the full article.

The WHO public health approach to HIV treatment and care: looking back and looking ahead

Posted October 23, 2017 by administrator
Categories: Features, HIV care, Prevention, Research

From the Lancet

In 2006, WHO set forth its vision for a public health approach to delivering antiretroviral therapy. This approach has been broadly adopted in resource-poor settings and has provided the foundation for scaling up treatment to over 19·5 million people. There is a global commitment to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030 and, to support this goal, there are opportunities to adapt the public health approach to meet the ensuing challenges. These challenges include the need to improve identification of people with HIV infection through expanded approaches to testing; further simplify and improve treatment and laboratory monitoring; adapt the public health approach to concentrated epidemics; and link HIV testing, treatment, and care to HIV prevention. Implementation of these key public health principles will bring countries closer to the goals of controlling the HIV epidemic and providing universal health coverage.

Read the full paper here.