PrEP researchers now focusing on the best ways to get PrEP to people who need it

Posted July 20, 2016 by administrator
Categories: Features, PrEP, Prevention


Speaking to a meeting on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) yesterday, ahead of the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016), Chris Beyrer, president of the International AIDS Society, reminded delegates that the last time the conference was held in Durban, South Africa, in the year 2000, the event was notable for drawing attention to the enormous gap in access to HIV treatment between rich and poorer countries. That conference began the treatment access era.

Chris Beyrer, president of the International AIDS Society

Chris Beyrer, president of the International AIDS Society

“Now is really the time to start the PrEP access era,” Beyrer said.

The questions about whether PrEP works have been resolved. But a host of questions about the best way to implement PrEP remain, including who to offer PrEP to, where to provide it and how to stimulate demand.

To help health services and countries answer those questions, the World Health Organization (WHO) will soon issue implementation guidance, outlined to the meeting by Rachel Baggaley of WHO and Robert Grant of the University of California. The document is designed to be practical, addressing in separate chapters the needs and interests of political leaders, medicines regulators, community educators, public health officials, clinic administrators, clinicians, counsellors, testing providers, pharmacists, and monitoring and evaluation staff. A specific chapter addressed to individuals taking PrEP will answer their frequently asked questions.

Read the full article.

Gay men continue to see disproportionately high rates of HIV infection

Posted July 8, 2016 by administrator
Categories: Features, Prevention, Research

From Johns Hopkins University

Across countries and income levels, gay men continue to see disproportionately high rates of HIV infection, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. Though overall HIV rates have flattened in recent years and a diagnosis is no longer the death sentence it was once considered, researchers are concerned that the epidemic persists globally among men who have sex with men.

“It’s a tragic situation and it’s painful that the history of AIDS is looking like its future, but that’s actually where we are,” says study leader Chris Beyrer, a Bloomberg School professor and president of the International AIDS Society. “But the first step in taking on a problem is recognizing and articulating it, and we’ve really done that here.”

The findings, to be published July 9 in The Lancet, follow up on a 2012 call to action from the same group of researchers. Back then, they laid out anambitious framework to curtail HIV epidemics in gay men, setting targets for policy reform, funding, and improvement in HIV prevention and treatment—including expanded access to pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, a pill that has proved highly effective in reducing transmission among this population.

Read the full article.

Gay and bi men frightening health officials in US and UK with skyrocketing STD rates

Posted July 6, 2016 by administrator
Categories: Features, Health Alerts, Prevention, Research


STD rates alarming health officialsThere are new scary findings about sexually transmitted infections and diseases from the United Kingdom, where cases of syphilis and gonorrhea have jumped 73 percent and 53 percent, respectively, between 2012 and 2015. Officials cite “very high rates of STIs among gay men and young adults” as a factor in the rise, according to The Guardian.

The troubling report follows a similar one last year from the U.S.’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which showed 2014 syphilis and gonorrhea cases outnumbering those from 2013, the first rise since 2006. Again, MSM (men who have sex with men) were specifically referenced in the findings, which repeated a shocking, underreported fact — potentially fatal syphilis among MSM has been increasing since the year 2000.

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A silent LGBT epidemic

Posted June 30, 2016 by administrator
Categories: Health Alerts, Research

 From the

The LGBT community is no stranger to attacks on the safety, health and well-being of its members. From the recurring police harassment and violence that precipitated the Stonewall riots to the ravages of HIV and AIDS in the 1980s — coupled with an apathetic government and public — all the way through to the recent Orlando massacre, LGBT people repeatedly find themselves in the crosshairs of dangerous threats.

LGBT smoking epidemicWith such monumental obstacles to our health and well-being, it’s easy to overlook a much more subtle but even more deadly killer: smoking.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 30,000 LGBT Americans die from tobacco-related diseases annually. By comparison, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 14,000 Americans with an AIDS diagnosis — gay, straight, transgender, and cisgender — died in 2012.

Read the full article.

PA Health Dept division of HIV/AIDS is seeking your input

Posted June 23, 2016 by administrator
Categories: Community, HIV care, Prevention

Untitled-3You have a stake in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of HIV/AIDS is seeking your input regarding planned activities for statewide HIV prevention and care efforts. This anonymous and confidential survey will gather your response to the planned goals for helping people at high risk for getting HIV and those that are HIV-positive in Pennsylvania. To participate in the survey go to the online survey. Please consider forwarding this link to all your co-workers, clients, and community members who might be interested in HIV prevention and care in Pennsylvania. This survey ends July 7th, 2016.

Aging gay men face challenges after living through AIDS, cultural shifts

Posted June 21, 2016 by administrator
Categories: Community, Features


Midlife and older gay men in the United States have lived through a remarkable period of crisis and change. On the heels of the burgeoning gay rights movement in the 1970s, the AIDS epidemic robbed these men of many of their friends and partners beginning in the 1980s.

agingFor all of the social progress in recent years, this group has endured discrimination throughout their lives, with many feeling the need to conceal an important aspect of their identities. And now they have reached a time in their lives that many men, regardless of their sexual orientation, find stressful.

Richard Wight, a researcher in the Department of Community Health Sciences in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, has recently studied mental health trajectories of midlife and older gay men against the backdrop of these societal shifts.

Wight and his colleagues, including professor Carol Aneshensel in the Department of Community Health Sciences, have drawn from an invaluable resource—the Los Angeles site of the ongoing Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study(MACS), one of the world’s largest and longest-running studies examining the natural history of HIV/AIDS. Led at UCLA by Dr. Roger Detels, professor of epidemiology at the Fielding school, the study has followed the lives of nearly 5,000 HIV-positive and HIV-negative gay and bisexual men at four U.S. sites since 1984 through twice-annual assessments.

“It dawned on me that we have three decades’ worth of data,” says Wight. “This was an opportunity to see how the historic societal changes affecting gay men have intersected with the natural aging process.”

Read the full article.

Big increases in proportion of HIV-positive patients in US treated with ART and with viral suppression

Posted June 11, 2016 by administrator
Categories: Features, HIV care, Research


The proportion of HIV-positive patients receiving care in the United States who accessed antiretroviral therapy (ART) and achieved viral suppression increased substantially between 2009 and 2013, according to research published in the online edition of AIDS.

There was a 6% overall increase in the proportion of patients prescribed antiretrovirals, whereas the proportion of individuals with viral suppression and sustained viral suppression increased by 11% and 17%, respectively. The increases were most pronounced in young people aged 18-29 and blacks.

“This analysis demonstrates consistent increases in ART prescription and viral suppression among persons in HIV clinical care in the United States, overall and in nearly every demographic sub-group examined,” comment the investigators. “However, there is still a significant gap between the percentage of patients who are prescribed ART and who have sustained viral suppression.”

In 2012, the United States Department of Health and Human Services issued updated guidelines recommending that all people with HIV should receive antiretroviral therapy. One of the key goals of the US National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) is to increase access to care and improve outcomes for people with HIV. An undetectable viral load is a key marker for HIV outcomes as it is associated with a low risk of disease progression and transmission to sexual partners.

A team of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysed data collected between 2009 and 2013 to estimate trends in ART prescription and viral suppression among patients in HIV care.

Data were obtained from the Medical Monitoring Project, a nationally representative sample of HIV-positive adult patients receiving medical care.

The authors calculated the percentage of patients prescribed ART (new and continuing prescriptions), with viral suppression (viral load below 200 copies/ml at last monitoring) and with sustained viral suppression (viral load below 200 copies/ml in all tests conducted in a twelve-month period).

Results were encouraging for all three outcomes.

Read the full article.


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