Archive for July 2012

HIV on the rise among young gay men in urban US

July 24, 2012

From ABCnews.com:

Despite decades of prevention efforts, HIV continues to increase among young gay men in urban areas, and most of these men are unaware they are infected, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Researchers looked at survey data spanning 1994 to 2008 on gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men ages 18 to 29 year old living in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and San Francisco, recruited from bars and nightclubs.  The study focused on HIV prevalence as well as HIV testing.

They found that among those ages 23 to 29 years old, there was a trend towards increasing HIV prevalence from 1994 to 2008, with an overall prevalence of 16 percent.

“The fact that new infections increased somewhat in the 23- to 29-year-old age group indicates that this is a population that we need to be extremely concerned about and that we really need to be trying to reach them early with prevention so that we can establish healthy behaviors early on,” said Dr. Alexa Oster, lead author of the study and medical epidemiologist at the CDC.

For the full story, go to ABC on the Web.

International health panel says treat all HIV infections

July 23, 2012
From Gay Today …

An international health panel has recommended for the first time that all HIV patients be treated with antiretroviral drugs, even when the virus’s impact on their immune system is shown to be small.

The nonprofit International Antiviral Society-USA cited new evidence that untreated infection with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS can also lead to a range of other conditions, including cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. In addition, data have shown that suppressing HIV reduces the risk of an infected person passing the virus to another person.

“We are no longer only focused on traditional AIDS-defining infections. We know that HIV is doing damage to the body all the time when it is not controlled,” said Dr. Melanie Thompson, principal investigator of the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta and a member of the Antiviral Society panel.

The recommendations are global, but mainly aimed at “resource-rich” countries who can cover the cost of the medications, she said. The guidelines were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association at the start of the International AIDS Society’s 2012 conference, which runs from Sunday through Friday in Washington, DC.

Go to Gay Today for the full article.

“Turning the Tide Together” AIDS conference 2012 is next week in DC

July 18, 2012

FDA gives green light to OraQuick in-home HIV test

July 5, 2012

Health regulators on Tuesday said they approved OraSure Technologies Inc’s in-home test for HIV, making it the first over-the-counter, self-administered test for the virus that causes AIDS.

The Food and Drug Administration gave its green light to the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test, which within 20 to 40 minutes provides results from an oral fluid sample taken by swabbing the upper and lower gums inside the mouth.

The company said the test — already approved for use by trained technicians — will be available starting in October at more than 30,000 retailers and online. The price will be set closer to the launch date, it said.

The FDA cautioned that a positive result does not mean an individual is definitely infected with HIV, but rather that additional testing should be done in a medical setting to confirm the result.

About 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, but one in five are not aware of it, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 50,000 new people are infected with HIV each year, often from people who may not know they have the virus, the FDA said.

“Knowing your status is an important factor in the effort to prevent the spread of HIV,” said Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “The availability of a home-use HIV test kit provides another option for individuals to get tested so that they can seek medical care, if appropriate.”

An FDA advisory committee of outside experts voted unanimously in favor of the test in May, saying its ability to prevent new HIV infections and link people to medical care and social services outweighed the risk of false results.

Clinical trials for the test showed it was accurate 92 percent of the time in diagnosing people who had HIV — meaning one out of every 12 test results would be a false negative.

False negatives are of particular concern because they could lead HIV-positive individuals to take fewer precautions, raising the danger that they will engage in unprotected sex.

The test accurately gave a negative result for those without HIV in 99.98 percent of cases, meaning there would be only one false positive result out of every 5,000 tests.

“We set out with a clear purpose – to dramatically impact the number of people getting tested for HIV nationwide,” Douglas Michels, OraSure’s chief executive, said in a statement.

“Today’s FDA approval of OraQuick brings us much closer to accomplishing that goal.”

(Reuters) – (By Bill Berkrot and Anna Yukhananov; Reporting by Bill Berkrot in New York and Anna Yukhananov in Washington; Editing by Maureen Bavdek, Jim Marshall and John Wallace)