Archive for May 2013

Researchers investigate if PrEP encourages risk-taking among men who have sex with men

May 8, 2013

From U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (posted on TheBody.com)

Truvada (tenofovir) is used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce risk of HIV infection among risk-taking HIV-negative gay men. Researchers investigated whether use of Truvada as PrEP encouraged risk-taking among men who have sex with men (MSM). The researchers studied 400 gay men for 24 months between 2005 and 2007 in a randomized double-blind placebo study. One group of participants began taking Truvada at the outset of the study and the other began nine months later. Researchers interviewed the men at entry into the study and every three months concerning sexual risk-taking and use of recreational drugs and erectile dysfunction medications.

Participants had an average of 7.25 partners in the three months prior to the study. This number decreased to 6 partners between months 3 and 9 and to 5.71 in the second year. Before baseline, 57 percent of participants reported unprotected anal sex. The number dropped to 48 percent between months 3 and 9, and rose to 52 percent in the second year. Also, at baseline, 29 percent of participants reported unprotected intercourse with a man they knew to be HIV-positive. This number dropped to 21 percent between months 3 and 9 and increased slightly to 22 percent in the second year. Unprotected sex with partners they knew to be HIV-positive decreased from 2 at the beginning of the study to 1.37 during the second year, and unprotected anal intercourse with partners believed to be HIV-negative increased from 2.75 at baseline to 4 during year two.

Findings indicate that the use of Truvada as PrEP did not increase sexual risk-taking among HIV-negative MSM. However, findings are tempered by the fact that the study provided the participants with risk-reduction counseling, condoms and lubricant, routine HIV tests, STD testing, and links to prevention services. The researchers acknowledge that these measures may have affected the observed risk reduction and risk declines.

The full report, “Sexual Risk Behavior Among HIV-Uninfected Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) Participating in a Tenofovir Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Randomized Trial in the United States,” is published online in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month

May 6, 2013

From AIDS.gov…

May is designated as Hepatitis Awareness Month in the United States. During May, agencies and offices across the federal government as well as state and local partners work to shed light on this hidden epidemic by raising awareness of viral hepatitis and encouraging priority populations to get tested. Learn about Heatitis C…

For more information about Hepatitis Awareness Month, go to the AIDS.gov Website.

Task Force calls for every adult to be routinely screened for HIV

May 3, 2013

From WebMD

New guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force call for virtually every adult to be routinely screened for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The updated recommendations, which are published in the April 30 issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest that pregnant women and all people aged 15 to 65 be screened for HIV. The guidelines are now more in line with screening recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“HIV is a critical public health problem. There are 50,000 new infections in the U.S. each year, and we need to find ways to prevent and treat it,” said guideline author Dr. Douglas Owens, a professor of medicine at Stanford University and a senior investigator at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, in California.

The guidelines, last updated in 2005, reflect new evidence about the effectiveness of treatment, especially when started early in the course of HIV infection.

“The best way to reduce HIV-related death and disability is to avoid getting infected,” Owens said. “Should someone become infected, we want them to understand that there are very good treatments that will help them live longer and reduce transmission.”

Experts agreed that such blanket screening is the best — and possibly only — way to stop the HIV epidemic in its tracks.

Knowing one’s HIV status is “a first step for both prevention and needed medical services, yet the history of the epidemic has set up barriers such that, in some states, it is still not straightforward to access an HIV test without the need for written consent or a fee,” said Dr. Sten Vermund, director of the Institute for Global Health at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville. “Free, regular screening for HIV, much as we try to have regular blood pressure or breast cancer screening, is one of the best ways to start reducing the HIV epidemic in the U.S.”

Read the full article on WebMD.