Monthly Archives: April 2015

Intervention improves HIV med adherence among Blacks and Latinos


A counseling-based intervention has succeeded in improving adherence to antiretrovirals (ARVs) among HIV-positive blacks and Latinos who are reluctant to start treatment. Publishing their findings in AIDS and Behavior, researchers recruited 95 HIV-positive, treatment-naive African-American and Latino adults whose CD4 counts were below 500 and randomized them into either an intervention or a control arm.

The intervention included three individual counseling sessions, up to five support groups with other study participants, and personalized patient navigation for 12 to 24 weeks, depending on their needs. This “pre-adherence” intervention was designed for people who have refused to start ARVs or who believe they are not ready to take them. The control group was assigned to receive HIV treatment under standard protocol.

Eight months into the study, 60 percent of the intervention participants were adhering to ARVs seven days a week, according to drug concentrations in hair samples, compared with just 26.7 percent of the control participants. Additionally, the intervention participants had, on average, a nearly 10-fold lower viral load than the controls.

The researchers concluded that future study of this intervention is warranted.

To read the press release, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.

An era of new possibilities: HIV prevention for gay and bi men


By Eugene McCray, M.D., Director, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, CDC

CDC McCray_Eugene_2007_301_hiresWe have achieved some hard-won victories against HIV in recent years. New infections among women and injection drug users are declining, people with HIV are living longer, and more people than ever know their HIV status.  But one population — gay and bisexual men –is seeing infections rise, driven by increases among young gay men.

As I wrote last year, reducing new infections among gay and bisexual men, who bear the brunt of the new infections, is CDC’s top HIV prevention priority.  If we are to bring down new HIV infections from 50,000 per year, we must focus on the tools with the greatest potential to slow the spread of the HIV – including powerful new prevention approaches that weren’t on our radar just a few years ago.

To help meet this challenge, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced new prevention initiatives up to $125 million to expand use of two potent but underutilized tools to slow the spread of HIV among gay and bisexual men, particularly men of color.  One is pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.  The other, called Data to Care, is a new way of using surveillance data to help people living with HIV stay in care, protect their health, and reduce the risk of transmission to others.  These two approaches reflect how CDC is reshaping its HIV prevention strategies in an era of new possibilities.

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Can HIV accelerate age-related conditions?


To answer that question, researchers at the UCLA AIDS Institute and Center for AIDS Research and the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study investigated whether the virus induces age-associatedepigenetic changes—that is, changes to the DNA that in turn lead to changes in expression of gene levels without changing the inherited genetic code. These changes affect biological processes and can be brought on by environmental factors or by the aging process itself.

In a study published online in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE, the researchers suggest that HIV itself accelerates these aging related changes by more than 14 years.

“While we were surprised by the number of epigenetic changes that were significantly associated with both aging and HIV-infection, we were most surprised that the data suggests HIV-infection can accelerate aging-related epigenetic changes by 13.7 to 14.7 years,” said Beth Jamieson, professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and one of the study’s senior authors. “This number is in line with both anecdotal and published data suggesting that treated HIV-infected adults can develop the diseases of aging mentioned above, approximately a decade earlier than their uninfected peers.”

Read the full article.

Dr. Charles Rinaldo and Alan Jones of PATF talk about the beginning of the AIDS epidemic


Charles Rinaldo, PhD – Chairman and Professor, Dept. of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh

Pitt Men’s Study’s Dr. Rinaldo talks with NPR’s Essential Pittsburgh

Dr. Charles Rinaldo was part of a team of researchers investigating the rise of AIDS in Pittsburgh, research that at that time was called a “natural history study.” Through his subjects, Rinaldo developed an understanding of the severity of the spread of HIV , and became an early advocate for AIDS education and prevention. He joins Alan Jones of the Pittsburgh AIDS Taskforce to discuss what the social and medical landscape was like when AIDS was first appearing among the gay communities of Pittsburgh.

Listen to the interview here.