Archive for July 2015

HIV PEP with emtricitabine/tenofovir/rilpivirine has excellent completion and adherence rates

July 20, 2015

From aidsmap.com

Daily post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) with single tablet emtricitabine/tenofovir/rilpivirine (Complera, Eviplera) has excellent completion rates and good side-effect and safety profiles, Australian investigators report in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The open-label, non-randomised study involved 100 men who have sex with men (MSM) requiring PEP after possible sexual exposure to HIV. Treatment lasted 28 days and was completed by 92% of participants. Side-effects were mild, the most common being nausea and tiredness. There were no serious adverse events.

Prompt PEP, after possible sexual or occupational exposure to HIV, can reduce the risk of infection. Guidelines recommend triple-drug therapy, ideally commenced within 72 hours of exposure. Failure of PEP has been linked to poor treatment adherence or the premature discontinuation of treatment. A recent analysis of 97 PEP studies found that only 57% of patients completed their four-week course of treatment.

The combination pill emtricitabine/tenofovir/rilpivirine provides well tolerated and easy-to-take once-daily HIV therapy. Though it must be taken with food, investigators from Australia hypothesised that the combination pill would provide convenient and safe PEP.

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Black market for Truvada PrEP may undermine treatment adherence in marginalised people living with HIV

July 15, 2015

From aidsmap.com

The increasing demand for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is likely to increase the likelihood that some marginalised individuals living with HIV sell some of their prescribed medication to pill brokers and drug dealers, according to a study presented to the Conference of the Association for the Social Sciences and Humanities in HIV in Stellenbosch, South Africa last week.

Steven Kurtz told the conference that several reports have documented street markets for diverted antiretrovirals (ARVs) in the United States. His own research focuses on south Florida, where he recruited 147 HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) who regularly use cocaine, crack or heroin. He purposively sampled (over-recruited) individuals who had sold or traded their antiretrovirals, so that he could better understand the factors associated with doing so.

Economic vulnerability is the key explanation. Within this sample, men who had recently sold ARVs were more likely to have an income below $1000 a month, to have traded sex for money or drugs and to be dependent on drugs. Age, race and education were not relevant factors. Unsurprisingly, men who had sold their HIV treatment had poor levels of adherence to it.

Continue reading on aidsmap.com.

San Diego activist shares his experience taking PrEP for 100 days

July 13, 2015

 From Gay San Diego

Activist Rick Cervantes

Activist Rick Cervantes

In February, I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to go on PrEP. Do I really want to take a pill every day? Do I want to see a doctor every three months? And my own fears kicked in — what if it doesn’t work? I made an appointment with a doctor at Sharp, we talked about it honestly and I was sold.

I had to get some initial bloodwork done, of course an HIV test, and some other general health tests. My test came back negative that same day and the doctor wrote a prescription for Truvada. My prescription was ready later that day, and the next morning I was taking my first pill. I’ve taken one pill every day since then — now over 100 days — and I’m so glad I made that choice.

Sure, it was a little hard at first. After the first couple of days, when the medicine started to settle into my body, I didn’t feel so good. I had some mild nausea and decided to take a couple of days off work to let the symptoms subside — which they did after three days. I’ve never had another side effect since then and I’ve taken other medications in my life that were a lot more common than Truvada and had much worse side effects.

I’ve proudly posted about taking PrEP on my personal social media and many other online groups related to PrEP and HIV, and, as I mentioned earlier, it’s really caught people’s attention.

Working with the #BeTheGeneration campaign, we’ve really made an impact, and I hope more and more people continue to reach out to me, Benny and others at The Center to ask questions. We want people to know about the options available to them, and we want to help people stop being so fearful and put an end to the stigma and shaming.

I know that being on PrEP has made feel more confident and healthier and has given me a better outlook on sex and I want you to be able feel this freedom too. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or anyone else at The Center’s #BeTheGeneration campaign, for more information or just to talk.

Together, we can end new transmissions of HIV!

—Rick Cervantes is the social media coordinator at The San Diego LGBT Community Center and active in its #BeTheGeneration campaign. Reach him at 619-692-2077 ext. 220 or follow his journey on Twitter @mistercervantes.

Why getting tested could help your community

July 1, 2015

 From the Huffington Post

One of the biggest misconceptions about the AIDS epidemic in the United States is that it’s over. This belief is also part of why the disease is so dangerous — and why campaigns like this week’s National HIV Testing Week are so necessary.

Nationally, 1.2 million Americans live with HIV or AIDS and about 50,000 more are diagnosed with HIV each year. But for a more complete view of the virus’ impact, localized data is telling. Philadelphia has a citywide HIV infection rate that’s five times the U.S. national average, and the infection rate in one of the city’s southwestern neighborhoods is comparable to rates in Sierra Leone and Ghana.

A full two-thirds of new HIV infections occur in just 3 percent of U.S. counties, according to newly released statistics from AIDSVu, a data project developed by researchers at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health that maps data about the disease using information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. census. These counties are found in both cities and rural areas, but they have one thing in common: a lack of resources.

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