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
“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.
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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.
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There 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.
Read the full article on Advocate.com.