Archive for October 2017

Sexually active men in Pennsylvania need to get tested for Syphilis

October 30, 2017

Pennsylvania is experiencing an alarming increase in Syphilis cases, primarily among men who have sex with men (MSM). The State Department of Health reports that new Syphilis infections are primarily among minority MSM under the age of 25. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that cases of new STDs are at record highs nationwide, including an 18 percent increase in Syphilis infections.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. If it goes untreated, it can lead to serious health problems including paralysis, blindness, and dementia. However, Syphilis is 100% curable with simple antibiotics.

Syphilis is spread through direct contact with a Syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You can get Syphilis and not have any symptoms so the only way to know for sure you’re not infected is to get tested.

Several locations around the state have free Syphilis testing. Click on this link to find testing near you.

To find out more about Syphilis, go to www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/stdfact-syphilis.htm

Fostemsavir controls viral load in half of people with highly drug-resistant HIV

October 29, 2017

From aidsmap.com

Fostemsavir, a new experimental attachment inhibitor, suppressed viral load in over half of participants with extensive drug resistance when added to a background regimen selected by resistance testing, Max Lataillade of ViiV Healthcare reported at the 16th European AIDS Conference in Milan on Friday.

The findings come from the phase 3 BRIGHTE study carried out in the United States, France and Brazil.

Fostemsavir (formerly BMS-663068) is a new experimental HIV attachment inhibitor which binds to the HIV gp120 protein, preventing HIV attachment to CD4 cells. Other inhibitors of HIV entry, enfuvirtide and maraviroc, have limited roles in HIV treatment. Enfuvirtide is an HIV fusion inhibitor, an injectable agent that is prescribed only for patients with no other treatment options. Maraviroc is a CCR5 antagonist; it prevents HIV from using the CCR5 receptor on the surface of CD4 cells to gain entry to the cell. It is used in treatment-experienced patients.

Fostemsavir is being developed by ViiV Healthcare as an agent for use in treatment-experienced patients with resistance to several classes of antiretroviral drug. The drug was acquired from Bristol-Myers Squibb along with several other experimental antiretroviral drugs in 2016.

Read the full article.

The WHO public health approach to HIV treatment and care: looking back and looking ahead

October 23, 2017

From the Lancet

In 2006, WHO set forth its vision for a public health approach to delivering antiretroviral therapy. This approach has been broadly adopted in resource-poor settings and has provided the foundation for scaling up treatment to over 19·5 million people. There is a global commitment to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030 and, to support this goal, there are opportunities to adapt the public health approach to meet the ensuing challenges. These challenges include the need to improve identification of people with HIV infection through expanded approaches to testing; further simplify and improve treatment and laboratory monitoring; adapt the public health approach to concentrated epidemics; and link HIV testing, treatment, and care to HIV prevention. Implementation of these key public health principles will bring countries closer to the goals of controlling the HIV epidemic and providing universal health coverage.

Read the full paper here.

 

HRSA awards $2.36 billion in grants to help Americans access HIV/AIDS care and medications

October 19, 2017

From HIV.gov

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced [yesterday] approximately $2.36 billion in Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grants awarded to cities, counties, states, and local community-based organizations in fiscal year (FY) 2017. This funding supports a comprehensive system of HIV primary medical care, medication, and essential support services to more than half a million people living with HIV in the United States.

“The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program plays a critical role in the United States’ public health response to HIV,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. “These grants will ensure that the most vulnerable Americans living with HIV/AIDS will have access to the necessary care and treatment needed to improve their health quality and medical outcomes.”

HRSA oversees the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which is a patient-centered system that provides care and treatment services to low income people living with HIV to improve health outcomes and reduce HIV transmission among hard to reach populations. The program serves more than 50 percent of people living with diagnosed HIV infection in the United States.

Read the full article.

m4mHealthySex.org: Using social media to reach men who have sex with men in Pennsylvania

October 10, 2017

In a recent study published in the September issue of AIDS Behavior, researchers were able to shed some light on the use of dating aps and Websites by men who have sex with men (MSM). The study showed that 3 in 4 MSM use Internet-based social media venues for the purpose of meeting other men. More than half reported frequent use.

Considering that gay and bi men make up less than 2 percent of the population but account for roughly 70 percent of new HIV infections (based on surveillance data obtained in 2014), and given the recent announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the number of reported chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis infections are at an all-time high in the United States (with gay and bi men making up a disproportionate number of new syphilis infections), it makes sense that gay-related dating aps and Websites would be a logical place to reach out to MSM with important prevention and testing information. In fact, the previously mentioned study’s authors concluded the ability to target MSM through social media “ensures that the right prevention message can be received by the intended audience…and could be an effective strategy for sexual health prevention research, interventions, and communication efforts.”

That’s our mission in a nutshell.

As part of the HIV Prevention and Care Project, and with the experienced input of the Pitt Men’s Study medical staff (both housed within the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health), m4mHhealthySex.org strives to get important health information to the people who need it, via the social media venues they frequent the most. Our sexual health educators reach out on Grindr, Scruff, Jack’d, Adam4Adam and Craigslist, in areas around the state that are particularly hard hit by HIV and other STDs. In 2016, we referred more than 600 MSM in Pennsylvania to free HIV/STD testing, sent a variety of Health Alerts (short bulletins alerting MSM to critical health issues) to more than 8,000 recipients, and added to our archive of 450-plus informative posts concerning HIV and other STDs, PrEP, sexual health and the general wellbeing of men who have sex with men.

Being informed about sexual health can protect you from serious sexually transmitted infections. It can also keep our community healthy and strong. So if you see us online, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can also browse through our helpful links related to STD/HIV testing, PrEP and general health.

For more information about m4mHealthySex.org, the HIV Prevention and Care Project, and/or sexual health in general, contact us at m4mInformation@pitt.edu. We’re here to help.

UNAIDS warns that HIV-related stigma is preventing people from accessing HIV services

October 5, 2017

GENEVA, 3 October 2017—UNAIDS has released a new report showing how stigma and discrimination is creating barriers to accessing HIV prevention, testing and treatment services and putting lives at risk.

The report, Confronting discrimination: overcoming HIV-related stigma and discrimination in health-care settings and beyond, was launched by the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, during the Human Rights Council Social Forum. It shows that people living with HIV who experience high levels of HIV-related stigma are more than twice as likely to delay enrolment into care than people who do not perceive HIV-related stigma.

“When people living with, or at risk of, HIV are discriminated against in health-care settings, they go underground. This seriously undermines our ability to reach people with HIV testing, treatment and prevention services,” said Mr Sidibé. “Stigma and discrimination is an affront to human rights and puts the lives of people living with HIV and key populations in danger.”

Read the full article here.