Few gay teenage boys get tested for HIV

From Medicalpress.com

teensThe greatest barriers to these teenage males getting tested are not knowing where to go to get an HIV test, worries about being recognized at a testing site and—to a lesser degree—thinking they are invincible and won’t get infected.

“Understanding the barriers to testing provides critical information for intervening, so we can help young men get tested,” said study first author Gregory Phillips II, a research assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an investigator for the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program at Feinberg.

“Rates of new HIV infections continue to increase among young gay and bisexual men,” said Brian Mustanski, principal investigator of the study, an associate professor of medical social sciences at Feinberg and director of IMPACT. “Testing is critical because it can help those who are positive receive lifesaving medical care. Effective treatment can also help prevent them from transmitting the virus to others.”

The study will be published Aug. 26 in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Continue reading.

HIV/AIDS still holds a powerful stigma

head-shot-will-you-still-love-me-bbf66e1c54ba224d30e4f1b43a80b972571de120-s800-c85From NPR.org

Indiana was hit with an outbreak of HIV/AIDS this spring, and it got a lot of attention because it is so exceptional.

Our perception of HIV/AIDS has changed since the disease emerged in the early 1980s. There are all kinds of treatments and resources — things that simply didn’t exist when the epidemic began.

In the U.S., an estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV, according to the CDC. New infections are down from the peak in the 1980s, but the epidemic is nowhere near over. HIV/AIDS has affected millions of people around the world. In this country, gay men have been hardest hit.

Today on For the Record: HIV then and now. Two survivors, from two different generations, tell their stories. Click the audio link on this page to listen to the full conversation.

HIV prevention pill a tough sell among Latinos

From NPR.org

“It hasn’t really hit the Latino community yet,” Jesse Hinostroza, an HIV prevention specialist with AltaMed health clinics, says while sitting at a table with a bowl of condoms and a stack of bilingual pamphlets about the pill. “They aren’t educated about it.” In California, New York, Texas and elsewhere, health workers are trying to get more high-risk Latino men to use the drug, Truvada. AltaMed’s efforts are being paid for by Gilead, the pharmaceutical company that makes Truvada.

The medication, which is used for “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” or PrEP, was approved by the FDA in 2012 for HIV prevention and has been shown to be more than 90 percent effective when used correctly. But health workers are encountering barriers among Latinos. Those barriers include a lack of knowledge about the drug, and the stigmas attached to sleeping with men and to perceived promiscuity. Many Latinos also have concerns about costs and side effects.

Read the full article.

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

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.

Continue reading.

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

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.

Study finds bisexuals have worse health than gay or straight people

From the Advocate.com

Gay_Men_In_Bed_02[1]Professors of Sociology at Rice University have found that bisexual Americans face higher health disparities than their gay, lesbian, and straight counterparts. A variety of these health issues stem from systemic socioeconomic vulnerability in the bisexual community, according to the new study.

“As a group, bisexual men and women have higher rates of a variety of factors that can lead to poor health — things like poverty or involvement with lifestyle activities that can lead to poor health, ” lead author Bridget Gorman tells The Advocate.“A big thing was emotional support. When you compare relative to other groups, bisexuals reported lower rates of getting the emotional support that they felt they needed.”

Bisexual respondents also reported a higher propensity for smoking and using alcohol than straight or gay counterparts — health risks that can be amplified by the higher rates of poverty among the bisexual community compared with other peers. Among gay, lesbian, and straight counterparts, researchers found members of the bisexual community were the least likely to be educated at a university level.

Continue reading on the Advocate.com.