CDC dedicates $185M to prevent HIV among trans and MSM

From edgeboston.com

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently announced $185 million in funding for three new programs to prevent HIV infection among transgender people and gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), with a particular focus on MSM of color.

The programs are part of a multi-pronged strategy to address the disproportionally heavy burden of HIV infection on MSM and transgender men and women. These programs will help health departments and local HIV prevention partners deliver and apply the most effective HIV prevention tools.

In particular, CDC plans to award up to $125 million over a three-year period to state and local health departments to expand the use of: 1) pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for uninfected MSM and transgender people who are considered at substantial risk for HIV infection; and 2) ongoing medical care and antiretroviral treatment for people already living with HIV. Health departments will be funded to provide PrEP information and referrals and to conduct outreach and training to increase the number of healthcare providers who are knowledgeable about PrEP and offer it to their patients.

Backlash to New York City’s fear-based HIV prevention campaign

From aidsmeds.com

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s recent fear-based HIV prevention campaign may have led to unintended consequences by stigmatizing young black and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM). Publishing their findings in Health Affairs, researchers analyzed the 2010 “It’s Never Just HIV” campaign, which used fearful, horror-movie-like imagery and messaging to highlight health problems tied to HIV or its treatment, such as osteoporosis, dementia and anal cancer.

“Relying on fear is risky business,” the authors write in the paper. The health department came to appreciate that its analysis of the campaign’s success could not be governed simply by HIV rates among the target population. Rather, the department needed to consider the campaign’s social and political impact. Not only was there a huge amount of controversy among people in the HIV community, but according to certain criticisms, people at risk of HIV and those living with the virus may have suffered stigma as a result of the campaign.

New York City has since moved away from fear-based HIV prevention campaigns. For example, “Be HIV Sure,” which launched on World AIDS Day 2014, encourages HIV testing as part of sexual intimacy.

To read a press release on the study, click here.

People who don’t tell anyone else their HIV status have as good health outcomes as other people living with HIV

From aidsmap.com

[D]oes non-disclosure matter? Is it associated with poorer health outcomes? While a quantitative survey, completed on a single occasion by respondents, has some limitations in terms of the insight it can give into the quality of people’s lives and relationships, these data are reassuring.

Mental health difficulties and adherence problems were quite common among survey respondents. But they weren’t more frequently reported by people who hadn’t disclosed to anyone. After statistical adjustment for other factors that could skew the results, rates of the following were very similar in people who disclosed and people who did not:

  • Low social support.
  • Symptoms of depression.
  • Symptoms of anxiety.
  • Problems with adherence to HIV treatment.
  • A detectable viral load.

In fact, some of the data suggested that having disclosed to most or all friends and family was actually associated with poorer outcomes in gay men. A more selective disclosure strategy was associated with better outcomes.

Read the full article on aidsmap.com.

Anti-HIV drug could reduce HIV in the Latino American community

drugFrom the Latin Post

When ingested daily, PrEP becomes present in the bloodstream and wards off the spread of HIV. The CDC reiterates the importance of taking the pill EVERY day. For those who take the medicines as directed, the risk of getting HIV infection plummets, up to 92 percent lower. However, failing to ingest the pill daily could mean an insufficient amount medicine in the body, and PrEP isn’t guaranteed to block the virus.

“I feel that it’s a great breakthrough in the fight against HIV. I know that we have public health strategy if we don’t drop the ball, as we have in many instances in the past,” Gustavo Morales, Director of Access to Care Services at the Latino Commission on AIDS, said to Latin Post. “Specifically what I mean by this is PrEP cannot be seen as the sole strategy, and it requires a counseling process, such as biomedical intervention that does require peer, hand-to-hand social support. Because, PrEP without adherence, without understanding the facts behind it, without risk awareness, without a conversation, is not effective.”

Read the full article.

New study shows gay and bi men twice as likely to get skin cancer

From USA Today

Tanning-x400Gay and bisexual men in the United States are twice as likely as heterosexual men to get skin cancer, a new study shows.

One likely reason: Gay and bisexual men are three times more likely to engage in indoor tanning, according to the study to be presented Friday in San Francisco at a meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The study suggests that anti-tanning messages, most often aimed at young women, need to be broader, says researcher Sarah Arron, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco. “The primary reason that men and women engage in indoor tanning is because of the cultural association of tanning with a healthy look and overall attractiveness,” Arron says. “We need to dispel the myth of the healthy tan.”

Tanning, whether in the sun or in a tanning bed, can cause skin cancer, including melanoma, the most dangerous kind, according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s office.

Free AIDSINFO drug app: HIV-Related drug information for health care providers and consumers

Healthcare providers and consumers need HIV-related drug information and, increasingly, they depend on mobile devices to access that information. AIDSinfo is meeting both needs with the release of the AIDSinfo Drug App. Using data from theAIDSinfo Drug Database, the drug app provides information on more than 100 HIV-related Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved and investigational drugs. The AIDSinfo Drug App—provided free from the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health—is available for iOS and Android devices.

The information on the AIDSinfo Drug App, offered in English and Spanish, is tailored to meet the needs of both healthcare providers and consumers. The app works offline, ensuring that healthcare providers and consumers can access vital drug information anywhere—even in healthcare facilities that may not have an Internet connection.

The AIDSinfo Drug App pulls FDA labels from Daily Med for approved HIV-related drugs. The app also integrates information on drug nomenclature and chemical structure from ChemIDplus. Information from the labels is condensed in easy-to-understand summaries in English and Spanish for consumers.

Users can also access information on HIV-related drugs under investigation via the AIDSinfo Drug App. The investigational drug summaries, which are developed from the latest clinical trial results, are tailored by audience: technical, more detailed summaries for healthcare providers and less complex summaries in English and Spanish for consumers.

Users can also personalize the AIDSinfo Drug App. According to their needs, users can set pill reminders, bookmark drugs, or add personal notes:

  • Set pill reminders: Medication adherence is crucial to successful HIV treatment, and the app’s medication reminder can help those taking HIV medicines stay on schedule. Choosing from a menu of alarms, app users can set pill reminders for any time of the day and any day of the week.
  • Bookmark drugs: Busy users can bookmark frequently referenced drugs. No more searching for the same drugs again and again.
  • Add notes: App users can also customize drugs with personal notes. For example, patients can add notes during medical visits; healthcare providers can add relevant information useful at the point of care.

Stay tuned as AIDSinfo updates the app with additional features. Visit AIDSinfo to download the drug app to your iOS or Android device. And keep us posted on your experience with the app. We welcome your questions and comments at ContactUs@aidsinfo.nih.gov.