Can HIV accelerate age-related conditions?

From MedicalExpress.com

To answer that question, researchers at the UCLA AIDS Institute and Center for AIDS Research and the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study investigated whether the virus induces age-associatedepigenetic changes—that is, changes to the DNA that in turn lead to changes in expression of gene levels without changing the inherited genetic code. These changes affect biological processes and can be brought on by environmental factors or by the aging process itself.

In a study published online in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE, the researchers suggest that HIV itself accelerates these aging related changes by more than 14 years.

“While we were surprised by the number of epigenetic changes that were significantly associated with both aging and HIV-infection, we were most surprised that the data suggests HIV-infection can accelerate aging-related epigenetic changes by 13.7 to 14.7 years,” said Beth Jamieson, professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and one of the study’s senior authors. “This number is in line with both anecdotal and published data suggesting that treated HIV-infected adults can develop the diseases of aging mentioned above, approximately a decade earlier than their uninfected peers.”

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.

Most HIV infections from those not treated

From the Washington Blade

protection-from-HIV-1-infection-in-human-CD4+-T-cellsA new study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that more than 90 percent of new HIV infections in the U.S. are passed on from HIV-positive people who are not in medical care or treatment, the Journal of the American Medical Association reports.

The study, published Feb. 23, “estimates that 91.5 percent of new HIV infections in 2009 were attributable to people with HIV who were not in medical care, including those who didn’t know they were infected. In comparison, less than six percent of new infections could be attributed to people with HIV who were in care and receiving antiretroviral therapy,” the Journal reports.

“We were shocked to see that the number was as high as it is — nine out of 10 new HIV infections in 2009 occurred this way — over 91.5 percent” said Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President. “Such off-the-charts numbers suggest that HIV/AIDS resources, funding and energies must be directed toward far more aggressive and proactive HIV testing, linkage to medical care and antiretroviral treatment for those already infected rather than to the more expensive and esoteric HIV prevention methods such as PrEP. We’ve known for over four years that ‘treatment as prevention’ works. Until this study, we just didn’t know how great the need was for us to fully deploy ‘treatment as prevention’ to get as many HIV-positive individuals in care and on treatment as possible in order to break the chain of infection.”

New study: AIDS drug cuts risk of infection by 86 percent

prep-400x210(Reuters) – Gay men at high risk of HIV who took a daily dose of a Gilead AIDS drug as a preventative measure cut their risk of infection by 86 percent, according to results of a British trial released on Tuesday. Researchers who conducted the trial of so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) said the results offer real hope of reversing the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men, one of the highest risk groups.

“These results … show PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV infection in the real world,” said Sheena McCormack, a professor of clinical epidemiology at University College London and the study’s lead investigator.

PrEP involves people who do not have HIV but who are at high risk of becoming infected and seek to protect themselves by taking a single pill, usually a combination of two antiretrovirals, every day.

Continue reading.

Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States 2013 is now available online

map2From the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) annual HIV Surveillance Report titledDiagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2013, is now available online [PDF 2.9MB]. The report summarizes information about diagnosed HIV infection from 2009 to 2013 representative of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and six U.S. dependent areas. Overall, HIV diagnosis rates remain stable yet disparities persist among some groups.

The report shows that the annual rate of diagnosis in the United States remained stable with 15.0 per 100,000 in 2013 compared to 15.3 per 100,000 in 2009.

Despite this, disparities persist—and in some cases—rates have increased among certain groups. As evidenced by this report and other previously released data, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM); young adults; and racial and ethnic minorities continue to bear the disproportionate burden of HIV…

Continue reading.

Early HIV treatment advantage is lost if treatment is interrupted

From AIDSMEDS.comAnti-Retroviral-AIDS-Drug-006

The immune recovery benefits conferred by starting antiretrovirals (ARVs) for HIV shortly after infection are lost if treatment is later interrupted, aidsmap reports. In a recent study, there was no difference in terms of immune reconstitution between those who started treatment immediately and later interrupted it for a time and those who waited to start treatment. Publishing their findings in the journal AIDS, French researchers measured the CD4 to CD8 cell counts, and determined the ratio between them, among 727 HIV-positive people in the PRIMO cohort study.

CD4 cells are also known as “T-helper” cells, and are key to instigating the body’s immune response to an infection. CD8, or “T-suppressor,” immune cells are involved in killing off infected cells. Healthy HIV-negative people HIV typically have more CD4s than CD8s, meaning their CD4 to CD8 ratio is greater than 1.0—usually between 1.0 and 2.0. The ratio for an HIV-positive person is typically below 1.0.

continue reading on AIDSMEDS.

Read the study abstract here.

Study shows “it get better,” but…

A new study released in the Journal of Adolescent Health looked at the lives of 231 LGBTQ adolescents to see if it really does get better–referencing the It Gets Better campaign launched by activist Dan Savage. After following the youth for 3.5 years, researchers at Northwest University in Chicago found that, technically, yes, “it gets better.” But the findings also suggested a more complex set of mental health issues at play for LGBTQ youth. In short, things don’t automatically get better. Early experiences of victimization were shown to have a lasting impact on later psychological functioning. As a result, researchers went on to suggest the need for interventions which decrease stigma and victimization at an early age.

You can read more about the study on  Reuters Health.