Injected HIV treatment ready by 2017?

From HIV Equal

CytoDyn Inc. announced in a news release last week that its ongoing extension study of PRO 140 monotherapy has shown “complete viral-load suppression” for well over a year, with some patients approaching 17 months. The phase I trial included 23 patients.

HIV injection treatment “The company believes that complete virologic suppression through treatment with a single agent, PRO 140, a safe and efficacious antibody, rather than through the widely used HAART combination therapy, could present a significant opportunity to treat HIV patients. Based on these monotherapy results, the company plans to file a second Phase 3 protocol for PRO 140 monotherapy with the FDA. CytoDyn is currently conducting a pivotal phase 3 trial for PRO 140 as an adjunct therapy with expected commercialization in 2017.”

On Jan 22, the company filed a request for Breakthrough Therapy Designation with the FDA for PRO 140 as a treatment for HIV-1 infection in treatment experienced patients with virologic failure, meaning other medications alone no longer work for them.

PRO140 works by blocking the HIV co-receptor CCR5 on T-cells, preventing entry of the virus. So far, CytoDyn claims that PRO 140 does not negatively impact the normal immune functions mediated by CCR5.

“A recent Phase 2b clinical trial demonstrated that PRO 140 can prevent viral escape in patients during several weeks of interruption from conventional drug therapy,” according to a news release.”

Read the article on HIV Equal online.

CDC: A majority of teens are not getting tested for HIV

From suntimes.com

The report, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at young people aged 18 to 24. On average, 22 percent of high school students and 33 percent of young adults who had ever had sex reported getting tested for HIV.

teens not testingThe findings were concerning, as in 2006 the CDC recommended everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV, Reuters reported. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend HIV testing to be offered as routine care for teenagers and young adults, and at least annual visits for people at high-risk of infection, such as gay or bisexual males and intravenous drug users, according to an AP report.

Researchers looked at data from high school students from 2005 to 2013 and young adults from 2011 to 2013. There was no increase in testing among high school or young adult males from this time period, regardless of gender or race. For young women, screening decreased from about 42 percent to 40 percent. For white women, HIV testing declined from about 37 percent to 34 percent, and from 69 percent to 60 percent for black women.

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Gay/bi men are 2% of population but 67% of all new HIV infections in 2014

From Reuters Health

HIV still on the rise among gay menNew strategies to reduce risky sexual behaviors among young gay and bisexual men with human immunodeficiency virus may be needed to reduce new infections, according to a new study.

Researchers found that most young gay and bisexual men with HIV don’t have the virus suppressed by medication, making them more likely to infect others, and more than half reported recent unprotected sex.

While medications for HIV and access to those treatments improved over time, lead author Patrick Wilson said addressing unemployment, education and mental health is also important.

“I think we have to take a multipronged approach,” said Wilson, of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

Gay and bisexual men represent about 2 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for about 67 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV in 2014, according to the HIV Surveillance Report released on Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (see Reuters Health story of December 6, 2015 here).

The steepest rise in HIV diagnoses between 2005 and 2014 was among young gay and bisexual men, with increases ranging from 56 percent among young white men to 87 percent among young black and Latino men.

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Vitamin D sufficiency may speed up immune recovery during HAART

From medicalnewstoday.com

vitimin D aids HARRTThere are an estimated 33 million people infected with HIV worldwide – 1.2 million of them in the US. The advent in 1996 of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) – a combination of different classes of medications taken daily – means that for many patients who have access to the medication, what was once a fatal diagnosis can now be managed as a chronic disease.

For their study, Prof. Ezeamama and colleagues examined 18 months of data for 398 HIV-positive adults on HAART.

The data included a measure of participants’ vitamin D levels at the start of the trial (baseline) and their CD4 cell counts at months 0, 3, 6, 12 and 18.

In their analysis, the researchers looked at how the changes in CD4 cell counts related to the baseline levels of vitamin D over the study period.

They found that participants with sufficient levels of vitamin D at baseline recovered more of their immune function than participants with vitamin D deficiency.

Read the full story here.

University of Pittsburgh launching study to determine ways to promote health among aging gay and bisexual men

From NewsMedical.net

Dr Ron Stall at the University of Pittsburgh Grad School of Public Health

Dr Ron Stall at the University of Pittsburgh Grad School of Public Health

As the U.S. reaches an important milestone this year in the fight against HIV with more than half the people living with the virus older than age 50, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is launching a study to determine ways to promote health among aging gay and bisexual men, who make up about two-thirds of the people aging with HIV.

In an effort to create strategies for use in public health outreach nationwide, the research team will be taking an innovative approach to the study by looking for protective factors – called “resiliencies” – that are helping keep some men with HIV healthy and could be extended to other men, rather than simply fixing health problems as they arise. This research is funded with a three-year, $2.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“We celebrate that medications now exist to enable people with HIV to live well into old age,” said study principal investigator Ron Stall, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for LGBT Health Research at Pitt Public Health. “But we also need to recognize that the health complications that come with aging – both mental and physical – are compounded when you’re living with HIV. It is critical that we develop research-based programs to support HIV-positive people as they age.”

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People with HIV are at higher risk of several types of cancer, large study finds

From aidsmap.com

People living with HIV remain at risk of AIDS-defining cancers in the era of effective antiretroviral therapy, and also have higher rates of several non-AIDS cancers than the general population, including lung, anal and liver cancer, according to findings from a study of more than 86,000 HIV-positive people published in the October 6 Annals of Internal Medicine.

Since the advent of effective combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the mid-1990s, rates of the three AIDS-defining cancers – Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and cervical cancer – have fallen among people with HIV. These cancers are caused by opportunistic viruses that can take hold when the immune system is damaged and CD4 T-cell counts are low, though human papillomavirus (HPV) also causes cervical and anal cancer in otherwise healthy people.

Most studies, however, have found that HIV-positive people have a higher overall risk for other non-AIDS-related cancers compared to HIV-negative populations, although data have been inconsistent about specific cancer types. In fact, cancer rates among people with HIV have risen over time as they live long enough to develop malignancies.

Michael Silverberg of Kaiser Permanente Northern California and fellow investigators evaluated trends in cumulative incidence of common cancer types by HIV status among participants in the large North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design (NA-ACCORD).

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Awareness of treatment’s impact on transmission is transforming the lives of couples of mixed HIV status

From aidsmap.com

A greater understanding of the impact of HIV treatment on prevention is changing the experience of being in a relationship with a partner of a different HIV status, according to a qualitative Australian study published last week in the Sociology of Health and Illness. A biomedical intervention appears to be having unexpected effects – loosening the association of serodiscordant relationships with ‘risk’ and helping couples to experience their relationships as normal and safe.

Asha Persson of the University of New South Wales reports that people’s views about treatment as prevention have changed significantly in recent years. She previously researched the topic in 2009, soon after the ‘Swiss Statement’ was issued. At that time, people in a relationship with a partner of a different HIV status often expressed scepticism or uncertainty about the idea that HIV treatment could make a person non-infectious. They did not always see the relevance of the information to their own lives.

But in her more recent interviews, conducted in 2013 and 2014, couples readily discussed the implications of having an undetectable viral load. HIV treatment appears to be transforming the social and sexual lives of people living with HIV and their partners.

The research specifically focuses on so-called ‘serodiscordant couples’, in other words those in which one person has HIV and the other does not. The public health literature on serodiscordant relationships typically focuses on the risk of HIV transmission and tends to see such a relationship as inherently problematic. In contrast, Persson found that her interviewees wanted to stress how normal and positive their relationships were, with HIV being seen as ‘no big deal’.

Read the full article on aidsmap.com.