Only 1 in 5 doctors offers routine HIV screening for patients

From Edge on the Net

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis shows that while most primary care physicians offer regular, routine HIV testing to gay and bisexual men, only 1 in 5 provides routine screening for all patients.

“Testing remains an important HIV prevention tool. It is the first step toward ensuring that those living with HIV get the treatment and care they need to protect their health and reduce their likelihood of transmission. Yet the majority of Americans have never been tested, and nearly 1 in 6 people who are HIV-infected do not know it,” writes the CDC in their analysis.

The CDC recommends that everyone be tested at least once — and for gay men, at least once a year — to ensure those living with HIV get the care and treatment they need to protect their health and reduce the likelihood of transmission.

Young people with HIV respond well to human papillomavirus vaccine

aidsmap.com reports…

The quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine worked as well for teens and young adults with HIV as it did for their HIV-negative counterparts, according to study findings presented the 20th International AIDS Conference last week in Melbourne.

Human papillomavirus is a common sexually transmitted infection that causes abnormal cell growth. High-risk strains, including type 16 and 18, can cause cervical and anal cancer. People typically become infected with HPV shortly after they become sexually active, regardless of HIV status. But HIV-positive people tend to harbour more HPV types, are less likely to spontaneously clear HPV and may experience faster disease progression from dysplasia (abnormal cell changes) to cancer.

Continue reading on aidsmap.com

Stigma still a factor in fighting HIV

From the Huffington Post

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association reminds us that 12 U.S. states with some of the highest HIV incidence rates in the country still have not repealed their anti-sodomy laws, including Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Utah, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan and Idaho. That’s despite a 2003 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court declaring such laws unconstitutional.

Homophobia, racism, sexism, ageism, stigma and violence clearly contribute to the spread of HIV around the globe. Why get tested for HIV if you will be harmed because of your status? Why link to healthcare that may give you inadequate care or cause you harm? Why stay in care in a place that is hostile? How can you possibly remain 90 percent adherent to HIV meds if you have no place to live or store your medications, or a safe and confidential pharmacy to get them from? Why indeed. The HIV epidemic, no matter how close it comes to becoming a medicalized, chronic and manageable illness through the intervention of science will never come to an end unless these parallel social diseases are also defeated.

Read the full article on the Huffington Post.

Rates of HIV infection still going up in U.S. among young gay males

From philly.com

A new report offers good and bad news about the AIDS epidemic in the United States: The annual diagnosis rate of HIV, the virus that causes the disease, has dropped by one-third in the general population but has climbed among young gay and bisexual males.

Significantly fewer heterosexuals, drug users and women were diagnosed each year with HIV, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the annual diagnosis rate more than doubled for young gay and bisexual males.

The push for safer sex may be falling on deaf ears in a generation too young to have seen the ravages of AIDS, said report co-author Amy Lansky, deputy director for surveillance, epidemiology and laboratory sciences at the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.

“It’s been more than 30 years since the first cases were reported,” she said. “It’s harder to maintain that sense of urgency.”

The report only looked at people diagnosed with HIV, and health officials think many more are infected with the virus but don’t know it. The statistics also don’t say anything about when these people were infected, making it hard to pinpoint trends in efforts to prevent transmission of the virus.

Still, “we’re making significant progress and seeing declines overall,” said Lansky. However, she added, the rising numbers of diagnoses among young men who have sex with other men are “a considerable problem.”

The AIDS epidemic began more than 30 years ago. While the last two decades have brought great advances in drugs that prevent AIDS from developing in HIV-positive people, an estimated 1.1 million people are still living with HIV in the United States, Lansky said. Officials believe about 16 percent of those people — or about 176,000 — don’t know they’re infected, she said.

In the new report, published in the July 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers examined HIV diagnoses in the United States from 2002 to 2011 in people aged 13 and older.

Although almost 500,000 people were diagnosed with HIV during that time, the annual rate of diagnoses fell from 24 out of every 100,000 people to 16 — a decline of 33 percent.

Continue reading.

WHO recommends PrEP for gay and bi men at risk for HIV

From the Bay Area Reporter online

Gay and bisexual men who are at risk for HIV infection should consider using antiretroviral drugs for pre-exposure prophylaxis, better known as PrEP, according to new guidelines from the World Health Organization.

The WHO recommendation is similar to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines released in May, which state that health care providers should consider advising people at “substantial risk” to use PrEP to prevent HIV infection.

“With the WHO’s recommendation, two of the world’s most important public health institutions have recommended that gay and bisexual men who could become infected by HIV carefully consider PrEP,” said Project Inform Executive Director Dana Van Gorder. “In Project Inform’s view, this would especially include men and transgender women who ever bottom without condoms.”

Noting that HIV infection rates among gay and bi men remain high almost everywhere and new prevention options are urgently needed, WHO strongly recommended that men who have sex with men consider taking antiretroviral drugs as an additional method of protection along with condoms.

Continue reading here.

Newer, safer antiretrovirals an option for majority of HIV patients

From aidsmap.com

The majority of patients taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) that includes drugs associated with long-term side-effects may have the option of switching to a novel regimen that uses newer and safer anti-HIV drugs, according to Australian research published in PLOS One. The single-site study showed that up to 89% of patients had the option of changing to a combination that includes three active newer agents with improved safety and side-effect profiles.

The drugs associated with long-term side-effects evaluated in this study comprise the core antiretroviral drugs prescribed to the majority of people taking antiretroviral treatment today. But the authors acknowledge “most of the regimens considered as ‘viable’ in this study have not been rigorously tested in clinical trials and might be regarded as unconventional.” Nevertheless, they stress “the growing interest in testing novel combinations of ART agents, which exclude nucleoside(tide) and older non-nucleoside reverser transcriptase inhibitors (N(t)RTIs and NNRTIs, respectively), as well as ritonavir (booster dose).” Most patients taking HIV therapy have an excellent life expectancy. However, there is concern about the safety and tolerability of many routinely used anti-HIV drugs.

Investigators at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, Australia, called these the “RATE” drugs: ritonavir (Norvir), which is associated with drug interactions, diarrhoea and lipid disturbances; abacavir (Ziagen), which can involve a hypersensitivity reaction, has reduced potency at higher viral loads and may involve a risk of cardiovascular disease; tenofovir (Viread), which can cause bone and kidney problems; and efavirenz (Sustiva), associated with neuropsychiatric side-effects and increased lipids. Moreover, these drugs are usually used in combination, compounding their toxicity profiles.

Continue reading here.

Smoking and HIV – One man’s story


Smoking is especially dangerous for people who are living with HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS. Brian learned that lesson the hard way, when he had a stroke—a brain attack—at age 43. In this video, Brian talks about surviving HIV-related medical problems—then nearly losing his life because of smoking.  See All Brian’s videos.

And from LOGO online…

Smoking now leads to more deaths in the LGBT community than HIV according to the Centers for Disease Control, which also reports that while 20.5% of heterosexuals smoke, 30.8% of  gay people use tobacco products. “We know that approximately one million LGBT people [in the U.S.] will die early from tobacco-related causes,” says Dr. Scout from the Network for LGBT Health Equity. “We want to save those lives instead.”

I you’re HIV-positive and smoke, the combination can take even more years off your life: According to the Network for LGBT Health Equity, being HIV-positive takes an average of 5.1 years off one’s life, but people who smoke and have HIV die 12.3 years earlier on average. Yet the smoking rate is two to three times higher among adults who are HIV-positive than in the general public.