News from The Liver Meeting 2016

Sofosbuvir/ledipasvir is effective for people with HIV/HCV co-infection in real-world clinical practice

The sofosbuvir/ledipasvir (Harvoni) co-formulation used in real-world clinical practice produced good sustained virological response rates similar to those seen in clinical trials for HIV-positive people who have co-infection with hepatitis C, according to a pooled analysis presented at the 2016 Liver Meeting conference, organised by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) this month in Boston.

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Grazoprevir triple regimen demonstrates high cure rates, even for hard-to-treat people

A new three-drug co-formulation containing Merck's grazoprevir plus the investigational agents MK-3682 and ruzasvir was highly effective for people with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes 1, 2 or 3, with sustained response rates of 86 to 100% depending on treatment duration, according to study results presented at the conference.

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People with HIV/HCV co-infection see good cure rates in real-world practice in Madrid

More than 90% of HIV-positive people treated with direct-acting antivirals for hepatitis C – including many with liver cirrhosis – achieved sustained virological response and few discontinued treatment due to side-effects, showing that real-world clinical practice can produce results as good as those seen in formal clinical trials, according to results from a Spanish study presented at the conference.

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8-week triple DAA combo cures most people with genotype 1-6 hepatitis C

A three-drug regimen of sofosbuvir, velpatasvir and voxilaprevir taken for 8 weeks demonstrated an overall sustained virological response rate of 95% for previously untreated people with all hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes, while a 12-week regimen cured 96-97% of people who experienced prior treatment failure on direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), according to a set of phase 3 studies presented at the conference.

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Birth cohort screening and linkage to care for HCV treatment still weak in United States

Grave weaknesses in hepatitis C screening and linkage to care are still widespread in the United States and threaten to leave a large proportion of baby boomers with hepatitis C untreated, presentations at the conference showed.

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AbbVie pangenotypic combination cures 98% or above across genotypes

AbbVie’s combination of glecaprevir and pibrentasvir cured at least 98% of people with hepatitis C in three large clinical trials covering five out of six genotypes of the virus, and is likely to receive marketing approval in the United States and European Union as the first ribavirin-free pangenotypic direct-acting antiviral combination next year, the conference heard.

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AbbVie pangenotypic combination cures almost all hard-to-treat people with HCV genotype 3

AbbVie’s pangenotypic combination of glecaprevir and pibrentasvir cured almost all of the hardest-to-treat genotype 3 patients – those with cirrhosis and/or previous treatment experience – in a phase II trial, and looks suitable for use as an 8-week regimen in genotypes 2, 4, 5 and 6, according to results of studies presented at the conference.

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US Veterans Affairs and Australia show potential for rapid elimination of hepatitis C

If sufficient money is available to pay for direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), the US Veterans Affairs (VA) could cure the majority of veterans under its care of hepatitis C within three years, and has already shown it has the capacity to initiate almost 7000 people on treatment in a single month, George Ioannou of University of Washington, Seattle, reported at the conference.

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Tenofovir alafenamide approved for hepatitis B, works well with less effect on bones

Tenofovir alafenamide (TAF), a new lower-dose pro-drug, matches the older tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) for antiviral activity against hepatitis B virus (HBV) but causes less bone mineral loss, according to a report at the conference. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved stand-alone TAF for hepatitis B treatment and a European Medicines Agency committee issued a positive opinion.

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Grazoprevir/elbasvir + sofosbuvir highly effective for hard-to-treat genotype 3 hepatitis C patients

A triple regimen of grazoprevir/elbasvir (Zepatier) plus sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) without ribavirin cured 96% of previously untreated and 97% of treatment-experienced people with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 3 and liver cirrhosis, matching rates seen in easier-to-treat patient groups, according to results from the C-ISLE study presented at the conference.

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Other aidsmap news

Chemsex and slamming “suffused with romantic, emotional and communal attachments”

While gay men’s use of drugs in sexual contexts is often portrayed as deviant, extreme and unconnected with the sentimental norms of stable relationships, ethnographic research in France suggests that many young gay men’s practices of drug use are entangled with the search for love and a willingness to build emotional bonds with other men.

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Self-sampling for HIV testing popular with gay men who have not recently tested, but less uptake by African people

Three quarters of those using England’s free self-sampling service are men who have sex with men, with the service particularly popular among younger men and men who have not recently tested, Luis Guerra of Public Health England told a Public Health England seminar last week.

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Long term decline in consistent condom use among Australian gay men

Data from the last ten years of the Australian Gay Community Periodic Surveys shows a steady decline in consistent condom use, with more gay men attempting to minimise their risk by serosorting or by having an undetectable viral load. While HIV-positive men appear to be increasingly confident in their low risk of HIV transmission, it is not clear that HIV-negative men have fully embraced the impact of antiretrovirals on HIV prevention.

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Editors' picks from other sources

UNAIDS: Young African women are especially vulnerable to HIV/AIDS

from Science

The annual World AIDS Day report of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) offers a far more nuanced take on the epidemic than it has in previous years. For the first time, the report examines the disease in four age brackets that it calls “the life-cycle approach to HIV.” UNAIDS suggests this breakdown – 0 to 14, 15 to 24, 25 to 49, and 50-plus – should lead to a clearer view of the epidemic’s “complex dynamics” and a more targeted response.

Will quackery guide Trump's global health policy?

from Bhekisisa

The US remains one of the leading funders of global health but will this change on president-elect Donald Trump’s watch?

Russia wishes away its HIV epidemic

from The Moscow Times

Epidemiologists have developed the means to stop HIV in its tracks, but Russia is barely listening.

Czech Republic: Police drop charges against all 30 gay men living with HIV following Prague Public Health Authority ‘witch hunt’

from HIV Justice Network

All criminal charges have been dropped against the 30 gay men living with HIV who were reported to the police by the Prague Public Health Authority earlier this year after they were diagnosed with an STI, Czech media report today. The draconian behaviour of Prague Public Health led to widespread condemnation by human rights defenders.

Why are HIV groups charging Gilead with bad behavior in new PrEP trial?

from The Body

Gilead is not following the accepted standard for community engagement in its new pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) trial, and we are among a coalition of HIV activists and organisations from Europe and North America calling them out on their bad corporate behavior. We root our criticism in the Good Participatory Practice (GPP) guidelines that were inspired, in part, by controversies in earlier PrEP trials.