More news from CROI 2018

Lesotho making strong progress towards 90-90-90 targets

Lesotho, in spite of a high HIV prevalence of over 25%, is making substantial progress toward meeting the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets, with a reported 77% of adults who tested positive in a household survey already knowing their HIV status, Dr Thin of the Lesotho Ministry of Health told participants at the 25th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2018) held in Boston in March.

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Integrase inhibitors do not raise risk of IRIS in severely immunocompromised people

Use of an integrase inhibitor, which can bring down viral load rapidly, was not associated with an increased risk of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) in people who started antiretroviral treatment with very low CD4 cell counts, according to a presentation at the conference.

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South Africa: women may have higher rates of HIV than men because fewer men are on treatment

South African researchers presenting a study at the conference have suggested that the reason the extremely high rates of HIV infection in women are stubbornly refusing to decline is, seemingly unfairly, because women are more likely to be diagnosed and take antiretroviral therapy than men.

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Switching from abacavir to TAF improves platelet function

People who switched from an antiretroviral regimen containing abacavir to one containing tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) showed less platelet reactivity, which reduces platelet aggregation or blood clotting, according to a report at the conference.

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Research sheds more light on cardiovascular risk in people with HIV

People with HIV are more likely to develop cardiovascular conditions, including atherosclerosis and peripheral artery disease, than their HIV-negative counterparts, researchers reported at the conference.

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Older people in United States more likely to have AIDS at the time of HIV diagnosis

People with HIV aged 60 and over in the United States are more than twice as likely to have an AIDS-defining illness or a CD4 cell count below 200 compared to under-40s, according to data presented to the conference.

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Age difference in HIV infection matters – but it’s not always the younger person who is at risk

A European study of men who have sex with men (MSM) presented at the conference shows that age makes a considerable difference to whether a person is more likely to be infected with, or to transmit, HIV.

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New South Wales puts 9000 people on PrEP, achieves a one-third decline in new HIV infections

The state of New South Wales in Australia has seen a fall of one-third in diagnoses of recent HIV infection since it started its pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) implementation project, EPIC-NSW (Expanded PrEP Implementation in the Community), the conference heard.

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Failure of second-line ART is common in resource-limited countries, but modern third-line regimens work well

More than half of people in low- and middle-income countries may not maintain viral suppression on second-line antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to a study presented at the conference.

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Very early treatment in children limits the HIV reservoir

Very early HIV treatment in infants is feasible and safe and leads to a small reservoir of infected cells, two studies from Botswana and Thailand show. The findings offer hope that infants diagnosed and treated soon after birth will have a better chance of controlling HIV if future research leads to interventions that can control HIV without prolonged treatment – a so-called functional cure.

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Isoniazid preventive therapy: do the risks outweigh the benefits in pregnant women with HIV?

Isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) during and after pregnancy in women living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in tuberculosis (TB) endemic areas in Africa, Asia and Haiti resulted in serious adverse events quite possibly attributable to isoniazid with no significant reduction in TB cases, participants heard at the conference.

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Treatment with extended-release naltrexone increases chances that HIV-positive prisoners will maintain viral suppression after release

Treatment with extended-release naltrexone is associated with improved viral suppression among HIV-positive prisoners, according to two US studies presented at the conference.

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News from the European Chemsex Forum

The chemsex response is reshaping sexual health services and reinventing harm reduction

Chemsex has led the French community-based HIV organisation AIDES to bring two previously separate strands of its work together, Fred Bladou told the recent European Chemsex Forum in Berlin. AIDES began to talk about drug use with gay men and to talk about sexuality with people who inject drugs, he said.

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Loneliness and community are key to chemsex

The forum highlighted how the perspectives of activists and health professionals working on the issue have changed. When the first forum took place two years ago in London, most of the discussion was about the drugs that gay men were taking, the impact of potent drug combinations on the body and the brain, and whether a harm reduction approach is even possible when the drug is crystal meth. But there had been almost no discussion of sex, sexual addiction or sexual compulsion, Ben Collins, the organiser of the meeting, said.

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Editors' picks from other sources

Grindr is letting other companies see user HIV status and location data

from Buzzfeed

A data analysis conducted by an outside research firm, and independently verified by BuzzFeed News, shows that a popular gay dating app is sharing its users’ HIV status with two other companies.

The blesser's curse

from The Atlantic

How sugar daddies and vaginal microbes created the world’s largest HIV epidemic.

Concerns about Robert Redfield for CDC

from Poz

Nominated to head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr Redfield has close ties with anti-gay and anti-PLHIV activists.

Gay men seeking HIV-preventing PrEP drugs are being ‘turned away’ from sexual health clinics over trial capacity

from Pink News

More than two dozen sexual health clinics in England are now turning away gay men who are seeking to take HIV-preventing drugs, PinkNews has found.

UN official questions ethics of sexual misconduct victims in bizarre speech

from The Guardian

Michel Sidibé, the director of UNAIDS, has attacked whistleblowers who raised concerns about the handling of a recent sexual harassment and assault case, apparently suggesting they lacked ethics and morals.