News from aidsmap

HIV criminalisation cases recorded in 72 countries, including 49 in the last four years

HIV criminalisation continues: a global review has found that HIV-related arrests, investigations, prosecutions and convictions have ever occurred in at least 72 countries, with recent cases occurring in 49 countries, including 14 in which the law appeared to be applied for the first time.


Just 18% of people with hepatitis/HIV co-infection and cirrhosis are screened for liver cancer as often as recommended

There is a “strikingly low adherence” to clinical guidelines for ultrasound screening for hepatocellular carcinoma in western Europe, researchers report in the Journal of Viral Hepatitis.


Following an HIV treatment interruption, most children recover immunologically

Just over one in ten (12%) children and adolescents living with HIV in Europe and Thailand take a break from antiretroviral treatment, usually as a result of their own decision, findings from the European Pregnancy and Paediatric HIV Cohort Collaboration, published in HIV Medicine, show.


Most new HIV infections occur in lower prevalence countries not prioritised by PEPFAR

The burden of the global HIV epidemic is disproportionately falling on lower-prevalence countries, according to an analysis published in the Journal of Virus Eradication. The majority of new HIV infections, cases of mother-to-child HIV transmission and AIDS-related deaths now occur in countries with HIV prevalence below 4.5%. Lower-prevalence countries also had lower rates of antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage and early infant diagnosis.


Hepatitis C more stigmatising than HIV: gay men’s attitudes towards hepatitis C reinfection

Qualitative research with HIV-positive gay and bisexual men in Australia who had been cured of hepatitis C infection revealed that having hepatitis C was more stigmatising than HIV infection. While being a member of certain social and sexual networks increased the chances of reinfection with hepatitis C, leaving these networks and abstinence from drug use could lead to social isolation.


Significant health gains from faster switching to second-line ART in sub-Saharan Africa

Switching to second-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) after a single viral load measurement above 1000 copies/ml has the potential to save lives, avert a significant burden of AIDS-related illnesses and help achieve the 90-90-90 target, according to the results of a modelling study published in AIDS.


Rectal douching by MSM associated with increased odds of infection with HIV and STIs

Rectal douching may put men who have sex with men (MSM) at increased risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), according to research published in Sexually Transmitted Infections. Synthesising the results of 24 separate studies, investigators showed that rectal douching was associated with increased odds of infection with HIV and STIs including viral hepatitis and bacterial infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea.


Malawi: ART alone isn't enough to stop the TB epidemic among people with HIV

Expanded access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been accompanied by big falls in incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in Malawi, according to research published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society. However, rates of TB among people on ART still remained higher than those observed in the general population, underlining the importance of rapid TB diagnosis.


What works against self-stigma? First systematic review aims to find out

A systematic review of whether different interventions helped to overcome self-stigma in people in African and Asian countries who are living with or at risk of HIV has found that most interventions worked.


High prevalence of stockouts of antiretroviral medicines in South Africa

One in five public health facilities in South Africa were unable to supply at least one antiretroviral (ARV) or tuberculosis (TB) drug on the day they were contacted by researchers, while over a third had had a drug stockout in the previous three months, according to a national survey published in PLOS ONE.


The throat is a major source of gonorrhoea infections in MSM

The throat is a major source of gonorrhoea transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM), according to Australian research published in Sexually Transmitted Infections. The study involved 60 male couples and showed a high prevalence of gonorrhoea infection in the throat and/or anus in the absence of urethral infection. The investigators suggest that transmission is occurring due to kissing, oral sex, rimming, or the use of saliva as lubricant for anal sex.


TB LAM test improves TB diagnosis in people with low CD4 counts

Use of the TB LAM test in people with HIV with CD4 counts below 200 boosted the number of people diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) by a third, an observational study in Malawi and Mozambique has found. Almost half of TB cases would have been missed if LAM had not been included in the diagnostic algorithm, showing that the test is useful in a far wider population than currently recommended.


Editors' picks from other sources

American Heart Association scientific statement on CVD and HIV

from Medscape (requires free registration)

A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association provides "pragmatic" recommendations on how to approach cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and management in the growing number of people living with HIV infection.

Special report: As Trump rewrites health rules, Pence sees conservative agenda born again

from Reuters

In a sweeping social policy shift, the Trump administration is seeking to remake health rules at home and abroad for women, gay and transgender people, restricting access to abortion, curtailing support for contraception and narrowing the scope of civil rights in health care.

UNAIDS survey aligns with so-called fourth 90 for HIV/AIDS

from The Lancet (free registration required)

The survey echoes a trend in the community to take notice of mental wellness when thinking of public health interventions to fight HIV/AIDS.

South Africa: Assessing the Motsoaledi years

from Daily Maverick

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi became South Africa’s Minister of Health 10 years ago, in May 2009. The Motsoaledi years can broadly be judged on two fronts: the response to the HIV epidemic and the functioning of the public healthcare system and its related institutions. The verdicts in these two instances are quite different.

Kenyan High Court rules against gay rights

from MPact

The Kenyan High Court has ruled to uphold a colonial-era law criminalising same-sex sexual behavior. Advocates have been fighting tirelessly for LGBTIQ rights in Kenya, bringing this case to challenge Kenya’s penal code in 2016. Same-sex relations are currently classified as a crime in 70 countries and territories around the world, and almost half of them are in Africa; Kenyan activists were hoping the decision would set a positive precedent for other countries in east Africa.

Politics of death: the end of Brazil’s department of AIDS

from Sexuality Policy Watch

The former Department of STIs, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis is now named the “Department of Chronical Illnesses and Sexually Transmitted Diseases”. This is not just a name change: it is the end of Brazil’s programme on HIV/AIDS.