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HIV / AIDS

Progress and Problems in the Search for a Cure for HIV

Leading experts discussed the latest developments in the search for an HIV cure at a January 13 Center for AIDS Research symposium in San Francisco, following a year of disappointing setbacks in the field. Researchers are increasingly focusing on a "functional cure" -- or remission -- that would allow people with HIV to remain off antiretroviral therapy (ART) for prolonged periods, as the hopes for true viral eradication have dimmed.

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New Clues about Viral Rebound in Mississippi Child Thought Cured of HIV

Clinicians involved in the care of a child many once hoped was cured of HIV have published details about the case in the February 15 New England Journal of Medicine. The authors found that the virus that eventually returned after the girl had been off antiretroviral therapy for more than 2 years was identical to her mother's viral strain.

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Study of Truvada PrEP and Tenofovir Vaginal Gel Misses Mark Due to Low Adherence

The final published report in the New England Journal of Medicine from the VOICE trial of HIV prevention for women in 3 African countries mainly reinforces what conference presentations have already shown: this ambitious trial failed to demonstrate the effectiveness of either oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or of a tenofovir-containing vaginal microbicide gel, and the reason for this was that only 25%-30% of women actually used the study product, despite 88% claiming they did so. The gel, however, may have stopped 2 out of 3 infections among women who used it.

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Novel Entry Inhibitor May Provide Vaccine-like Protection Against HIV

A potential new therapy using a molecule that mimics both the CD4 receptor and the CCR5 co-receptor can stop an HIV-like virus from entering host cells, researchers reported in the February 18 online edition of Nature. Monkeys given gene therapy to produce the eCD4-Ig protein did not become infected after repeated virus exposures, suggesting it may be an effective HIV vaccine alternative as well as a long-acting therapy.

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Black People with HIV Have Less Linkage to Care, Higher Rate of Death

Coinciding with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day last week, a pair of reports in the February 6 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report look at health disparities among African-Americans living with HIV. One study found that while the mortality rate among black people with HIV is falling, it is still 13% higher that that of whites. The second found that only about half of black people diagnosed with HIV were not linked to care. 

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Screening for Bone Fracture Risk Should Be Routine for HIV+ People over 40

Screening for fracture risk should be a routine part of HIV care for all people over 40, and all postmenopausal women, all men over 50, and people at high risk for fractures of any age should undergo DEXA screening (a type of X-ray) to assess bone mineral density and their need for treatment, experts on bone disorders recommend in new guidelines published in the January 21 online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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Atazanavir Associated with Less HIV Treatment Failure, Illness, and Death

People with HIV who used antiretroviral regimens containing the ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor atazanavir (Reyataz) had better outcomes than those taking lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra), including lower likelihood of AIDS-defining illnesses or death, less virological failure, and larger CD4 T-cell increases, according to a study published in the January 6 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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