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April 27, 2012
FDA to Docs: Best to Avoid Victrelis With Norvir-Boosted HIV Protease Inhibitors
Victrelis (boceprevir), Merck’s hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease inhibitor, should not be combined with the following Norvir (ritonavir)-boosted HIV protease inhibitors: Reyataz (atazanavir), Prezista (darunavir) or Kaletra. This is an official warning that has been added to the Victrelis package insert by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to a safety announcement by the agency on April 26. 
April 25, 2012
Report Outlines HIV Cure Research, Important Gaps
Three HIV/AIDS activist groups convened a meeting in March with researchers and representatives of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to describe the current state of cure research and identify barriers to moving such research forward swiftly and smoothly. The proceedings of this meeting, which took place immediately before the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) that began on March 5 in Seattle, are now available in a report online.
April 23, 2012
Hormonal Contraception Not Linked to HIV Risk
A new analysis of data from a clinical trial conducted by the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) casts doubt on a study reported last summer suggesting that women using hormonal contraception are at greater risk of acquiring HIV, according to a presentation by researchers at the International Microbicide Conference held April 15-18 in Sydney.
April 19, 2012
Three Big HIV Days in May at the FDA
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has three important advisory committees planned in May to review new strategies in prevention, treatment and diagnostic testing, according to an blog post by Richard Klein, who heads the agency’s Office of Special Health Issues.
April 18, 2012
ARVs and HIV Prevention: Controversies, Conflicts and Consensus
While studies exploring the effectiveness of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy for HIV prevention purposes have generally yielded encouraging results, a group of researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggest the way forward is not yet clear and that additional research is needed, particularly in understanding the combined benefits of biomedical and behavioral interventions in specific at-risk communities.
April 16, 2012
Norvir-Boosted HIV Regimens Linked to Preterm Births in French Cohort
Norvir (ritonavir)-boosted protease inhibitor therapy has been linked to preterm deliveries in a French perinatal cohort, according to results published online ahead of print by the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases (CID). The findings jibe with other European studies finding an association between antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and premature births, but they conflict with several studies performed in the United States.
April 13, 2012
Engineering CD8 Cells to Kill HIV in Tissues
Expanding on previous research providing proof-of-concept that human stem cells can be genetically engineered into HIV-fighting cells, researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) have now demonstrated that these cells can actually attack HIV-infected cells in a living organism. 
More Infectious Disease Docs Treat Hep C
We may soon see an end to obstacles in the care of people living with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV)—but only if infectious disease (ID) doctors work with and learn from hepatologists, according to an opinion piece authored by Barbara McGovern, MD, of Tufts University School of Medicine and published online ahead of print by Clinical Infectious Diseases.
April 12, 2012
Isentress Plus Truvada Is Safe, Potentially Effective as HIV PEP Regimen
Isentress (raltegravir) combined with Truvada (tenofovir plus emtricitabine) was “extremely well tolerated” as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) following high-risk sexual activity in a small study conducted by a team of researchers at Fenway Health in Boston.
April 10, 2012
Toward a Cure: The Potential of Therapeutic Vaccines
While gene therapies that render the immune system impervious to HIV and drugs that potentially purge the virus from resting CD4 cells continue to be watched closely by AIDS cure researchers and advocates, therapeutic vaccines may serve an important supporting role in these efforts, according to activist Richard Jefferys, writing in the Spring 2012 TAGline newsletter.
April 09, 2012
HIV Vaccine Study Offers Up Possible Antibody Protection Clues
Scientists continued to unravel clues as to why a combination of two preventive HIV vaccines—ALVAC HIV and AIDSVAX B/E—may have worked for some but not others in a large scale clinical trial reported in 2009. A new paper published online ahead of print in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggests those who produced relatively high levels of a specific antibody after receiving the vaccinations in study RV 144 were less likely to become infected with HIV, compared with those who did not.
April 06, 2012
HIV Contributes to Lung Cancer Risk, but Smoking Matters Most
HIV infection increases the risk of developing lung cancer by about 70 percent, according to a study conducted by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs researchers and published online ahead of print by the journal AIDS. However, the researchers note, it is smoking among people living with HIV that poses the greatest risk of developing lung cancer.
April 04, 2012
High Rate of Precancerous Anal Lesions Among HIV-Positive Women
Results from a study conducted in the Bronx, New York, serve as an important reminder to HIV care providers: Comprehensive screening for precancerous anal lesions isn’t of importance only to HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM). According to the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes report by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, precancerous lesions are also common among women living with HIV—and testing for them using anal swabs alone may not be sufficient to rule out problems requiring biopsies.
April 03, 2012
Undetectable Viral Load? Not Necessarily in Semen
Undetectable viral loads in blood is not a guarantee that HIV is also undetectable in semen, according to a new study involving 101 men who have sex with men (MSM) living with the virus conducted in Boston and published online ahead of print by the journal AIDS. Of the 83 men with undetectable virus in blood samples, roughly a quarter of them—21 MSM in total—had semen with detectable HIV.
April 02, 2012
Revised U.S. Guidelines Make Key HIV and Hep C Treatment Recs
Important preliminary recommendations involving the use of hepatitis C protease inhibitors among people living with HIV are provided by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services panelists in the March 27 update to the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-1-Infected Adults and Adolescents. Though both Incivek (telaprevir) and Victrelis (boceprevir) are listed as options, the panelists draw upon drug-drug interaction data to conclude that Incivek should be used instead of Victrelis when ARV regimens that include Norvir (ritonavir)?boosted Reyataz (atazanavir) or efavirenz (found in Sustiva and Atripla) are being used to treat HIV.
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