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February 27, 2009
Prevention Highlights, Part 1: PrEP
At the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal, Tim Horn talks with Sharon Hillier, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh, about the latest in prevention science. Part 1 focuses on progress toward an effective PrEP intervention.
Treating HIV and Cancer With Radioimmunotherapy
Radioimmunotherapy (RIT)—which joins short-lived radioactive molecules to antibodies that target HIV-infected or cancerous cells—has already shown promise in treating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) and may also work in HIV, ScienceDaily reports.
Prevention Highlights, Part 2: Treatment as Prevention
At the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal, Tim Horn talks with Sharon Hillier, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh, about the latest in prevention science. Part 2 focuses on the notion of treating people with HIV as soon as they test positive as a way to prevent HIV transmission on a community-wide level.
February 26, 2009
HIV and the Brain: What to Watch Out For
At the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal, David Evans talks with Scott Letendre, MD, from the University of California in San Diego, about the latest research on HIV and neurocognitive functioning. Dr. Letendre reveals how commonplace cognitive disorders are in people with HIV, and what you and your doctor can do about them.
First HIV Gene Therapy Proves Safe With Hint of Effectiveness
A clinical trial exploring a gene therapy called OZ1 in people with HIV proves that it can be done safely, according to a study published February 15 in Nature Medicine and reported by ScienceDaily. While the treatment did not seem to have any discernible effect on viral load, CD4 cells among OZ1 recipients remained higher than those in the placebo group for two years of follow-up. 
February 25, 2009
Two Rare Skin Cancers More Common in People With AIDS
Two rare types of skin cancer occur more commonly in people with an AIDS diagnosis than in their HIV-negative peers—while melanoma does not—according to a study published in the January 28 issue of AIDS and reported by aidsmap.
HIV and Cancer: Prevalence and Prevention
At the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal, David Evans talks with Nancy Crum-Cianflone, MD, a researcher and physician from the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, about the latest information on cancer and HIV disease, which cancers are more likely in people with HIV, and the best ways to prevent them.
February 24, 2009
Being Female Linked to Poorer Survival
HIV-positive women have a higher likelihood of premature death from any cause compared with HIV-positive men, according to a study published online February 16 in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. A person’s race or history of substance use was not associated with an increased risk of death.
February 23, 2009
Peanut Recall, Salmonella Risk: Important HIV Information
People living with HIV should be extra vigilant about the threat of Salmonella poisoning, which has been traced to certain peanut products, according to a February 20 warning issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Half of Deaths in People With HIV No Longer From AIDS
Half of the deaths in people with HIV now are from causes other than AIDS, according to a study presented at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal. Non-AIDS-related cancers and cardiovascular disease are a growing cause of death particularly in older people with HIV.
February 20, 2009
Antiretroviral Highlights from CROI
At the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal, David Evans talks with Tony Mills, MD, a private practice physician and researcher at the University of California in Los Angeles, about the latest in antiretroviral research. Dr. Mills gives his take on the surprising results of an Isentress (raltegravir) clinical trial, the latest news from Gilead about their four-in-one pill, and the promise of viral eradication.
Testosterone Therapy: Good for Women Too
Long-term testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is well tolerated in HIV-positive women and results in significant improvements in body composition, bone mineral density (BMD) and quality of life, according to new data presented by Harvard researchers on Tuesday, February 10, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal.
Lymphoma: Death Rates Still High, but Cancer May Be Predicted
Despite the effectiveness of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, HIV-positive people diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) face a significantly higher risk of death compared with HIV-negative individuals diagnosed with the same malignancy. While these data, presented by a team of California researchers on Monday, February 9, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, are sobering, the results from a study conducted by National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Mayo Clinic investigators are highly encouraging and suggest that it may be possible to predict lymphoma two to five years before it develops.
CROI 2009: Sexually Transmitted Hepatitis C in MSM in the U.S. and Europe
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at a heightened risk of sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the United States and Europe, according to three studies presented Monday, February 9, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal. Two further studies suggest that HIV-positive MSM are not being adequately screened for hepatitis and that when they do become infected with HCV they are more likely to experience rapid liver damage than HIV-negative people.
February 19, 2009
Quarter of U.S. Positive Women Not Receiving Annual Pap Smears
Roughly one quarter of HIV-positive women in the United States may not be receiving recommended annual cervical Pap smears , according to a new analysis from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Tuesday, February 10, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal. Based on these results, CDC presenters Alexandra Oster, MD, and her colleagues are recommending increased education for providers and women living with HIV, along with integration of HIV and gynecologic care
CROI 2009: Aging and HIV a Destructive Combination on the Brain
People with HIV are at an increased risk for brain inflammation and damage, similar to problems typically seen in older members of the general population, according to a series of studies presented Wednesday, February 11, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal. The latest research also indicates this damage may not be completely halted or reversed with the use of HIV treatment.
Psoriasis Drug Possibly Linked to Brain Infection
Four HIV-negative individuals taking the psoriasis medication Raptiva (efalizumab) have come down with a rare and deadly brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), and three have died, according to a warning by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although the warning is not HIV specific and should be considered by all current and potential users of Raptiva, it underscores a serious side effect of the drug’s suppression of the immune system that may be a serious issue for people with HIV. 
February 18, 2009
HDL and Small HDL Particles Predict Cardio Problems in HIV
Interrupting antiretroviral (ARV) therapy has a rapid unfavorable effect on “good” HDL cholesterol levels, significantly increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This was an additional finding from the SMART trial, reported by Daniel Duprez, MD, of the University of Minnesota and his colleagues at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) last week in Montreal. According to the researchers, HIV-positive people not on treatment experienced a high rate of serious coronary-related problems.
Scientists Still Seeking Clues to Abacavir Heart Attack Mystery
Seeking to unravel the mystery surrounding possible heart problems in people taking abacavir (found in Ziagen, Epzicom and Trizivir), researchers have found that HIV-positive men and women on the drug don’t have higher levels of blood vessel inflammation, as was previously suggested, but may have overly reactive blood clotting factors that potentially lead to heart attacks. The presentations were given Wednesday, February 11, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal.
February 17, 2009
Smoking Cessation: Hispanics, Nicotine Patch Users Do Best
An addiction to cigarette smoking is truly difficult for HIV-positive people to break, according to a study comparing two smoking cessation strategies reported Wednesday, February 11, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal. While no more than 10 percent of individuals participating in either strategy abstained from smoking for six months, study presenters Karen Tashima, MD, of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and her colleagues found much higher success rates among Hispanics compared with other racial or ethnic groups
Nerve Damage Is a Common Problem in People With HIV
Distal sensory polyneuropathy (DSPN)—a type of nerve damage that can lead to tingling and pain in the feet and hands—affects more than half of all people with HIV, according to several studies presented Monday, February 9, at 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal.
February 13, 2009
Microbicides Make a Comeback
HIV microbicides—which incorporate HIV transmission-blocking molecules into gels and creams for the vagina and rectum—got a boost of confidence after two presentations Monday, February 9, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal. An analysis of one study showed first signs of efficacy in humans, and another showed that a gel could completely block viral infection in monkeys.
February 12, 2009
Isentress Shows Long-Term Benefits in Treatment-Experienced Patients
Two-year follow-up data from two Phase III clinical trials of Isentress (raltegravir) were reported by Roy Steigbigel, PhD, of SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine on Long Island, New York, on Monday, February 9, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal. The studies, involving patients with multidrug-resistant HIV and advanced infection, indicate that Merck’s integrase inhibitor offers long-lasting antiretroviral activity for treatment-experienced patients piecing together an effective antiretroviral (ARV) regimen.
CROI 2009: First Data From Injectable PRO 140 Study
Delegates attending the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal got a first look at data from a clinical trial testing injections of PRO 140, an experimental entry inhibitor. Two dosings were injected three weeks in a row; a third dose was injected every other week. The data, presented by Melanie Thompson, MD, of the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta on Monday, February 9, indicate that Progenics Pharmaceuticals, the drug’s developer, can abandon its original intravenous formulation of the drug and continue focusing on the subcutaneously administered formulation.
Antidepressants Improve Viral Load Response to Treatment Due to Better Adherence
Antidepressant medication treatment greatly improves the ability of HIV-positive people with depression to achieve and maintain undetectable viral loads, according to a study reported by Alexander Tsai, MD, of the Langlai Porter Psychiatric Institute in San Francisco on Tuesday, February 10, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI). Tsai and his group attribute this benefit to improved adherence to prescribed antiretroviral (ARV) therapy
February 11, 2009
PIs, Abacavir and Cardiovascular Disease: What’s the Risk?
Results from various studies at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal confirm earlier reports that lopinavir/ritonavir and abacavir are associated with an increased risk of heart attack independent of other factors associated with cardiovascular disease. 
D:A:D Study: Reduce Modifiable Risk Factors to Improve Survival
Despite the effectiveness of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, people living with HIV face a higher risk of death than their age-matched HIV-negative peers. However, many risk factors that contribute to an increased risk of death are modifiable—they can often be amended with behavioral changes and proper medical care.
HIV Itself Is a Major Heart Disease Risk Factor
HIV infection itself appears to increase the thickness of the carotid artery and is therefore a significant independent risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD)—ultimately increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke—according to a new study presented Wednesday, February 11, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal.
February 10, 2009
CROI 2009: Start HIV Treatment Early—But When?
There are now multiple lines of evidence supporting the earlier initiation of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy than is currently recommended. But if guidelines experts are to commit a new recommendation to paper, they will require research consistently illustrating when treatment should be started based on CD4 cell counts. While two presentations reported Monday, February 9th, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) confirm that earlier treatment yields life-saving benefits, they did not agree on the best time to begin taking ARVs. 
IL-2 Fails in Two Large Studies
It’s finally official: Proleukin (interleukin-2, IL-2), a long-studied experimental immune-based therapy for HIV, simply doesn’t work. When compared with antiretroviral (ARV) therapy alone, Proleukin plus ARV treatment failed to protect people against developing an opportunistic infection or death, despite generating greater increases in CD4 counts.
Age, Diabetes & a Bigger Waist Line Tied to Cognitive Problems in HIV
A cluster of factors becoming more common in people with HIV—older age, diabetes and a large belly—may also increase a person’s risk of developing problems with memory, thinking and learning new tasks, according to two studies presented Tuesday, February 10, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal.
February 09, 2009
Diabetes Drug Avandia Helps Reverse Lipoatrophy
Avandia (rosiglitazone), a member of the “glitazone” drug class approved for the treatment of diabetes, may help reverse fat loss in HIV-positive people with lipoatrophy, according to a new study reported by Grace McComsey, MD, of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and her colleagues on Monday, February 9, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal.
GS 9350 and SPI-452: Emerging Alternatives to Norvir Boosting
Two pharmaceutical companies have made progress developing novel agents that can be used in place of Norvir (ritonavir) to boost other HIV drugs in the blood stream, according to two presentations Monday, February 9, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal. 
HIV Treatment Greatly Reduces, But Doesn’t Eliminate Transmission
HIV-positive people taking antiretroviral (ARV) treatment have a significantly lower risk of transmitting the virus to their HIV-negative partner, according to two studies involving heterosexual couples presented Monday, February 9, at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal.
Kaletra-to-Isentress Switch Helps Lipids, but With Viral Rebound Risk
Patients with undetectable viral loads—but struggling with elevated lipids—while on a Kaletra (lopinavir and ritonavir)-based regimen are likely to see marked improvements in their cholesterol and triglyceride levels upon swapping Kaletra for Isentress (raltegravir), but they may be less likely to keep their viral loads below 50 copies.
February 06, 2009
Isentress Gets Full FDA Approval for Experienced Patients
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted full traditional approval to the integrase inhibitor Isentress (raltegravir) for treatment-experienced people living with HIV, according to a February 5 announcement by the agency.
February 05, 2009
Shortage in HIV Providers Could Be Looming
Nearly one third of practicing HIV health care providers, including physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, plan to stop practicing over the next 10 years, according to the results of a new survey by the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM) to be published in the inaugural issue of a new magazine called HIV Specialist
February 04, 2009
Therapeutic Drug Monitoring May Benefit People of Color
Adjusting a person’s dose of protease inhibitor (PI) based on his or her blood levels of the drug—called therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM)—may improve treatment responses in black and Hispanic people with HIV, according to a study published in the January 28 issue of AIDS. Though TDM failed to show an across-the-board benefit for most patients, it did appear, paradoxically, to work best in people with the least amount of drug resistance.
February 03, 2009
New HIV Gene Therapy Starts Human Studies
A promising treatment that keeps CD4 cells from producing a key receptor on their surface, thus potentially blocking viral infection, is set to begin early safety studies in humans according to an announcement by the treatment’s developer, Sangamo BioSciences, Inc.
February 02, 2009
Tenofovir Kidney Toxicity in HIV-Positive Teens
Two HIV-positive teenagers have been diagnosed with severe kidney problems, presumably due to tenofovir (found in Viread, Truvada and Atripla), according to a study published in the January issue of AIDS Patient Care and STDs.
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