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March 30, 2011
Ending HIV Organ Donation Ban Could Eliminate Transplant Waiting List for People With HIV
Ending a decades-old ban on using organs from HIV-positive donors could completely eliminate the current waiting list for organs among HIV-positive people needing transplants, according to a study published online March 28 in the American Journal of Transplantation
March 29, 2011
New Viramune Tablet Approved for Once-Daily Use
Viramune XR—an extended-release version of nevirapine, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)—has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to a March 28 announcement from the agency. The new Viramune formulation allows for once-daily dosing, an option that hasn’t been recognized by the FDA until now.
March 28, 2011
Pooled Trial Results Suggest Capsaicin Patch Relieves Neuropathy Pain
The pooled results of two clinical trials suggest that a skin patch with the chili pepper–derived chemical capsaicin could relieve HIV-related neuropathy pain by about 30 percent. These trial results, presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM), were reported by the website Medpage Today.
March 25, 2011
Another Study Finds No Heart Attack Risk From Abacavir
People taking abacavir (found in Ziagen, Epzicom and Trizivir) had no greater risk of having a heart attack than people not taking abacavir, according to an analysis of six AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) studies reported in the April 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Though the studies predominantly involved people with low cardiovascular disease (CVD) risks, the ACTG analysis joins other reports in challenging the conclusions of studies suggesting that abacavir treatment increases the risk of CVD among people living with HIV.

 

March 24, 2011
Reyataz May Be Safe for HIV-Positive People With Severe Liver Disease
People with HIV who have severe hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related liver disease (cirrhosis) may be able to safely take Reyataz (atazanavir) without worsening their liver condition, according to a study published online March 17 in the journal AIDS.
March 23, 2011
Gilead’s Elvitegravir Showing Well in HIV Study
Gilead Sciences’ experimental integrase inhibitor elvitegravir appears to be working well in a Phase III clinical trial involving treatment-experienced patients, according to a March 23 press release by the company. Though the study will last about two years (96 weeks), Gilead says the study’s primary goal has been met: comparable results between patients receiving either elvitegravir or Merck’s approved integrase inhibitor Isentress (raltegravir) for 48 weeks.
March 22, 2011
Study Shows High Satisfaction and Success With Internet-Based HIV Care
A group of HIV-positive people who received their health care via the Internet from a Barcelona HIV clinic felt that their care was comparable with—and potentially superior to—standard in-person care. These findings, published January 21 in the online journal PLoS One and reported March 21 on the website Computerworld, could offer hope to select patients in rural settings who must often travel great distances to receive specialty HIV care.
CROI 2011: George Hightower
George Hightower from the University of California in San Diego talks about young HIV/AIDS researchers at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston. (Watch video.)
March 21, 2011
MRSA Infections Are Now Falling in People With HIV
Researchers in Atlanta report that cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an aggressive and difficult-to-treat bacterial infection, have dropped considerably since 2007. These data, published March 17 in the journal AIDS, could signal the beginnings of a reversal of a trend of sharp increases in the infection during the past decade, particularly among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM).
March 18, 2011
Experts Propose Transmissible Gene Therapy to Halt the HIV Epidemic
Researchers have outlined an intriguing model that could help slow the spread of HIV better than test-and-treat models or a modestly effective HIV vaccine. Their theory, published online March 17 in the journal PLoS Computational Biology and reported by aidsmap, details how a gene therapy that curbs HIV production could be given to people with HIV. If these people were to have unsafe sex with someone else, they would pass along the gene therapy, essentially limiting the effects of HIV if the virus were to take hold in their sex partner.
March 17, 2011
U.S. Kids Born With HIV Are Doing Fairly Well as Teens
A recent study has found that most HIV-positive adolescents originally infected at or near birth in the United States have undetectable viral loads and fairly good immune health. The paper, published online March 9 in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, also reports that children born around the time that combination therapy became the norm in the late 1990s are doing better than kids born when therapy was limited to one or two of the older antiretroviral (ARV) drugs.
March 16, 2011
Telaprevir, Boceprevir for Hep C Approaching FDA Finish Line
Two experimental hepatitis C virus protease inhibitors are scheduled to undergo approval review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee at the end of April, according to a report from Dow Jones Newswires.
March 15, 2011
Personalized Text Messages Could Boost HIV Medication Adherence
A personalized text messaging reminder service significantly boosted antiretroviral (ARV) adherence over a six-week period compared with a standard beeper reminder system, according to a study published in the March issue of AIDS Patient Care and STDs. Though the authors acknowledge the small size of the study, they also indicate that the findings offer hope for the large number of people who struggle with adherence.
March 14, 2011
Increased Rates of Bone Fracture in Some People With HIV
People with HIV have higher rates of bone fractures than HIV-negative people of the same age, according to a study published March 10 in Clinical Infectious Diseases. The risk is highest in those with low CD4 counts and people who also have diabetes or hepatitis C virus (HCV).
March 11, 2011
Hep B Ups Death Risk Compared With Hep C, but Tenofovir Seems Protective
People with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection have twice the risk of dying from liver-related diseases as people with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV)—including those also infected with HIV—according to a study presented Wednesday, March 2, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston. However, the introduction of tenofovir (found in Viread, Truvada and Atripla) as a common part of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy in 2003 has significantly reduced the risk of dying in people with HBV.
March 10, 2011
HIV Test and Treat: Challenges to Overcome
Several presentations at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), which ran from February 27 to March 2 in Boston, documented the remaining challenges with the design, evaluation and implementation of HIV “test and treat” programs, whereby aggressive methods are employed to test and diagnose all people with HIV, link them to care and—when appropriate—get them on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.
March 09, 2011
Malaria Drug Plaquenil Calms Immune Activation
Plaquenil (hydrochloroquine), a drug used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, was able to significantly reduce immune activation in a small group of HIV-positive people. These data, reported Tuesday, March 1, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston, offer hope of finding drugs that can reduce HIV-related immune activation, which is thought to contribute to poorer health, even in people whose virus is well controlled by antiretroviral (ARV) therapy.
Adolescents Have a Hard Time Doing Well in Adult HIV Care
HIV-positive adolescents and young adults are much less likely to start treatment, to achieve control of the virus while on treatment, and to stay on treatment or in care, according to two studies presented Monday, February 28, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston. They may also do less well in adult care than in pediatric HIV clinics.
March 08, 2011
CD4s, Viral Load Not Enough to Predict Survival During HIV Treatment
As AIDS-related illnesses decline and non-AIDS complications become increasingly more common in the modern antiretroviral (ARV) therapy era, looking at six blood markers—not just CD4 cell counts and viral load—will be necessary to make accurate survival predictions. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by researchers at Yale and Harvard universities and reported on Monday, February 28, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
CROI 2011: Thomas Campbell
Thomas Campbell, MD, of the University of Colorado reviews the past 15 years of combination antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston. (Watch video.)
HIV Non-Nuke Rilpivirine Less Likely Than Sustiva to Cause Vitamin D Drops
Sustiva (efavirenz) may have a greater negative effect on vitamin D levels than Tibotec Therapeutic’s experimental non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) rilpivirine (TMC278), according to results of a Phase III clinical trial comparing the two drugs and reported on Tuesday, March 1, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
CROI 2011: Scott Letendre
Scott Letendre, MD, from the University of California in San Diego talks about the latest research on HIV and the brain at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston. (Watch video.)
The Effect of Antiretroviral Treatment on Cancer Risk
People who start antiretroviral (ARV) treatments at higher CD4 cell counts are less likely to develop non-AIDS-related cancers, and treatment with protease inhibitors (PIs) might be protective against prostate cancer. These and other findings were reported in two studies presented Tuesday, March 1, and Wednesday, March 2, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
Are People Experiencing More Rapid HIV Disease Progression Now?
Compared with previous years, people who contract HIV today might experience a more rapid decline in CD4 counts, according to a new study presented Tuesday, March 1, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston. If confirmed in other studies, the results could ultimately influence decisions about when to start antiretroviral (ARV) therapy.
March 07, 2011
After 2 Years, Drug Regimen Works Well Among Treatment-Experienced
A drug regimen containing Isentress (raltegravir), Intelence (etravirine) and Norvir (ritonavir)?boosted Prezista (darunavir) continues to work well in a French clinical trial involving heavily treatment-experienced people living with HIV. About 88 percent of those using this potent regimen active against drug-resistant virus have undetectable viral loads after nearly two years of treatment, reported researchers on Wednesday, March 2, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
Aging and HIV: Older HIV-Positive Men Are Frailer Than Similar HIV-Negative Men
HIV-positive men ages 50 and older are more likely to have symptoms of frailty than HIV-negative men of the same age, according to a study presented Monday, February 28, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
Test and Treat Success Stories: Community Viral Load Predicts HIV Transmission Declines
When the average viral load of people known to be HIV positive drops in a community, it can result in substantial and equal declines in new HIV diagnoses, according to a series of presentations Monday, February 28, and Wednesday, March 2, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
March 04, 2011
Bone Loss During HIV Treatment: A Possible Side Effect of CD4 Cell Recovery
Bone loss may occur in people living with HIV during the first three months of therapy, according to new research involving humans and mice conducted at Emory University in Atlanta exploring the role of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy-induced immune activation on bone metabolism. These results, which suggest that early bone protection therapy may offset possible damage, were reported by Ighovwerha Ofotokun, MD, in an elegant presentation on Monday, February 28, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston.
U.S. Women Prefer a Pill Over a Vaginal Gel for Prevention
U.S. women involved in a study comparing the safety, blood levels and acceptability of two methods of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV transmission—an oral version of the antiretroviral (ARV) drug tenofovir and a vaginal gel version—strongly preferred the pill over the gel. These data were presented Monday, February 28, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
Non-AIDS-Related Cancers Are Now the Leading Cause of Death in People With HIV
A Swiss study found that non-AIDS-related cancers have become the leading cause of death among people with HIV, in general, but that liver-related diseases far outweigh all other causes of death for people coinfected with both HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Meanwhile, a second study suggests that antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are not contributing to deaths from any cause. These studies were presented Tuesday, March 1, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
March 03, 2011
Study Says HIV and Inflammation, Not ARVs, Predict Cardiovascular Risk
The length of time (duration) that someone has been infected with HIV, as well as his or her markers of blood vessel and immune inflammation, is predictive of clogging of the arteries (atherosclerosis), but the use of antiretrovirals (ARVs) is not. These data were presented Monday, February 28, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
Isentress Has Long-Term HIV Efficacy and Safety, but Is Best Taken Twice Daily
The good news: Isentress (raltegravir)-based antiretroviral (ARV) therapy appears to work just as well as Sustiva (efavirenz)-inclusive regimens (such as Atripla), with fewer blood lipid problems, for at least three years in first-time HIV treatment takers. The not-so-good news: For best results using Isentress, twice-daily dosing is likely more effective than once-daily dosing in first-line drug regimens.
New Version of Tenofovir Is Much More Potent and Hopefully Safer
A new formulation of the nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NtRTI) tenofovir, currently dubbed GS-7340, achieves far higher concentrations inside of the cells targeted by HIV for infection than the current version of tenofovir (found in Viread, Truvada and Atripla). These data, which were presented Monday, February 28, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston, suggest that the drug could be simultaneously more potent and safer than the current prodrug formation of tenofovir (Viread).
Hep C Protease Inhibitor Telaprevir Interacts With HIV Drugs
Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease inhibitor telaprevir interacts to varying degrees with commonly used HIV antiretrovirals (ARVs), according to new data reported in two presentations at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), held February 28 through March 3 in Boston.
CROI 2011: Jay Lalezari
Jay Lalezari, MD, from Quest Clinical Research in San Francisco talks about an exciting new gene therapy experiment at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston. (Watch video.)
CROI 2011: Paula Cannon
Paula Cannon, PhD, from the University of Southern California talks about the hope of gene therapy at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston. (Watch video.)
CROI 2011: Todd Brown
Todd Brown, MD, from Johns Hopkins University talks about understanding and treating HIV-related aging at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston. (Watch video.)
March 02, 2011
Muscle Loss, Fat Gain Associated With Increased Risk of Death
HIV-positive individuals experiencing a loss of muscle mass and an increase in abdominal fat may face an increased risk of death, according to new data from the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) study presented Tuesday, March 1, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
ViiV Integrase Inhibitor Dolutegravir Is Better Twice-Daily for Treatment-Experienced People
ViiV Healthcare’s experimental integrase inhibitor, now called dolutegravir (S/GSK-572), works better when taken 50 milligrams (mg) twice-daily than when taken as 50 mg once-daily in people who have heavy resistance to other integrase inhibitors, notably Merck’s Isentress (raltegravir) and Gilead’s still-experimental elvitegravir. These data were presented Wednesday, March 2, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
Telaprevir Greatly Boosts Early Hep C Treatment Responses in HIV-Coinfected Patients
A significant proportion of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV)?coinfected patients receiving the experimental HCV protease inhibitor telaprevir in a clinical trial are responding quickly to treatment, according to early data from an ongoing clinical trial reported Wednesday, March 2, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston.
March 01, 2011
First Rectal Gel Studies Show Real Promise
Microbicide researchers announced success with a new rectal gel designed to cut HIV transmission, saying that early data suggests it could work quite well provided that they can figure out how to make it more compatible with the fragile cells that line the rectum. Those important tweaks are already in the works and were also reported Monday, February 28, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
Encouraging Results for BMS’s Oral HIV Attachment Inhibitor
Bristol-Myers Squibb reported encouraging preliminary results from a short study evaluating its oral version of a new class of antiretrovirals (ARVs): an attachment inhibitor currently dubbed BMS-663068 (BMS-068). The data were reported Monday, February 28, by Richard Nettles, MD, of BMS at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) at Boston.
Risk of Virologic Failure 40 Percent Higher Among Blacks vs. Whites
There is a 40 percent higher risk of virologic failure among blacks, compared with whites, who are starting HIV treatment for the first time, according to a new AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) analysis reported by Heather Ribaudo, PhD, of Harvard University School of Public Health on Monday, February 28, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston. Unfortunately, while one of the study’s goals was to explore the factors associated with this disparity, the researchers did not have adequate socioeconomic data to draw any firm conclusions.
Previous Syphilis Infection Might Cause Poorer Brain Function for People With HIV
HIV-positive people who have been infected with syphilis (Treponema pallidum) in the past might have poorer brain function than HIV-positive people who have never had it. These data were presented Monday, February 28, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
FDA Analysis: No Increased Heart Attack Risk While Using Abacavir
There is no association between the use of ViiV Healthcare’s nucleoside analogue abacavir—found in Ziagen, Epzicom and Trizivir—and heart attack risk, according to a new analysis conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), reported Monday, February 28, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
HIV and Hep C Coinfection Increases Risk of Bone Fracture
Coinfection with HIV and the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a double whammy when it comes to fracture risk, according to a five-state Medicaid study reported on Monday, February 28, at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston. The authors note that the increased risk of fracture in coinfected patients is particularly significant in females.
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