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March 31, 2012
Revised U.S. Treatment Guidelines Focus on HIV and Aging
If you’re living with HIV, over 50 years of age and haven’t yet started antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, revised guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now recommend HIV treatment, regardless of your CD4 cell count. This is just one key consideration in a new section, entitled “HIV and the Older Patient,” added to the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-1-Infected Adults and Adolescents, published on March 27, 2012.
March 30, 2012
Insomnia Common, but not Necessarily More So, in HIV
Insomnia and daytime drowsiness are common among people living with HIV, but not necessarily more so than HIV-negative individuals, according to a U.S. military study published online ahead of print by Clinical Infectious Diseases. 
March 28, 2012
Second-Generation Non-Nuke Approved for Children 6 and Older
Children between 6 and 17 years old may now use Intelence, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) that has shown to be effective for treatment-experienced people living with HIV, notably those with virus resistant to first-generation NNRTI options efavirenz (found in Sustiva and Atripla) or nevirapine (Viramune).
Revised U.S. Guidelines: HIV Treatment is Recommended for All People Living With HIV
Antiretroviral (ARV) therapy is now recommended for all U.S. residents living with HIV and is no longer based primarily on CD4 cell counts, according to revised HIV treatment guidelines released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on March 27, 2012.
March 26, 2012
Clearing or Curing Acute HCV Does Not Protect Against Reinfection
Getting rid of acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection once—whether it is cleared by strong immune response during the initial months of infection or cured with treatment — does not protect HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) against reinfection with the virus, according to new data presented on Tuesday, March 6, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.
March 23, 2012
Electrocauterization Has Fewer Side Effects, Better Efficacy, Than Topical Treatments for Anal Lesions
When it comes to treating precancerous anal lesions, electrocauterization is both more effective and, somewhat surprisingly, better tolerated than repeated topical applications of either Aldara (imiquimod) or Efudex (fluorouracil), according to data presented Thursday, March 8, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle.  Lead presenter Olivier Richel, MD, of the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam noted, however, recurrence rates were high with all treatments tested in the study.
HCV Testing, Diagnosis Being Overlooked in People With HIV
Although hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a common and serious coinfection among people living with HIV, it often goes undiagnosed, even in a major U.S. city with multiple HIV care providers and a clinic dedicated to caring for people with both infections. This is the finding of a Miami cohort study reported Tuesday, March 6, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.  
March 21, 2012
Transmitted HIV Drug Resistance on the Rise in U.S.
New surveillance data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that about two in 10 individuals diagnosed with HIV in recent years were infected with HIV strains harboring mutations conferring at least partial resistance to one ore more available antiretroviral (ARV). The report was presented Wednesday, March 7, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.
Marijuana and its CD4 Receptors: A New HIV Treatment Strategy?
Drugs that target one of the two cellular receptors stimulated by the active ingredient in marijuana may prove to be effective at blocking a form of HIV that has been linked to faster disease progression during late stages of the infection. Though the PLoS One research report highlighting these findings—published March 20 by a team of scientists at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York—stops short of concluding that marijuana is one of nature’s best antiretrovirals, the authors suggest that further study of cannabinoids is needed to ultimately discover drugs with both antiviral and symptom-reducing properties.
March 20, 2012
Marker of Active Hep B Infection Declines in Those Coinfected with HIV, Treated with Tenofovir
Prolonged therapy with antiretroviral regimens containing tenofovir is associated with a decline in hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) levels in people coinfected with HIV and hepatitis B virus (HBV), according to a report presented by Dutch researchers at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections on Tuesday, March 6, in Seattle.
March 19, 2012
Disparities in HIV Treatment Initiation, Viral Load Suppression Vary State-to-State
Some states are lagging behind others in terms of getting people in need of HIV treatment started on medications in a timely fashion, according to new data from a multiple cohort study presented Thursday, March 8, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle. The analysis, reported by David Hanna, a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University and his colleagues, also notes disparities in rates of undetectable viral load, with the widest range noted in four western states.
March 16, 2012
ARV Liver Toxicity in HIV/Hep C Coinfected Patients on the Decline
Rates of antiretroviral (ARV)-associated liver toxicity among people living with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) have decreased since 1997, but it is still more common among people infected with both viruses compared with people infected only with HIV. This is the finding of an analysis reported Wednesday, March 7, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.
Treating HIV During Pregnancy Also Lowers Risk of Transmitting Hep C to Baby
For women living with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection, using antiretroviral (ARV) therapy during pregnancy may lower the risk of transmitting both viruses to their infants, according to encouraging new data presented Tuesday, March 6, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle.
March 15, 2012
Inhaled Beclomethasone Bests Fluticasone (Advair) When HIV PIs Being Used
Good news for people living with HIV and asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The inhalable steroid beclomethasone can be used at the same time as HIV protease inhibitors without the increased risk of adrenal suppression, according to a drug interaction study conducted in HIV-negative volunteers reported Thursday, March 8, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.
GS 7340 Packs Greater HIV Punch, Potentially Better Safety, Versus Viread
A new formulation of the nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) tenofovir, currently dubbed GS 7340, achieves superior efficacy along with far higher concentrations inside the cells targeted by HIV for infection, compared with the current version of tenofovir (found in Viread, Truvada and Atripla). These data, which were presented Wednesday, March 7, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle, suggest that the drug may be an excellent candidate for fixed-dose combination tablets.
March 13, 2012
Black Women Twice as Likely to Die of AIDS in U.S. Compared to White HIV-Positive Women
Some sobering news from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS): Black women living with HIV are more likely to progress to AIDS and twice as likely to die of its complications compared with white women living with HIV, according to new results from the cohort presented Tuesday, March 6, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle. Though black women were significantly less likely to adherence to antiretroviral (ARV) therapy in the analysis, their risk of AIDS-related deaths were still significantly higher after accounting for this.
‘Quad’ Comparable to Norvir-Reyataz Regimen in Phase III Study
A study of Gilead Sciences’ “Quad” fixed-dose combination tablet containing the experimental integrase inhibitor elvitegravir and boosting agent cobicistat, along with tenofovir and emtricitabine, has met its primary objective—“non-inferiority” compared with the popular protease inhibitor–based regimen of Norvir (ritonavir)-boosted Reyataz (atazanavir) plus Truvada (tenofovir and emtricitabine)—according to data presented Thursday, March 8, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle.
High Blood Pressure Increases Heart Attack Risk in HIV
Elevated blood pressure—including levels that don’t yet meet the definition of hypertension—is associated with a “substantially greater” risk of a heart attack among people living with HIV, compared with HIV-negative controls, according to a Veterans Health Administration study reported Wednesday, March 7, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.
March 12, 2012
HIV Speeds Lung Function Decline in Cohort of Smokers
HIV is an independent risk factor for lung disease, according to new data reported Wednesday, March 7, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. Though the study results from a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine team note that people living with HIV—particularly those with viral loads not being kept in check with antiretroviral (ARV) therapy—have reduced lung strength and a more rapid loss of pulmonary function compared with HIV-negative controls, the researchers also point out that cigarette smoking was very common in the cohort and remains an important risk factor to contend with.
Zostavax Shingles Vaccine Generally Safe, Increases Antibody Levels, in People With Stable HIV
Two doses of Zostavax, a vaccine against shingles (herpes zoster), administered six weeks apart is “generally safe” for people living with HIV with CD4 counts of 200 or higher and undetectable viral loads, according to study results shared Wednesday, March 7, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI).
March 09, 2012
Pathway to a Cure: Cancer Drug Helps Purge HIV From Resting Cells
Researchers have shown for the first time that it is possible to target and interrupt the mechanism by which HIV remains hidden and unreachable by antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, according to highly anticipated study results presented Thursday, March 8, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle. Though no people living with HIV participating in the study saw their virus eradicated as result of the experiment, the findings paint an optimistic picture for scientists in pursuit of a cure for HIV.
Pathway to a Cure: Positive Results Continue for Sangamo’s CCR5 Gene Therapy
Genetically modifying CD4 cells to knock out the CCR5 coreceptor resulted in significant CD4 count gains and notable viral load reductions while off antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, according to new data from a clinical trial of Sangamo Biosciences’ zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) therapy SB-728-T, reported Thursday, March 8, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.
Diabetes Drug Metformin Prevents Worsening of Calcium Deposits in Arteries
Treatment with the diabetes drug metformin prevented the progression of coronary atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) in a study of people living with HIV presented Wednesday, March 7, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.
March 08, 2012
Gilead Quad Performance Comparable to Atripla in First-Time Treatment Takers
The first-ever head-to-head study of two one-pill, once-daily regimens—Gilead Sciences’ “Quad” tablet containing the experimental integrase inhibitor elvitegravir and boosting agent cobicistat along with tenofovir and emtricitabine, compared with Atripla (efavirenz plus emtricitabine and tenofovir)—shows comparable efficacy between the two, according to results presented Wednesday, March 7, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.
CHARTER Study: Asymptomatic Cognitive Problems 'Harbinger' for Future Neurologic Decline
Numerous studies have noted increasing rates of neurological disorders in people living with HIV, but many of the cases included in these findings involve patients with cognition problems that don’t affect daily functioning—data often dismissed as being statistical artifacts or meaningless measurements.
March 07, 2012
Poor Adherence Crippled PrEP Efficacy in Women’s Study
In stark contrast with the encouraging results from Partners PrEP—a clinical trial of Viread (tenofovir) and Truvada (tenofovir plus emtricitabine) pre-exposure prophylaxis in mixed-status heterosexual couples—a study focusing specifically on women at risk for HIV infection found no difference in infection rates between those using daily PrEP and those using placebo, according to results presented at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.
ViiV’s Dolutegravir Continues to Show Well After 96 Weeks, Versus Sustiva, for First-Time Treatment
ViiV Healthcare’s experimental integrase inhibitor dolutegravir (S/GSK-572) “compares favorably” with efavirenz (found in Sustiva and Atripla), particularly at the selected 50 milligram (mg) dose, with fewer treatment discontinuations due to side effects, according to 96-week follow-up data from the company’s SPRING-1 clinical trial reported Wednesday, March 7, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.
12 Weeks of GS-7977 Plus Ribavirin Not Effective for Null Responders With Hep C Genotype 1
Despite rapid reductions in hepatitis C virus (HCV) levels in 10 previously treated null responders with genotype 1 HCV, only one person had a sustained virologic response (SVR),  or viral cure, after treatment with a 12-week, pegylated interferon-free treatment regimen containing GS-7977 and ribavirin. These results from the ELECTRON study, an ongoing Phase II clinical trial, were presented by Edward Gane, MD, of the Auckland City Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand, on Tuesday, March 6, at the 19th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle
March 06, 2012
New IAPAC Recommendations on Getting and Keeping People in Care for HIV
Addressing a key issue in the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC) has released "Guidelines for Improving Entry Into and Retention in Care and Antiretroviral Adherence for Persons With HIV: Evidence-Based Recommendations."
Modified Tenofovir Gel for Rectal Use Safe and Acceptable in Phase I Study
A modified version of the Viread (tenofovir) microbicide for rectal use has been found to be safe by researchers and acceptable by study volunteers who used the gel for seven days, according to new data from the Microbicide Trials Network (MTN) reported Tuesday, May 6, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle.
Partners PrEP: Up to 90% Fewer Infections in Mixed-Status Hetero Couples
Viread (tenofovir) and Truvada (tenofovir plus emtricitabine), when either was used as daily pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), reduced the risk of contracting HIV by more than two thirds among mixed-status heterosexual couples—and up to 90 percent among those with laboratory evidence of having actually taken their allotted preventive treatment—according to new results from the Partners PrEP study reported on Tuesday, March 6, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle. 
Incivek, Victrelis Studies Hint at Superior Cure Rates in HIV/HCV Coinfection
Adding a protease inhibitor to pegylated interferon and ribavirin as part of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment resulted in higher sustained virologic response rates 12 weeks after finishing the regimen, pointing to significantly higher cure rates compared with those receiving pegylated interferon and ribavirin alone, according to results from two Phase II studies presented Tuesday, March 6, at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.
March 05, 2012
Early Access Program for Integrase Inhibitor Dolutegravir Launched
ViiV Healthcare and Shionogi have launched an expanded access program (EAP) for its integrase inhibitor dolutegravir (S/GSK134957), according to details now available on ViiV’s website. 
March 01, 2012
Cholesterol-Reducing Statins, Other Meds to Be Avoided With Hep C Protease Inhibitors
Health care providers are being reminded not to prescribe certain cholesterol-reducing medications—notably members of the “statin” drug class—for people living with hepatitis C virus (HCV) using either Incivek (telaprevir) or Victrelis (boceprevir), according to a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) letter.
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