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November 30, 2011
Cancer Risk Decreases With Higher CD4 Cell Counts, Undetectable Viral Loads
Some good news regarding cancers: If antiretroviral therapy is able to maintain undetectable viral loads and higher CD4 cell counts, it may reduce the risk of various AIDS- and non-AIDS-related cancers, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published online ahead of print by the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
November 29, 2011
CDC: Only 50% of People With HIV in U.S. Get Regular Care
Despite recent improvements in getting people unknowingly living with the virus tested and linked to care, there is still a great deal of room for improvement with respect to keeping HIV-positive people retained in care, engaged in prevention counseling and on antiretroviral treatment to maintain undetectable viral loads. This is the conclusion of a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) analysis released November 29 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in advance of World AIDS Day, December 1.
November 28, 2011
Tenofovir Microbicide Gel Falters in Major HIV Prevention Study
HIV prevention efforts have suffered a major setback following a Microbicide Trials Network (MTN) announcement that a vaginal gel containing the antiretroviral tenofovir has been dropped from a large ongoing clinical trial because of lackluster effectiveness. The decision to discontinue the microbicide in the Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic (VOICE) study was unexpected and contradicts the optimistic results of an earlier study of the same tenofovir-based gel.
November 21, 2011
HIV Drug Giant Gilead Acquires Pharmasset, a Hep C Drug Development Leader
To the tune of $11 billion, Gilead Sciences—a leader in HIV drug development and sales—has acquired one of the most talked-about pharmaceutical companies in the field of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment research: Pharmasset, Inc., based in Princeton, New Jersey. The announcement was initially made by Gilead in a November 21 press release and during a conference call with investors and the media.
November 17, 2011
Blood Thinner Reduces Liver Vein Blood Clots, Protects Liver Functioning in People With Cirrhosis
People with liver cirrhosis may benefit from daily therapy with a blood thinner to prevent portal vein thrombosis (PVT), a potentially serious and life-threatening complication, according to an important study presented by Italian researchers at the 62nd annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) in San Francisco. Using the injectable agent enoxaparin—sold as Lovenox in the United States—for 12 months not only reduced the risk of PVT by nearly 80 percent, but also reduced the risk of decompensated liver disease. 
November 16, 2011
Complete One-Pill, Once-Daily Prezista-Based HIV Regimen Enters Development
Tibotec Therapeutics—the research and development division of Janssen Pharmaceuticals—has entered yet another agreement with Gilead Sciences to develop a fixed-dose combination (FDC) tablet. Now, according to a November 15 press release, the companies will develop a complete FDC regimen containing Janssen’s protease inhibitor Prezista (darunavir) and Gilead Sciences’ Emtriva (emtricitabine), boosting agent cobicistat and tenofovir prodrug GS 7340.
November 15, 2011
Milk Thistle Extract Comparable to Placebo in Hep C Liver Enzyme Study
Silymarin, an extract of milk thistle (Carduus marianus), had no benefit on levels of the liver enzyme alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in people living with hepatitis C, according to a new study reported Tuesday, November 8, by researchers at the 62nd annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in San Francisco.
Two-Drug Vaginal HIV Microbicide Ring Enters U.S. Safety Study
For the first time ever, researchers are conducting a clinical trial evaluating the safety of a vaginal ring combining two antiretroviral (ARV) medications that may prove to be more effective and easier to use than microbicide gels. The study, being conducted by the Microbicide Trials Network (MTN) and the International Partnership for Microbicides, is now screening participants at three sites in the United States.
November 14, 2011
Interferon-Free Alisporivir Treatment Showing Promise in Genotype 2/3 Trial
Alisporivir, a once-daily drug being developed by Novartis at the forefront of a new class of hepatitis C virus (HCV) compounds known as cyclophilin inhibitors, is showing promise as a component of interferon-free therapy for people with genotype 2 or 3 HCV infection, according to new results from a Phase II study reported in San Francisco at the 62nd annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
November 10, 2011
Hepatitis C Surpasses HIV as Cause of Death in U.S.
It’s official. Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with more deaths than HIV infection, according to sobering new data presented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday, November 8, at the 62nd annual meeting of the American Association for the Studies of Liver Diseases (AASLD) in San Francisco.
November 09, 2011
Incivek, Victrelis Working Well in HIV/HCV Coinfection Studies
Roughly 70 percent of people living with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection have undetectable HCV viral loads after 24 weeks of treatment with either Incivek (telaprevir) or Victrelis (boceprevir) plus pegylated interferon and ribavirin, according to interim results from two studies reported at two recent medical conferences.
PSI-7977, Peg-Interferon, Ribavirin Combo Shines in Genotype 1 Hep C Study
Combining Pharmasset’s once-daily experimental nucleotide analog PSI-7977 with pegylated interferon and ribavirin cured 91 percent of 47 people with hepatitis C genotype 1 after 24 weeks of treatment. These exciting results from PROTON, a Phase II clinical trial, were reported on Tuesday, November 8, at the 62nd annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) in San Francisco.
November 07, 2011
FDA Warns of Serious Skin Reactions Among Isentress Users
Severe, potentially life-threatening and fatal skin reactions have been reported in people living with HIV using Merck’s integrase inhibitor Isentress (raltegravir), according to an update to the drug’s package insert announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday, November 2.
Low Levels of HIV in the Blood Aren’t Connected to Inflammation or Death
Low-level viremia—HIV in the bloodstream in amounts below the level measured by standard tests—is not associated with inflammation or death, according to a November 2 study on PLoS One
November 06, 2011
Twelve Weeks Interferon-Free PSI-7977 Regimen Cures 100 Percent Hep C Genotype 2/3
A twelve-week course of Pharmasset’s once-daily experimental nucleotide analog PSI-7977, combined with ribavirin, cured 10 of 10 people living with genotype 2/3 hepatitis C virus (HCV) who used the regimen—without pegylated interferon—in a Phase II clinical trial. The highly encouraging results were reported Sunday, November 6, at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in San Francisco.
November 03, 2011
Gene Variant Increases Risk of Kidney Disease in HIV-Positive African Americans
African Americans living with HIV who don’t receive antiretroviral therapy and have inherited an altered form of a gene, called APOL1, from both parents have about a 50 percent lifetime risk of developing kidney disease, according to a new paper published by National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. The finding brings scientists closer to understanding why African Americans, regardless of whether or not they’re living with HIV, are significantly more likely to develop kidney failure than whites.
November 02, 2011
Post-Conference Report Provides HIV Cure Roadmap
Now that a cure has been proved to be possible, the challenge has moved from encouraging researchers to take up cure-oriented studies to figuring out how to design and conduct those studies, according to a report summarizing an April 2011 meeting sponsored by the AIDS Policy Project, Project Inform, the Treatment Action Group and amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. 
November 01, 2011
Gilead’s HIV 'Quad' Tablet Now Before FDA for Approval Review
Gilead Sciences has submitted paperwork to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for marketing approval of the Quad, a complete once-daily, single-tablet regimen.
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