A roundup of HIV-related news from Australian and selected international media.
In this edition:
AIDSMeds (US), 19 Jun
Compared with nevirapine (Viramune), efavirenz (the active ingredient in Sustiva and a component of Atripla) appears to be associated with better survival, fewer AIDS-related opportunistic infections and a decreased likelihood of experiencing virologic failure among first-time treatment takers, according to a large cohortIn epidemiology, a group of individuals with some characteristics in common. A cohort study is a special kind of clinical trial which looks at a treatment or treatment strategy in a cohort of people. study.
The Australian, 19 Jun
Legislation was passed on 19 June to set up an electronic health record system. The Federal Government says the system will bring the management of health records into the 21st century and provide life saving information in emergencies, however opposition senators have raised concerns about the system's roll-out from 1 July.
Star Observer Online, 19 Jun
Positive Life NSW is launching an online magazine to combat stigma associated with HIV and relationships. The magazine SERO DISCO 2 will look at issues around serodiscordant relationships — where one partner is HIV-positive and the other HIV-negative — and debunk some common misconceptions.
Gay News Network, 18 Jun
Philip Diment’s work as convenor of the AIDS Memorial Quilt Project and service to the community was recognised in this year’s Queens Birthday Honours List.
Courier Mail (Brisbane), 18 Jun
A dentist who is HIV positive claims the Dental Board of Queensland has "contravened his human rights" by preventing him from conducting "exposure prone dental" work.
Gay News Network, 19 Jun
More gay men may be able to donate blood under a new proposal being considered by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, but gay activists say the change would make no difference.
Nature.com, 19 Jun
A group of 35 Nobel prizewinners is challenging the appointment of controversial scientist Luc Montagnier as interim scientific director of the Chantal Biya International Reference Centre (CIRCB), a new research institution in central Africa and one of the few African sources of hard data about the spread of the disease.
PinkNews (UK), 15 Jun
The ban on the donation of blood by men who have sex with men in France is due to be lifted ‘in the coming months’. Minister of Health and Social Affairs Marisol Touraine told Reuters: “The criterion [for donation] cannot be the nature of sexual relations or sexual orientation. The only criterion is that of risk.”
news medical.net (US), 18 Jun
Walgreens, the US's largest pharmacy chain, and Greater Than AIDS, a coalition of public and private sector partners, are teaming with health departments and local AIDS organisations to provide free HIV testing at 47 Walgreens stores in 20 cities across the nation in June in support of National HIV Testing Day (June 27).
HIV Treatment and Care
New York Times (US), 8 Jun
Cardiologists and people living with HIV talk about the risks of heart attack - even for people whose viral loadA measurement of the quantity of HIV RNA in the blood. Viral load blood test results are expressed as the number of copies (of HIV) per milliliter of blood plasma. is suppressed - and the need for more public awareness of the issue.
Aidsmap (UK), 19 Jun
Co-infection with HIV and hepatitis C is associated with an increased risk of hip fracture, US investigators report. They suggest that this could be due to the inflammatory effects of these infections, but social and lifestyle factors are also likely to be important contributory factors.
Health Canal.com (US), 19 Jun
Young men being treated for HIV are more likely to experience low bone mass than are other men their age, according to new research findings.
somatosphere.net, 18 Jun opinion blog
Author and academic Marsha Rosengarten discusses concerns about the absence of social scientific approaches to grapple with changing models of HIV prevention.
Welfare & Work
Star Observer Online, 12 Jun
Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has launched new legal resources produced by the HIV/AIDS Legal Centre (HALC). The resources cover issues for women, immigration, insurance, privacy and discrimination.
Gay News Network, 18 Jun
HIV and GLBT organisations have criticised the recently announced cuts to the Private Rental Subsidy (PRS) which base the maximum benefit available on the median rental price of $380 for a one bedroom dwelling located in Sydney’s middle ring suburbs. This will be inadequate for people living close to their support network and service providers in the inner suburbs where the median rent is much higher.
Science speaks blog, 19 Jun
With costs dropping for a drug considered one of the more effective antiretroviralA medication or other substance which is active against retroviruses such as HIV. treatments, along with evidence showing it is safer than previously thought, the World Health Organization is recommending efavirenz be given to pregnant women with HIV.
Yahoo! 7 News, 20 Jun
As part of a new safe-sex initiative, the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (SMI) on Tuesday launched an app that allows the user to "test sex" with a range of fantasy characters, ranging from a personal trainer to a handyman, all portrayed by famous Swedish actors. The app includes messages about safe sex and condom use.
Science & Medicine
Proactive Investors Australia, 20 Jun
Benitec Biopharmais progressing towards human clinical studies with the company’s multiple geneThe most basic unit of genetic information. silencing technology programs. The company is targeting a clinical trialA clinical trial is a research study to answer specific questions about vaccines or new therapies or new ways of using known treatments. Clinical trials are used to determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work in people. Trials are in four phases: Phase I tests a new drug or treatment in a small group; Phase II expands the study to a larger group of people; Phase III expands the study to an even larger group of people; and Phase IV takes place after the drug or treatment has been licensed and marketed. in HIV/AIDS patients in 2012, the first trial to use only ddRNAi constructs to target HIV in patients.
medical news today, 19 Jun
Some individuals living with HIV are able to control the virusA small infective organism which is incapable of reproducing outside a host cell. better, now researchers have discovered that certain immune cells in the gut could be why. According to the researchers, increasing the amount of these cells could be vital in limiting HIV growth.
news medical.net (US), 19 Jun
Biopharmaceutical company InnaVirVax has announced that a new European patent application has been filed on VAC-3S, a “first-in-class” immunotherapy for the treatment of HIV infections. VAC-3S is currently in a phase IA clinical trial designed to establish whether an experimental drug is safe for humans to take. Phase I studies determine the metabolism and pharmacologic actions of drugs in humans, the side effects associated with increasing doses, and look for early evidence of effectiveness; these studies may include either people with HIV, HIV-negative volunteers, or both/IIa clinical trial in France.
The Australian, 20 Jun opinion
An unemployed virologist, whose PhD looked for new HIV drug and vaccine targets, talks about the lack of career support and job opportunities for science graduates in Australia.
Star Observer Online, 15 Jun
The Queensland LGBTI Legal Service has announced that the organisation will extend its operations to take on a concerted political advocacy role on behalf of LGBTI Queenslanders. The decision was made in the wake of the Newman Government’s decision to defund the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (QAHC).