aidsmap news: News from the International Liver Congress

News from the 2017 International Liver Congress

EASL releases updated hepatitis B guidelines at International Liver Congress

The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) presented revised clinical practice guidelines for the management of hepatitis B virus infection – the first update since 2012 – during a special session at its International Liver Congress last month in Amsterdam. For the first time, the guidelines include tenofovir alafenamide and present evidence about when and how to stop antiviral therapy.


Triple combination cures most hepatitis C patients with prior DAA treatment failure

Almost all people with genotype 1 hepatitis C who were previously unsuccessfully treated with a course of interferon-free direct-acting antiviral therapy achieved sustained response when retreated with a three-drug combination being developed by Merck, researchers reported at the International Liver Congress.


Switching to TAF for hepatitis B improves kidney function and bone loss

People with hepatitis B who switched from the old tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) to the new tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) saw improvements in kidney function biomarkers and recovery of bone loss, researchers reported at the International Liver Congress.


Generic hepatitis C drugs continue to produce high cure rates

Treatment with generic versions of direct-acting antiviral drugs continues to produce similar cure rates to those reported in clinical trials, Dr James Freeman reported at the International Liver Congress.


AbbVie combination cures 95% of genotype 3 hepatitis C

AbbVie’s pangenotypic direct-acting antiviral combination of two drugs cured 95% of people with early-stage genotype 3 hepatitis C virus, the hardest genotype to treat, according to results of the ENDURANCE-3 trial presented at the International Liver Congress.


New AbbVie hepatitis C combination cures 99% of people with cirrhosis

A new pangenotypic direct-acting antiviral combination developed by AbbVie is highly effective in curing hepatitis C in people with cirrhosis, achieving a 99% cure rate after 12 weeks of treatment with minimal side-effects, Xavier Forns reported on behalf of the EXPEDITION-1 study investigators at the International Liver Congress.


Direct-acting antivirals for hepatitis C not linked to higher liver cancer risk in most studies

People with hepatitis C who take treatment with direct-acting antivirals do not appear to have a higher risk of developing liver cancer compared to those treated with interferon, and the seemingly higher rates seen in some studies are attributable to risk factors such as older age and more advanced liver disease, according to a set of studies presented at the International Liver Congress.


European HCV treatment access survey shows big variations in eligibility

England, Malta, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia have the tightest restrictions on who can receive direct-acting antiviral treatment for hepatitis C, while France, Ireland, Portugal, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands are the least restrictive, research presented at the International Liver Congress shows.


Curing hepatitis C reduces cardiovascular risk

Curing hepatitis C reduces the risk of cardiovascular events in people with compensated cirrhosis, a large French study presented at the International Liver Congress shows.


More news from the BHIVA conference

Switching from Atripla to generic-containing regimens can produce large cost savings

Switching from branded Atripla to regimens that include at least one generic drug formulation can achieve big cost savings without compromising virological efficacy, according to research from Brighton presented to the recent conference of the British HIV Association in Liverpool.


Study shows that HIV-positive nursing mothers in London can struggle to obtain and afford formula milk

Many HIV-positive nursing mothers in London are struggling to meet the financial costs of formula feed, according to research presented to the recent conference of the British HIV Association. The study showed that a quarter of women did not receive any provision for formula feed and that almost three-quarters had a weekly spend of £10 or more on formula. More than half of women reported that they or their family went hungry in order to buy formula milk.


British HIV Association (BHIVA) conference

The 23rd Annual Conference of the British HIV Association (BHIVA) took place in Liverpool, UK, from 4-7 April 2017. Visit our conference webpages for more news.


Other recent news headlines

Avoiding false positives: rapid HIV tests vary in their accuracy, so need to be used in combination

An evaluation of eight rapid diagnostic tests widely used in a variety of African countries by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) shows that the tests vary in their performance, with false positive results being a concern. Samples from some geographical locations were more likely to have false positive results than others, suggesting that tests need to be locally validated, researchers report in the Journal of the International AIDS Society.


Early ART highly acceptable and achieves excellent rates of viral suppression among young South African women

Early antiretroviral therapy (ART) is highly acceptable to the majority of young women with HIV in South Africa, according to research published in AIDS and Behavior.


A quarter of people taking antiretroviral therapy in Kenya have exhausted current treatment options

Affordable third-line antiretrovirals are urgently needed in resource-limited settings, according to research conducted in Kenya and published in the online edition of AIDS. The study showed that a quarter of patients had exhausted current treatment options and only 18% had virus that was fully susceptible to the three main classes of anti-HIV drugs.


Monitoring of progress towards 90-90-90 blighted by poor quality reporting

Only six countries, representing just 2% of the global HIV burden, have high quality data reporting on the HIV care continuum and progress towards the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target, investigators report in PLOS Medicine. The study also showed that only nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa have surveillance data for viral suppression. Globally, an estimated 48% of all HIV-positive individuals are now on antiretroviral therapy, with 40% of all people with HIV virally suppressed.


Hepatitis C treatment can be provided successfully at syringe programme sites

Administering direct-acting antiviral therapy for people who inject drugs at a syringe exchange site led to high sustained response rates in a pilot study in New York City, researchers reported at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle. Expanding treatment for this population could reduce hepatitis C virus transmission and ultimately help eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat.


Editors’ picks from other sources

Fentanyl, the drug deadlier than heroin, has reached the UK

from Vice

Everything you need to know about the drug that has already caused a spate of fatal overdoses.

The CEO of HIV

from New York Times

Michael Weinstein’s AIDS Healthcare Foundation treats an enormous number of patients – and makes an enormous amount of money. Is that why so many activists distrust him?

Thai HIV advocates drop the PrEP ball

from AVAC

It is astonishing that strong, albeit subtle, resistance for PrEP [pre-exposure prophylaxis] scale-up in Thailand comes from a few influential leaders of HIV NGOs [non-governmental organisations]. Small in number, these NGOs are vocal and influential. Their opinions are esteemed by government officials and fellow NGOs. The resistance is not stated in public. Most of the objections to PrEP I have heard from these individuals during backroom talks or various office meetings or private discussions. Concerns, doubts, or cautions against PrEP that are said in public were vague and ambivalent.

The future of investment in PEPFAR: Understanding PEPFAR’s multiple economic, health, and diplomatic impacts

from Health Affairs

At a time when the future of the program is in doubt due to possibly severe budget cuts to the US State Department (where PEPFAR [President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] is based) proposed by the new administration, we thought it would be an opportune moment to highlight some of the key studies we have published exploring PEPFAR’s role in fighting the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

Open letter to Gilead Sciences about PrEP by EATG and the PrEP in Europe Initiative

from EATG / PrEP in Europe

Please read and share this letter signed by the European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) and the PrEP in Europe Initiative (PEI), a partnership of European prevention and policy NGOs. It requests Gilead Sciences to surrender their patent of Truvada or otherwise make it possible for Truvada or generic equivalents of it to be offered at greatly reduced prices to all European health care systems so that it can be used as HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

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