News from aidsmap

Progress on the ‘Third 90’ target is not a reliable guide to HIV transmission potential, South African study shows

Measuring the proportion of people with an undetectable viral load may be lulling health policymakers into a false sense of security in their efforts to control HIV transmission through comprehensive treatment, according to a new study from South Africa.


High prevalence of emphysema in middle-aged HIV-positive smokers

HIV infection is associated with airway obstruction, French investigators report in AIDS. Middle-aged HIV-positive smokers were matched with HIV-negative smokers of the same sex and age. After controlling for potential confounders, the investigators found a significant association between HIV and airway obstruction, an association that persisted after controlling for history of previous serious lung disease. Smoking intensity was also a significant risk factor.


High cholesterol and diabetes common among people on HIV treatment in Malawi

High LDL cholesterol levels and diabetes are much more common in people living with HIV on long-term antiretroviral treatment in Malawi compared to people of a similar age without HIV, especially in people over 60, a study conducted in Chiradzulu, Malawi, has found. The findings, published in the journal AIDS, indicate a large unmet need for cardiovascular disease risk management among people taking antiretroviral therapy in a low-income setting.


Diabetes in people with HIV over 50 overwhelmingly linked to old antiretrovirals, not age or body weight

People with HIV over the age of 50 are more likely to have developed type 2 diabetes if they started antiretroviral treatment before 1999 or had a longer exposure to older antiretroviral drugs such as stavudine (d4T) or first-generation protease inhibitors such as nelfinavir or indinavir, according to a study of people receiving HIV care in British Columbia, Canada.


Middle-aged HIV-positive people have increased risk of ‘silent’ cerebral vascular disease linked to more severe health problems

Prevalence of silent cerebral small-vessel disease (CSVD) – an important precursor to more serious neurocognitive conditions – is significantly higher among middle-aged HIV-positive people compared to controls in the general population, according to French research published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.


Dolutegravir and lamivudine potent and safe in people starting HIV therapy for the first time

The two-drug antiretroviral combination dolutegravir and lamivudine is virologically effective and safe in people starting HIV therapy for the first time, according to US research published in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.


People with high viral load most likely to report sex that could pass on HIV

People with HIV who had high viral load were more likely to report vaginal or anal sex without a condom with a partner of unknown or different HIV status, a US study of people with detectable viral load has found.


Baseline CD4 count biggest factor in long-term immune system improvements after starting HIV therapy

Pre-treatment CD4 cell count is the most important factor in immune recovery following the initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), according to the results of a large observational and modelling study published in HIV Medicine. The 7600 people included in the analysis all had an estimated date of seroconversion.


Editors’ picks from other sources

Why going bareback was the best sex decision I ever made

from Huffington Post

I no longer use condoms and I have no regrets. Evidence now suggests that, if you take PrEP daily, as I always do, the risks of HIV infection is roughly the same, or lower, than condoms, and I’ve rediscovered a world of pleasure denied to me for more than 30 years.

Preliminary study hints that genetically modified T cells might fight HIV

from STAT

The same kind of DNA tinkering that produced the first FDA-approved gene therapy for cancer has shown hints of suppressing and even eradicating HIV infection in lab animals, scientists have reported. Although the study was small it tested the genetically engineered “CAR” cells on only two monkeys as well as on cells growing in lab dishes it suggests that after 30 years of fruitless efforts to come up with an AIDS vaccine there might be a wholly new way to get the immune system to fight HIV infection.

Trump administration fires all members of HIV/AIDS advisory council

from Washington Post

The remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS were fired en masse this week. Months after a half-dozen members resigned in protest of the Trump administration’s position on health policies, the White House dismissed the rest through a form letter.

Six lessons in helping African women avoid HIV

from New York Times

Six short videos were released last week describing how a Kenyan nonprofit organisation tackled various obstacles to help young women use PrEP.

UNICEF warns, the global HIV response is failing children and adolescents

from Avert

Unless the HIV response is stepped up, we will not end AIDS in children and adolescents. This is the stark message in a new UNICEF report, released in December.

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