News from the BHIVA conference

London data show that hepatitis C is passed on during anal sex without a condom

Around one in five HIV-positive gay men who recently acquired hepatitis C report anal sex without a condom as the only behaviour that could explain their infection. At the same time, a third of people acquiring hepatitis C were gay men who did not have HIV, clinicians from the Mortimer Market Centre in London told the 23rd Annual Conference of the British HIV Association (BHIVA) in Liverpool.

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Suicide accounts for 2% of deaths in people with HIV, twice the rate of the general population

Men living with HIV have an elevated rate of suicide, particularly in the first year after diagnosis, according to a fifteen-year study of almost 90,000 people diagnosed with HIV in England and Wales, with comparison against the general population. Sara Croxford of Public Health England presented the findings to the conference.

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The large fall in HIV diagnoses in London gay men is real and thanks to combination prevention, not just PrEP

The number of new HIV diagnoses in gay men attending five key London clinics fell substantially during 2015 and 2016, Valerie Delpech of Public Health England told the conference.

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Other aidsmap news

Black HIV-positive MSM in US still have lower rates of ART use

The proportion of newly diagnosed HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States who were promptly linked to care and started antiretroviral therapy (ART) increased substantially between 2008 and 2014, investigators report in the online edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases. But the research also revealed racial disparities in ART initiation rates, which in 2014 were 9% lower among black compared to white MSM.

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Homeless US military veterans have high rates of HIV, HCV and HBV

Homeless veterans in the United States have a significantly higher prevalence of infection with HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) compared to non-homeless veterans, investigators report in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Prevalence of these viral infections was up to three times higher among homeless veterans compared to non-homeless veterans.

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Behaviour change interventions in HIV prevention: is there still a place for them?

A meta-analysis of studies of brief interventions to reduce HIV risk behaviour in HIV-negative gay men has concluded that there is evidence that such techniques did have a significant impact on the behaviours they were designed to change.

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PrEP is approved in Scotland

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has announced that it has accepted tenofovir disoproxil/emtricitabine (TDF/FTC – Truvada) for use within the Scottish National Health Service as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection.

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Health system navigators didn’t improve ART initiation or TB treatment completion rates among people newly diagnosed with HIV in Durban

An intervention using health system navigators, phone support and text message reminders did not improve rates of people living with HIV initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) or completing treatment for tuberculosis (TB), investigators report in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

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Tracking down patients lost to HIV care: home visits need to be carefully targeted

Efforts to track patients lost to care are likely to produce very little return on the money and time spent unless clinics target tracing activities carefully, a study of patients lost to follow-up in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania has found.

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PrEP should be given to all breastfed babies, researchers say

An international group of researchers involved in the ANRS 12174 randomised controlled trial of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for infants say that it is high time we started giving PrEP to all breastfed babies of HIV-positive mothers in countries where the likelihood of transmission via breastfeeding remains significant.

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Poppers linked to increased risk of some cancers in older MSM without HIV

Daily or weekly use of poppers over a number of years is associated with a substantial increase in the risk of cancers caused by viruses in men who have sex with men (MSM) without HIV, but only in the 50-70 age group, a study published in the journal AIDS shows. Heavy use of poppers was not associated with an increased risk of these cancers in men with HIV.

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Editors’ picks from other sources

Biomarker opens new door in HIV cure research

from MedPage Today HIV/AIDS

For the first time, investigators have found a biomarker that identifies some cells latently infected with HIV.

India to ban discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS

from CNN

India has passed a landmark bill which aims to ensure equal rights for those living with HIV/AIDS. The HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, passed by the country’s parliament on Tuesday, will make it illegal to discriminate against people living with and affected by HIV. It is the first of its kind in south Asia, and will make India the largest country in the world to ban this kind of discrimination.

The US should continue its fight against AIDS in children

from National Review

PEPFAR is a standout example of how to achieve great things through strategic US foreign-assistance investments – and of how public-private partnerships can wed the efficiencies of the private sector with the scale and reach of the public sector. By maintaining the programme’s funding, the United States and this administration will be well positioned to celebrate a historic public-health achievement: the end of the AIDS epidemic for an entire generation of children.

HIV, family planning groups grapple with new WHO guidance on popular contraceptive

from Devex

The World Health Organization’s reclassification last month of progestogen-only injectable contraceptives has triggered a critical debate in the family planning community over how to manage the potential link between higher rates of HIV acquisition and one of the most popular birth control methods in many at-risk communities.

Is the Russian Federation willing and able to manage its HIV epidemic?

from Global Fund Observer

In January 2017, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation rejected a request to allocate $1.2 billion over four years for the response to HIV, citing “a lack of federal funds.” The Ministry of Health had asked for the funds in order to implement the National AIDS Strategy 2017-2020. The rejection of the funding request once again brought into question the ability and willingness of the Russian Federation to manage its serious HIV epidemic.

TasP is a ‘game-changer’ for people living with HIV

from Sydney Star Observer

While we talk about ‘game-changers’ in terms of bio-medical or pharmaceutical solutions, the real game changer is the positive person.