Tagged: AIDS

  • PrEP use and risk perception: What’s the connection?

    Now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the antiretroviral drug combination of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine (Truvada®) for HIV prevention, its success will depend on user adherence to the daily drug regimen.

    Several trials of Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) showed it is most effective when adherence is high. Two trials, VOICE and FEM-PrEP, were unable to determine whether Truvada worked, likely because most participants did not take the study pills daily as directed.

    One explanation for low adherence to PrEP is that study participants might have thought they were not at risk of HIV infection.

    A study from FHI 360’s Preventive Technologies Agreement (PTA) explored this possibility. Our analysis of data from a randomly assigned cohort of 150 participants who received Truvada in the FEM-PrEP trial yielded some intriguing results, presented in a late-breaker poster this week at the International AIDS Society conference (IAS 2013) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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  • Patriotism, sacrifice and an HIV vaccine

    Over the past week, scientists and advocates around the world refocused their attention on the search for an HIV vaccine. Fittingly the observance stems from a long ago speech by President Bill Clinton. On May 18, 1997, Mr. Clinton delivered an inspiring commencement address at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. In the speech, the president challenged the scientific community and the graduating class from one of America’s foremost historically black universities to invest their talents in the discovery of an HIV vaccine. Mr. Clinton also called for a worldwide commitment to develop an “AIDS vaccine within the next decade.” Since that commencement, May 18 has been marked by scientists, advocates and governments as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.

    In the years following Mr. Clinton’s bold challenge, there have been gains and setbacks in our quest to find an HIV vaccine.

    In 2009, the world applauded when the U.S. Army’s research program and the Thai Ministry of Health announced the first HIV vaccine trial to show efficacy. The trial results showed that the candidate vaccines in the RV144 study worked in 31 percent of the people who were vaccinated. Although this level of efficacy is not sufficient to bring a product to market, it is a promising sign that a vaccine is indeed possible.

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  • ROADS II: Transforming corridors of risk into pathways of prevention and hope

  • FHI 360’s Deputy Country Director for Nigeria, Dr. Robert Chiegil, spoke with Voice of America’s health correspondent Linord Moudou yesterday about reducing the impact of HIV and TB in Nigeria and other African countries. Watch the video below.

  • Getting to zero: National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day

    More than half of the world’s population is under the age of 30 and has never lived in a time without AIDS. Despite the steady progress of our collective scientific and community efforts to end the HIV epidemic, the lives of young people continue to be especially vulnerable. To bring attention to this ongoing crisis and to commit ourselves to achieving an AIDS-free generation, today marks the first National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day.

    According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 50,000 people in the United States are infected with HIV each year. Of those, one in four is between 13 and 24 years old. Further, CDC reports that nearly 60 percent of new infections in youth occur in African Americans, 20 percent in Latinos and about 20 percent in whites. In 2010, CDC estimates that 87 percent of the 12,000 annual infections in youth occurred among gay and bisexual young men. Nearly half of all new infections among American youth occur in African American males.

    In a CDC Vital Signs report released for World AIDS Day 2012, the agency noted that “about 60 percent of youth do not know they are infected and so don’t receive treatment, putting them at risk for sickness and early death. These youth can also unknowingly pass HIV to others.”

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  • World AIDS Day 2012: A Shared Vision of Getting to Zero

    FHI 360 has been partnering toward an AIDS-free generation since the beginning of the epidemic. As we approach World AIDS Day 2012, FHI 360 experts examine next steps needed to tackle HIV/AIDS for good. We’ll discuss new enhancements in the testing and treatment of women during pregnancy and in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. We’ll also take a look at the HIV treatment cascade and how it can help people to take the initiative to learn their HIV status and close some of the gaps in treatment and service. Finally, we will share perspectives from the field with a program profile and success story.

    As we look to the future, from our work in Cambodia to Kenya to the U.S., FHI 360 will continue to partner toward a shared vision of “getting to zero.”


  • A new study published in the on line journal Nature Medicine over the weekend brings exciting news in the race to find an AIDS vaccine. Researchers from the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) have found that a key change in the outer coating of the HIV virus allowed two HIV positive women to develop “broadly neutralizing antibodies,” which are antibodies that can be used to target and fight most strains of HIV.

    The first broadly neutralizing antibodies were discovered over three years ago, and since then dozens more have been identified. But until now, researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint how they develop, which is critical to developing a vaccine. The new findings establish a link between a change in the virus after infection and the formulation of the antibodies that fight it.

    According to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the study is “an important step in trying to understand just how these broadly neutralizing antibodies evolve.”

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  • Ending AIDS Among Latino Americans: ¡Sí se puede!

    The past three years have seen tremendous breakthroughs in HIV prevention research. Since 2009, we have seen the first vaccine to show effectiveness, a microbicide that was found to be modestly efficacious and two studies demonstrating that an HIV medication could be used as a pre-exposure prophylaxis or could reduce new infections by treating those with HIV earlier. These advances have led many to herald a new era in our 30-year campaign to end the epidemic.

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  • The Co-founder of National HIV Testing Day asks, “Why do we need a special day for HIV testing?"

    Today, June 27, is National HIV Testing Day in the United States. It is an observance that is now recognized in many countries around the globe. Why set aside a special day for something that should be a routine part of medical care for people at risk of getting HIV? Because ending the stigma of HIV and creating multiple opportunities for testing is an urgent need in our effort to create an AIDS-free generation.

    In the late 1980s, many of my friends had died of AIDS or were very sick. The decision to get an HIV test was not an easy one. But in 1986, I went for an HIV test at Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington, DC, because it was important for me to know my HIV status. This was at a time when there were few treatment options, and the testing process involved a long and scary wait for your results. In 1995, I worked with my colleagues at the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) and we created National HIV Testing Day. This effort was designed to help reduce the stigma of HIV testing and to normalize it as a component of regular health screening. At that time, there was a lot of fear about testing. Because there were few treatments, many thought it unnecessary. People who were known to be HIV positive were subjected to being fired from their jobs or becoming victims of violence. At NAPWA, we believed it was important to confront this situation by encouraging people to “Take the Test, Take Control.” We also believed that the more of us who stood up, the less the world would be able to ignore the epidemic.

    Last week, members of parliament in Zimbabwe provided the type of leadership needed in the United States and worldwide to end the stigma of HIV testing. Over 47 legislators, and 60 of their staff, underwent voluntary counseling and public testing for HIV in an effort to encourage other citizens to follow suit. As a result, Blessing Chebundo, chairman of the Zimbabwe Parliamentarians Against AIDS, told SW Radio Africa that, “181 people went through the doors for testing, and 23 men underwent circumcision (proven to reduce the risk of HIV infection).”

    Today, there are dozens of treatments available to keep people with HIV healthy. There is excitement also about the progress we are making in biomedical prevention interventions such as circumcision, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and treatment as prevention. HIV testing itself is easier and quicker with results available in 20 minutes. The promise of these new opportunities begins with everyone knowing their HIV status without fear of discrimination, stigma or violence.

    To learn more about National HIV Testing Day, visit the website here.

  • FANTA – A Technical Assistance Program that Improves Nutrition for People Living with HIV

    Arénia Massingue is a master trainer from the National Nurses Association in Mozambique (Associação Nacional de Enfermeiros em Moçambique [ANEMO]). Massingue, who was trained by the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance (FANTA) project on home-based nutrition care for people living with HIV (PLHIV), explains how what she learned helped her work: “We can now see a change in behavior among our beneficiaries. Before health activists started educating them about nutrition, there was a common belief that eating well was eating purchased goods. For example, many believed that the best fruit juice was the one they bought from the store, even though they had oranges in their garden. Now they know that the oranges in their garden can produce a juice that is not only cheaper, but also more nutritious.”

    Since being trained by FANTA, ANEMO master trainers trained 55 community-based organization (CBO) trainers. To date, the CBO trainers have trained 440 heath activists, home-based health care workers who provide counseling to PLHIV. PLHIV are counseled on the importance of using locally available foods in a balanced diet, management of HIV-related symptoms through diet, and potential drug-food interactions. Health activists also provide cooking demonstrations using recipes they learned during the training to help PLHIV meet their increased energy needs and eat a balanced, healthy diet. ANEMO, the Ministry of Women and Social Welfare and Ministry for Health are also working in collaboration with FANTA to integrate nutrition into the government’s official training curriculum for home-based care workers.

    FANTA is a project that works globally to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable groups through technical support to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and its governmental and nongovernmental partners. The project improves nutritional outcomes by strengthening policies, programs and systems for maternal and child health and nutrition, nutrition and HIV and other infectious diseases, food security and livelihood strengthening, agriculture and nutrition linkages, and emergency assistance during nutrition crises.

    For more information about FANTA, email the project at fantamail[at]fhi360.org.