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New HIV medication combines four drugs
Date: 2012-08-28 20:05:24

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave its approval for Stribild, a new HIV medication that combines two new drugs with two preexisting ones. This therapy may prove useful for individuals who are newly diagnosed with HIV through anonymous STD testing.

Stribild includes elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. The first two medications are new. While elvitegravir curbs viral replication, cobicistat slows down the process in which the former drug is metabolized so that it can last longer. The combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, currently marketed as Truvada, also helps control the replication of HIV.

The FDA's approval of Stribild is based on two studies that included more than 1,400 HIV-positive patients who never underwent treatment. These trials compared Stribild to either the HIV drug Atripla or Truvada plus atazanavir and ritonavir.

Results showed that after 48 weeks, between 88 and 90 percent of subjects on Stribild had undetectable levels of the virus in their blood, compared to between 84 percent and 87 percent of individuals on the other treatments.

"Through continued research and drug development, treatment for those infected with HIV has evolved from multi-pill regimens to single-pill regimens," said Edward Cox, M.D., M.P.H. of the FDA. "New combination HIV drugs like Stribild help simplify treatment regimens."

Anonymous STD testing is the first step for patients to receive appropriate treatment.

... Full Story

Anti-HIV vaginal ring stops virus from spreading among monkeys
Date: 2012-09-05 21:40:41

A device that administers STD-blocking microbicides has been proven successful at stopping HIV-positive female monkeys from causing other animals to screen positive when undergoing STD testing for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Scientists from the Population Council administered vaginal rings to the animals in the experiment either two weeks or a day before giving them a hybrid of HIV and SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus). Overall, only two out of the total group of 17 creatures that had been given vaginal rings contracted HIV, while well-over half of the control group of monkeys became infected.

"This proof-of-concept study confirms that the investment in vaginal rings as a delivery system for HIV prevention is paying off. Our findings show that rings can deliver an anti-HIV drug to prevent infection," said Naomi Rutenberg, vice president and director of the Population Council's HIV and AIDS program.

Sexually active people are advised by many agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to regularly undergo STD testing for medical conditions that they can get through intercourse. Factors the CDC says increase the chances of catching HIV include having sex with an HIV-positive person without a condom, unprotected sex with multiple partners and sharing syringes for drug use.

... Full Story

Rate of STDs increased for elderly, say news sources
Date: 2012-09-07 16:10:25

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that young people account for more than half of positive STD tests in the U.S., cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes and syphilis in the elderly have doubled in the past 10 years.

In an article from the Texas-based news outlet the Eagle, it is speculated that this trend has been the result of relatively new technological advances such as erectile dysfunction treatments and online dating.

Meanwhile, a study published earlier this year in the Student British Medical Journal said that 80 percent of individuals as old as 90 have not abandoned their sex lives.

"You never have to retire from sex, but you should always behave as the 20-to-30 year-olds do. You need to be cautious about it. They [seniors] just don't think it can happen to them. STDs really started making news in the '80s and '90s. The fears and the warnings didn't hit their generation," said clinical psychologist Judy Kuriansky, quoted by CNN.

The Mayo Clinic says individuals should contact a medical professional to determine which STD tests are right for them.

... Full Story

Individuals with AIDS have greater than average risk for digestive cancers
Date: 2012-09-25 14:13:37

New research available in the journal of the American Gastroenterological Association shows that individuals who took an STD diagnosis test that detected the presence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and later developed acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) have a higher than normal likelihood of receiving a blood test detecting cancer tumors in the stomach and esophagus.

"People diagnosed with AIDS are living longer due to improved therapies," said lead author E. Christina Persson. "However, they remain at increased risk of developing a number of different cancers. An elevated risk of esophageal and stomach cancers had been observed before, but we were able to look at risk for subtypes of these malignancies."

Analysts from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) culled information from the HIV/AIDS Cancer Match Study, which contains data on almost 600,000 individuals coping with AIDS. They found that AIDS patients were nearly 70 percent more likely to develop esophageal cancer, and more than 40 percent more susceptible to stomach cancer than the rest of the population.

The NCI also stated that an STD diagnosis test indicating HIV makes an individual's cancer biomarkers blood test more likely to detect tumor cells in the lungs, mouth and cervix.

... Full Story

Seniors get educated about HIV
Date: 2012-10-18 18:43:34

According to the Associated Press, Washington D.C. has one of the highest rates of HIV infection, but almost 40 percent of those who have contracted the virus are above 50 years old.

"They were young people with risky behaviors and now they've become older people with risky behaviors," said Courtney Williams, a member of the D.C. Office on Aging.

Just like the city's youth, seniors engage in unprotected sex as well as drug use, but when they were younger, the elderly population didn't have the resources or knowledge to educate them about the inherent risks.

That's why the city has allocated $150,000 for a campaign that took two years to develop, that will reach out to the District of Columbia's elderly to inform them not only of the risks, but also the proper precautions when it comes to preventing HIV and AIDS, which can be detected with a blood test.

According to the news source, the lectures given to seniors are billed as talks about sexual health and relationships. The presenters inform the audience that even though a post-menopausal women can't get pregnant, condom use is still a good idea in order to prevent HIV transmission. They also talk about not sharing needles when self-injecting insulin and distribute special brochures and condoms.

... Full Story

New vulnerability discovered in HIV
Date: 2012-10-22 21:25:47

A recent study conducted by Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), examined two HIV-positive South African women and, in it, researchers discovered that when a sugar known as glycan formed at a certain position on the protein coat of the HIV pathogen, it became vulnerable to an antibody attack.

"Broadly neutralizing antibodies are considered to be the key to making an AIDS vaccine. This discovery provides new clues on how vaccines could be designed to elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies," said Salim Abdool Karim, M.D., director of CAPRISA.

These powerful antibodies that are capable of killing nearly 88 percent of HIV strands were discovered by scientists only three years ago, but it wasn't until this study that it was understood how or why the body produces them. The research showed that the virus' weakness - the glycan on its exterior - was not present when the women first contracted HIV.

Due to the less potent antibodies that continually tried to combat HIV in the women, the disease eventually showed its weak spot, which allowed the body to develop the more powerful, neutralizing antibodies.

Additional research, which looked at data from the University of North Carolina and Harvard University, found that this area of vulnerability in the disease, known as position 332, may only be present in two-thirds of that particular subtype of HIV that the two women in the study contracted, which can be detected with a lab test.

... Full Story

New method developed to protect against HIV
Date: 2012-11-28 22:23:28

Researchers at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute (TBRI) have developed a new method for vaccinating the body against HIV, which can be detected with a blood test. According to Medical News Today, nearly 90 percent of HIV contractions occur through the outer layer of the cells known as the mucosal layers during sexual intercourse. The vaccine targets this area and prevents the virus from spreading.

A major shortcoming of previous vaccines is that their ability to provide immunity fades after a short period of time, but TBRI's inoculation would only need to be issued once and would last a lifetime.

"The development of an effective AIDS vaccine that restricts viral replication at the mucosal level of entry may be our best hope for controlling the HIV pandemic," said Marie-Claire Gauduin, Ph.D., of Texas Biomedical's Department of Virology and Immunology, who is the co-inventor of the vaccine. "Only life-long stimulation of the immune system by the vaccine will be sufficient to achieve long-term protection," she added.

Medical News Today also noted that the vaccine can be tweaked to defend against other viruses. Currently, TBRI is applying for a patent for the vaccine.

HIV statistics and risk factors... Full Story

HIV treatment may help eliminate staph infection
Date: 2012-12-17 16:51:59

A recent study conducted by the New York University School of Medicine has found that a treatment for HIV may also be effective in warding off Staphylococcus aureus, also known as staph infection, which affects thousands of people annually.

The finding came about when Victor J. Torres, Ph.D., a bacteriologist, and Derya Unutmaz, M.D., an immunologist, were collaborating on research in which they analyzed a cell receptor named CCR5. Nearly 16 years ago, investigators at the NYU School of Medicine found that CCR5 is what HIV uses as a point of entry into T cells in order to proliferate throughout the body. Torres and Unutmaz found that when the staph infection enters the body, it releases a toxin known as LukED that binds to the receptor and causes it to die. CCR5 is crucial to the body's immunity defense system in staving off staph infection.

The researchers then conducted a second experiment in which they introduced the CCR5 receptor to an HIV medication known as maraviroc, which inhibits HIV from harming the CCR5. They then introduced the cells to the LukED toxins.

"The goal in blocking the toxin with maraviroc or similar agents is to give the upper hand to the immune system to better control the infection," said Torres.

They found that the maraviroc was able to shield the receptor from the LukED. They then tested the drug's effect on a mouse model and witnessed the same results. The investigators noted that they hope future clinical trials involving humans will also show the HIV drug's effectiveness in warding off the bacterial infection.

Staph infection facts... Full Story

Study shows microbicide gel may prevent HIV transmission
Date: 2012-12-07 22:08:47

A study published in the journal PLoS Pathogens was conducted by researchers at the European Combined Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Microbicides (CHAARM) consortium, shows that a newly developed microbicide gel may be able to prevent patients from contracting HIV.

The gel's active ingredient are peptides known as miniCD4s that act like the body's receptors where the HIV virus can access the body. Earlier laboratory research showed that the miniCD4s were able to prevent HIV from accessing individual cells in a dish as well as mucous membranes in a tissue sample.

The research investigators produced a gel with the miniCD4 peptides. It was put into six female cynomolgus macaques monkeys. An hour later, the doctors introduced the HIV virus into the vaginas of the primates. The virus was not present in the tissues of any of the animals, and there were no reactive antibodies detected. This demonstrates that the virus was completely inhibited from entering the monkeys' systems.

HIV statistics... Full Story

Antiretroviral treatment reduces hospitalization rates of HIV patients
Date: 2012-12-18 21:57:21

A recent study conducted by pharmacist and researcher Tony Antoniou found that the antiretroviral drug known as cART helped reduce the hospitalization rate of patients in Ontario who had HIV, which can be detected with a blood test.

During the study, Antoniou analyzed data from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. He found that women with HIV and low-income residents with HIV have 15 percent and 21 percent higher hospitalization rates, respectively, than men and high-income patients, which he attributes to those sub-groups having more difficulty obtaining the medication.

"Although our study is overall a 'good news' story for persons with HIV in Ontario, the differences in rates of hospitalization over the past decade suggest that women and low-income individuals living with HIV may face challenges accessing medication and community-based care," said Antoniou.

He also noted that there needs to be universal access to HIV medications and that further investigations need to be done to reveal what causes the disparities in access to medications between different genders and income level populations.

Antiretroviral treatment... Full Story

More HIV testing needed to slow spread of infection
Date: 2012-02-17 22:09:00

Ever since the HIV epidemic came to the U.S. in 1981, it has left millions of people infected with the disease. Some communities have been hit particularly hard. In order to prevent the infection from continuing to spread, experts say more people should consider HIV testing.

There are currently more than 1 million people in the U.S. who are infected with HIV, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. What's more, as much as 21 percent of these individuals are unaware of their infection.

The disease is most common among minorities and men who have sex with men. African Americans receive the most positive HIV tests each year, despite the fact that this group only makes up about 12 percent of the total U.S. population. There were more than 42,000 new cases diagnosed in African Americans in 2008.

Numbers such as these underscore the importance of HIV testing. The infection will continue to be passed from one individual to the next as long as there are so many undiagnosed cases. Testing and treating those who are infected may be one of the simplest ways to slow the spread of HIV. 

... Full Story

HIV rates remain stable
Date: 2012-12-24 10:45:57
A recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that HIV prevalence in the U.S. has remained stable in all age groups and ethnicities, although some groups remain disproportionately affected, notably African-Americans and men who have sex with men (MSM).... Full Story

Cardiac condition detected in children with HIV
Date: 2012-12-07 16:54:20
A study presented at the EUROECHO conference revealed that children with HIV have a 2.5 percent greater likelihood of developing atherosclerosis than those without the virus.... Full Story

UNAIDS finds fewer cases of HIV among infants
Date: 2012-11-20 18:24:10
According to BBC News, a new report issued by the United Nations' AIDS action group, UNAIDS, noted that the 330,000 new cases of HIV reported in infants last year is a 24-percent decrease from 2009.... Full Story

The fight against AIDS still requires progress
Date: 2012-11-19 18:20:07
There has been significant progress in the fight against AIDS on a medical front, reported The New York Times, but in order to effectively reduce the number of people with the virus, there needs to be less stigma surrounding at-risk groups and greater access to AIDS healthcare and prevention services.... Full Story

Porn actors in Los Angeles more likely to have STDs than Nevada prostitutes
Date: 2012-11-01 21:01:05
A new report published in the Journal of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association, reveals that porn actors in Los Angeles have a higher rate of gonorrhea and chlamydia than prostitutes in Nevada, where brothels are legal.... Full Story

Study: Straight HIV-positive men may need more services
Date: 2012-07-30 16:13:12
There are a wide range of resources that are available to HIV-positive men who have sex with men, such as anonymous STD testing. However, heterosexual male patients may find it more difficult obtaining the services that they need, according to a new study conducted by St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.... Full Story

Gay couples' attitudes about condom use differ by race
Date: 2012-07-24 13:29:08
Anonymous STD testing is a valuable resource for people who may be at risk for HIV, including men who have sex with men. Safe practices, including the use of condoms, may protect these men from contracting HIV. However, new research suggests that among gay couples, attitudes about the use of condoms may differ by race.... Full Story

AIDS disproportionately affects black men who have sex with men
Date: 2012-07-19 14:20:13
The Black AIDS Institute, an HIV/AIDS think tank that is focused on the African American community, released a report that indicated that the rate of HIV infections among black men who have sex with men (MSM) is alarming. These findings underscore the importance of anonymous STD testing.... Full Story

Researchers recommend broad understanding of HIV prevention
Date: 2012-07-12 15:39:05
STD testing plays an important role in connecting at-risk individuals to treatment that could prevent their condition from progressing and reduce the chances that they will spread the infection to others, according to a new paper published in the journal AIDS and Behavior.... Full Story

Researchers may know why HIV causes dementia in some patients
Date: 2012-07-11 13:45:04
If individuals who take STD tests discover they are HIV positive, they may be better prepared to deal with certain health complications, such as HIV-associated dementia. Recently, researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center studied the development of this condition, potentially leading the way to new therapies.... Full Story

Public health groups encourage HIV testing
Date: 2012-06-28 15:26:05
June 27 marks National HIV Testing Day, and public health agencies across the country are using the day of recognition to encourage people to seek STD testing and find treatment if they are found to be positive for the condition.... Full Story

New study confirms benefits of regular HIV testing
Date: 2012-06-26 15:20:09
Many people may only undergo one STD test in their lifetime. However, new evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the majority of people who test positive for HIV are diagnosed after an earlier screening. The numbers underscore the need for regular testing.... Full Story

Nation's capital lowers HIV rate
Date: 2012-06-22 15:16:00
Thanks in part to enhanced STD testing initiatives, Washington, DC is making significant progress against high HIV infection rates, according to a new report. However, there is still significant room for improvement.... Full Story

Group launches HIV testing campaign
Date: 2012-06-18 15:45:05
In advance of National HIV Testing Day, the advocacy group Greater Than AIDS has teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to encourage individuals to consider STD testing for the virus in order to learn their status.... Full Story

Medication may offer cost-effective approach to HIV prevention
Date: 2012-04-17 15:54:29
Administering preventive HIV medications to high-risk groups could greatly reduce the number of individuals who receive positive STD tests for the infection, according to a new study. This approach could represent a cost-effective strategy if the medications are given to the right groups.... Full Story

HIV rate high among African American women in six cities
Date: 2012-03-12 16:01:33
African American women living in one of six areas around the U.S. may want to consider STD testing to ensure that do not have HIV. New research indicates that rates of the condition are significantly higher among this population in certain "hot spots."... Full Story

Few HIV patients receive consistent treatment
Date: 2012-03-06 16:35:43
Following a positive HIV test, it is crucial for individuals to get into treatment quickly and remain on medications consistently. This may prevent the disease from progressing to an untreatable stage. However, new evidence suggests that many individuals with the condition may not consistently receive the treatment they need.... Full Story

Health officials blame Alaska HIV outbreak on online dating
Date: 2012-03-05 16:43:37
The internet puts just about anything a person could want right at their fingertips. Increasingly, this means sex. A new report suggests that internet-arranged hook ups might be to blame for an uptick in the number of positive STD tests in Alaska.... Full Story

Report cites progress fighting HIV among needle drug users
Date: 2012-03-01 16:57:59
Public health officials have long cited positive HIV test results in needle drug users as a major problem. The infection typically spreads quickly among these individuals, who then spread it to the non-drug using population during sex. However, new evidence suggests that progress is being made fighting the problem.... Full Story

Communities cut back on funding for HIV testing programs
Date: 2012-02-10 16:49:46
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes HIV testing as one of the most effective methods for slowing the spread of the infection. Unfortunately, some individuals may soon start finding it more difficult to access screening.... Full Story

Older adults risk STD infection
Date: 2012-02-08 16:58:05
Older individuals may not think about their risk of receiving a positive STD test. The problem is generally associated with younger individuals. While teens and young adults do represent the majority of new infections, experts say that seniors should be aware of their risk factors as well, as rates of new infections are rising in this age group.... Full Story

CDC official calls for action to tackle HIV epidemic among African Americans
Date: 2012-02-07 16:45:39
With the African American community bearing the brunt of the HIV epidemic, one official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is saying more needs to be done to tackle the problem, both by members of the community and public health groups.... Full Story

Feds step up HIV prevention efforts
Date: 2012-01-30 16:22:39
HIV testing is considered one of the most important elements in preventing the spread of the infection, and the federal government is now doing more to help connect people to clinics that offer screening.... Full Story

CDC: Risky sexual behaviors on the decline
Date: 2012-01-25 16:57:26
Sexual behaviors related to the spread of HIV infection are declining, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The figures may have a beneficial effect on the number of people who receive positive HIV test results.... Full Story

Viral load a key measure of probability of HIV spread
Date: 2012-01-12 17:09:08
The "viral load" of a person infected with HIV is the single most important factor determining whether they are capable of spreading the infection to others, according to a new study published in the Journal of Infectious Disease.... Full Story

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