Archive by category | AIDS

Cheap drugs pulled despite wealth gap in middle-income countries

Cheap drugs pulled despite wealth gap in middle-income countries

Most pharmaceutical and aid groups base their tiered pricing schemes for drug discounts on average per-capita income levels by country. But the growing wealth of many developing countries is adding a wrinkle to the calculus of which nations get cheap access to essential medicines. Some experts assert that basing prices on average income doesn’t work for the growing pool of middle-income countries, where many people are left below the poverty line and are therefore unable to afford medicine despite booms in local industries.  Read more

EDITORIAL: Global health programs need to get it together

EDITORIAL: Global health programs need to get it together

Global health programs have made great strides in the last ten years, mobilizing billions of dollars to provide life-saving drugs and immunizations to people in resource-poor settings. But these myriad initiatives need to get in step to improve integration of healthcare delivery.  Read more

Experts hash out guidelines for HIV trials involving men who have sex with men

Experts hash out guidelines for HIV trials involving men who have sex with men

ROME — Last week’s encouraging results from two trials showing that prophylactic use of AIDS drugs in HIV-negative people can help prevent infection has underscored the value of studying new preventative treatments, particularly in high-risk groups. And one of the highest risk groups remains men who have sex with men — a term used to include men who might not self-identify as gay. In the US, for example, men who have sex with men (MSM) represent about 2% of the population, but they accounted for 59% of new HIV diagnoses in 2009. Strikingly, a global review estimated that only 3.3%  … Read more

To end the AIDS epidemic, clinics need… printers

To end the AIDS epidemic, clinics need… printers

Walking into a United Nation’s meeting about technology and innovation in AIDS treatment, I expected to hear loads about vaccine research, mobile apps and medical devices. And while those ideas were certainly given mention, most of the country representatives at the AIDS High Level Meeting on Thursday here in New York were more concerned with basic access to technology that is already out there.  Read more

On thirtieth anniversary, calls for HIV cure research intensify

By Lucas Laursen Thirty years ago this month, scientists first reported the existence of AIDS, and in the intervening decades researchers have focused steady efforts on prevention, long-term treatments such as antiretroviral drugs, and patient care. What has fallen in and out of fashion during that time is seeking a ‘cure’ for HIV. That changed when scientists reported that they had cured one man of the virus through a bone marrow transplant (Blood 117, 2791–2799, 2011). But the circumstances of that 2007 transplant were unique, and researchers say they are uncertain about how to fund additional cure-directed research without cannibalizing  … Read more

AIDS map gives reason to hasten Hastings’ bill

AIDS map gives reason to hasten Hastings’ bill

The idea that HIV affects people living in the southern US far worse than their neighbors to the north is not new. Back in 2008, a report grabbed headlines by showing that the rate of infection in some pockets of the country rivaled that of the most heavily affected parts of Africa.  Read more

Tale of two twins highlights role of chance in HIV infection

Tale of two twins highlights role of chance in HIV infection

HIV is notoriously unpredictable. The virus can prove fatal rather quickly in some individuals, while it remains at bay in a rare group of people known as elite controllers. Doctors have puzzled as to why some patients can fend off the virus better with drugs, while others progress despite receiving the best antiviral medications available. A new study from a group led by Keith Crandall of Brigham Young University just south of Salt Lake City offers some explanation as to why HIV infection can produce such variable effects. Crandall’s team analyzed blood samples from a pair of identical twins who  … Read more

Q&A: HIV prevention pill still holds promise, despite trial failure

Q&A: HIV prevention pill still holds promise, despite trial failure

The news out this week that women taking the HIV prevention pill Truvada were no more likely to evade infection than those on placebo was a huge disappointment for infectious disease researchers and the AIDS community alike. Trial investigators had hoped to enroll 3,000 HIV-negative women in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. But a preliminary analysis of the nearly 2,000 study participants registered to date showed that 56 new HIV infections had occurred, with an equal number coming from those taking the drug and those assigned to the dummy pill. As a result, organizers announced on Monday that they had halted the trial prematurely.  Read more

Disappointment and surprise as promising HIV drug falters

Cross posted from Nature’s The Great Beyond blog. A major clinical trial on promising anti-HIV drug Truvada has been ended early after it became clear it would be “highly unlikely” to prove effective in preventing new infections. Family Health International (FHI), the non-profit overseers of the phase III trial, described the development as “surprising and disappointing”. Many AIDS researchers had high hopes for Truvada, not least because it was recently proven to be effective in preventing infection in gay men. After reviewing interim data on the FEM-PrEP study an independent monitoring committee concluded the study would be “highly unlikely to  … Read more