A new analysis of research evidence suggests that one of the AIDS drug regimens increasingly used in developing countries and recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), may have an unacceptably high risk of failure and rate of drug resistance in patients. The study, led by the Stanford University School of Medicine, appears in the March 15 print issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. In an editorial, eminent researchers call for a clinical trial of the tenofovir/lamivudine/nevirapine combination to decide whether it should stay on the WHO recommended list. In 2010, the WHO revised its treatment guidelines for HIV, replacing some older, more toxic treatments with four new regimens. All four regimens include the antiretroviral drug tenofovir, in combination with either lamivudine or emtricitabine, plus one or other of another pair, nevirapine or efavirenz.
A Systematic Review by The Cochrane Library reveals that individuals with HIV are more likely to take their medication every day if they receive weekly text message reminders via their mobile phone. Text messaging is becoming an increasingly popular method of delivering support in health care - increasing contact between patients and health care providers and helps promote attendance at clinics and hospitals. According to the researchers, there is some evidence indicating that text messaging helps individuals suffering with tuberculosis take their daily medication. They reveal that this method could also help millions of HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) adhere to to their treatment regimen. Even though ART can help individuals with HIV liver longer and feel better, adverse effects from the medication can make sticking to the daily regime difficult for some patients.
Female sex workers in low- and middle-income countries are nearly 14 times more likely to be infected by HIV compared to the rest of country's population, according to an analysis by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The findings suggest an urgent need to scale up access to quality HIV prevention programs in these countries. The study was published online in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. "Although female sex workers have long been understood to be a key affected population, the scope and breadth of their disproportionate risk for HIV infection had not been systematically documented, " said Stefan Baral, MD, MPH, MBA, lead author of the study and associate director of the Bloomberg School's Center for Public Health and Human Rights. "In addition to antiretroviral treatment and ongoing HIV prevention for sex workers, considerations of the legal and policy environments in which sex workers operate, and the important role of stigma, discrimination, and violence targeting female sex workers globally will be required to reduce the disproportionate disease burden among these women.
A team of researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have successfully flushed latent HIV infection from hiding, with a drug used to treat certain types of lymphoma. Tackling latent HIV in the immune system is critical to finding a cure for AIDS. The results were presented at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, Washington. While current antiretroviral therapies can very effectively control virus levels, they can never fully eliminate the virus from the cells and tissues it has infected. "Lifelong use of antiretroviral therapy is problematic for many reasons, not least among them are drug resistance, side effects, and cost, " said David Margolis, MD, professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The first findings from a nationally representative HIV survey were presented at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2012) in Seattle, WA. The Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey (SHIMS) found that overall HIV prevalence, or percentage of the population living with HIV infection, is 31% among adults ages 18-49. This figure matches the 2006 Demographic Health Survey findings for the same age group, indicating that the HIV epidemic in Swaziland has stabilized over the past five years. "The country continues to have the highest national HIV prevalence rate in the world, making this the most serious health issue in Swaziland. The Ministry of Health is using the findings from the SHIMS to tailor and improve HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs in Swaziland, " said Rejoice Nkambule, Deputy Director of Health Services - Public Health at the Ministry of Health.