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The latest international news, analysis and features on the HIV epidemic from Avert. Share your views and expertise with your peers in the comments box below the articles.

29 October 2014

Randomised PrEP trials close early due to highly effective results.

A randomised PrEP trial has closed early due to highly effective results. IPERGAY is the second European PrEP study to be closed early due to high effectiveness. It follows the closure of another randomised study, PROUD, that also was cut short due to highly significant results. This is promising news for changing the future of HIV prevention and treatment, especially for men who have sex with men (MSM).

27 October 2014

Researchers identify promising target for HIV treatment

HIV can be hidden in the body for years before quickly replicating itself and attacking the immune system. Researchers at the Salk Institute have discovered a new protein (Ssu72), responsible for the activation of HIV, and believe this can be a new target for HIV treatment. The protein, which participates in the activation of the HIV-1, is part of a switch that wakes up the virus.

24 October 2014

TB rates still too high according to the WHO

Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the world’s deadliest communicable diseases states the latest Global Tuberculosis Report by the World Health Organization. In 2013, an estimated 9 million people were infected with TB with 1.5 million dying from the disease. Of which, 360 000 people were co-infected with TB and HIV.

22 October 2014

Too many PLHIV lack basic HIV treatment knowledge

In countries hit hardest by the HIV epidemic, people are poorly informed about their HIV treatment concludes The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) in their recently published report; “Global Policy, Local Disconnection. A look into the implementation of the 2013 HIV treatment guidelines”.

20 October 2014

Sexual health promotion for MSM through smartphone apps

It has been suggested that smartphone apps have the potential to encourage sexual health among men who have sex with men (MSM). Smartphone apps for dating and casual sex have developed substantially and have become widely used by MSM over the last few years. As a result, health organisations are becoming increasingly aware of using these apps for sexual health advertisements, a recent report in the Lancet reveals.

17 October 2014

Utilising social networking to increase HIV testing uptake

Face-to-face interaction and networking has been found to be a more effective method of engaging people in HIV testing rather than standard health referral systems a new study has found.

15 October 2014

India: Delayed ART procurement saw 150,000 PLHIV at risk of missing treatment

A delayed tendering process for antiretroviral drugs by the Indian National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) meant that 150,000 people living with HIV (PLHIV) in India were at risk of being without antiretroviral treatment (ART) for October. This is a continuation of the drugs crisis AVERT reported on last month, which saw NACO having issues procuring drugs. Recently, a coalition of Indian pharmaceutical companies, the World Health Organisation (WHO), Medicine San Frontier (MSF) and others have come together to fill the gap of missing drugs.

13 October 2014

De-worming has a positive effect on CD4 count in pregnant women

Treating pregnant HIV-positive women who are on antiretroviral treatment (ART) for helminth infections, also known as worm infections, is proven to increase CD4 count and haemoglobin level and decrease viral HIV load. These findings are a result of a recently published study in Clinical Infectious Diseases, conducted in Rwanda.

10 October 2014

Types of social support strategies influence depression rates in PLHIV

Social support in the form of financial assistance and the provision of material goods and services has been associated with reduced rates of depression among people living with HIV (PLHIV) and on antiretroviral treatment (ART). A recent study in rural South Africa, found that this type of ‘instrumental’ social support is more effective than ‘emotional’ social support at reducing rates of depression.

08 October 2014

Can the Netherlands keep their leading role in harm reduction programmes?

Last week, the European Harm Reduction Conference 2014 was hosted in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. As a leading country for harm reduction policy, it is a good time to critically assess the effectiveness of harm reduction programmes in the Netherlands. It begs the question: Can the Netherlands still be used as an example for the rest of the world?