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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.

27 February 2015

XDR-TB acquired via transmission, not treatment failure

The large majority of cases of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, were acquired via person-to-person, and not as a result of treatment failure, as originally believed. These results were presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle this week, and demonstrate the need to focus attention on infection control and prevention in the region.

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25 February 2015

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) 86% effective in reducing HIV among MSM

The use of antiretroviral treatment (ART) as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been shown to be 86 percent effective in preventing new HIV infections among men who have sex with men (MSM), and 96 percent effective with serodifferent couples, when the HIV positive partner is also on ART.

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23 February 2015

HIV continues to be a major health concern in Europe

HIV remains a major health concern in the European Union (EU) and European Economic Areas (EEA), states last week’s European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) report, Annual epidemiological report, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and blood-borne viruses 2014.

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20 February 2015

Engineered protein is a potential successful vaccine alternative for HIV

An engineered protein has been developed which has successfully blocked all known strains of HIV-1 and HIV-2 in a lab environment, and SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus) in monkeys. The protein, named eCD4-Ig, has been described as “the broadest and most potent entry inhibitor described so far”, and could form the basis of a vaccine alternative for HIV – either as a long-term preventative drug, or treatment that works to subdue HIV in the body.

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18 February 2015

Harm reduction needs to be scaled-up to reduce HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa

Scaling up the provision of opioid substitution therapy (OST) and needle syringe programmes (NSP) in new and emerging regions of sub-Saharan Africa are necessary in order to effectively respond to the growing HIV and AIDS epidemic among people who inject drugs (PWID) in these pockets.

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16 February 2015

“Why I am not scared of knowing my HIV status”

As UNAIDS and UNICEF launch All In! on 17 February, a global initiative to reduce the unnecessary deaths of adolescents living with HIV, James Odongo reports on the realities faced by teens in Uganda.

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13 February 2015

HIV infection not a barrier for kidney transplants between people living with HIV

New research from South Africa shows that HIV infection is not a barrier for kidney transplants between people living with HIV (PLHIV), making kidney transplantation from an HIV-positive donor an additional treatment option for PLHIV requiring renal-replacement therapy. An estimated eight to twenty-two percent of the people on HIV treatment in South Africa experience kidney failure, for people not on treatment this percentages is as high as 20 to 27 percent.

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11 February 2015

Mortality rates of Black Americans living with HIV decreasing

Mortality rates of black and African Americans living with HIV decreased by 28 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to new data released from the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) last week. However, despite this consistent decline in deaths of people living with HIV (PLHIV) over time, the overall numbers and rates of deaths among black Americans are still higher than any other race or ethnicity in the United States.

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09 February 2015

New HIV strains spread slowly

In most countries, the local HIV epidemic is still dominated by the strain of HIV which first entered that specific population. There are several different strains of HIV, organised into types, groups and sub-types; however the global mixing of these different strains has so far been slow. New research in PLOS Computational Biology explains that this slow spread is caused by the first comer advantages, making it very difficult for an invasive strain to enter that same population.

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06 February 2015

Smartphone dongle developed to test for HIV and syphilis

Researchers from Colombia University have developed a device that can be plugged in to a smartphone, and has the ability to test for both HIV and syphilis. The dongle can conduct point-of-care testing from a finger prick of blood, using cheap and disposable cartridges, delivering a result in just 15 minutes, and at a fraction of the cost of a typical HIV test.

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