The PrEP ‘care continuum/cascade’: how would it look?

We take for granted the value of the care continuum (or ‘cascade’), now increasingly seen as the key measure of health system response to HIV (Cassell (STIs editorial)).   The application of this model to HIV has provided a benchmark for evaluation in contexts as diverse as Moscow (Wirtz & Beyrer (STIs)), South Africa (Schwartz & […]

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Changes in the WHO Guidelines for treatment of HIV

The WHO has released early its revised guidelines on the treatment of those infected with HIV (WHO early release guideline; WHO press release).  There are two important changes.  First, ART is recommended to all HIV infected individuals regardless of their CD4+ count.  Second, PrEP is recommended for people at ‘substantial’ risk of HIV infection as […]

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A case for immediate ART initiation in all HIV diagnosed, regardless of CD4+ count?

The year 2013 saw the WHO recommended threshold for treatment of HIV+ patients with ART rise from a count of 350 CD4+ per mm3 to one of 500 CD4+ per mm3.. The threshold had been fixed as early as three years before (2010) at 350 CD4+ per mm3 (WHO ART recommendations). These recommendations have doubtless […]

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Retention in care rather than diagnosis may prove the ultimate challenge for US HIV response

The real challenge which the US HIV/AIDS epidemic poses for the US public health services is not simply to achieve higher levels of diagnosis – but, far more than that, to improve linkage to, and retention in, care.  This claim is hardly controversial. But it is thrown into stark relief in a recent study by […]

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HIV impact of ObamaCare reduced by US Supreme Court decision

What impact will the roll-out of the US Affordable Care Act (ACA) – ObamaCare – have on health insurance coverage of people with HIV?  A recently published “issue brief” on behalf of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a first estimate (Kates & Garfield (K&G)). The ACA includes a provision to […]

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Partners PrEP sub-study finds no evidence that PrEP use is associated with risk compensation behaviour

How useful is pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)?  The Partners PrEP randomized control study of daily pre-exposure prophylaxis among HIV-uninfected partners of heterosexual HIV-discordant couples in Uganda and Kenya has indicated that, given adequate adherence, PrEP has high biologic efficacy.  The study itself (Baeten & Celum) demonstrates levels of risk reduction of 75%; while a spin-off sub-study […]

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UNAIDS assesses progress towards #HIV Millennium Development Goal

In the run-up to the 2013 General Assembly of the UN in New York, a new report from the Joint United National Program on HIV/AIDS seeks to give an overview of progress to date towards Millenium Goal 6 – the goal of halting and beginning to reverse the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2015 (UNAIDS Report 2013). […]

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Should ART provision be decentralized to health centres in low and middle income countries?

With the realization of the value of ART as a means of preventing HIV transmission, the question of how best to retain HIV-diagnosed in care becomes all the more pressing.  Recent STI blogs have covered such topics as the potential role of computer-generated reminders in retaining patients (sti blogs03/05/13), as well as the re-engagement of […]

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HIV+ mothers without ART: when and how should they wean?

Without antiretrovirals, breastfeeding contributes 28% to the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) (http://sti.bmj.com/content/88/Suppl_2/i44.abstract?sid=fcfaeecc-767f-4db8-b644-77db5aa8db63).  Antiretroviral drugs make achieving he WHO goal of near elimination of MTCT imaginable (http://sti.bmj.com/content/87/3/261.full; http://sti.bmj.com/content/86/Suppl_2/ii48.abstract?sid=fcfaeecc-767f-4db8-b644-77db5aa8db63).  But, in the meantime, what advice should be given to HIV+ mothers in those low-resource settings where antiretrovirals are still not available? In this context, the […]

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Taking seriously the public health impact of disengagement from HIV care in the US

ART as a strategy for “treatment-as-prevention” is frequently acknowledged.  Public health efforts, in the US as elsewhere, have focussed on prompt initiation of ART for the newly-diagnosed so as to shorten the duration of viremia – and thereby also reduce transmission risk.  But what about the public health implications of people living with HIV (PLWH) […]

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