Archive by category | AIDS

Four-in-one HIV pill may be exception among combination drugs

Four-in-one HIV pill may be exception among combination drugs

By Hannah Waters The 1960s cartoon The Jetsons envisioned a future where single pills provided the same nutrition, taste and satiation as food that required chewing. That time-saving tablet remains a pipe dream, but the drugmaker Gilead is trying to deliver a similarly inspired pill for HIV medicines. On 27 October, the California company submitted an application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its four-in-one HIV pill, which, if approved, would contain more medicines than any pill currently on the US market. The so-called ‘Quad’ pill promises the same virus-controlling ability as the four drugs separately but  … Read more

A dance with death: Alvin Ailey premieres hip-hop ballet inspired by AIDS

A dance with death: Alvin Ailey premieres hip-hop ballet inspired by AIDS

Dance companies and drugmakers are strange bedfellows. For the most part, leotard-wearing dancers and lab-coated scientists remain firmly footed in different professional spheres. But at 8pm last night, the curtain went up on a unique collaboration. In honor of World AIDS Day, New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre partnered to produce an original dance performance inspired by the stories of people living with HIV. The New York City Center in Manhattan was sold out and buzzing with excitement for the opening. In the audience for the show’s premiere were the ten people whose stories  … Read more

UNAIDS-backed reports sing the same tune but stay silent on funding crunch

UNAIDS-backed reports sing the same tune but stay silent on funding crunch

Today is World AIDS Day, and in the run-up to the date this year, UN agencies published two reports on the state of the HIV epidemic. For the most part, the good news from these reports has captured the headlines: Topping the list of heartening statistics, 47% of people in low and middle-income countries now have access to anti-retroviral treatment (ART), up 9% from the number covered in 2009. But a few cracks lie beneath the positive numbers. In the past week, The Economist chided the UN for publishing the two reports, one on 21 November from the Joint United  … Read more

PrEP trial successes prompt cost-effectiveness questions

By Roxanne Khamsi Clinical trial data are starting to pour in demonstrating that the HIV prevention strategy known as ‘pre-exposure prophylaxis’ is an effective way of keeping people at high risk of infection disease free. In July, researchers reported at the International AIDS Society Conference in Rome that taking an antiretroviral drug called Truvada offered a 73% protection rate for heterosexual couples in East Africa in which only one person had HIV. At the same meeting, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also announced trial results demonstrating a 63% reduction in transmission among young adults in Botswana taking  … Read more

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