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HIV Rates Fall Among Gay White Americans, But Not Minorities

Some progress has been made in the U.S. fight against HIV, with new infections falling among white gay and bisexual men over the past decade. But their Black and Hispanic counterparts did not see that advance, health officials say.

The continuing inequities show up in a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From 2010 to 2019, the number of new HIV inf...

A Woman May Have Rid Herself Naturally of HIV -- But How?

Researchers have identified a second HIV-positive person whose body might have naturally cleared the infection -- sparking hope that studying such exceedingly rare events will help lead to a cure.

The researchers cautioned that they cannot prove the woman has fully eradicated the virus from her body, in what's known as a "sterilizing" cure.

But in exhaustive tests of over 1.5 billio...

U.S. Adolescents Are Getting Less Sex Education Now Than 25 Years Ago

Sex Ed -- it's been a staple of public education for decades, but new research shows that only half of American teens are getting instruction that meets minimum standards.

"The findings show that most adolescents are not receiving sex education that will enable them to manage their sexual lives," said study author Leslie Kantor, chair of the Department of Urban-Global Public Health at Rut...

How Two People With HIV Suppressed Virus After Stopping Treatment

There are two ways that HIV patients' bodies can keep the virus under control after they stop antiretroviral therapy, a new study shows.

The findings could point to ways to help people with HIV keep the virus in remission without having to keep taking medications that can have long-term side effects, according to researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease...

Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death Rises in People With HIV

People with HIV have an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, a new study warns, especially if the virus isn't well-controlled.

Sudden cardiac death occurs when the heart unexpectedly stops beating, usually due to an abrupt electrical malfunction.

"People living with HIV are already known to have a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, blood clots in the lungs and pe...

Transgender People Face Twice the Odds for Early Death: Study

Transgender people have double the odds of dying early compared to folks whose identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth (cisgender), a long-term study finds.

And the added risk did not decrease over time, according to an analysis of data collected from more than 4,500 transgender people in the Netherlands between 1972 and 2018.

Study author Martin den Heijer said the ri...

Another HIV Vaccine Trial Canceled Due to Poor Results

Another trial of an experimental HIV vaccine has been halted after researchers concluded the vaccine provided only limited protection.

The trial in five sub-Saharan African countries was launched in 2017 to assess the Johnson & Johnson HIV vaccine in over 2,000 young women at high risk of HIV infection.

This is the latest in a string of failures for HIV vaccine research.

"I sh...

COVID Vaccines Offer Good Protection for People Living With HIV

COVID-19 vaccination triggers a strong immune response in people with HIV, meaning they're likely protected against the coronavirus, a new, small study shows.

"Previous research has suggested a suboptimal response to COVID-19 vaccines in people living with HIV; however, these studies did not fully characterize and define that response, both for cellular [where the immune system directly a...

Bimonthly, Injected PrEP Beats Daily Pill in Warding Off HIV: Study

When the antiretroviral regimen known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, was launched nearly a decade ago, patients were suddenly able to achieve near-complete protection against contracting HIV by taking just one pill a day.

But there's a big hitch: Not everyone is equally diligent about sticking to that once-a-day daily pill regimen, and when doses are missed PrEP's protective shield...

Two PrEP Meds Work Equally Well; One Is Much Cheaper

The two HIV prevention drugs available in the United States are equally safe and effective, and the biggest difference between them is price, a new study contends.

However, a sizable minority of patients have switched from the older and cheaper "preexposure prophylaxis" (PrEP) formulation to the newer and much pricier one. In many cases that switch might not have been warranted, the resea...

PrEP HIV Prevention Pills to Be Free for Insured Americans

Nearly all health insurers must cover the entire cost of HIV prevention treatments, the U.S. government says.

That includes the two approved pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs Truvada and Descovy, all clinic visits and lab tests, NBC News reported.

The guidance, issued this week by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, along with the Department of Lab...

Americans Living With HIV Have Near-Normal Life Expectancy: Study

Testing HIV-positive is no longer a certain death sentence, and new research shows that Americans who have HIV today have life spans similar to those of their peers without the virus.

"In the early days of the AIDS pandemic, getting a diagnosis with AIDS was incredibly bad news and the prognosis for survival was really poor, and that's not true today," said lead author Jessie Edwards, a r...

People With HIV Have Much Higher Risk for Suicide

Since the advent of AIDS, major advancements in treating HIV infection has turned what used to be a death sentence into a manageable chronic condition.

But new research warns that many people living with HIV/AIDS still face a dramatically higher risk for suicide.

The finding came from a review of 40 studies that involved a total of roughly 185,000 adults with HIV or AIDS (PLWHA -- P...

Living With HIV Raises Odds for Sudden Cardiac Death

People living with HIV have to take powerful drug cocktails to keep their disease in check, but a new study finds they also need to worry about a doubled risk of sudden cardiac death.

Unlike a heart attack caused by a blocked heart artery, sudden cardiac death can happen without warning and is triggered by an electrical malfunction that causes an irregular heartbeat. Within minutes, there...

Other Health Woes Common When Meth Addiction Strikes

Methamphetamine users are at increased risk for physical and mental health problems as well as other substance use disorders, new research shows.

Meth is an illegal and highly addictive stimulant drug that can harm organs such as the heart, lungs, liver and neurological system, and injecting it can increase the risk of infectious diseases, the researchers noted.

Their analysis of da...

COVID More Lethal for People Living With HIV

Like certain health conditions including cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure, new research shows that having HIV or AIDS increases a person's risk of catching and dying from COVID-19.

For the study, researchers from Penn State College of Medicine assessed data from 22 previous studies of 21 million participants in North America, Africa, Europe and Asia.

The investigators ...

4 in 10 Transgender Women Have HIV: CDC

Four in 10 transgender women have HIV, which shows the urgent need to offer them more prevention and treatment services, according to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

In interviews with more than 1,600 transgender women in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle in 2019 and early 2020, researchers found that 42...

Some Blood Pressure Meds Raise Heart Risks in People With HIV

Beta-blocker blood pressure medications may increase the risk of heart problems in people with HIV, new research suggests.

For the study, the researchers reviewed the medical records of more than 8,000 U.S. veterans with HIV who developed high blood pressure between 2000 and 2018. Of those, around 6,500 had never been diagnosed with heart or blood vessel problems.

At the start ...

Disappointment and Hope From Two HIV Prevention Trials

An antibody infusion being tested for preventing HIV does not seem to thwart most infections -- but its success against certain strains of the virus suggests researchers are on the right track.

That's the takeaway from a clinical trial that put the antibody, called VRC01, to the test in 2,700 people at high risk of contracting HIV.

Researchers found that infusions of the antibody ev...

Certain HIV Meds Have Patients Packing on Pounds

A commonly prescribed component of the life-saving antiretroviral drug cocktails used to treat HIV may trigger weight gain, new research warns.

The concern stems from tracking patients taking antiretroviral therapy (ART). Since the mid-1990s, the therapy has relied on various drug combinations to essentially outwit HIV, controlling viral loads and turning a once-deadly infection into a ma...

Vaginal Ring Could Shield Women From HIV for 3 Months at a Time

A vaginal ring that slowly releases an antiviral medication could protect women against HIV for up to three months, a preliminary trial suggests.

It assessed two formulations of a vaginal ring that releases the antiretroviral dapivirine in the vagina over the course of 90 days. One version contained 100 milligrams (mg) of dapivirine and the other contained 200 mg.

The trial was cond...

Obamacare's Medicaid Expansion Helped Find Cases of Undiagnosed HIV

In another sign that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been good for Americans' health, a new study finds that a large number of undiagnosed HIV cases in the United States came to light after Medicaid's expansion under the health insurance law.

Not only that, there was also an increase in the use of HIV prevention services, the researchers said.

"Increasing community awareness of HI...

1 in 5 Americans Has an STD: CDC

According to 2018 data, one in five people in the United States probably carries a sexually transmitted infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

On any given day in 2018, nearly 68 million people had a sexually transmitted disease, according to the new CDC report. There were 26 million new cases that year. The agency refers to these diseases -- such as HIV, sy...

FDA Approves First Once-a-Month HIV Therapy

The first monthly shots to treat adults with HIV were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday.

"Currently, the standard of care for patients with HIV includes patients taking daily pills to adequately manage their condition. This approval will allow some patients the option of receiving once-monthly injections in lieu of a daily oral treatment regimen," said Dr. John...

Are We Getting Closer to a Herpes Vaccine?

Scientists are reporting early success with an experimental herpes vaccine that uses a genetically modified version of the virus.

The gene edit prevents the virus from performing its normal evasive maneuver: hiding out in nervous system cells in order to elude the immune system.

So far, the vaccine has only been tested in lab animals. But scientists hope the genetic tweak will ...

Allowing More Gay Men to Donate Corneas Could Save Sight for Thousands: Study

U.S. and Canadian restrictions on cornea donations from gay and bisexual men prevent thousands of vision-restoring transplants and need to be changed, researchers say.

A corneal transplant can cure some forms of blindness and visual impairment. The United States bans men from donating if they have had gay sex in the past five years; Canada has a 12-month restriction.

The sa...

Cost Puts HIV-Preventing PrEP Out of Reach for Many

The daily drug regimen known as PrEP is a nearly foolproof way to prevent HIV infection. But a new study suggests that many high-risk Americans may be giving the medication a pass because of cost.

The warning stems from a pricing analysis that tracked about 2.6 million PrEP prescriptions filled between 2014 and 2018.

The researchers found that during that time frame, PrEP pr...

Scientists Unravel Secrets of People Who Naturally Suppress HIV

HIV researchers have long known that in rare cases, patients can naturally suppress the virus without taking medication. Now, a new study offers insight into how the body manages that feat.

Researchers said the findings are important because a greater understanding of these rare individuals -- called "elite controllers" -- could aid in the quest for an HIV cure.

It's believe...

Lockdown Led to Less Sex, Lower Use of HIV-Preventing Drugs: Survey

About one-third of people prescribed drugs to prevent HIV stopped taking the medications when they were forced to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey finds. The reason, they said: They weren't having sex.

Many discontinued the drugs without their doctor's say-so, which has experts concerned.

"Reducing the number of new HIV transmissions and ensuring acces...

Brazilian Man Is Free of HIV After Drug Treatment, Researchers Say

A Brazilian man could be the first person to achieve long-term remission from HIV after treatment with a custom blend of antiviral drugs, but experts not involved in the case are skeptical.

Blood tests don't show any signs of lingering HIV infection in the unidentified 35-year-old man, and he also doesn't seem to have detectable antibodies to the virus, according to researchers at the...

HIV May Not Worsen COVID-19 Outlook

People with HIV who were hospitalized with COVID-19 didn't have worse results than COVID-19 patients without HIV, new research shows.

"Throughout the pandemic, we've suspected that immunocompromised patients, such as those with HIV, could be at a higher risk for infection and suffer more severe outcomes, but without data on how COVID-19 affects patients with HIV specifically, clinical...

An HIV Drug You Only Take Twice a Year?

Scientists are reporting an early step toward an HIV drug that could potentially be taken only a couple of times per year.

A single injection of the experimental drug, called lenacapavir, was able to lower blood levels of HIV in a small group of patients. And it was capable of maintaining active levels in the blood for more than six months.

It all raises the possibility of o...

AHA News: Persistent Depression Might Increase Heart Disease Risk for Women With HIV

Women with HIV who experience persistently high levels of stress or depression have a significantly greater risk of plaque building up in their arteries than those who rarely or never report these symptoms, a new study finds.

The study, published Monday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, analyzed previously collected data for 700 women with and without HIV who did not hav...

Despite Medical Advances, People With HIV Still Live Shorter, Sicker Lives

HIV may not be the death sentence it was 20 or 30 years ago, but people who are HIV-positive still face much shorter lives than other adults -- even if they're treated with medications that make the virus undetectable.

A new study reports that people who were HIV-positive at age 21 had an average life expectancy of 56 years -- nine years fewer than their virus-free peers.

Th...

HIV Can Travel From the Brain, Animal Study Suggests

HIV can reside in brain cells and spread the AIDS-causing virus to the body, a new study in mice indicates.

It's known that HIV enters the brain within eight days of infection, but less is known about whether HIV-infected brain cells can release HIV that can then infect other tissues.

This new work from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that certain types of ...

Monkey Trials Offer New Hope for HIV Vaccine

An experimental vaccine seems to give monkeys extended protection from an HIV-like infection -- by "waking up" an arm of the immune system that vaccines normally do not.

Experts cautioned that animal research often does not pan out in humans. The decades of work toward an HIV vaccine has been a clear example. But, researchers said, this vaccine works differently, targeting two "arms" ...

Researchers Move Toward Once-Yearly Treatment for HIV

Researchers have reformulated an HIV medication into a version they hope can eventually be taken as infrequently as once a year.

The work is only in the early stages, having been studied in lab animals. But the goal is to create an HIV drug that can be injected annually -- offering protection from infection or control of the virus in people who already have it.

The researche...

After 2nd Patient Cured of HIV, Hope Revives for an End to AIDS

The exact method that's now cured two men of HIV infection is not one that's going to be widely available to the nearly 38 million people worldwide living with the virus, experts say.

Still, the news has rekindled hopes of finally winning the war against the virus that causes AIDS.

The Berlin and London patients benefited from a combination of medical and genetic chance, the...

Don't Use Pricey New HIV PrEP Drug When Generics Available: Study

The advent of HIV-suppressing drugs has ushered in a new era of "pre-exposure prophylaxis" (PrEP) that drastically cuts a sexually active person's odds of contracting the virus.

But wider access to PrEP is being threatened by pharmaceutical company efforts to curb the use of cheap, new generic forms of these medicines, researchers argue in a new study.

The study authors said...

Second HIV Patient Reportedly 'Cured'

It was 12 years ago that a German patient was seemingly cured of HIV. Now doctors in the United Kingdom believe they've finally duplicated that success, this time in a 40-year-old Englishman.

Adam Castillejo was known until recently only as the "London patient." Now, after surviving years of grueling treatments, he says he sees himself as an "ambassador of hope" for others.

...

Drinking Takes Toll on Bones of People With HIV: Study

Any amount of alcohol consumption increases the risk of osteoporosis in people with HIV, a new report suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from a long-term study of 198 people with HIV and a current or past alcohol or drug use disorder.

In these people, any alcohol consumption was associated with lower levels of a protein involved in bone formation, putting them at increased ...

Another HIV Hazard: Higher Risk for COPD

Adults with HIV have higher rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and are diagnosed with the lung disease years earlier than those without HIV, a new study finds.

Smoking may be a major reason why, researchers suggest.

"As people with HIV live longer, it is important to understand how common other illnesses are to ensure that prevention, screening and treatme...

Age Makes the Difference in Sticking With HIV Meds

Young people with HIV have much lower rates of viral suppression than adults with the AIDS-causing virus, a new U.S. study finds.

Viral suppression means that HIV has been reduced to undetectable levels. Maintaining viral suppression for at least six months prevents the sexual transmission of HIV and helps people with the virus remain healthy.

Researchers assessed more than ...

Few Teen Boys at Risk for HIV Get Tested

Too few teenage boys at risk for HIV infection are tested for the AIDS-causing virus in the United States, researchers say.

And this contributes to the growing epidemic of undiagnosed HIV in the nation.

Close to 15% of HIV infections in the United States are undiagnosed, but the undiagnosed rate is more than 3.5 times higher (51%) among 13- to 24-year-olds, accordin...

HIV Drug Costs Soaring, Jeopardizing Effort to End Epidemic

The U.S. government aims to end the HIV epidemic by 2030, but skyrocketing medication costs may make that a pipe dream, a new study suggests.

Since 2012, the cost of antiviral treatment for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has jumped 34%. That's nearly four times the inflation rate.

Even with new generic options, initial treatments now top $36,000 per patient per year,...

HIV-Infected Newborns Can Wait Awhile for Treatment: Study

The effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in newborns with HIV is similar whether it begins within days or within weeks, a new study finds.

It included 73 infants in South Africa who were born with HIV infection. Of those, 46 started ART when they were less than 2 days old and 27 started ART between 2 and 14 days after birth.

Rates of attaining and sustaining HIV su...

HIV Triggers Immune System 'Amnesia' to Smallpox: Study

HIV infection causes a loss of immunity to smallpox, even in people who were vaccinated as kids and are taking antiretroviral drugs to restore their immune system, a new study finds.

Such "HIV-associated immune amnesia" could explain why people with HIV who are on antiretroviral therapy still have shorter lives on average than people without HIV, according to the researchers.

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HIV Testing, Treatment Not Reaching Many Americans

Too few Americans are getting tested or treated for HIV, a new government report shows.

"The time is now to end HIV in America. We have the right tools, the right data and the right leadership to get this done," said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Those living with HIV are our best teachers. They are key to helping us r...

Give HIV-Infected Newborns Meds Right Away to Improve Outcomes

Giving HIV-suppressing medications to infected babies within hours of birth is feasible and might help doctors eliminate hidden reservoirs of the virus, new research suggests.

"Strategies to test and treat infants immediately after birth may improve outcomes," said study senior author Dr. Mathias Lichterfeld. He's an associate physician of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women's H...

An HIV Med Is Tied to Too-Small Heads in Newborns

Children born to women who take the HIV drug efavirenz during pregnancy have a higher risk of small head size -- a birth defect known as microcephaly -- compared to babies exposed to other HIV drugs in the womb, new research shows.

Prenatal exposure to the drug was also linked to developmental delays in children.

But one U.S. expert said the new data shouldn't alarm most HIV...