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Let’s stop HIV in New York City

  • If you are HIV-negative, PEP and PrEP can help you stay that way.
  • If you are HIV-positive, PEP and PrEP can help protect your partners.

 

Daily PrEP

PrEP is a daily pill that can help keep you HIV-negative as long as you take it every day.

  • Ask your doctor if PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) may be right for you.
  • Condoms give you additional protection against HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancy.

 

Emergency PEP

If you are HIV-negative and think you were exposed to HIV, immediately go to a clinic or emergency room and ask for PEP (Post-exposure  Prophylaxis).

  • PEP can stop HIV if started within 36 hours of exposure.
  • You continue taking PEP for 28 days.

Many insurance plans including Medicaid cover PEP and PrEP. Assistance may be available if you are uninsured. Visit NYC Health’s website to find out where to get PrEP or PEP in New York City.

How A Dissolvable ‘Tampon’ Could One Day Help Women Stop HIV

University of Washington bioengineers have discovered a potentially faster way to deliver a topical drug that protects women from contracting HIV. Their method spins the drug into silk-like fibers that quickly dissolve when in contact with moisture, releasing higher doses of the drug than possible with other topical materials such as gels or creams.

“This could offer women a potentially more effective, discreet way to protect themselves from HIV infection by inserting the drug-loaded materials into the vagina before sex,” said Cameron Ball, a UW doctoral student in bioengineering and lead author on a paper in the August issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

The UW team previously found that electrically spun cloth could be dissolved to release drugs. These new results build upon that research, showing that the fiber materials can hold 10 times the concentration of medicine as anti-HIV gels currently under development.
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This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Care about research like this? Sign on to our Thunderclap campaign (http://bit.ly/NIHthunderclap) to tell Congress to finish what it started and pass the FY 2015 Labor-HHS spending bill now to restore sequestration cuts so that the promise of National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored research can be realized.

What’s the safest way for me to have a baby with my HIV+ partner?

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Someone asked us:

My boyfriend has HIV and we always wear condoms as a result, but we’ve always wanted to have children together and have danced around the fact our condom use prevents that. Is there anything we can do to have children with IVF while still keeping me (and our future babies) safe?

Good news! Mixed-status couples can have perfectly healthy children without spreading HIV. Here’s what you need to know:

Look into something called “sperm washing.” Sperm washing can remove HIV from semen, making it safe to use for fertility procedures (like artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization).

If the person who is looking to get pregnant is HIV positive, then artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization is the way to go, along with following a doctor’s advice for treatment throughout pregnancy. Additionally, people living with HIV/AIDS should NOT breastfeed their babies. Along with semen, vaginal fluids, and blood, HIV is also carried in breast milk, so nursing can pass the virus to their child.

At the end of the day, your best bet is to find a doctor who knows about this stuff and work with them to figure out what makes the most sense for you.

Finally, whether or not y’all are trying to get pregnant, look into backing up those condoms with PReP to further reduce your risk of HIV transmission.

-Mylanie at Planned Parenthood

Researchers eliminate HIV from cultured human cells for first time

HIV-1, the most common type of the virus that causes AIDS,has proved to be tenacious, inserting its genome permanently into its victims’ DNA, forcing patients to take a lifelong drug regimen to control the virus and prevent a fresh attack. Now, a team of Temple University School of Medicine researchers has designed a way to snip out the integrated HIV-1 genes for good.

"This is one important step on the path toward a permanent cure for AIDS," says Kamel Khalili, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Temple. Khalili and his colleague, Wenhui Hu, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Temple, led the work which marks the first successful attempt to eliminate latent HIV-1 virus from human cells. "It’s an exciting discovery, but it’s not yet ready to go into the clinic. It’s a proof of concept that we’re moving in the right direction," added Dr. Khalili, who is also Director of the Center for Neurovirology and Director of the Comprehensive NeuroAIDS Center at Temple.

In a study published July 21 by theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Khalili and colleagues detail how they created molecular tools to delete the HIV-1 proviral DNA. When deployed, a combination of a DNA-snipping enzyme called a nuclease and a targeting strand of RNA called a guide RNA (gRNA) hunt down the viral genome and excise the HIV-1 DNA. From there, the cell’s gene repair machinery takes over, soldering the loose ends of the genome back together — resulting in virus-free cells.

"Since HIV-1 is never cleared by the immune system, removal of the virus is required in order to cure the disease," says Khalili, whose research focuses on the neuropathogenesis of viral infections. The same technique could theoretically be used against a variety of viruses, he says.

Continue Reading.

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What ‘The Golden Girls’ Taught Us About AIDS" via Barbara Fletcher

"But this is what The Golden Girls was so good at: bringing home those topics that often made people uncomfortable — racism, homosexuality, older female sexuality, sexual harassment, the homeless, addiction, marriage equality and more — and showing us how interconnected and utterly human we all are at any age. Served, of course, with that delicious trademark humor that infused the show throughout its groundbreaking, taboo-busting seven-season run.”

Why HIV patients develop dementia

Since the introduction of the combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART) in the mid-90s, the life expectancy of HIV patients has significantly improved. As a result, long-term complications are becoming more relevant: almost every second HIV patient is affected by neurocognitive disorders, which can lead to dementia. It has not as yet been fully understood how these disorders occur. Researchers from Bochum have now successfully identified mechanisms how infected cells can activate brain-specific immune cells which subsequently display harmful behaviour and lead to the destruction of neurons. These findings may help develop biomarkers to identify risk patients and to make a therapeutic strategy possible in the long term. The study was published in the trade journal “Experimental Neurology”.

Immune cells in the brain under suspicion

“HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders” (HAND) include disorders of the cognitive functions, motor capacities as well as behavioural changes. How exactly HAND occur has not, as yet, been fully understood. “Scientists assume that HIV is harmful to cells directly and that it also triggers indirect mechanisms that lead to nerve cell damage,” explains Dr Simon Faissner (RUB clinic for neurology, St. Josef-Hospital). The researchers strongly suspect that, once activated in the brain and the spinal cord, immune cells keep up a chronic inflammation level which then results in the destruction of nerve cells. An immune activation in peripheral tissue as well as therapeutic consequences may likewise contribute to nerve cell damage in the brain.

First steps of HIV infection are sufficient

The HI virus overcomes the blood-brain barrier hitchhiking on infected immune cells, the monocytes and probably the T cells. The researchers from Bochum tested the hypothesis that HIV-infected monocytes activate specific immune cells in the brain, the so-called microglial cells. These cells, in turn, respond by releasing harmful substances, such as reactive oxygen metabolites and inflammatory signalling molecules, i.e. cytokines. To test this hypothesis, the researchers developed a cell culture system in which they initially examined the effect of HIV-infected monocytes on microglial cells. The researchers simulated the individual steps of HIV infection and measured the concentration of the cytokines released at each stage. Thus, they were able to demonstrate that releasing the viral RNA in the monocytes was a sufficient trigger for maximal microglial activation. Subsequent infection phases – reverse transcription into DNA and the resulting formation of HIV proteins – did not augment activation any further.

Released substances result in neuronal cell death

In the second step, they analysed nerve cells from rat brains to determine if the substances released by the microglial cells could lead to cell death. Compared with the control group, the amount of cell death was indeed twice as high. Studies of liquor cerebrospinalis received from HIV-infected patients have shown a positive correlation with marker of neuronal degeneration in patients who did not as yet present any neurocognitive disorders.

Detailed understanding necessary for therapeutic strategies

“Thanks to our research, we have gained a better understanding of the mechanisms of HIV-associated neurodegeneration,” concludes Prof Dr Andrew Chan. “These results are likely to contribute to HAND biomarkers becoming established. In the long term, these data may be used to develop therapeutic strategies aiming at retarding HAND progression in HIV-infected patients.” Starting points may include activation of microglial cells – a method that is applied in other autoimmune diseases of the central nervous system, for example in multiple sclerosis.

Start-up through FoRUM funds

The research, which was initiated following a collaboration between clinics for neurology and dermatology, St. Josef Hospital, as well as the Department for Molecular and Medical Virology, has been made possible through start-up funding provided by the Faculty of Medicine at Ruhr-Universität (FoRUM). The collaboration has evolved into an international consortium of clinics and basic research organisations in Bochum, Langen, Strasbourg and Mailand. One objective of the follow-up study, for which an application for EU funds is pending, is going to be an in-depth analysis of inflammatory processes in the central nervous system. The researchers will attempt to inhibit inflammatory processes with different drugs. They are, moreover, planning to study direct cell-cell interaction by means of state-of-the-art microscopy, in collaboration with the University of Strasbourg.

(Image credit: Mehau Kulyk/Science Photo Library)

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An Australian biotech firm has developed a gel for condoms that fights sexually transmitted diseases, proven effective in killing 99.9% of viruses

A condom that can kill off most sexually transmitted viruses, including HIV, herpes and HPV is one step closer to coming to market.

The condom, which will be manufactured by Australian prophylactic company, Ansell, is laced with VivaGel lubricant – a unique antimicrobial agent developed by Starpharma, an Australian bio-tech firm. The solution has been shown to inactivate up to 99.9% of viruses including the viruses that commonly cause sexually transmitted infections.

http://www.psfk.com/2014/07/condoms-gel-kill-std-market.html#!bleBXD

California Trees Nailed As The Source Of Mystery Infections (NPR)

A fungus called Cryptococcus gattii can cause life-threatening infections, especially in people with compromised immune systems. One-third of AIDS-related deaths are thought to be caused by the fungus.

But though people in Southern California have been getting sick from C. gatti for years, nobody knew how.

"We had a good idea that the fungus was going to be associated with trees," says , a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University who studies C. gatti. “We just didn’t know what trees.”

And she didn’t have the time to find out.

But someone did: Elan Filler, a 7th grader who was looking for a science fair project. Her dad, , an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, ran into , Springer’s advisor, at a conference, and told him about Elan. Heitman told Springer.

Elan Filler and Springer connected on email and figured out a plan. Soon Elan was making her way around greater Los Angeles, swabbing tree trunks and growing out the fungus in Petri dishes. None of the eucalyptus trees in the first batch she gathered tested positive for C. gattii, so she expanded her tests to include more types of trees.

Springer analyzed the genetic fingerprints of fungi in the samples that Elan sent to North Carolina.

Bingo! C. gattii from three trees, Canary Island pine, New Zealand pohutukawa and American sweet gum, matched almost exactly with C. gattii from infected patients. And the tree samples matched not just those from recent patients but from people who were sick 10 to 12 years ago. Thus this strain of C. gattii has been causing health problems in California for at least that long.

The were published Thursday in PLOS Pathogens.

The Canary Island pine is one tree species that hosts a fungus that causes disease in humans.

Watch on medresearch.tumblr.com
Researchers successfully eliminate HIV virus from cultured human cells

The HIV-1 virus has proved to be tenacious, inserting its genome permanently into its victims’ DNA, forcing patients to take a lifelong drug regimen to control the virus and prevent a fresh attack. Now, a team of Temple University School of Medicine researchers has designed a way to snip out the integrated HIV-1 genes for good.

 ”This is one important step on the path toward a permanent cure for AIDS,” said Kamel Khalili, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Temple. Dr. Khalili and his colleague, Wenhui Hu, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Temple, led the work which marks the first successful attempt to eliminate latent HIV-1 virus from human cells. “It’s an exciting discovery, but it’s not yet ready to go into the clinic. It’s a proof of concept that we’re moving in the right direction,” added Dr. Khalili, who is also Director of the Center for Neurovirology and Director of the Comprehensive NeuroAIDS Center at Temple.

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