HIV diagnoses hit seven year low: Australia’s annual HIV figures released

Kirby Institute, UNSW, Monday, 24 September 2018

Australia has recorded its lowest level of HIV diagnoses in seven years, according to a new report from the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney.

The report, released at the Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference in Sydney, found that there were 963 new HIV diagnoses in 2017, the lowest number since 2010.

Researchers are attributing the promising results to more people getting tested for HIV, more people living with HIV starting treatment which reduces the risk of HIV transmission to effectively zero, and an increased use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP, an HIV prevention pill).

However, it is not all good news. According to the report, a quarter of new HIV diagnoses in 2017 were among heterosexuals, with a 10% increase in diagnoses over the past five years.

Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, HIV diagnoses have been increasing over the past five years, with rates almost two times higher than the Australian-born non-Indigenous population in 2017.

Stillbirth more frequent in women with HIV in UK than in general population

nam/aidsmap, 01 August 2017

The stillbirth rate among women living with HIV in the UK and Ireland from 2007 to 2015 was more than twice that of the general population, Graziella Favarato, presenting on behalf of the National Study of HIV in Pregnancy and Childhood (NSHPC), told participants at the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) in Paris last week.

Most women originated from a sub-Saharan African country, accounting for 0.9% of stillbirths (71/7752) while stillbirth among women from Europe or westernised countries accounted for 0.4% (8/2004).

HIV life expectancy ‘near normal’ thanks to new drugs

BBC news, 11 May 2017

Young people on the latest HIV drugs now have near-normal life expectancy because of improvements in treatments, a new study in The Lancet suggests.

Twenty-year-olds who started antiretroviral therapy in 2010 are projected to live 10 years longer than those first using it in 1996, it found.

Doctors say that starting treatment early is crucial to achieve a long and healthy life.

Studies look at brain and cognitive changes in people with HIV as they age

 

nam/aidsmap, published: 14 March 2017

People with HIV often show persistent signs of cognitive impairment and abnormalities in brain structure despite suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART), but they do not appear to experience accelerated decline compared to HIV-negative people as they age, according to research presented at the 2017 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) last month in Seattle.

Latest Adelaide Gay Community Periodic Survey results released

Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW, 2017

The Adelaide Gay Community Periodic Survey is a cross-sectional survey of gay and homosexually active men recruited at a range of gay community sites in Adelaide. The major aim of the survey is to provide data on sexual, drug use and testing practices related to the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmissible infections (STIs) among gay men.

The most recent survey, the eleventh in South Australia, was conducted in November and December 2016 to coincide with the Adelaide Feast Festival. In total, 923 men participated in the 2016 survey.

Key points:

  • „ The proportion of men who reported ever having beentested for HIV has remained stable (and was reported by 82% in 2016).
  • „ Among non-HIV-positive men, the proportion who reportedtesting for HIV in the 12 months prior to the survey remained stable (and was reported by 69% in 2016).
  • „ The use of HIVtreatment by HIV-positive men has increased significantly over time (and was reported by all HIV-positive men in the 2016 survey).
  • „Mobile phone apps remain the most common way that men meet male sex partners (and was reported by 38% in 2016).
  • „ The proportion of men with regular male partners reportingcondomless anal intercourse with those partners has remained stable over time (and was reported by 59% in 2016).
  • „ The proportion of men with casual male partners reportingcondomless anal intercourse with those partners has increased over time (and was reported by 42% in 2016).injec
  • „ Use ofPrEP increased between 2014 and 2016 from 1% to 3% of non-HIV-positive men

Download report: Adelaide Gay Community Periodic Survey 2016 (PDF)

Impact of Cigarette Smoking and Smoking Cessation on Life Expectancy Among People With HIV

J Infect Dis. (2016) 214 (11):1672-1681.doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiw430

Abstract

Background. In the United States, >40% of people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) smoke cigarettes.

Methods. We used a computer simulation of HIV disease and treatment to project the life expectancy of HIV-infected persons, based on smoking status. We used age- and sex-specific data on mortality, stratified by smoking status. The ratio of the non-AIDS-related mortality risk for current smokers versus that for never smokers was 2.8, and the ratio for former smokers versus never smokers was 1.0–1.8, depending on cessation age. Projected survival was based on smoking status, sex, and initial age. We also estimated the total potential life-years gained if a proportion of the approximately 248 000 HIV-infected US smokers quit smoking.

Results. Men and women entering HIV care at age 40 years (mean CD4+T-cell count, 360 cells/µL) who continued to smoke lost 6.7 years and 6.3 years of life expectancy, respectively, compared with never smokers; those who quit smoking upon entering care regained 5.7 years and 4.6 years, respectively. Factors associated with greater benefits from smoking cessation included younger age, higher initial CD4+ T-cell count, and complete adherence to antiretroviral therapy. Smoking cessation by 10%–25% of HIV-infected smokers could save approximately 106 000–265 000 years of life.

Conclusions. HIV-infected US smokers aged 40 years lose >6 years of life expectancy from smoking, possibly outweighing the loss from HIV infection itself. Smoking cessation should become a priority in HIV treatment programs.

Full text (open access) here