Healthcare providers should discuss U=U with all their HIV-positive patients

aidsmap/nam, 18/03/2019

Healthcare providers should inform all patients with HIV they cannot transmit HIV to a sexual partner when their viral load is undetectable, argue the authors of  a strongly worded comment in The Lancet HIV.

The authors note that despite overwhelming scientific data supporting the undetectable = untransmittable (U=U) message, significant numbers of healthcare providers do not educate their patients about U=U when telling them their viral load is undetectable.

 

 

 

HIV and Trans Women: A Literature Review

Transgend Health. 2018; 3(1): 239–250

Abstract:

Trans women are a key, yet under-researched, population in the HIV epidemic. However, there remains a paucity of data on the health and wellbeing of trans women at risk of, or living with, HIV in the United Kingdom.

This article provides a narrative review of key empirical research into HIV among trans women. In an effort to explore individual and social factors in relation to HIV in this population, we outline key tenets of identity process theory from social psychology and the concept of structural violence from medical anthropology.

We focus on published studies around the following themes: (1) epidemiological data, (2) syndemic factors (3) barriers to social support, (4) HIV and gender transitioning, and (5) access to and engagement with health care.

We identify lacunae and thus call for United Kingdom-based research in the following areas: (1) the prevalence and incidence of HIV in trans women, (2) the impact of syndemic factors on HIV risk and acquisition in trans women, (3) the nature of social support for coping with syndemic factors, (4) the interface of gender transitioning and HIV, and (5) barriers to accessing HIV prevention and care services.

There is great scope (and urgency) for research into HIV among trans women, especially in the United Kingdom, to reduce incidence in this group, to enhance engagement in HIV care across the care continuum, and to improve the health and wellbeing of those living with HIV. A tentative model for HIV prevention and care is presented in this article.

Gaps And Policy Barriers To Engagement With The HIV Cascade Of Care

Identifying and Plugging the Leaks: Gaps And Policy Barriers To Engagement With The HIV Cascade Of Care

CTAC (Canadian Treatment Action Council), 2018

This project explored what issues impact engagement by people living with HIV with healthcare in Ontario. The goal was to identify policy issues that impact treatment access for people living with HIV, and to identify opportunities to make the healthcare system more accessible.

The HIV Cascade of Care is a useful description of the different steps that a person living with HIV will need to take in order to achieve an undetectable viral load and optimal health outcomes, from infection and diagnosis through to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) initiation and viral suppression.

We know people drop out of the HIV Cascade of Care – e.g. why those starting treatment don’t stay on it. By seeking out policy barriers and developing solutions we can enable people to live long, healthy, and happy lives.

The project has five recommendations around barriers to engagement in the HIV Cascade of Care.

Download report here

 

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.

HIV rapid testing in community and outreach sites: results of a demonstration project in Italy

BMC Public Health

2018 18:748

Published: 18 June 2018mob

Abstract

Background

Globally the access to HIV testing has greatly increased over the past 30 years. Nonetheless, a high proportion of people living with HIV remains undiagnosed, even in resource rich countries. To increase the proportion of people aware of their HIV serostatus and their access to medical care, several strategies have been proposed including HIV rapid test programs offered outside health facilities. The aim of this project was to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of the HIV rapid testing offered in community and outreach settings in Italy.

Methods

We conducted a national demonstration project on HIV rapid tests offered in community and outreach settings, including nongovernmental organization (NGO) facilities, primary care services for migrants and low-threshold services or mobile units for drug users (DU services). HIV rapid test on oral fluid (OraQuick®; Orasure Technologies) was anonymously offered to eligible people who presented themselves at the selected sites. Those with reactive results were referred to a specialized outpatient unit for confirmatory testing and medical care.

Results

Over a period of six months a total of 2949 tests were performed and 45.2% of individuals tested had not been previously tested. Overall 0.9% (27/2949) of tested people had a preliminary positive test. In NGO facilities the positivity rate was 1%. All subjects who performed their confirmatory test were confirmed as positive. In services for migrants the positivity rate was 0.5 and 80% were referred to care (with 1 false positive test). In DU services we observed the highest positivity rate (1.4%) but the lowest linkage to care (67%), with 1 false positive test.

Conclusion

Our project showed that the offering of an HIV rapid testing program in community and outreach settings in Italy is feasible and that it may reach people who have never been tested before, while having a significant yield in terms of new HIV diagnoses as well.

New evidence supports HIV screening in young adulthood

Science Daily, December 19, 2017

A new study suggests that the most beneficial age for a one-time screening HIV test of the general population would be age 25.

The report — led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital  working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health — will be published in the Journal of Adolescent Health and has been issued online.