People who use drugs require prioritisation not exclusion in efforts to eliminate Hepatitis C

6th International Symposium on Hepatitis Care in Substance Users,  6th Sept 2017

An international conference bringing together hepatitis C experts from around the world is today calling for strategies to prioritise people who use drugs, saying hepatitis C elimination is impossible without them.

“The number of people around the world dying from hepatitis C is increasing. We have the tools to reverse this trend, to eliminate this disease and save millions of lives. But it will not happen until people who use drugs become a focus of our efforts,” said Associate Professor Jason Grebely, President of the International Network of Hepatitis C in Substance Users (INHSU), the convenors of the conference.

 

Anchorage Statement: Indigenous Peoples and Viral Hepatitis

2nd World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Viral Hepatitis, August 2017

The Anchorage Statement is a statement on Indigenous Peoples and Viral Hepatitis, which was prepared by Indigenous peoples globally who attended the 2nd World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Viral Hepatitis held in Anchorage Alaska in August 2017.

The Anchorage Statement sets out the aspirations of Indigenous peoples globally in ensuring that they are not a population left behind in global efforts to eliminate viral hepatitis by the year 2030.  The statement is timely for Australia as the Commonwealth Government are embarking on the development of a new set of national strategies addressing viral hepatitis, HIV and STIs and the 5th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander STI and BBV Strategy.  Those who have prepared the statement ask you consider the actions and principles embedded in the Anchorage Statement, and hope you or your organisation can contribute to the global efforts of elimination of viral hepatitis.

Feel free to post the Anchorage Statement to social media, websites and or discuss in staff meetings within your own organisation.

Study suggests drug criminalization undermining global HIV/AIDS efforts

Medical News Today, May 2017

The criminalization of drugs is a leading factor in the world’s HIV epidemic and a potential barrier to eradicating HIV/AIDS, say researchers who’ve undertaken a sweeping review of research on laws and policies prohibiting drug use. Assistant professor Kora DeBeck of SFU’s School of Public Policy, who is a research scientist with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, is co-lead of the study, published in The Lancet.

 

‘Patient zero’ Gaëtan Dugas not source of HIV outbreak, study confirms

Guardian, 27 Oct 2017

Scientists have managed to reconstruct the route by which HIV arrived in the US – exonerating once and for all the man long blamed for the ensuing pandemic in the west.

Using sophisticated genetic techniques, an international team of researchers have revealed that the virus emerged from a pre-existing epidemic in the Caribbean, arrived in New York by the early 1970s and then spread westwards across the US.

  • Read more here 
  • Access Nature article (full text) here 

 

The global spread of HIV

Infection, Genetics and Evolution, Available online 2 June 2016
Abstract:
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) was discovered in the early 1980s when the virus had already established a pandemic. For at least three decades the epidemic in the Western World has been dominated by subtype B infections, as part of a sub-epidemic that traveled from Africa through Haiti to United States. However, the pattern of the subsequent spread still remains poorly understood.

 Here we analyze a large dataset of globally representative HIV-1 subtype B strains to map their spread around the world over the last 50 years and describe significant spread patterns.

We show that subtype B travelled from North America to Western Europe in different occasions, while Central/Eastern Europe remained isolated for the most part of the early epidemic. Looking with more detail in European countries we see that the United Kingdom, France and Switzerland exchanged viral isolates with non-European countries than with European ones.

The observed pattern is likely to mirror geopolitical landmarks in the post-World War II era, namely the rise and the fall of the Iron Curtain and the European colonialism.

In conclusion, HIV-1 spread through specific migration routes which are consistent with geopolitical factors that affected human activities during the last 50 years, such as migration, tourism and trade. Our findings support the argument that epidemic control policies should be global and incorporate political and socioeconomic factors.

Access article (full text, open access) here

Gorillas source of two HIV-1 lineages

Reuters, Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Half the lineages of the main type of human immunodeficiency virus, HIV-1, originated in gorillas in Cameroon before infecting people, probably via bushmeat hunting, a new study has found.

Read more here