Contraceptive rates in poorest countries leap by 30 million users in four years

Guardian, Tuesday 1 November 2016

The number of women in the world’s poorest countries using modern forms of contraception has jumped by more than 30 million in the past four years, according to a report that found the most significant progress had been made in sub-Saharan Africa.

At the halfway point of the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) initiative, launched in 2012, around 12 million more women and girls were using contraceptives in east, south and west Africa.

HIV prevention drug PrEP being tested on high-risk adolescents

Sydney Morning Herald, July 21 2016

A preventative HIV drug being used by thousands of gay men in Australia is being tested on teenagers at high risk of the virus.

Studies have shown that PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) offers near complete protection against HIV if taken properly every day. Researchers are now testing it on young people in South Africa and the US.

Read more here

New pilot project to improve hep B outcomes for at-risk patients

Burnet Institute, 28 June, 2016

Improved screening of patients at risk of hepatitis B is the aim of a new pilot project underway in Victoria, with early diagnosis and treatment crucial to reduce the risk of liver cancer.

Cancer Council Victoria and Burnet Institute’s Screening for Hepatitis in At-Risk Populations (SHARP) project will trial four new interventions to help diagnose hepatitis B in GP clinics.

The project is targeting patients from countries where hepatitis B is endemic, including Somalia, Sudan, China and Vietnam.

  • Read more here
  • SHARP project details 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

Progress on a broadly: neutralising HIV vaccine

ABC: The Health Report, Monday 27 July 2015 5:50PM

For people diagnosed with HIV, an effective vaccine is something of a holy grail. It would allow serodiscordant couples to manage the possibility of transmission, and improve outcomes for millions of HIV-positive cases, many of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Vaccines have been tried before: two different HIV vaccines were tested in Thailand, reducing transmission rates by close to 30 per cent.

Now, researchers at the National Institutes of Health in the US are trying to make HIV transmission a thing of the past, by strategically designing broadly neutralising antibodies based on samples taken from patients with chronic HIV.

Read more (or listen) here

follow-up to post “Depo-Provera Linked to Increased HIV Risk in Africa”

Hi SASHA readers,

Some people have pointed out that the link in the previous post “Depo-Provera Linked to Increased HIV Risk in Africa” goes to a login page which locks them out. I found the article through google, and it turns out you can only access it in you go in that way, i.e. via google results. I was not aware of this when i posted it.

Cheers,

SASHA