nychealth
nychealth:

Monday, March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWAGHAAD) is a nationwide observance that encourages people to take action in the fight against HIV and raises awareness of its impact on women and girls.
 In New York City:
1 out of every 5 new HIV cases is among women and girls
By the end of 2012, black and Latina women accounted for more than 91% of all new HIV cases among women
Women of all races and ethnicities can get HIV, but risks of HIV may be higher in some communities.
The only way to know your HIV status is to Get Tested!



NYC Health community partners are holding numerous NWAGHAAD testing and educational events this week. Check out events in your area, call 311 or text ‘testNYC’ to 877-877 for your nearest testing location!

 
Saturday, March 8
12-4pm: BOOM! Health will be at The Point, 940 Garrison Ave., Bronx, NY 10474

“Secrets of Our Daughters: The VOICE Within Speaks.” This event will address the problems minority women and girls face in the Bronx community related to HIV.
Free HIV testing will also be provided.


 
Sunday, March 9
10am-3pm: Bridging Access to Care will be at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church - 760 Dekalb Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11217

Free HIV testing will be provided.

 
Monday, March 10
10am-4:30pm: Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Inc. - 290 Lenox Ave., Lower Level, New York, NY 10027

Free HIV/STI/Hepatitis testing will be provided.

1-5pm: Voces Latinas will be along Roosevelt Avenue between 78th St. and 90th St, Queens, NY 11372

Voces Latinas will provide free information in Spanish focusing on  HIV and women, demonstrations of the female condom, and free HIV testing.


Thursday, March 13
6-8pm: Robert Fulton Terrace Council in collaboration with National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS of NYC, Uptown Health Link and BOOM! Health will be at 530 East 169th St., Bronx, NY 10456

“Teen Talk, That’s What’s Up! A Real Conversation about Sex and your Health.”  Free HIV testing will also be provided.


Sunday, March 15
10am-3pm: Bridging Access to Care will be at Berean Baptist Church 1635 Bergen St., Brooklyn, NY 11213

Free HIV testing will be provided.

 
To help stop HIV in NYC, remember to:
Get Tested – In addition to all the free testing locations listed above, you can also call 311 or text ‘testNYC’ to 877-877 to find local testing sites at any time throughout the year.
Get treated – If you are living with HIV or know someone who is living with HIV, get medical care. The sooner you begin treatment, the less HIV will damage your body. And if you take your HIV medications as prescribed, you are much less likely to pass HIV to your partners. For help finding care in NYC, text ‘CARE’ to 877-877.
Get Educated – Learn about the basics of HIV and AIDS in your local community.
Get Involved – Host an event, speak out, or volunteer with a local community organization that is working to combat HIV. Visit NYC Health’s HIV/AIDS information pages to learn more about HIV.

Stay Safe—Condoms provide excellent protection against HIV, other sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy. NYC Health distributes free condoms in over 3,500 locations throughout the five boroughs of NYC. Click here for more information about free NYC Condoms.

nychealth:

Monday, March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWAGHAAD) is a nationwide observance that encourages people to take action in the fight against HIV and raises awareness of its impact on women and girls.

 In New York City:

  • 1 out of every 5 new HIV cases is among women and girls
  • By the end of 2012, black and Latina women accounted for more than 91% of all new HIV cases among women
  • Women of all races and ethnicities can get HIV, but risks of HIV may be higher in some communities.
  • The only way to know your HIV status is to Get Tested!

NYC Health community partners are holding numerous NWAGHAAD testing and educational events this week. Check out events in your area, call 311 or text ‘testNYC’ to 877-877 for your nearest testing location!

 

Saturday, March 8

12-4pm: BOOM! Health will be at The Point, 940 Garrison Ave., Bronx, NY 10474

“Secrets of Our Daughters: The VOICE Within Speaks.” This event will address the problems minority women and girls face in the Bronx community related to HIV.

Free HIV testing will also be provided.

 

Sunday, March 9

10am-3pm: Bridging Access to Care will be at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church - 760 Dekalb Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11217

Free HIV testing will be provided.

 

Monday, March 10

10am-4:30pm: Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Inc. - 290 Lenox Ave., Lower Level, New York, NY 10027

Free HIV/STI/Hepatitis testing will be provided.

1-5pm: Voces Latinas will be along Roosevelt Avenue between 78th St. and 90th St, Queens, NY 11372

Voces Latinas will provide free information in Spanish focusing on  HIV and women, demonstrations of the female condom, and free HIV testing.

Thursday, March 13

6-8pm: Robert Fulton Terrace Council in collaboration with National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS of NYC, Uptown Health Link and BOOM! Health will be at 530 East 169th St., Bronx, NY 10456

“Teen Talk, That’s What’s Up! A Real Conversation about Sex and your Health.”  Free HIV testing will also be provided.

Sunday, March 15

10am-3pm: Bridging Access to Care will be at Berean Baptist Church 1635 Bergen St., Brooklyn, NY 11213

Free HIV testing will be provided.

 

To help stop HIV in NYC, remember to:

Get Tested – In addition to all the free testing locations listed above, you can also call 311 or text ‘testNYC’ to 877-877 to find local testing sites at any time throughout the year.

Get treated – If you are living with HIV or know someone who is living with HIV, get medical care. The sooner you begin treatment, the less HIV will damage your body. And if you take your HIV medications as prescribed, you are much less likely to pass HIV to your partners. For help finding care in NYC, text ‘CARE’ to 877-877.

Get Educated – Learn about the basics of HIV and AIDS in your local community.

Get Involved – Host an event, speak out, or volunteer with a local community organization that is working to combat HIV. Visit NYC Health’s HIV/AIDS information pages to learn more about HIV.

Stay Safe—Condoms provide excellent protection against HIV, other sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy. NYC Health distributes free condoms in over 3,500 locations throughout the five boroughs of NYC. Click here for more information about free NYC Condoms.

actgnetwork
actgnetwork:

Our Dr. Paul Sax asks and answers the question “should people living with HIV be vaccinated against meningococcus?” Meningococcal disease means the lining of the brain and spinal cord have become infected with bacteria. A recent study found people living with HIV are 8 to 12 times more likely to develop meningococcal disease than people who do not have the virus. During an outbreak of meningococcal disease, like that one that recently occurred in NYC, Sax recommends vaccinating people living with HIV. 

actgnetwork:

Our Dr. Paul Sax asks and answers the question “should people living with HIV be vaccinated against meningococcus?” Meningococcal disease means the lining of the brain and spinal cord have become infected with bacteria. A recent study found people living with HIV are 8 to 12 times more likely to develop meningococcal disease than people who do not have the virus. During an outbreak of meningococcal disease, like that one that recently occurred in NYC, Sax recommends vaccinating people living with HIV. 


The case for taking one pill a day to prevent HIV 
Opinion: Concerns about the newly approved drug Truvada for HIV prevention are unfounded. It’s worth prescribing, say health researchers at UCLA.


by Abraar Karan and Jeffrey D. Klausner
New global data overwhelmingly suggest that a pill to prevent HIV, approved by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration in July 2012, is safer and more effective than the medical community originally thought. Importantly, new models predict that when taken daily, the drug, called Truvada, can lower the risk of HIV transmission by 99 percent. Recent studies also show that a large-scale rollout of Truvada is unlikely to lead to increased antiviral drug resistance or risk-taking behavior, as some had feared.
But old concerns, even as they have been called into question, persist, and are hindering Truvada from being widely used for HIV prevention. This needs to change. 
The use of Truvada — a drug originally approved for HIV treatment — for HIV prevention in uninfected people is an unprecedented approach to addressing the epidemic. In the medical community, this form of therapy is known as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and so far Truvada is the only drug to obtain PrEP approval. While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends PrEP for those at high risk for contracting HIV, such as men who have sex with men, sex workers, injection drug users, and people with known HIV-infected partners, its adoption has been slow over the last two years largely due to concerns about its safety, efficacy, and effect on patient’s sexual behavior.
When Truvada first was approved for PrEP, some public health experts and community groups feared that people might feel falsely protected against HIV and participate in high-risk sexual behavior, potentially negating the protective potential of the regimen. These critics also worried that mass prescription of PrEP could perpetuate antiviral drug resistance because of low adherence by patients in some studies. 
Complicating matters, physicians were hesitant to prescribe Truvada for PrEP because they felt its small risk of side effects and financial costs could be avoided if patients consistently used protective measures such as condoms and were careful in their choice and number of sexual partners. What’s more, the main study supporting the use of PrEP, known as the iPrEx Study, reported that PrEP worked only about half the time, confusing the health community, because it appeared PrEP was not as effective as expected.
Two years later, more recent studies tell a different story, but fears are still contributing to PrEP’s low support by physicians and low demand by at-risk patients. Ultimately, healthcare providers play a major role in patient decision-making and physicians need to stand behind PrEP so that patients will increase uptake and adherence.
We have a few key recommendations to be adopted globally in order to increase the use of PrEP. First, PrEP must be adequately integrated into primary care systems directed at high-risk populations. In the US, this may be facilitated through the Affordable Care Act. Globally, we need to advocate for PrEP’s inclusion in existing HIV treatment and prevention models and urge for increased funding to support provision of PrEP in low-income countries. While Truvada is available around the world, its use as PrEP has not yet been approved or implemented everywhere. Moreover, it is largely unaffordable at up to $14,000 per year. Its manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, should allow tiered and reduced pricing for low-income regions.
Second, adherence to medication must be improved—it is the only evidenced shortfall of PrEP for which we do not yet have a tested solution. We need to educate and support primary care providers and at-risk communities, as well as establish strong and clear global guidelines for PrEP usage. Strong primary care systems that integrate innovative health coaching and community health worker strategies will be critical to this effort.
Lastly, we need to document and systematize PrEP usage far more efficiently. Currently, there is no registry of PrEP users in the world. We need to collect data on who is taking PrEP to monitor prescribing, adherence, risk behavior, antiviral resistance patterns, and effectiveness at the population level. In the US and countries with strong information technology infrastructure, this can be done more quickly than in other, less developed regions.
A couple of years ago, the debates surrounding the use of Truvada for PrEP in healthy people were reasonable. But with new evidence, we believe in 2014 there is less to debate and far more to accomplish to make PrEP available. No longer can we reasonably ignore what may very well lead to the end of global HIV/AIDS.
Abraar Karan is a medical student at UCLA. He has worked in Uganda at the Infectious Disease Institute and in Mozambique with the Center for Disease Control studying HIV clinical practice and policy. He runs the global health blog Swasthya Mundial and you can follow him @SwasthyaMundial. Dr. Jeffrey D. Klausner is an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine and public health at UCLA. He is the Former Director of STD Prevention and Control Services in San Francisco and Former Chief of the HIV and TB Branch at the Center for Disease Control, South Africa. 
(From Global Post)

The case for taking one pill a day to prevent HIV

Opinion: Concerns about the newly approved drug Truvada for HIV prevention are unfounded. It’s worth prescribing, say health researchers at UCLA.

by Abraar Karan and Jeffrey D. Klausner

New global data overwhelmingly suggest that a pill to prevent HIV, approved by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration in July 2012, is safer and more effective than the medical community originally thought. Importantly, new models predict that when taken daily, the drug, called Truvada, can lower the risk of HIV transmission by 99 percent. Recent studies also show that a large-scale rollout of Truvada is unlikely to lead to increased antiviral drug resistance or risk-taking behavior, as some had feared.

But old concerns, even as they have been called into question, persist, and are hindering Truvada from being widely used for HIV prevention. This needs to change. 

The use of Truvada — a drug originally approved for HIV treatment — for HIV prevention in uninfected people is an unprecedented approach to addressing the epidemic. In the medical community, this form of therapy is known as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and so far Truvada is the only drug to obtain PrEP approval. While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends PrEP for those at high risk for contracting HIV, such as men who have sex with men, sex workers, injection drug users, and people with known HIV-infected partners, its adoption has been slow over the last two years largely due to concerns about its safety, efficacy, and effect on patient’s sexual behavior.

When Truvada first was approved for PrEP, some public health experts and community groups feared that people might feel falsely protected against HIV and participate in high-risk sexual behavior, potentially negating the protective potential of the regimen. These critics also worried that mass prescription of PrEP could perpetuate antiviral drug resistance because of low adherence by patients in some studies. 

Complicating matters, physicians were hesitant to prescribe Truvada for PrEP because they felt its small risk of side effects and financial costs could be avoided if patients consistently used protective measures such as condoms and were careful in their choice and number of sexual partners. What’s more, the main study supporting the use of PrEP, known as the iPrEx Study, reported that PrEP worked only about half the time, confusing the health community, because it appeared PrEP was not as effective as expected.

Two years later, more recent studies tell a different story, but fears are still contributing to PrEP’s low support by physicians and low demand by at-risk patients. Ultimately, healthcare providers play a major role in patient decision-making and physicians need to stand behind PrEP so that patients will increase uptake and adherence.

We have a few key recommendations to be adopted globally in order to increase the use of PrEP. First, PrEP must be adequately integrated into primary care systems directed at high-risk populations. In the US, this may be facilitated through the Affordable Care Act. Globally, we need to advocate for PrEP’s inclusion in existing HIV treatment and prevention models and urge for increased funding to support provision of PrEP in low-income countries. While Truvada is available around the world, its use as PrEP has not yet been approved or implemented everywhere. Moreover, it is largely unaffordable at up to $14,000 per year. Its manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, should allow tiered and reduced pricing for low-income regions.

Second, adherence to medication must be improved—it is the only evidenced shortfall of PrEP for which we do not yet have a tested solution. We need to educate and support primary care providers and at-risk communities, as well as establish strong and clear global guidelines for PrEP usage. Strong primary care systems that integrate innovative health coaching and community health worker strategies will be critical to this effort.

Lastly, we need to document and systematize PrEP usage far more efficiently. Currently, there is no registry of PrEP users in the world. We need to collect data on who is taking PrEP to monitor prescribing, adherence, risk behavior, antiviral resistance patterns, and effectiveness at the population level. In the US and countries with strong information technology infrastructure, this can be done more quickly than in other, less developed regions.

A couple of years ago, the debates surrounding the use of Truvada for PrEP in healthy people were reasonable. But with new evidence, we believe in 2014 there is less to debate and far more to accomplish to make PrEP available. No longer can we reasonably ignore what may very well lead to the end of global HIV/AIDS.

Abraar Karan is a medical student at UCLA. He has worked in Uganda at the Infectious Disease Institute and in Mozambique with the Center for Disease Control studying HIV clinical practice and policy. He runs the global health blog Swasthya Mundial and you can follow him @SwasthyaMundial. Dr. Jeffrey D. Klausner is an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine and public health at UCLA. He is the Former Director of STD Prevention and Control Services in San Francisco and Former Chief of the HIV and TB Branch at the Center for Disease Control, South Africa.

(From Global Post)

nprglobalhealth

nprglobalhealth:

How The U.S. Helped Fight The Global AIDS Epidemic

A decade ago, President George W. Bush announced an unprecedented global health initiative: $15 billion over five years to fight HIV in developing countries.

"There are whole countries in Africa where more than one-third of the adult population carries the infection," Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union address. "Yet across that continent, only 50,000 AIDS victims — only 50,000 — are receiving the medicine they need."

Congress quickly passed the bill. By the end of May 2003, thePresident’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, was law.

Over the past decade, the U.S. has spent more than $50 billion on PEPFAR, largely to test and treat people for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.

Some health officials have questioned whether PEPFAR has drained money from addressing other problems. But in general, the initiative has been considered a success.

Nearly 10 million people around the world now have access to antiviral drugs, and treatment for two-thirds of these people is directly supported by PEPFAR, the U.S. government reported earlier this month. Treatment for HIV-positive mothers funded by PEPFAR prevented 740,000 infants from getting infected with the virus at birth.

Continue reading.

Charts by Matt Stiles/NPR. Data from UNAIDS and PEPFAR.

One of the World’s Tiniest, Poorest Countries Is Redefining HIV Care
In Rwanda, success is measured not by how many people live and die, but by how many take their medication and lead normal lives.

By Neil Gupta
In the past decade, sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s poorest region, has made enormous strides in the fight against HIV. There are now more than 7.5 million people receiving antiretroviral therapy, 150 times as many as a decade ago. Medications have become more effective and easier to take, and they are now combined so that many patients take as little as one pill a day. HIV testing has become more widely available, and we are detecting the virus at earlier stages before too much damage is done.
With World AIDS Day upon us, however, it is important to keep in mind that the needs in this part of the world are still grim. The U.N. estimates that only 45 percent of pregnant women are tested for HIV and only 35 percent of infants born to mothers with HIV are tested for the virus on time. Treatment for children and adolescents lags dramatically behind that of adults. Around the world, 1.7 million people die of the disease every year. Unfortunately, the UNAIDS goal of 15 million people on treatment by 2015 seems a long way off, and HIV vaccines and “cures” remain in early investigatory phases.
Yet in Rwanda, where just 20 years ago a genocide claimed approximately 1 million lives, the government has transformed HIV care for the poor by redefining the standards for successful treatment. More than three decades into the epidemic, many national and international agencies are still counting the basics—how many people get infected, how many people receive medication, how many patients die. Success in Rwanda, meanwhile, is measured not in the number remaining alive, but rather in how many are actually able to take their medications as directed and suppress the virus in their bodies to a level where it is essentially non-existent. In Rwanda, success is achieved when people living with HIV can earn a living, support their family, raise their children, and care for their community no differently than their peers. 
As a physician working for Partners in Health in Rwanda, I have witnessed the impact of this relentless approach to HIV care and treatment, and the stabilizing and uplifting impact it has had on the lives of Rwandans. Patients who would have previously been hospitalized with severe and end-stage complications of HIV are now coming for regular, preventive care. Families and communities previously devastated by the dual impact of insecurity and HIV are now thriving hubs for HIV prevention and treatment. I’ve come to realize that this tiny East African country may have large lessons to share with the global HIV movement.
More…
(From The Atlantic)
One of the World’s Tiniest, Poorest Countries Is Redefining HIV Care

In Rwanda, success is measured not by how many people live and die, but by how many take their medication and lead normal lives.

By Neil Gupta

In the past decade, sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s poorest region, has made enormous strides in the fight against HIV. There are now more than 7.5 million people receiving antiretroviral therapy, 150 times as many as a decade ago. Medications have become more effective and easier to take, and they are now combined so that many patients take as little as one pill a day. HIV testing has become more widely available, and we are detecting the virus at earlier stages before too much damage is done.

With World AIDS Day upon us, however, it is important to keep in mind that the needs in this part of the world are still grim. The U.N. estimates that only 45 percent of pregnant women are tested for HIV and only 35 percent of infants born to mothers with HIV are tested for the virus on time. Treatment for children and adolescents lags dramatically behind that of adults. Around the world, 1.7 million people die of the disease every year. Unfortunately, the UNAIDS goal of 15 million people on treatment by 2015 seems a long way off, and HIV vaccines and “cures” remain in early investigatory phases.

Yet in Rwanda, where just 20 years ago a genocide claimed approximately 1 million lives, the government has transformed HIV care for the poor by redefining the standards for successful treatment. More than three decades into the epidemic, many national and international agencies are still counting the basics—how many people get infected, how many people receive medication, how many patients die. Success in Rwanda, meanwhile, is measured not in the number remaining alive, but rather in how many are actually able to take their medications as directed and suppress the virus in their bodies to a level where it is essentially non-existent. In Rwanda, success is achieved when people living with HIV can earn a living, support their family, raise their children, and care for their community no differently than their peers. 

As a physician working for Partners in Health in Rwanda, I have witnessed the impact of this relentless approach to HIV care and treatment, and the stabilizing and uplifting impact it has had on the lives of Rwandans. Patients who would have previously been hospitalized with severe and end-stage complications of HIV are now coming for regular, preventive care. Families and communities previously devastated by the dual impact of insecurity and HIV are now thriving hubs for HIV prevention and treatment. I’ve come to realize that this tiny East African country may have large lessons to share with the global HIV movement.

More…

(From The Atlantic)

16 ideas for addressing violence against women in the context of the HIV epidemic: A programming tool
About the tool
The programming tool provides evidence-summaries for 16 programming approaches for preventing and responding to violence against women in the context of the HIV epidemic.
The tool is aimed at
policy-makers;
managers of national HIV programmes from relevant line ministries;
donors;
national and international nongovernmental organizations and community-based organizations;
UN agencies and programmes;and
institutions conducting intervention research and providing technical support for violence against women and HIV programmes.
Four areas where changes needs to happen
empowerment of women through integrated, multi-sectoral approaches;
transforming social and cultural norms related to gender;
integrating violence against women and HIV services; and
promoting and implementing laws and policies related to violence against women, gender equality and HIV
A key feature of this tool is an inter-active programming wheel that summarizes the 16 ideas and the core values that must guide all programming on violence against women.
(From WHO/UNAIDS)
16 ideas for addressing violence against women in the
context of the HIV epidemic: A programming tool About the tool

The programming tool provides evidence-summaries for 16 programming approaches for preventing and responding to violence against women in the context of the HIV epidemic.

The tool is aimed at
  • policy-makers;
  • managers of national HIV programmes from relevant line ministries;
  • donors;
  • national and international nongovernmental organizations and community-based organizations;
  • UN agencies and programmes;and
  • institutions conducting intervention research and providing technical support for violence against women and HIV programmes.
Four areas where changes needs to happen
  • empowerment of women through integrated, multi-sectoral approaches;
  • transforming social and cultural norms related to gender;
  • integrating violence against women and HIV services; and
  • promoting and implementing laws and policies related to violence against women, gender equality and HIV

A key feature of this tool is an inter-active programming wheel that summarizes the 16 ideas and the core values that must guide all programming on violence against women.

(From WHO/UNAIDS)

gov-info
gov-info:

CDC Gov Data/Resource: NCHHSTP Atlas

The NCHHSTP Atlas was created to provide an interactive platform for accessing data collected by CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP). This interactive tool provides CDC an effective way to disseminate data, while allowing users to observe trends and patterns by creating detailed reports, maps, and other graphics.


Currently, the Atlas provides interactive maps, graphs, tables, and figures showing geographic patterns and time trends of HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and primary and secondary syphilis surveillance data.

gov-info:

CDC Gov Data/Resource: NCHHSTP Atlas

The NCHHSTP Atlas was created to provide an interactive platform for accessing data collected by CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP). This interactive tool provides CDC an effective way to disseminate data, while allowing users to observe trends and patterns by creating detailed reports, maps, and other graphics.

Currently, the Atlas provides interactive maps, graphs, tables, and figures showing geographic patterns and time trends of HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and primary and secondary syphilis surveillance data.