Infografía: Soy una mujer transexual. #GapReport #PeopleLeftBehind #infographic

SoyUnTransexual

Infografía: Soy homosexual. #GapReport #PeopleLeftBehind #infographic

SoyHomosexual

SoyUnaEmbarazada

Infografía: Soy una mujer embarazada que vive con VIH. #GapReport #PeopleLeftBehind #infographic

Kits de autoexaminación de VIH sobre la mesa

HIV self-testing on cards

The Sunday Mail, Zimbabwe

07/09/2014

 

by shamiso yikoniko

Government will soon introduce HIV self-testing kits as a way to encourage people to know their HIV status, The

Sunday Mail has established.

The development follows revelations that of the 196 000 people who went for HIV tests since last year, only 185

000 collected their results.

However, Government hopes the self-testing kits will encourage more people to know their HIV status.

According to 2012 statistics, 1.4 million people in Zimbabwe are living with HIV.

The director of Aids and TB unit in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Owen Mugurungi said the ministry

was undertaking an assessment before the introduction of the HIV self-testing kits. “Before we introduce

something new to the people, we run feasibility and acceptability tests as a way to check if the people are ready

to receive the new product,” he said.

“By the end of the year we should be releasing preliminary results on the assessment which will guide us on the

decisions we are supposed to make.”

HIV self-testing kits, also known as self tests, allow people to test themselves for HIV without the aid of a

healthcare provider.

The kit allows an individual to test a blood or saliva sample and interpret the result within 20 to 40 minutes.

The test requires users to swab their upper and lower gums for the saliva sample.

The swab is placed in a solution, which allows the test reaction to develop.

Currently, more than 1 600 health care facilities are providing free integrated HIV testing and counselling services

through ante-natal clinic, opportunistic infections (OI) clinics, stand alone testing and counselling centres,

outreach centres, TB and STI clinics.

The United States has effectively used HIV self testing kits (OraQuick) since last year.

OraQuick also provides a 24 hour toll free telephone counselling service and helps link people who test positive

to a nearby clinic.

Though most African countries have not embraced HIV self testing kits, in Kenya, self-testing for healthcare

workers is being implemented.

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HIV self-testing offers an approach to scaling up testing that could be high impact, low cost, confidential and

empowering for users.

UNAIDS says that self-testing could be a solution in parts of the world where people living with HIV are not

reached by existing services and do not know their status.

Por qué la ONU debe ser más estratégica al promover el desarrollo de la agenda post-2015

Why the UN Needs to Be More Strategic About Promoting the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Center for Governance and Sustainability, Boston

05/09/2014

 

Opinion

By Kara Alaimo

United Nations Member States will soon negotiate the world’s next development agenda, to succeed the

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after the 2015 deadline for their achievement. The success of this

agenda will, of course, depend upon whether it garners global support.

Poverty cannot and will not be eradicated in the halls of the U.N. If our world’s next development agenda is to

be achieved, it will happen in the national and local halls of power where governance decisions are made – and

in cities, towns, and villages around the world where people rally to hold their leaders accountable and to take

action themselves.

To build the global support required to achieve this agenda, the U.N. must therefore craft and present this new

plan with unprecedented levels of strategy, innovation, and persuasiveness.

Yet discussions within the U.N. are now almost entirely focused on the content of the agenda. Unfortunately,

even if the perfect plan is crafted on paper, it will make little difference if people around the globe do not unite to

implement it. That’s why much greater focus is needed now on positioning the agenda to garner maximum global

support.

Here are six things the U.N. can do to make this happen:

Harness the Best Expertise to Advance the Agenda

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The U.N. should work with a world-class global communications firm in order to develop and test a compelling

name and narrative for the post-2015 agenda. These elements should not be an afterthought.

The global community’s discussions now center around the concept of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A more inspirational name is needed. Many believe that discussions of SDGs have progressed so far that it is

futile, at this point, to attempt to change it. Furthermore, like all other elements of the agenda, names and titles

will ultimately be subject to political negotiation and compromise. Still, it is troubling that, in the year 2014, it is

considered idealistic to advance the idea that the U.N. should communicate in terms that ordinary people will

understand. It is particularly strange that the U.N. prides itself on harnessing the very best science available on

how we can eradicate disease or combat climate change, but then ignores the wide body of evidence available to

us on how we might communicate the agenda in ways that would build the requisite support to achieve it.

Advertisers convince people around the globe every day that having the right labels on the backsides of their

pants will change their lives. With the post-2015 development agenda, no such alchemy will be required. The

U.N. will be asking for people’s support for an agenda that will actually, materially improve their lives. Given what

modern communicators are capable of, this is not such a formidable task.

Do Not Obscure the Language of the Agenda

Arriving at consensus on this agenda will be so difficult, contentious, and painful, that it will be tempting for

Member States to obscure the language of the agenda in places where agreement is not reached. They must

avoid this. If Member States cannot agree upon the agenda among themselves, they cannot hope to convince

the world’s seven billion people to champion it. The language of the agenda must be written in lucid and powerful

prose, and presented in no uncertain terms.

Communicate in Human Terms

Research shows that people are less likely to get involved when they feel that they cannot make an appreciable

difference. This means that the U.N. must convince the world that our problems are not intractable, and that

individual actions can have an impact. The language of the agenda will need to strike a careful balance, in order

to convince citizens that our challenges are severe enough to require urgent action, but not so hopeless that we

cannot solve them.

Additionally, human beings are drawn to and moved by stories of individual members of humanity – and inured

against faceless statistics. This means that our next development agenda must be presented in human terms.

Part of this will require telling the stories of real people around the world. The U.N. will also need to share

statistics that dramatize the scale and scope of the challenges we face, while at the same time discussing them

in language that makes clear that they are talking about individual human lives.

Be Globally Accessible and Relevant

When I worked for the U.N. Millennium Campaign, I particularly struggled to attract the interest of the United

States press in covering the MDGs. One of the key challenges was that global poverty was not an issue that was

largely perceived as impacting the daily lives of Americans – and so it was especially difficult to convey why the

MDGs should matter to them. (Of course, America faces serious poverty problems of its own, but they are of a

different order that the poverty in developing nations.

The MDGs target individuals living on less than $1.25 per day). To be sure, Americans stood to be very much

impacted by the MDGs – from the goal of ensuring environmental sustainability, to the goal of eradicating

diseases which know no national boundaries. However, all of this was not obvious at first blush.

Presenting the post-2015 agenda as one of not just eradicating poverty but also achieving sustainable

development should help all people better recognize its relevance to their own communities – a crucial first step in

helping to win their support and participation.

Promote Shared Ownership

One of the rules of the Millennium Campaign is to never refer to the MDGs as the “U.N. Millennium Development

Goals.” The Campaign’s thinking is that the MDGs belong not to the organization, but to the people, in whose

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names world leaders have promised to eradicate global poverty. The U.N. should similarly take itself out of the

title of the new agenda.

Instead, it should promote ownership of the post-2015 agenda among citizens and civil society organizations

around the globe. The agenda should be represented as a dual responsibility and entitlement of people across

the planet.

Additionally, many people around the world have been eager to get involved to support the achievement of the

MDGs, but have felt overwhelmed and unsure about how they could take action. The post-2015 agenda should

be as specific as possible about what individuals can do to make a difference.

Be Transparent About the State of Negotiations

With so much hope pinned on the outcome document, people and groups around the world will be clamoring for

word of how the agenda is taking shape and for copies of early drafts, long before Member States have begun

to agree among themselves on its most basic parameters. Early drafts will inevitably leak. Further negotiations

will make these leaked documents obsolete long before they have provoked harshly-worded rebukes. The

U.N.’s best strategy will be to try to get out ahead of this process by selectively releasing information about how

negotiations are progressing. Of course, it is painstakingly difficult to write and achieve consensus on even such

broad and seemingly innocuous statements.

But if Member States do not come together to try to control the emerging narrative and project a sense of unity

and progress, they will cede control of the message to others.

The lessons of the MDGs make clear that the U.N. needs to step up its communications efforts in order to

mobilize global support for the post-2015 agenda. Consider this: The Coca-Cola Company sells 1.9 billion

servings of its products daily, in 200 countries. This means that the company reaches, on average, one in every

3.7 people on earth, every single day. Coke’s stated reach of 200 countries exceeds the membership of the U.N.

itself. (And, yes, Coke is physically addictive, but the world’s next development agenda will focus on issues such

as hunger and health which I would argue are just as viscerally compelling).

Meanwhile, a survey of people in Australia, Germany, India, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom,

conducted by Sponsorship Research International, found that more people could identify the golden arches of

McDonald’s than the Christian cross. And the Walt Disney Company has made a rodent reviled by human beings

for millennia one of the most adored characters on the planet.

How have they done it? Through powerful global public relations. Let us now get the experts to use that same

power of storytelling to build support for what matters most for people and our planet.

Kara Alaimo is Assistant Professor of Public Relations in the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at

Hofstra University. She previously served as Head of Communications for the Secretariat of the High Level Panel

on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and as Global Media Coordinator for the U.N. Millennium Campaign.

Read her full issue brief, How the United Nations Should Promote the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Desigualdades sociales asociadas con diagnóstico tardío de VIH y tratamiento retardado de VIH – estudio europeo

Social inequalities associated with late HIV diagnosis and delayed HIV treatment – European study

Aidsmap News, UK

05/09/2014

 

Roger Pebody

Even in the context of western European countries with universal access to health care, there are socioeconomic

inequalities in timely access to HIV testing, according to a study published online ahead of print in AIDS. People

with lower levels of education are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced HIV disease and to start HIV

treatment with a low CD4 cell count.

“Policies and interventions that target socioeconomic determinants leading to delays in HIV diagnosis and ART

(antiretroviral therapy) initiation are needed,” argue the authors.

It is well known that lower socioeconomic status is associated with less use of health services in the general

population, even when health care is widely and freely available. Since the HIV epidemic is entrenched among

socially vulnerable groups, including men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and migrants –

including undocumented migrants – questions about the effect of socioeconomic status on the diagnosis and

treatment of people living with HIV should be a particular concern. But little HIV-focused research has been

published on the topic.

Sara Lodi and colleagues therefore analysed cohort data from six countries in the Collaboration of Observational

HIV Epidemiological Research in Europe (COHERE). Data were included from 15,414 people who were

diagnosed in Austria, France, Greece, Italy, Spain or Switzerland between 1996 and 2011.

The researchers were interested in the following outcomes: being diagnosed with late HIV disease (CD4 below

350 cells/mm3); being diagnosed with advanced HIV disease (CD4 below 200 cells/mm3); and starting HIV

treatment late (CD4 below 350 cells/mm3).

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As a proxy measure of socioeconomic status, the researchers used educational level. While this is somewhat

incomplete as a measure, it was the only indicator that was collected in several European countries in a

standardised way. Moreover, there are methodological difficulties with other measures such as annual income

and social class.

Individuals’ level of completed education was classified as:

Uncompleted basic;

Basic (primary and lower-secondary schooling);

Secondary (generally, schooling over the age of 16);

Tertiary (university or vocational courses).

Across the cohorts, 62% of people were diagnosed late, with a CD4 count of 350 cells /mm3 or below. However,

late diagnosis was much more common among people with uncompleted basic (73%) or basic (65%) education

than among those with secondary (59%) or tertiary (55%) education.

Similarly 40% of people were diagnosed with advanced HIV disease, with a CD4 count below 200 cells /mm3,

but this also varied by educational level – 52% of people with uncompleted basic, 45% with basic, 37% with

secondary and 31% with tertiary education were diagnosed very late.

The differences in outcomes were statistically significant when analysed in multivariate models that took account

of other factors known to affect late diagnosis (p < 0.001).

Education had a greater impact on outcomes in men than women, with this being especially true for men who

have sex with men.

Inequalities have also become more pronounced in recent years, and were especially noticeable in Greece, Italy

and Spain.

In terms of the CD4 cell count at which people began HIV treatment, this was 173 for people with uncompleted

basic education, 198 with basic education, 238 with secondary and 251 with tertiary education (p < 0.001).

This was largely but not exclusively driven by the trends in late diagnosis – people who have been diagnosed late

will almost inevitably start treatment late. In an analysis only of people who had not been diagnosed very late,

there was a trend for people with less education to start treatment later, but this wasn’t statistically significant.

The authors suggest a number of potential explanations for the inequalities they have identified.

Education is a proxy for socioeconomic status more generally. Individuals with greater education have better

employment, salaries and material resources, which imply easier access to healthcare facilities.

People with more education are more likely to practise healthy behaviours, including regular health checks and

HIV testing following risk behaviour.

Education increases people’s health literacy and cognitive skills, enabling them to make better informed health-
related choices, including decisions about HIV testing and the timely initiation of antiretroviral therapy.

Education is linked with social and psychological factors, including sense of control, social standing and social

support; individuals with more education may face fewer barriers to access HIV care and be more resilient to

stigma.

The authors suggest that inequalities in access to and use of HIV testing services in particular need to be tackled.

“This study shows that inequalities by educational level, a proxy of a socioeconomic status, in HIV testing

and initiation of cART [combination antiretroviral therapy] are present in European countries with universal

healthcare systems,” they conclude. “Thus, individuals with lower educational level will not equally benefit from

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the effectiveness of cART”.

Reference

Lodi S et al. Delayed HIV diagnosis and initiation of antiretroviral therapy: inequalities by educational level,

COHERE in EuroCoord AIDS, 2014. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000410

La injusticia de la alfabetización: todavía hay 493 millones de mujeres que no saben leer

The literacy injustice: 493 million women still can’t read

The Guardian, UK

08/09/2014

 

Fatimah Kelleher

Guardian Professional

Educating girls is now at the core of much development thinking and programming, but illiteracy among women

and older adolescent girls outside formal education is an increasingly critical issue that risks falling between the

gaps. Of the 774 million adults (15 years and older) who still cannot read or write, two–thirds of them (493 million)

are women.

The significance of this within the wider development and women’s rights agenda in developing countries

cannot be ignored. Literacy is a fundamental right for women. In 2010, Irina Bokova, director-general of the UN

Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), said that “newly literate women have a positive ripple

effect on all development indicators”. This broadens the issue significantly beyond education alone.

“On its own, literacy neither saves lives nor fills hungry mouths,” says Katy Newell-Jones of Feed the

Minds. “However, we encounter women’s literacy time and time again as a valuable component in women’s

empowerment. A woman who is able to keep her own business records is more likely to be able to manage her

income and expenditure; and the children of a literate mother are more likely to complete their education.”

Literate women are also more able to mitigate some of the root causes of maternal and child morbidity and

mortality. Further, women’s productivity in the informal sector in countries across sub-Saharan Africa and south

Asia remains the cornerstone of regional economic systems and food security, making improved learning

outcomes integral to reducing poverty and harnessing all aspects of a country’s economic potential.

A woman’s ability is also increasingly dependent on the written word in a technology driven world where

smartphones are ubiquitous, and illiteracy limits her to only basic levels of engagement.

So where and how wide is the gap? The 2013/14 Education For All Global Monitoring report highlights that

despite gains since 1998, more than 60% of adult women in Arab states, south and west Asia, and sub-Saharan

Africa are still illiterate. A closer look at national data shows cause for greater concern. In Mali, women’s adult

literacy by 2015 is projected to be only 29%, with women’s youth literacy at 45%.

Compounding such data is concern over underestimation of the problem. Global statistics use national surveys

and censuses that ask whether respondents have been to school. But increased access to education through

higher enrolment rates can underplay high dropout among children before they are literate. Even completion of

basic education is no guarantee, due to the ongoing struggle for quality within education among countries that

have accelerated their educational programming to meet the Education for All and millennium development goals

over the past 15 years.

But for millions of girls on the cusp of youth followed by rapid adulthood, addressing challenges within formal

systems will not be easy. Domestic responsibilities, new roles as wives and mothers, coupled with increasing

economic productivity, makes ‘time poverty’ an even greater challenge to their learning options. Traditional views

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on women’s education along with issues of distance and security in reaching adult learning centres underpin the

challenges.

There is a clear need therefore to approach this problem in a holistic manner, as outlined by a National Institute

of Adult Continuing Education report on women’s right to literacy: “Literacy learning is particularly effective when

it is linked to, integrated with or embedded in other learning. Such approaches produce stronger outcomes in

both literacy and vocational education and training. Women who want to be successful traders, efficient farmers,

contribute to school governance and rear healthy children must be equipped with the necessary, associated

literacy skills.”

Critical to this “second chance” approach is ensuring women are involved in the co-designing, development,

implementation and evaluation of their learning programmes and activities. Approaches such as Reflect that use

participatory methodologies are already popular since the 1990s and are now widely used to empower women.

Considerations such as learning mother-tongue and sensitivity to the power relationships women have to broker

in their adult contexts are critical. When such learning is placed at the heart of the community, empowerment is

also more likely to emerge.

Greater investment in women’s adult and youth literacy is urgently needed, while responsibility must be accepted

across all sectors, not just in education. With skills training falling increasingly within economic and private sector

development initiatives, integrated women’s rights programming must go beyond nominal gender box ticking and

instead fully utilise social and women’s rights expertise to address the complex realities. Hundreds of millions of

women are dependent on it.

Fatimah Kelleher is an international social development consultant and writer.

Las 3 L’s del fortalecimiento de las mujeres

The 3 L’s of women’s empowerment

Devex News

02/09/2014

 

In partnership with UN Women

By Christine Lagarde

The 21st century poses many challenges that require new ways of thinking, none more important than the economic role of women in a rapidly changing world.

The global economy is struggling to generate the growth that can provide a better life for all, and all can contribute, yet women remain blocked from contributing their true potential. This has a huge cost: In some countries, per-capita incomes lag significantly because women are denied equal opportunity. They represent half the world’s population, but contribute far less than 50 percent of economic activity. Indeed, the gap between men and women in terms of measured economic activity ranges from 12 percent in the OECD countries to 50 percent in the Middle East and North Africa.

What is needed to change this picture is a concerted effort to open the door to opportunity with what I call the “3 L’s” of women’s empowerment: learning, labor and leadership.

First, learning: Education is the foundation upon which change is built. Learning helps women to help themselves and break the shackles of exclusion. Nowhere is this more essential than in the developing world: One study of 60 countries estimates that the economic loss from not educating girls at the same level as boys totals $90 billion a year. Another study suggests that an extra year of primary school boosts earning potential by 10-20 percent, and 25 percent for an extra year of secondary education.

There is an African adage that goes: “If you educate a boy, you train a man. If you educate a girl, you train a village.” This is not only true, it is measurable. For example, women are more likely to spend their resources on health and education, investing up to 90 percent of their earnings in this way compared with just 30-40 percent for men. This spending creates a powerful ripple effect throughout society and across generations.

If learning is just the first step, work is the second: labor enables women to flourish and achieve their true potential.

But at present, when women participate in the workforce, they too often tend to get stuck in low-paying, low-status and low-security jobs — many in the informal sector of developing countries’ economies. Is it surprising then that women and girls are the main victims of extreme poverty, representing 70 percent of the billion people struggling to survive on less than a dollar a day? Globally, women earn only three-quarter as much as men — even with the same level of education and in the same occupation. Surely one of our most basic norms should be “equal pay for equal work”!

Recent International Monetary Fund research shows that eliminating gender gaps in economic participation can bring increases in per-capita income. This can have a major impact — women control the purse strings in most households around the world, and more spending by women feeds into higher levels of demand and economic growth.

How can we promote more opportunity for women in the workplace? Sometimes it is about changing laws — for example, ensuring that property and inheritance laws do not discriminate against women. It also means policies that encourage education and health care and provide greater access to credit so that women can achieve greater economic independence. This is an area where the IMF is working hard to help through our analytical and capacity-building efforts in our member countries.

The playing field also must be leveled in richer countries. They need more pro-women, pro-family leave schemes; quality, affordable childcare; individual (instead of family) taxation; and tax credits or benefits for low-wage workers.

So learning and labor are key. The third “L” is leadership: enabling women to rise and fulfil their innate abilities and talents. Here, there is plenty of room for improvement: For example, women constitute only 4 percent of CEOs on the Standard and Poor’s list of 500 companies and only a fifth of parliamentary seats worldwide.

The irony is that when women lead, they tend to do as good a job, if not a better job. One study shows that Fortune 500 companies with track records of raising women to senior positions are far more profitable than the average firms in their fields. Women also are less likely to engage in the reckless risk-taking behavior that sparked the global financial crisis in 2008. They are more likely to make decisions based on consensus-building, inclusion and compassion, with a focus on long-term sustainability.

It is true — and it is understandable, given the bias that exists — that women sometimes lack confidence to match their competence. But they need to change that mindset and reset the narrative in their favor. So it is essential that women be ready to “dare the difference” — to take risks and step outside their comfort zones.

Nonetheless, even those with the drive to succeed continue to face barriers. So I have come to the view that gender targets and quotas must play a role in ensuring women a place at the table. We must either force change or stay mired in complacency.

Whether we are talking about providing primary education for girls in a village or executive positions for women in business, it is time to create a world where all women can meet their potential without impediment or prejudice and the world will reap the benefits. The three L’s will help us get there.

Christine Lagarde

A former French minister for various economic portfolios — including finance and employment, agriculture and fisheries, and trade — Christine Lagarde was the first woman to become finance minister of a G-8 economy and is the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund. She calls for opening the door to women’s learning, labor and leadership in the economy.

Fracaso en la cura del VIH en bebé de Misisipi “el comienzo de un nuevo capítulo”

HIV cure failure in Mississippi baby ‘the beginning of a new chapter’

Medical News Today, UK

29/08/2014

 

Written by Honor Whiteman

Last month, the near possibility of an HIV cure was crippled; the “Mississippi baby” – a child believed to have been functionally cured of HIV – was found to have the virus once again. But although this news is disappointing, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, MD, say we should not be disheartened, as such “failures” bring us closer to finding a cure for HIV.

In March last year, Medical News Today reported that researchers from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the University of Massachusetts Medical School had functionally cured a 2-year-old infant born with HIV, meaning the child had no detectable signs of viral replication in their blood after combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) had ceased.

The research team said the results were likely to be down to prompt ART administration, which the child received within 30 hours of birth.

By October – 18 months after the child had stopped receiving ART – there were still no signs of viral replication, which the researchers say provided “compelling evidence” that if an HIV-positive child is started on ART within the first hours or days of infection, viral remission is achievable.

But a blow came last month when, during a routine clinical care visit, doctors found detectable levels of HIV in the child’s blood. Furthermore, they found the child had reduced levels of memory immune cells known as CD4+ T cells – a sign that the virus is actively replicating.

Last year, there were also two other reports of adults being in remission from HIV for months after stopping ART and undergoing bone marrow transplantation for cancer. But, as in the Mississippi child case, the virus eventually returned.

But in a commentary published in the journal Science, Dr. Robert Siliciano and Janet Siliciano, PhD, of Johns Hopkins Medicine, say that these cases are “not the end of the story but the beginning of a new chapter.”

The duo notes that the fact the Mississippi child remained in remission for so long is a therapeutic goal in itself, and that finding ways to promote long-term remission and closely monitor it “will be the next frontier in HIV treatment.”

Memory T cells ‘single most important hurdle to eradicating HIV’

The Silicianos say that all three cases confirm that CD4+ T cells are the single most important barrier to break through when it comes to finding a cure for HIV.

These memory T cells are responsible for fighting foreign invaders that they have come across previously. During early HIV infection, the virus DNA occupies the memory cells and lies quietly within them. When these memory cells awaken in response to an invader, however, the HIV DNA is activated and virus replication is triggered.

The team says that ART only fights HIV when it is actively replicating and is unable to reach it when it is dormant in the memory cells. But they say the three recent HIV “rebound” cases indicate that an HIV cure may lie in eradicating infected memory cells.

Dr. Robert Siliciano explains:

“Clearly, neither approach managed to eradicate all latently infected cells, and what these cases underscore is the ability of even a few such cells to rekindle infection after prolonged remission.”

Measuring and monitoring presence of infected memory cells

These three cases, the Silicianos say, also emphasize the need for better ways to measure and monitor the presence of these infected memory cells in the body, as this information could indicate how long an individual is likely to be in remission.

They note that even the most sophisticated tests can miss the presence of infected memory cells. But they say this may be down to the size of the blood sample tested rather than a problem with the sensitivity of the tests.

They explain that reservoirs of infected memory cells only occur in a few out of millions of immune cells, and only around 2% of these cells circulate in the blood at any given time. Therefore, it can be challenging to detect such cells, particularly when the number is reduced. The Silicianos note, however, that even larger blood samples may not be able to detect these cells.

Although the presence of infected memory cells may indicate the length of time a patent is likely to be in remission, the team warns that this remission time may vary in each patient. If a patient has other infections, for example, this may activate the memory T cells and trigger the HIV infection that lies within them.

The Silicianos say it is possible a patient may never experience a relapse but that they are at risk of one even if they only possess one infected memory T cell. This, they say, emphasizes the importance of regular blood monitoring so infected cells can be detected early.

Commenting on the lessons that can be taken from the three “failed” HIV cure cases, Dr. Robert Siliciano says:

“Heartbreaking as these three cases are clinically, they provide a dramatic illustration of the real barrier to an HIV cure and illuminate important therapeutic strategies.”

Medical News Today recently reported on a study by researchers from the University of Washington, which detailed how a dissolvable, drug-loaded tampon could one day protect women from HIV.

La Fundación Gates concede $25 millones para la investigación de vacunas para el VIH

Gates Foundation awards $25 million to HIV vaccine research

Reuters, UK

03/09/2014

 

By Courtney Sherwood

(Reuters) – Oregon researchers developing a vaccine that has shown promise in preventing HIV infection in primates said on Wednesday they have been awarded a $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Oregon Health & Science University scientists, in announcing the award, said they hope to develop a vaccine that not only prevents the HIV virus from infecting people exposed to it, but also eliminates the virus from those already infected.

The grant follows research published by the scientists seeking to show their vaccine candidate halting the transmission of, or eliminating altogether, a form of the virus in about half of more than 100 monkeys tested.

“In effect, we helped better arm the hunters in the body to chase down and kill an elusive viral enemy,” lead researcher Louis Picker wrote in the magazine Nature, which published lab results last year. “And we’re quite confident that this vaccine approach can work exactly the same way against HIV in humans.”

While the annual number of new HIV infections has declined in recent years, more than 35 million people globally were living with HIV and an estimated 2.1 million people were newly infected with the virus that causes AIDS last year, according to the World Health Organization.

Although AIDS-related deaths have dropped in recent years due to antiretroviral drug therapy, some 1.5 million people still died from the disease last year, the organization said.

In the United States, the annual rate of diagnosis with HIV fell by a third between 2002 and 2011, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The grant will be used over the next five years to establish whether the vaccine can be used safely on humans in a clinical trial and to help Picker develop a version of the vaccine suitable for larger-scale testing, which is required to bring it to market and will take at least a decade.

The grant will largely be used to develop the preventative vaccine, which could also be used for therapeutic and antiretroviral therapies, the university said in a statement.

The National Institutes of Health cited Picker’s research among its “promising medical advances” of 2013, the researchers said.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aims to eradicate the world’s most deadly diseases and poverty.

(Editing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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