HPTN 052 study named “breakthrough of the year,” addressing crime laws aimed at people living with HIV, and more…

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The following is a compilation of recent articles and releases making headlines in HIV, TB and global health news.

HPTN 052 “HIV Treatment Is Prevention” study named 2011 breakthrough of the year by Science:  Topping the journal Science’s list of the top ten scientific breakthroughs of 2011 was the HIV Prevention Trial Network (HPTN) 052 trial, led by Myron S. Cohen, MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded study found that putting an HIV-infected person on antiretroviral therapy reduced their chances of passing the virus to their uninfected sexual partners by 96 percent. Visit the Dec. 23, 2011 online issue of Science to see the complete list of 2011 top-ten scientific breakthroughs.

Critics assail crime laws aimed at people with HIV: In this Associated Press article, reporter David Carry summarizes recent cases in the U.S. where persons infected with HIV received criminal charges that “would have been far less severe if the defendants had been virus-free.” Thirty-four states have laws that criminalize HIV-infected persons for exposing others to the virus, according to the article, many of which put these laws in place at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic when fear of infection was high. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced a bill in September incentivizing states to revise criminal laws that unfairly target those living with HIV.

CDC Publishes HIV Cost-Effectiveness Resource: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention unveiled a new online resource providing basic HIV cost effectiveness information for HIV prevention interventions in the United States. “The purpose of this guide is to make the literature on model-based cost-effectiveness analyses more accessible to researchers and to help prevention program staff and planners become more familiar with potential uses of economic evaluation,” according to the site. The site also lists the estimated annual cost of HIV by state.

Photos show “moving circle” of research breakthroughs: This post from the Global Health Technologies Coalition blog “Breakthroughs” summarizes a recent Capitol Hill exhibit hosted by the organization that featured photographs of U.S. government-supported global health research projects in Kenya. One half of the room featured stories of, “families and communities who have benefited from a longstanding U.S. commitment to research and recent successes – [such as ] polio vaccines that have reduced rates of the disease by more than 99 percent, technologies to detect emerging epidemics, and antiretrovirals that are giving new hope to people battling HIV,” according the blog. The other half of the room displayed research still in the pipeline that offers hope for upcoming treatment and prevention advances.

Anti-AIDS virus drug expanded to include children, teens: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded approval of the use of the antiretroviral Raltegravir (Isentress) to include treatment of HIV infection in those ages two to 18 years old, the agency announced in December. The integrase strand transfer inhibitor, produced by  Merck, is available in chewable form for those two to 11 years old, and non-chewable form.

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