A research resource, superinfection rate raises questions, and more

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AVAC launches HIV Prevention Research and Development Database: Where in the world is HIV clinical trial research happening? Where is it going, and where has it been? A new research and development database is online, courtesy of AVAC, with information on clinical trials for AIDS vaccines, microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), treatment as prevention and male circumcision. With charts, maps, a timeline and summaries, the database links users to the status of planned, ongoing and completed trials globally. Data on the site comes from information on trial sponsor websites and on www.clinicaltrials.gov. Planned additions include a section on trial site capacity, and a function to search for pre-clinical development candidates. AVAC also is seeking suggestions for additional features, and feedback at PxRD@avac.org.

Study Finds HIV Superinfection in Uganda May Be More Common than Previously ThoughtThe rate at which people already living with HIV are getting second, subsequent strains of the virus may be as frequent as the rate of initial HIV infections in Uganda, according to a study published online in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. The incidence of “superinfection” suggested by the study has implications for public health strategies, according to Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a sponsor of the study. Authors of the study say that in light of the findings, post-test counseling for those diagnosed with HIV should emphasize the risk  of superinfection, as well as other potential health impacts of further exposure. HIV superinfection can accelerate both the rate of the disease and of possible resistance to antiretroviral medicine, the authors pointed out.  While previous studies of HIV superinfection have focused on individuals exposed to the virus through high-risk sexual activity or intravenous drug use, the study sought to determine the rate of HIV  among a broader, general population, according to lead study author Andrew D. Redd. In a community-based study of men and women in Rakai, Uganda, researchers who examined blood samples from HIV-infected participants found seven cases of superinfection among 149 people, suggesting a rate of superinfection of 1.44 per 100 people annually.  The rate of initial HIV infections in the Rakai cohort is 1.15 infections per 100 people annually.

ACTION produces film on GeneXpert: ACTION has produced this short film to demonstrate the effectiveness of GeneXpert testing in combatting the spread of tuberculosis in resource-limited settings.  It tells the story of a Bangladeshi garment worker whose TB infection went undetected by the standard diagnostic procedure of sputum-smear microscopy.  Diagnosed after visiting a clinic using GeneXpert, she began her treatment the same day. The older method requires weeks of waiting for results. The Action piece  and other short films can be found here, where viewers can vote for their favorite.

Needles to be distributed to IDUs in Kenya: More than than 50,000 injection drug users across Kenya will receive free needles and syringes through a government program, in response to growing concerns over the spread of HIV/AIDS and other illnesses linked to injection drug use, Kenya officials announced June 5.  The plan will be piloted in Mombasa, a transit route for international drug trafficking, which has the country’s highest number of injecting heroin users.  According to Dr. Anisa Omar, the Coast Provincial Director of Public Health and Sanitation, at least one in four injection drug users in Mombasa is living with HIV.  According to government statistics, injection drug use accounts for 4 percent of national HIV infections and 17 percent of new infections in Coast Province.

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