Adherence was higher with the every-other-month injections than with daily pills in both groups, suggesting long-acting PrEP could help close the racial gap in HIV rates. “[Apretude] is a powerful HIV prevention tool to increase access to PrEP and address continued racial disparities in HIV incidence in the United States,” Hyman Scott, MD, MPH, of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and colleagues concluded.
Although African Americans make up about 13% of the U.S. population, they account for more than 40% of all new HIV diagnoses, so effective and acceptable prevention interventions are urgently needed. While white gay and bi men have readily adopted oral PrEP using tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine (Truvada and TDF/FTC generic equivalents) or tenofovir alafenamide/emtricitabine (Descovy), uptake has been lower among Black men.
Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Knowing your status is the best way to protect your health…and residents of Pennsylvania can get a free in-home HIV test kit from our website www.getmyHIVtest.com. Tests come in the mail, in an unmarked package and you get the results in 20 minutes!
The theme for NWGHAAD 2023 is: Prevention and Testing at Every Age. Care and Treatment at Every Stage.The Office Of Women’s Health (OWH) continues this theme to reemphasize the need to further prevention efforts and ensure equity in HIV care and treatment. It also reinforces the first 3 goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), that focus on the prevention of new HIV infections, improving HIV-related health outcomes of people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related disparities. NWGHAAD focuses efforts on three of the target populations outlined in the NHAS; Black women, transgender women, and youth aged 13-24 years.
Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. CDC data shows that Black/African American are at a higher risk for HIV infection as compared to other races and ethnicities. Why? Because these communities are impacted by demographic factors such as discrimination, stigma, and institutionalized health disparities—all of which affect their risk for HIV.
If you reside in Pennsylvania, you can get a free HIV self-test kit delivered through the mail. Go to www.getmyHIVtest.com to order your kit today.
Sunlenca (lenacapavir), a long-acting injectable medication recently approved for treatment-experienced people with multidrug-resistant HIV, also works well for people starting antiretroviral therapy for the first time.
Results from the CALIBRATE trial showed that around 90% of study participants who used Sunlenca—either as daily pills or injections every six months—in combination with other antiretrovirals achieved an undetectable viral load.
Gilead Sciences’ Sunlenca (formerly GS-6207), the first approved HIV capsid inhibitor, disrupts the cone-shaped shell that surrounds the viral genetic material and essential enzymes. Laboratory studies showed that it interferes with multiple steps of the HIV life cycle. Because it works differently than existing antiretrovirals, it remains active against HIV that has developed resistance to other drugs. Sunlenca has a long half-life in the body, allowing it to be administered just once every six months.
Research published in AIDS and Behavior show that parents in an intervention group with gay or bisexual sons can employ effective communication tactics, specifically about condoms and HIV, and other parenting behaviors to help keep their children healthy.
The study is the first to show evidence of positive effects in a randomized controlled trial with the parents of gay or bisexual sons, according to the authors. They added that these results are important because approximately 80% of all HIV infections among teens are from the gay and bisexual population. There were very few previous public health interventions seeking to lower the HIV risk among this group, according to the study.
“By focusing on the parents, this study shows we might be able to reduce HIV risk among gay and bisexual male youth,” said David Huebner, professor of Prevention and Community Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, in a press release. “Parents represent an untapped yet promising resource in preventing HIV infection and improving sexual health among this underserved population.”
Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Wolf (D) just signed a new law that makes it a felony to pass on a communicable disease when they “should have known” that they had it, the HIV Justice Network reported.
Opponents of the law worry it will be used to punish people with HIV or other STDs who unknowingly transmit it to sexual partners. Such HIV criminalization laws have disproportionately been used to target Black men and other men of color.
The law, known as HB 103, punishes people with up to 7 years in prison and $15,000 in fines for “expelling” saliva, blood, or another bodily fluid onto a police officer.
“As a person living with HIV who was born and raised in Pennsylvania, the passing of HB 103 serves as a reminder that as we get closer to ending the HIV epidemic, we have a long way to go to end HIV stigma and the criminalization of people living with HIV,” said Louie Ortiz-Fonseca, Director of LGBTQ Health & Rights with Advocates for Youth.
Syphilis among newborns (i.e., congenital syphilis) also increased, with reported cases up nearly 15% from 2019, and 235% from 2016. Early data indicate primary and secondary syphilis and congenital syphilis cases continued to increase in 2021 as well.
As a result, the CDC is recommending that anyone who is sexually active get a full screening for STIs. To find local testing clinics near you, go to https://gettested.cdc.gov/. Most clinics are free.
Anthony “Tony” Silvestre, whose work with the LGBT community was far ahead of its time and made the pioneering Pitt Men’s Study possible, died Sept. 1, 2022 at 75.
[…] His international advocacy and public health work began at Penn State (1971-76), continued with several Philadelphia organizations (1976-83) and brought him to Pitt in early 1984 until his retirement in 2018.
In 1976, he was the founding chairman of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Council on Sexual Minorities, likely the first such state organization in the country. He was U.S. liaison to the World Health Organization (1990-93) and a subject matter expert on HIV for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2002.
Through the years, he served on many expert and advisory panels for the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Allegheny County Department of Health on HIV, alcohol and substance use among gender and sexual minorities, community marginalization and health education and outreach.
But he is perhaps best known in Pittsburgh for his role in forming and running the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force (now Allies for Health and Wellbeing) in its early years. In the process, he supported more than a dozen other state and community groups promoting LGBTQIA-related and HIV-related health messaging for at-risk communities.
In conjunction with his research and teaching in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, he founded the Pennsylvania Prevention Project (now the HIV Prevention and Care Project) there in 1993 to advance comprehensive HIV planning with impacted communities. He also helped create and direct the School of Public Health’s Center for LGBT Research, and was honored by Pitt with the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award.
He published more than 45 peer-reviewed articles, proceedings and book chapters, and created many state and federal professional reports and presentations as well, much of which can be found at Dickinson College.
Syphilis bottomed out in the U.S. in the late 1990s, with the CDC hoping to fully eradicate the disease. Only years later, syphilis rates would start rising; by 2021, more than 52,000 cases were reported.
Many factors could be at play, but officials believe the COVID pandemic is mostly at fault. Testing and treatment took a backseat during the worst days of the crisis in 2020, while many people now feel sexually unshackled with COVID vaccines available, lockdowns over, and mask mandates lifted. Some health officials are calling for public messaging about condoms. Monkeypox, which exploded this year and last, is also complicating efforts and eating up health funding from the government.
The CDC’s Leandro Mena, who made the announcement about STDs at a Monday speech, is calling for swift action. One of his ideas is widely available home-test kits for STDs, akin to the COVID tests common today. Mena also called for battling stigma — ostensibly through public relations, marketing, or public service announcements — and increased testing and treatment.