Category Archives: HIV

What to know about HIV and transgender men

From Medical News Today online…

Most scientific studies relating to HIV and transgender people focus on transgender women — research about HIV and transgender men is limited.

trans man holding trans flag

According to research from 2018, this is because HIV prevalence is thought to be higher among transgender women: approximately 25–31%, compared with 0–3% among transgender men.

Other research, from the University of California San Francisco, suggests that trans MSM have an increased risk of contracting HIV, including those who do sex work.

This research states that in one study, most trans MSM reported not consistently using a condom during receptive anal and frontal sex with non-trans male partners. Participants also reported low rates of HIV testing and a low perception of the risk.

Read the full article.

Study: Combining PrEP with U=U yields incredible results

From HIVplusmag.com

When people use a combination of HIV prevention methods, researchers found there was a significant drop in HIV transmission.

Published in the academic journal HIV Medicine, the study found that using several methods such as taking PrEP, early HIV diagnosis from frequent testing, and proper antiretroviral treatment decreased transmission by 80 percent.

The research was evaluated at 56 Dean Street, which is a sexual health clinic and part of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London.

“We witnessed an 80% reduction in the number of HIV diagnoses between 2012 and 2017, following the introduction of a number of HIV prevention measures (PrEP introduction, early HIV diagnosis through frequent and facilitated access to HIV testing and timely ART used as treatment-as-prevention) were key to the success of this model,” lead author Nicolo Girometti, told Contagion. Girometti is also a consultant in HIV medicine at 56 Dean Street.

Read the full article.

Penn State and Pitt team up to create getmyHIVtest.com—free HIV test kits to anyone who resides in Pennsylvania, with a focus on minority/ethnic communities most at risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that some racial/ethnic groups are at higher risk for getting HIV than others.

CDC data shows that Black/African American communities account for a higher proportion of new HIV infections as compared to other races and ethnicities. In 2018, Black/African Americans accounted for 13% of the US population but 42% of new HIV diagnoses.

men smiling with arms around each otherSimilarly, in the same 2018 report, the CDC notes adult and adolescent Hispanics/Latinos made up 27% of the 37,968 new HIV diagnoses in the United States.

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.

So what can we do?

People who know they’re infected can get into treatment and become HIV undetectable—which means the level of virus in the body is so low that it can’t be passed on to a sex partner. And people who know they’re not infected can take steps to prevent future infection by practicing safer sex (like using condoms) and taking the HIV prevention medication known as PrEP.

The first step, then, to preventing HIV is to get tested.

The good news is that anyone who resides in Pennsylvania can now get a free HIV self-test kit delivered in the mail.

Ora Quick test kit In early 2021, the Pennsylvania Expanded HIV Testing Initiative (at Penn State University) and the HIV Prevention and Care Project (at the University of Pittsburgh) began a joint program called getmyHIVtest.com.

“We created getmyHIVtest.com to make test kits available to anyone in the state who might be at risk for HIV,” explains Raymond Yeo, one of the project’s coordinators at the University of Pittsburgh. “Knowing your HIV status is key in the preventing HIV in our communities—especially those most at risk for new infections.”

The website, www.getmyHIVtest.com, provides easy-to-follow instructions and online form where PA residents can order their free kit, which typically arrives—in an unmarked package—within five to ten business days. Recipients of the kit are asked to provide basic demographic information and to take a follow up survey as a means to improve the program in the months ahead.

“This is a big development in the fight against HIV in Pennsylvania and we need all the input we can get,” added Yeo. “It’s unrealistic to think we can test everyone in the state so it’s important that we find ways to get our test kits into the hands of the people who need them the most.”

Questions and comments about the getmyHIVtest.com program can be sent to info@getmyHIVtest.com. To order your HIV self-test kit, go to www.getmyHIVtest.com.

CDC: People who are immunocompromised should get an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine

From HIV.gov

C D C logoThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised get an additional dose of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine after the initial two doses. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic.

This includes:

  • Recipients of organ or stem cell transplants
  • People with advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active recipients of treatment for cancer
  • People who are taking some medications that weaken the immune system
  • And others

HIV.gov spoke with Harold J. Phillips, Director of The White House Office of National AIDS Policy, about what people with HIV need know. “There are three key messages we need to share,” he said:

  • Everyone over 12 years of age, regardless of HIV status, get vaccinated
  • Those with advanced HIV disease and/or not on medications, get a third dose of the vaccine
  • Those in HIV care and treatment who are virally suppressed, talk with your health care provider about the need for an additional dose.

He concluded: “By working together and spreading the word, we can help keep everyone in our HIV community safe and healthy.”

New National Challenge to Reduce HIV-Related Stigma and Disparities

From POZ.com

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched The HIV Challenge, a national competition to engage communities to reduce HIV-related stigma and increase prevention and treatment among racial and ethnic minority people. The HIV Challenge is part of a new partnership between the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) and the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH).

 

Through this challenge, HHS is seeking innovative and effective approaches to increase the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis medication (PrEP) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) among people who are at increased risk for HIV or are people with HIV. The HIV Challenge is open to the public, and HHS will award a total of $760,000 to 15 winners over three phases. Phase 1 submissions are open from July 16, 2021, through September 23, 2021.

“HIV-related stigma is one of the reasons why prevention and treatment options, such as PrEP and ART, are underutilized,” said Assistant Secretary for Health, Rachel L. Levine, M.D. “The latest science shows that people living with HIV who take the proper medicine as prescribed and get and keep their HIV at an undetectable level do not transmit HIV to others.

Read the full article.

NIH Funding Opportunity for Delivering PrEP and STI Services to Stop HIV

From HIV.gov

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a Request for Applications (RFA) for research on effective strategies for expanding the provision of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for people at increased risk of HIV by leveraging existing sexually transmitted infection (STI) programs.

N I H logoResearch supported by this initiative should be based on point of care HIV testing for all persons seeking STI services, followed by linkage to available antiretroviral therapy (ART) or PrEP, in addition to STI testing, treatment, and prevention services at designated STI clinical settings. HIV testing, PrEP, and ART should be linked with STI services in settings where they are needed and not currently co-located. Interventions should be included to (i) overcome stigma and discrimination, (ii) provide individualized services to optimize PrEP and ART uptake and retention, (iii) ensure ongoing access to ART, PrEP, and other prevention services, (iv) and provide quality STI services that meet current CDC recommendations (Recommendations for Providing Quality STD Clinical Services).

Find out more.

An epidemic during a pandemic: 40 years since HIV

From NorthcentralPA.com

Williamsport, Pa — The Coronavirus pandemic is not the only virus which has upended the lives of countless millions.

On June 5, 1981, Americans heard the first rustlings of what soon became known as the AIDS epidemic. Few could have predicted the widespread havoc this new virus was about to have on the world.

It has been 40 years since an article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report stated five previously healthy, gay men in Los Angeles were suddenly very sick with a rare lung infection.

decorative image

Not long after this was published, there were reports of more gay men in hospitals who were diagnosed with Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia, Kaposi’s Sarcoma and other opportunistic infections.

The phrase “gay cancer” was printed the next month in a New York Times article, which set the tone across the nation that this virus only affected gay men.

In May 1982, the virus was called “Gay-Related Immune Deficiency” or “GRID”, which perpetuated the idea that it exclusively affected the gay community. As more doctors and scientists began learning about this virus, they discovered it also affected many heterosexual people, hemophiliacs, people using intravenous drugs and sex workers.

The term “AIDS” or “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome” became the official name of the virus in November 1982. Even though the name was changed, the stigma stayed the same. HIV stigma is still prevalent today despite the wealth of information available about the virus.

The early years were incredibly difficult for people who feared they would get sick or lose a loved one to AIDS-related illnesses. While people were fighting for their lives, former President Ronald Reagan remained silent. He did not publicly speak about AIDS until September 1985. During his years of inaction, thousands of people had been diagnosed with AIDS and had died.

“It has been four decades since the HIV epidemic began in the United States. June 5, 1981, marks the day the CDC published an article about 5 young gay men hospitalized with similar symptoms. Looking back on these last 40 years, there have been difficult times, but there have also been many scientific breakthroughs that changed everything for people living with HIV,” according to Megan Bloom, head of public relations for Aids Resource, which has offices in Williamsport and State College.

Continue reading on NorthcentralPA.com.

LIVING WITH HIV IN PENNSYLVANIA? WE NEED YOUR INPUT!

Individuals living with HIV in Pennsylvania are invited to share their opinions with the Department of Health in setting HIV funding, care, and prevention priorities in the state.

Priority Setting is a part of HIV Planning in Pennsylvania and offers a special chance for individuals living with HIV to have their opinions recorded. These responses help the state’s HIV Planning Group and Pennsylvania Department of Health Division of HIV Disease make decisions about HIV spending and planning for a 5-year cycle. Individuals living with HIV are invited to rank a list of Ryan White Part B services, based on their own needs and the kinds of services that they find important.

Due to extended HIV Planning deadlines, we are reopening this year’s Priority Setting Survey, and are looking for your response!

We ask for your responses by Wednesday, June 30th .

Complete the Pennsylvania Ryan White Priority Setting Survey at this link:  https://bit.ly/3dZf3Hk. 

Please direct any questions to Maura Bainbridge at stakeholders@stophiv.org or 412-383-1619.

How Does COVID-19 Affect People with HIV?

From HIV.gov

We are still learning about COVID-19 and how it affects people with HIV. This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and scientists are learning more every day.

Visit COVID-19 and HIV FAQs from CDC for the latest information.

Feeling sick? Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and can recover at home. If you think you have COVID-19 and have symptoms, get tested. It’s important to continue taking your HIV medicine as prescribed. This will help keep your immune system healthy. If you don’t have a health care provider, contact your nearest community health center or health department. If you experience severe symptoms, get emergency medical care immediately. Learn more about COVID-19 and what to do if you get sick.

Find out more on HIV.gov.

 

Register Now – 40 Years of Progress – It’s Time to End the HIV Epidemic: Webinar

From HIV.gov

On Tuesday, June 1, 2021, the HHS Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) invites stakeholders nationwide to a virtual webinar  commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first report of what would become known as AIDS. The webinar—40 Years of Progress: It’s Time to End the HIV Epidemic— hosted by OIDP, United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps Officers at PACE (Prevention through Active Community Engagement) Regions 4, 6, and 9 will take place from 12:00–3:30 p.m. (ET). The webinar is open to the public.

decorative banner saying 40 years of progress its time to end the H I V epidemic

Rachel L. Levine, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health, will offer remarks during the webinar.

Find out more.