Category Archives: Research

Social Workers Helping Older Adults with HIV Survey

From the Professional Association of Social Workers

The HIV Age Positively: A Social Work Response Initiative seeks to address the unique challenges experienced by individuals aging with HIV & AIDS.  As we strive to identify and enhance social work practices especially to address the unique challenges experienced by those aging with HIV/AIDS, we would like to know more about your experiences, thoughts, and needs as a social work or allied professional working with aging adults living with HIV and/or AIDS.

P A S W H A logoWe invite you to complete and share the online Social Workers Helping Older Adults with HIV Survey. The survey will remain open until Thursday, June 3, 2021. To thank you for your participation, we will be including you in a drawing for a free membership to PASWHA and a conference registration to the National Conference on Social Work and HIV and AIDS.

Additionally, at the end of the survey, you will also be invited to participate in the Client Survey, which will aid us to learn directly about the needs of aging adults living with HIV and/or AIDS.

If you have any questions about the initiative or the survey, please contact Rusty Bennett via email (rusty@collaborative-solutions.net) or phone (205-939-0411) Rusty Bennett.

Take the survey here.

Stigma Remains a Barrier in HIV Prevention and Treatment

From newswise,com

Stigma and discrimination, such as homophobia and racism, impede engagement in HIV prevention and use of biomedical tools for treatment in both HIV-negative and HIV-positive gay and bisexual men, according to a Rutgers study.

The paper, published in AIDS and Behavior, examined the impact of stigma on HIV-related outcomes among gay and bisexual men in the U.S.

man standing alone on a dock

Despite recent advances in HIV prevention and treatment, and access to biomedical interventions that can hasten the end of the HIV epidemic, gay and bisexual men continue to be disproportionately affected by the virus.

Read the article on newswise.com.

NASTAD: COVID-19’s impact on PrEP/PEP and sexual health services

NASTAD, in collaboration with the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), released “One Year Later: COVID-19’s Impact on PrEP/PEP and Sexual Health Services.” This resource explores the impact COVID-19 has had on the provision of sexual health and HIV prevention services over the last year.

NASTAD logoThis reflection piece details the many challenges and opportunities COVID-19 has brought to the HIV/STD prevention field, particularly in the southern United States, and showcases the innovative approaches sexual health providers implemented to further prevent service disruption.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, this document looks at what the sexual health workforce has been through, and continue to go through, navigating ending an HIV epidemic while in a global pandemic.

Despite Increasing Rates of STIs, Federal Investment Has Been Flat

From nationalacademes.org

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) impose billions of dollars in medical costs in the U.S., but STI prevention and control is chronically underfunded, stigmatized, and siloed from efforts to promote overall health and well-being, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report calls for modernizing national STI surveillance and monitoring systems, bolstering the STI workforce, developing and scaling up structural and behavioral interventions, and accelerating the development of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Taking these strategic actions would also better position the U.S. to respond to COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, and future infectious disease outbreaks, the report says.

banana wearing a condom
Image courtesy of Charles Deluvio

The prevention and control of STIs requires a more holistic approach that promotes sexual health and expands access to comprehensive prevention and treatment services — rather than focusing on individual behaviors or blaming people who acquire STIs, says Sexually Transmitted Infections: Adopting a Sexual Health Paradigm.

Despite the economic burden and alarming increase of STI rates over the last 20 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s STI funding has remained flat. Although HIV is an ongoing and highly significant concern, the mandate of the committee that wrote the report was to focus its recommendations on STIs other than HIV, due to increasing rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. However, the report discusses the interplay between HIV and other STIs, and ways HIV and STI services can collaborate or integrate their prevention, care, and research efforts.

Read the full article.

Fostemsavir: A new treatment option for extensive HIV drug resistance

Scientists Debunk Myth That ‘Patient Zero’ Brought AIDS to America

From PBS.org

For more than 30 years, Gaétan Dugas was blamed for bringing the AIDS epidemic to the United States. A French-Canadian who died in 1984, Dugas was thought to have carried the disease to America and transmitted it to scores of sexual partners while working as a flight attendant.

But this week, scientists finally cleared the name of the man who, in the history of the AIDS epidemic, came to be known as “Patient Zero.”

In a study published in the journal Nature, the researchers found that blood sampled from Dugas in 1983 contained the same strain of HIV that was infecting men in New York City as early as 1971 — three years before he arrived in the U.S. as an employee for Air Canada.

Read the full article on PBS.org.

Health Alert: Rates of new HIV infection still on the rise among specific groups

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In 2018, 37,968 people received an HIV diagnosis in the United States (US) and dependent areas. From 2014 to 2018, HIV diagnoses decreased 7% among adults and adolescents. However, annual diagnoses have increased among some groups.

Gay and bisexual men are the population most affected by HIV, with Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino gay and bi men having the highest rates of new infections.

info graphic showing rates of H I V infection with highest rates of infection in 2018
click no image for enlarged view

The number of new HIV diagnoses was highest among people aged 25 to 34.

info graphic showing age range of new H I V infections
click on image for enlarged view

Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2018 (updated)HIV Surveillance Report 2020;31.

New cause of inflammation in people with HIV identified

From MedicalXpress.com

While current antiretroviral treatments for HIV are highly effective, data has shown that people living with HIV appear to experience accelerated aging and have shorter lifespans—by up to five to 10 years—compared to people without HIV. These outcomes have been associated with chronic inflammation, which could lead to the earlier onset of age-associated diseases, such as atherosclerosis, cancers, or neurocognitive decline.

Read the full article on MedicalXpress.com.

Survey of Gay and Bi PrEP Users Finds 1 in 10 Share Their Medication

From Poz.com

In a 2018 survey of men who have sex with men taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in three U.S. cities, about 10% reported sharing their medication with others.

This finding raises concerns that gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) may be accessing PrEP without receiving the medical monitoring that is supposed to go hand in hand with taking Truvada (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine) or Descovy (tenofovir alafenamide/ emtricitabine) for HIV prevention—namely, HIV tests every three months and routine screening for sexually transmitted infections and kidney function.

As described in JAMA Network Open, Gordon Mansergh, PhD, a senior behavioral scientist in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of HIV and AIDS Prevention, conducted a cross-sectional analysis of responses from a 2018 smartphone-based survey of 755 HIV-negative MSM living in Detroit, Atlanta and New York.

Read the full article on Poz.com.

Large NIH Clinical Trial Illuminates Long-Term Health Effects of HIV

From HIV.gov

Initial data from a large NIH-supported clinical trial offer a detailed look at the health status of people aging with HIV around the world. With 7,770 participants enrolled in 12 countries across five continents, the Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV (REPRIEVE ) is evaluating the ability of a statin medication, pitavastatin, to reduce the risk of heart disease among people with HIV. By leveraging data collected from this diverse group of study participants, researchers also are learning more about the long-term health effects of HIV. They report their initial findings in an August supplement for The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
[…]
For women, accelerated reproductive aging—a natural process that eventually leads to menopause—may heighten risk for heart disease and stroke. Among women with HIV in the REPRIEVE study, more advanced reproductive age was associated with two risk factors for cardiovascular disease: high waist circumference and high blood levels of hemoglobin. Women living in sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America and the Caribbean were more likely to experience accelerated reproductive aging than those living in high-income countries.

The initial REPRIEVE findings also provide insight into the relationship between HIV and heart disease among transgender people, about which little is known. Transgender people are disproportionately affected by HIV, and studies have suggested that hormone use as part of gender-affirming therapy may increase cardiovascular disease risk. By collecting data on gender identity and use of gender-affirming therapy, the REPRIEVE investigators aim to address this knowledge gap. Notably, their initial analysis revealed that high waist circumference was more common among transgender women, particularly those who were receiving gender-affirming therapy.

Read the full article on HIV.gov.