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FDA Approves Descovy TAF Combination Pill for HIV Treatment, Not Yet for PrEP

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week approved Gilead Sciences' Descovy, a new combination pill containing tenofovir alafenamide (TAF), which is easier on the kidneys and bones than the older tenfovir disiproxil fumarate (TDF) version. The new coformulation is similar to Truvada, but it has been approved only for use as a component of HIV treatment, not for pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP.

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CROI 2016: Long-Acting MK-8591 Could Be Future Option for HIV Treatment and Prevention

Merck's MK-8591, n investigational antiretroviral agent that maintains drug levels that are able to inhibit HIV up to 6 months after dosing could represent a "paradigm shift" in HIV therapy and prophylaxis, according to research presented at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016) in Boston.

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Johns Hopkins Team Performs Pioneering HIV+ to HIV+ Liver and Kidney Transplants

Doctors at Johns Hopkins announced that they recently performed the first-ever liver transplant and the first kidney transplant in the U.S. from an HIV-positive donor to a recipient living with HIV, made possible by the 2013 HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act. Both transplants were successful and the patients are doing "extremely well," infectious disease specialist Christine Durand said at a March 30 press conference.

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CROI 2016: Partner Notification of HIV Status Is Feasible and Effective In African Settings

Partner notification programs, offering testing to the sexual partners of people newly diagnosed with HIV, have rarely been implemented in African countries, but can be highly effective there, studies presented at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016)show. A randomized study in Kenya found that partner notification services were able to test 42% of partners mentioned, increasing testing rates 4-fold.

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CROI 2016: Dose-Finding Trials of Antibody-Based Drugs for HIV Prevention To Start Soon

The next generation of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and even HIV treatment, may consist of antibodies that could be given as an intravenous infusion or an injection into muscle, according to 2 presenters at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016)last month in Boston.

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CROI 2016: VRC01 Antibody Delays But Does Not Prevent HIV Rebound After ART Interruption

VRC01, a broadly neutralizing antibody targeting HIV's CD4 binding site, was able to modestly delay the return of viral replication following interruption of antiviral therapy (ART), according to a study presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016)last month in Boston. VRC01 did not maintain viral suppression on its own, but it may play a role in combination therapy for HIV treatment or a functional cure.

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CROI 2016: Personalized Counseling Improves Rate of Entry into HIV Care

Entry into HIV care can be increased by around 40% if people receive a point-of-care CD4 test and counseling sessions to overcome personal barriers to seeking HIV care, according to a large randomized study in South Africa presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016) last month in Boston. However, the study also found that only half of the people who received the most effective linkage intervention and who were in need of immediate treatment made it onto antiretroviral therapy (ART) within 6 months of their HIV diagnosis, highlighting the need for further improvements in linkage to HIV care.

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