December 18, 2012
Every year, new research gives us a deeper understanding of what it will take to achieve greater successes in HIV prevention, treatment, patient care and the search for a cure. While most of the legwork gets overlooked, HIV conferences allow researchers to present their study results to a broader audience -- and to attract the attention of sites like TheBodyPRO.com and its readers.
Here we count down the 10 conference stories we covered this year that proved to be most popular with our readership.
Early study results presented at CROI 2012 showed that GS-7340 (tenofovir alafenamide, TAF), a new oral prodrug, was well tolerated and had better antiviral activity at lower doses than tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Viread, TDF). The study found that in 38 people over 10 days, 25 mg of GS-7340 outperformed 300 mg of the currently approved tenofovir formulation. Along with fewer side effects, GS-7340 showed higher potency, which could mean longer and better viral suppression over time.
(Follow-up results, which reinforced these initial findings, were later presented at ICAAC 2012.)
In this study presented at CROI 2012, some seroadaptive behaviors appeared to be even more effective than condom use at reducing the risk of HIV acquisition, but with important caveats.
While having a single, uninfected partner or being an exclusive "top" (i.e., the insertive partner) seemed to reduce risk more than never having unprotected anal intercourse, lead researcher Snigdha Vallabhaneni, M.D., attributed this to an over-reporting of condom use. "Serosorting itself is twice as risky as not having unprotected anal sex. But it has a 38% risk reduction when compared to having no strategy at all -- so it may be a harm reduction strategy for those engaging in the highest risk behavior," Vallabhaneni told TheBodyPRO.com.
At the XIX International AIDS Conference, HIV advocate Jeff Taylor met with Jacob P. Lalezari, M.D., the director of Quest Clinical Research, to talk about the coupled optimism and cautiousness regarding the search for an HIV cure.
During the interview, Lalezari explains each of the primary paths being explored toward the development of a cure, while describing the progress that has been made to date -- as well as some of the challenges the field still faces.
This year's CROI was typical in that it featured many noteworthy presentations highlighting new research on HIV drugs in development, the treatment of HIV/HCV coinfection, metabolic complications and malignancies for people living with HIV. Jeff Berry, editor of Positively Aware, sat down with HIV researchers Cal Cohen, M.D., and Richard Ellion, M.D., to get their perspectives on the breaking research.
While people who lack CCR5 receptors on their CD4+ cells are typically immune to most forms of HIV, these rare individuals can actually become infected.
A group of researchers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona identified an individual with CCR5 mutation who had been infected by a CXCR4-tropic virus, which is a strain of HIV that enters CD4 cells via the CXCR4 receptor instead of the typical CCR5 receptor.
HIV and wellness expert Nelson Vergel wrote about the CROI 2012 poster that spotlighted this discovery.
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