As IDWeek 2013 got officially underway in San Francisco today, conference chair Joel Gallant, M.D., offered a glimpse at some of the most noteworthy HIV-related presentations to come as the meeting unfolds.
HIV is one of the focal points of IDWeek, an annual conference founded in 2012 to provide a new, cross-disciplinary approach to the sharing of research, knowledge and best-practice guidance on numerous infectious diseases, particularly those with relevance within the U.S.
Dozens of HIV-related study presentations and sessions will ultimately take place at IDWeek 2013 before the meeting concludes on Oct. 7. Speaking to gathered media at the meeting's opening press conference, Gallant called attention to a handful of specific talks and studies that he felt were particularly worth noting. (As TheBodyPRO.com covers each of these stories in more depth, we'll add links to our articles below.)
Among the symposia and panel discussions, Gallant noted three in particular:
- A symposium on recent advances in HIV prevention on Oct. 3 will feature a talk by Bernard Branson, M.D., on using new technologies to diagnose acute HIV infection (an area where, Gallant admitted, "we have not been good"); a talk by Connie Celum, M.D., M.P.H., on advances in biomedical prevention; and a talk by Davey Smith, M.D., on the concept of "geospatial and molecular mapping" as a new tool to help identify people at risk for HIV infection.
- A "state-of-the-art" symposium on Oct. 4 will feature lectures exploring three hot-button issues: developments on the HIV cure front (via a talk by Steven Deeks, M.D.), the rapidly evolving area of treatment for HIV/hepatitis C-coinfected patients (via a talk by Andrea Cox, M.D., Ph.D.), and a closer look at both recently approved antiretrovirals and our ever-improving understanding of how to optimally treat HIV-infected patients (via a talk by Joseph Eron, M.D., who this evening received the HIV Medicine Association's 2013 HIV Clinical Educator Award on IDWeek's main stage).
- A symposium describing the impact of health care reform on U.S. HIV care on Oct. 5 will feature three talks: Michael Saag, M.D., will offer a cheat sheet for HIV care providers on what they need to know; David Bangsberg, M.D., M.P.H., will discuss the integration of electronic technology into HIV care; and John G. Bartlett, M.D., will explore the potential impact of generic antiretrovirals on U.S. HIV care, as expiration dates draw ever nearer for patents on a number of widely used HIV medications.
In addition to those broad-topic symposia, Gallant also called attention to four study presentations that will offer new data of clinical relevance for HIV care providers:
- Infectious disease specialist consults are hugely important: Elizabeth Neuner, Pharm.D., will share study results out of Cleveland Clinic showing that, when hospital care providers consulted with a physician specializing in infectious diseases, the risks of antiretroviral prescribing errors dropped by more than half.
- Increased suicide risk among people taking efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin): Katie Mollan will present data suggesting that, although its overall incidence is very low, suicidality nonetheless appears to be a more common occurrence among HIV-infected people taking efavirenz than HIV-infected people taking other antiretrovirals.
- Improvements in the treatment portion of the cascade: Charles Haines, M.D., will present a poster outlining how, from 2003 through 2011, U.S. HIV clinics have significantly shortened the amount of time it takes for newly enrolled HIV-infected patients to 1) initiate treatment and 2) achieve viral suppression. "We're doing better at getting them on therapy and getting them suppressed quickly," Gallant said -- but also noted that we are not seeing similarly substantial gains in the earlier portions of the cascade, namely increased HIV testing, diagnosis and initial engagement in care.
- Potential benefits of long-acting antiretrovirals: Eric Ross will present the results of a simulation that sought to answer two key questions: Can once-monthly treatment save more lives than once-daily treatment? Will it be cost-effective?
Gallant, a leading HIV clinician-researcher, is the associate medical director of specialty services at the Southwest CARE Center in Santa Fe, N.M., and the chair-elect of the HIV Medicine Association, one of the partner organizations jointly producing IDWeek.
Myles Helfand is the editorial director of TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
Follow Myles on Twitter: @MylesatTheBody.
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