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This Week In HIV Research

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This Week in HIV Research: New Drugs in Development; Cash Incentives for Prevention; Adherence Clubs; and More

July 31, 2015

This week we're highlighting more of the research that was presented at IAS 2015, including study results on two new drugs in development, cash-incentive programs for prevention, and approaches to increase treatment adherence. To beat HIV, you have to follow the science!


IAS 2015 Highlights

New Maturation Inhibitor BMS-176 Shows Potent Control of HIV in Small Study

Study results on the new maturation inhibitor BMS-955176 (BMS-176) were presented at IAS 2015. Maturation inhibitors act at the last step of the HIV life cycle and keep the Gag protein from helping the virus to mature and become infectious. No drugs of this class have yet made it to market.

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Comparing three different dosage levels of BMS-176 to tenofovir/emtricitabine (Truvada) after 28 days, the median reduction in viral load for the three BMS-176 groups ranged from about 45 to 150 copies/mL compared to about 160 copies/mL for the tenofovir/emtricitabine group. Overall, BMS-176 was well tolerated.

New NNRTI Doravirine as Effective as Efavirenz in People New to HIV Treatment

Results from a 24-week study comparing the new NNRTI (non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor) doravirine (MK-1439) to efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin) were presented at IAS 2015. Both drugs were combined with tenofovir/emtricitabine.

After 24 weeks, 88.9% of patients on doravirine and 87% of those on efavirenz reached a viral load below 200 copies/mL. As for viral loads below 40 copies/mL, 73.1% of patients on doravirine and 72.2% of those on efavirenz reached this level. Additionally, the mean increase in CD4+ cell counts was 154 for the doravirine group and 146 cells for the efavirenz group.

Cash Incentive Studies Show Value of School, Financial Support, But More Needed to Protect Young People From HIV

Two clinical trials evaluating the impact of cash incentives on HIV incidence among adolescents in South Africa found that such incentives had no impact on HIV rates, while one saw a decrease in rates of herpes simplex virus.

In the first study, following about 3,000 high school students, the percentage of HIV infections was 1.8% in the cash-incentive group and 1.5% in the control group, which was too small to detect a statistical difference between the two groups. Meanwhile, the second study, which tested the hypothesis that providing conditional cash incentives to keep adolescent girls in school will reduce HIV risk, also found no impact of cash incentives on the risk of HIV acquisition.

Daily Dosing and Text Message Reminders Associated With PrEP Adherence in Gay Men

HIV-negative individuals were more likely to adhere to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) when the regimen was taken daily compared to a time-driven (two times per week) or sex-driven (one bill before and one pill after sex) basis, according to a study presented at IAS 2015.

A second study found that text message adherence support was strongly associated with blood levels of the PrEP drug, suggesting that text-based systems might increase adherence.

HIV "Adherence Clubs" Help People Stay In Care

Implementation of community-based "adherence clubs" in Cape Town, South Africa, helped 94% of approximately 2,000 people with HIV in the study to be retained in care, and 98% be virally suppressed after a year, according to a study presented at IAS 2015

Each adherence club, which includes approximately 30 people with HIV, was facilitated by a community health worker at a community center. The group met five times a year for usually an hour or less, and included a group counseling session and opportunity for participants to pick up pre-packaged antiretroviral therapy.

Is there a development this week in HIV research that you think we missed? Send us a tip!

Warren Tong is the senior science editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.

Follow Warren on Twitter: @WarrenAtTheBody.


Copyright © 2015 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.




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