The silent rise of HIV in Chile – Vice News Published on Jul 11, 2016

VICE News has partnered with the University of British Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and student journalists from the International Reporting Program for Hidden in Plain Sight: stories of HIV and migration in Chile.

Around the world the number of new HIV cases is steadily dropping.

But in Chile, one of South America’s most prosperous nations, the virus is on the rise. This spike in new cases is affecting some of the country’s most vulnerable populations, including young people, women and indigenous groups.

While authorities claim they are doing what they can to stop the spread of the disease, decisive action has been limited. An estimated 50 per cent of people living with the virus in Chile remain undiagnosed. In December last year, Planned Parenthood International ranked the country’s sex education policy the worst in Latin America.

VICE News correspondent Daniel Hernandez visited the towns in Chile with the highest HIV concentrations, and speaks to activists, medical professionals, and the community at large who have taken the fight against HIV/AIDS into their own hands.

Read “These scientists are racing to prevent the next Ebola” –

Sue Desmond-Hellmann: A smarter, more precise way to think about public health – Filmed February 2016 at TED2016

Sue Desmond-Hellmann is using precision public health — an approach that incorporates big data, consumer monitoring, gene sequencing and other innovative tools — to solve the world’s most difficult medical problems. It’s already helped cut HIV transmission from mothers to babies by nearly half in sub-Saharan Africa, and now it’s being used to address alarming infant mortality rates all over the world. The goal: to save lives by bringing the right interventions to the right populations at the right time.

US colleges cut ties with scholarships that ban HIV-positive applicants – John Power Saturday 21 May 2016 06.30 EDT

Princeton University and Boston University have taken down postings for scholarship programs in South Korea that require HIV testing


Two prominent American colleges have removed advertisements for South Korean government scholarships that bar people with HIV, following the intervention of human rights activists.

Princeton University on Thursday took down a posting on its website that advertised the Korean Government Scholarship Program, which funds study at universities in South Korea, over concerns that it was discriminatory. The move came less than a fortnight after the Frederick S Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University quietly removed references to the scholarship in similar circumstances.

UCLA, Stanford University and the University of Portland continue to host details of the scholarship on their websites, while Ohio State University directs students to another scholarship, Teach and Learn in Korea, that also bans HIV-positive applicants.

“Based on a review conducted by the Office of International Programs and the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, a scholarship posting stating that HIV positive individuals are ineligible (without any reference to specific health-related reasons for such a restriction) contradicts our policies and commitment to non-discrimination,” the college said in a statement given to the Daily Princetonian student newspaper ahead of its anticipated public release.

Dr Adil Najam, the Pardee School dean, did not return a request for comment. Colleges still advertising the scholarships also failed to respond.

Princeton and Boston University took the action after Joe Amon, a Princeton professor and the former director of Human Rights Watch, and Benjamin Wagner, a US human rights lawyer, respectively expressed their concerns to college authorities.

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When Exceptions Become the Norm – By Adia Benton March 10, 2016

HIV Exceptionalism Does More Harm than GoodScreen Shot 2016-03-12 at Mar 12, 2016 5.10

In 2006, sub-Saharan Africa finally began to see effective antiretroviral therapies for HIV take hold. For years, the region had been deemed “too complex” for these life-saving drugs, with former U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) head Andrew Natsios suggesting that Africans lacked the conception of Western timerequired to take the drugs on the prescribed schedule. But activists had finally succeeded at getting pharmaceutical companies to lower the price of HIV drugs and to make the drugs available for free or at low cost to the world’s poor. This was no small feat. The conventional public health wisdom was that HIV drug regimens were too costly for the poor to afford and too complicated for the uneducated to comprehend, and, further, that health systems were too weak to effectively diagnose and deliver drugs to those who needed them the most. Only a decade later, though treatment is provided free of charge or at low cost in most African countries, a sizable number of people who need the drugs cannot access them. In 2013, UNAIDS estimated that 80 percent or more of those eligible for treatment in 14 African countries were not receiving antiretroviral therapy.

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VICE on HBO Special Report – Fighting HIV On the Ground in South Africa – Vice News Published on Dec 21, 2015

For our VICE on HBO Special Report, ‘Countdown to Zero,’ VICE Co-Founder Suroosh Alvi travelled to South Africa, the country with the highest number of HIV infections in the world, to take a look at how doctors and rural clinics there are fighting to stem the tide of HIV.

For more information on Ndlovu Care Group:…

HIV’s Greatest Foe Went Down With MH17 – Kent Sepkowitz 07.18.14

Dr. Joep M. Lange, a Dutch researcher whose work toward finding prevention and treatment for the disease is unmatched, and partner Jacqueline von Tongeren were killed in the crash.

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Dr. Joep M. Lange, who died in the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, was one of a handful of brand-name AIDS experts. Of course eulogistic hyperbole is expected after this sort of tragedy, but Lange truly was every inch the visionary, charismatic, and good guy the hurried obituaries suggest.

For many, it seems like forever, but actually AIDS is a new disease. The first reports appeared just 33 years ago and since then, about 75 million people have become infected, half of whom have died. Today one of every 120 adults between 15 and 49 years of age worldwide is HIV-positive.

Given its relatively brief history, it makes sense that the first leaders in HIV management are still around. In the 1980s, the disease was ignored by many of the older, more established clinicians who figured the problem would be simply a passing concern, a fad among overeager new trainees. Thus, to fill the void, these young and impressionable just-minted investigators, including Lange, assumed leadership in the U.S. and Europe. We are lucky that so many were, like Lange, smart, even-handed, and far-sighted. Lange was 60 years old at his death.

Lange started his career examining how best to measure, and therefore predict, disease progression and response to treatment. He and a handful of others developed the HIV “antigen” test, a first-generation attempt at measuring the amount of virus in the bloodstream. Within a decade, his approach led to the routine measurement of the HIV “viral load,” a test performed as routinely as a cholesterol HDL both to diagnose infection and monitor treatment response.


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HIV re-emerges in ‘cured’ Mississippi girl 10 July 2014 Last updated at 16:44 ET

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the immune system

A baby girl in the US born with HIV and believed cured after very early treatment has now been found to still harbour the virus.

Tests last week on the four-year-old child from Mississippi indicate she is no longer in remission, say doctors.

She had appeared free of HIV as recently as March, without receiving treatment for nearly two years.

The news represents a setback for hopes that very early treatment of drugs may reverse permanent infection.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told US media the new results were “obviously disappointing” and had possible implications on an upcoming federal HIV study.

“We’re going to take a good hard look at the study and see if it needs any modifications,” he said.


By James Gallagher, Health editor, BBC News website


There was huge hope that the “Mississippi baby” would live a life free of the HIV.

Antiretroviral drugs can keep the virus in check in the bloodstream, but HIV has hiding places – known as reservoirs – in the gut and brain.

If treatment stops, then the virus emerges from its reservoirs and begins its assault afresh.

Doctors had hoped that starting drug treatment within hours of birth would prevent the reservoirs forming.

This seems not to have been the case.

This case was never going to lead to an HIV-cure for infected adults, who begin treatment months or years after infection.

The Mississippi baby has become a reminder of how difficult HIV is to defeat and how distant a cure really is.

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U.S. health officials urge use of HIV pill for at-risk individuals – CHICAGO Wed May 14, 2014 7:11pm EDT

(Reuters) – U.S. health officials on Wednesday issued new recommendations urging healthcare workers to consider offering an HIV prevention pill to healthy individuals who are at substantial risk for HIV infection.

The guidelines, issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Public Health Service, involve the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, a strategy in which at-risk individuals take a daily dose of an antiretroviral drug to reduce their risk of HIV infection.

The strategy builds on a landmark 2010 study that found Gilead Sciences Inc’s Truvada – a pill already widely used to treat the human immunodeficiency virus – was more than 90 percent effective at preventing HIV infections among test subjects who took the drug as prescribed.

According to the new guidelines, healthcare providers should consider PrEP for anyone who meets specific risk criteria, such as being in a relationship with an HIV-infected partner or having sex without condoms with partners known to be at risk for HIV, such as injecting drug users.

The guidelines offer the first comprehensive guidance from the CDC, replacing interim guidance that emerged after studies showed PrEP to be effective in different patient populations.

The CDC now estimates as many as 275,000 uninfected gay men and 140,000 heterosexual couples, in which one partner is HIV-infected, could benefit from PrEP.

Some 1.2 million people in the United States live with HIV, and new infections are estimated at 50,000 each year.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Tom Brown)

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Second Baby ‘Cured’ of HIV After Early Treatment – By Margaret Hartmann Wednesday at 11:05 PM

`After a Mississippi doctor revealed last year that she accidentally cured a baby born with HIV, skeptics suggested the tests that initially showed she was infected may have been wrong. However, on Wednesday doctors at an AIDS conference in Boston revealed that the virus has been cleared from a second baby born 9 months ago in Long Beach, Calif. In the U.S. transmission from mother to child can usually be prevented via prenatal drugs, but the mother, who is mentally ill and has advanced AIDS, didn’t take the medication she was prescribed. After hearing about the Mississippi baby, the girl’s pediatrician, Dr. Audra Deveikis, put her on a high dose of three drugs used to treat the virus hours after birth. “Of course I had worries,” Dr. Deveikis told the New York Times. “But the mother’s disease was not under control, and I had to weigh the risk of transmission against the toxicity of the meds.”

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While technically the Long Beach baby, who is now in foster care, isn’t “cured” or “in remission” because she’s still on medication, blood tests have found no virus capable of replicating. The Mississippi child is now 3 and appears to be HIV-free, though she hasn’t been treated for about two years. One researcher said there may be five similar cases in Canada and three in South Africa.

Researchers will soon start a clinical trial with up to 60 babies in the United States, South Africa and Brazil. The trial will take several years, but it looks like doctors may have found a way to cure the 250,000 babies born with HIV each year.

HIV and mothers’ milk As luck would have it One of the proteins in milk protects infants against HIV infection Oct 26th 2013

Protect and survive

BAD though it has been, the AIDS epidemic would have been a great deal worse but for a strange and unexplained quirk. Infected mothers, it was feared, would transmit HIV, the AIDS-causing virus, to their children when suckling them. Mothers’ milk carries the virus, and suckling may last two years—which is plenty of time for transmission to happen. And indeed it does, but not nearly as often as was originally suspected. Less than 10% of infants suckled by untreated infected mothers (those not on antiretroviral drugs, which suppress the virus’s reproduction) pick up HIV.

Why that should be has remained mysterious. But Genevieve Fouda of Duke University, in North Carolina, and her colleagues think they have the answer. If they are right, many children have been spared AIDS by a fluke—but a fluke that could be used to develop a new weapon to attack it.

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