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AIDS 2014: Novel Techniques Probed in HIV Cure Research

A pair of presentations at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne described new pathways being explored in the search for either a permanent cure for HIV or for longer-acting drugs. In one study, 2 artificial genes that cause cells to generate antiviral entry inhibitors produced significant inhibition of cellular infection. In the other, a technique that is the exact opposite of the much-explored "kick and kill" strategy (which uses drugs to activate cells latently infected with HIV) used an artificial gene fragment to maintain latently infected cells in a locked-down state that resisted strong immune stimulation.

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AIDS 2014: Female Condoms for HIV Prevention [VIDEO]

While biomedical HIV prevention was a key theme of the recent 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, other approaches remain important including wider access to internal or female condoms. Designed to be worn inside the body, female condoms can give women more control in protecting themselves against HIV.

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AIDS 2014: Circumcised Men and Female Partners Have Lower Syphilis Rates

A study presented today at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne found positive associations between voluntary medical male circumcision and reduced incidence of syphilis, not just among men, but also among their female partners. Another study found no evidence of risk compensation among men post-circumcision, while a third used a novel food-voucher scheme as an incentive for getting older men to come forward for circumcision.

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AIDS 2014: Single-tablet HIV Regimens Not Necessarily More Durable

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens consisting of 1 pill taken once-daily -- known as single-tablet regimens -- were not associated with a longer time to treatment discontinuation when compared to some other modern, well-tolerated regimens that involve more pills or twice-daily dosing, according to a study presented at the 20th International AIDS Conference last month in Melbourne.

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AIDS 2014: Mothers Starting Option B+ ART in Malawi Often Lost from Care

Although Malawi’s policy of offering lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) to women with HIV who are pregnant or breastfeeding resulted in a 7-fold increase in women receiving treatment in 15 months, implementers are concerned by high rates of loss to follow-up, researchers reported at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne.

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Gut Microorganisms May Play a Role in HIV Response

Antibodies in people with HIV that target the virus's gp41 envelope protein can cross-react with normal intestinal bacteria, helping to explain why these antibodies are not effective in controlling HIV infection, according to research published in the August 13 edition of Cell Host & Microbe.

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FDA Approves ViiV Single-Tablet Regimen Containing Dolutegravir

ViiV Healthcare announced this week that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its all-in-1 antiretroviral fixed-dose combination pill containing the HIV integrase inhibitor dolutegravir (Tivicay) plus abacavir and lamivudine (the drugs in Epzicom or Kivexa). The new coformulation -- with the brand name Triumeq -- is the first single-tablet regimen that does not contain tenofovir and emtricitabine, making it an option for people with impaired kidney function. HLA-B*5701 genetic screening should be done prior to starting Triumeq to test for abacavir hypersensitivity. [Editor's note: On September 3 ViiV announced that the European Commission has also approved Triumeq.]

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