Long Acting HIV Treatment: 5 Myths and Realities

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Introduction: Long-acting antiretrovirals: Are they the future of HIV treatment or will the future pass them by? As research progresses on long-acting antiretroviral therapy (LA-ART) for HIV -- also sometimes referred to as extended-release (ER) antiretroviral therapy -- experts disagree about the impact it will have on clinical care. There is both optimism and pessimism regarding LA-ART, and sometimes they come from... Read more

CROI 2017: Bone Density Improves in People Who Switch from Tenofovir DF to Tenofovir Alafenamide

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After 3 years, tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) for first-line HIV treatment was better at suppressing viral load and safer for the bones and kidneys than the older tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), researchers reported at the 2017 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in February in Seattle. Another study showed that people with low bone density who switched from TDF to TAF saw improved bone... Read more

A LOOK INTO THE GREY ZONE: AGEING WITH HIV

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Ageing with HIV, can be both a celebration and a concern. A celebration because effective HIV treatments have given life-years back to all people on effective treatment; but a concern since people are now moving into older age with HIV and experiencing age-related health conditions. In Australia, there are approximately 6000-7000 people living with HIV aged over 55 years.  In the US, it has been reported that 50% are... Read more

Give the Flu the Flick

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Yes folks, it’s that time of year again to get flu vaccinated and build up our winter defences against the debilitating effects of influenza. The official flu season typically spans from May to October each year. Flu vaccination is available from March/April. You should get a new flu vaccination every year, because the flu virus is constantly changing and each new vaccine matches the current circulating strains of... Read more

NEW LONG ACTING HIV DRUG CLASS ON THE HORIZON – CAPSID INHIBITORS

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Capsid assembly is the step in the HIV lifecycle where the virus develops a cone-shaped core (capsid) particle, which contains or encloses the viral genetic blueprint (genome), inside a maturing infectious virion. It consists of a protein envelop membrane which protects the viral antigen core genetic proteins (called “p24”). Once released inside the host human cell, the core capsid particle disassembles to allow the... Read more

Bictegravir – A new Integrase Inhibitor in the pipeline

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Bictegravir matches dolutegravir for first-line treatment in Phase 2 studies Paul Sax at CROI 2017. Photo by Liz Highleyman, hivandhepatitis.com Bictegravir, an investigational new integrase inhibitor, was highly potent, well tolerated and worked as well as dolutegravir (Tivicay – an existing integrase inhibitor) in a phase 2 clinical trial of people first starting treatment, according to study results... Read more

Doravirine – a new NNRTI (Non-Nuke) option on the horizon

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Kathleen Squires at CROI 2017. Photo by Liz Highleyman, hivandhepatitis.com Doravirine, an investigational next-generation non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) that reduced HIV viral load as well as boosted darunavir (a Protease Inhibitor) in a phase 3 clinical trial of people starting HIV treatment for the first time; but it had a better lipid (blood fat) profile, according to a late breaking... Read more

What is safe sex now? Does it include undetectable viral load and PrEP?

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Treatment as prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) provide new ways to safely avoid HIV, but this poses challenges to the ways in which communities understand and practice ‘safe sex’, Martin Holt of the University of New South Wales told a public lecture in Sydney last week. Gay men’s awareness and understanding of the new prevention methods has developed rapidly, but history suggests that people may... Read more

What is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)? How does it apply to PLHIV?

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The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new commonwealth support program for people under 65yo with a permanent disability impairment that affects activities of functional daily living. The program is now being progressively rolled out across Australian states and territories, with full national implementation expected by 2020, and is currently rolling out in Queensland. The scheme aims to link under 65yo... Read more

Aged Care Reforms – Increasing choice in home care

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As the HIV-positive population ages through the life-extending benefits of HIV treatments, age-related illness will (and already have) become an increasing concern, such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, bone density loss, and some cancers. Alongside of this medication and treatment needs will increase, bringing their own complications (such as drug interactions, increased pill burden, side effects, etc).  As... Read more