Statement by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke on World AIDS Day
On World AIDS Day, the Department of Justice reaffirms the rights of people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) to live free from stigma and discrimination. “The Department of Justice plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the civil rights of people living with HIV and AIDS,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Civil Rights Division. The department’s enforcement efforts seek equal opportunity and dignity in all aspects of life for those living with HIV and AIDS. The agreement requires the practice to pay compensatory damages to the individual, provide training and implement non-discrimination policies and practices. On World AIDS Day 2021, and every day, the department remains dedicated to eradicating discrimination against those living with HIV and AIDS.justice.gov
DaBaby proves that homophobia is so contagious, rappers will self-cancel themselves
If there was ever a moment in pop culture to just yell “why,” DaBaby’s performance at Rolling Loud Miami was […] The post DaBaby proves that homophobia is so contagious, rappers will self-cancel themselves appeared first on TheGrio.news.yahoo.com
Justice Department Settles with North Carolina Dental Offices Over HIV Discrimination
Night and Day Dental operates nine dental offices throughout North Carolina. Title III of the ADA prohibits dentists and other health care providers from discriminating against people with disabilities, including HIV. Following an investigation, the department found that Night and Day Dental discriminated against a woman with HIV when it refused to accept her as a new patient because of her HIV status. The patient was seeking routine dental care, including a cleaning and check-up. The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that people with HIV do not face discrimination in health care settings or other areas of life.”Under the settlement, Night and Day Dental must pay $30,000 to the victim of the discrimination.justice.gov
Newer methods may boost gene therapy's use for more diseases
Jordan Janz knew his gamble on an experimental gene therapy for his rare disease might be paying off when he returned to work and a friend sniffed him. “He said, ‘you have a normal smell, you smell good,’” Janz recalled. Kids with this disease can throw up a dozen times a day, need eye drops every hour to prevent blindness and often kidney transplants before they’re adults.news.yahoo.com
HIV/AIDS vaccine: Why don't we have one after 37 years, when we have several for COVID-19 after a few months?
A lab worker extracts DNA from samples for further tests at the AIDS Vaccine Design and Development Laboratory Dec. 1, 2008 in New York City. Chris Hondros/Getty ImagesSmallpox has been eradicated from the face of the Earth following a highly effective, worldwide vaccination campaign. Paralytic poliomyelitis is no longer a problem in the U.S. because of development and use of effective vaccines against the poliovirus. In current times, millions of lives have been saved because of rapid deployment of effective vaccines against COVID-19. And yet, it has been 37 years since HIV was discovered as the cause of AIDS, and there is no vaccine. Here I will describe the difficulties facing development of an effective vaccine against HIV/AIDS. I am a professor of pathology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. My laboratory is credited with the discovery of the monkey virus called SIV, or simian immunodeficiency virus. SIV is the close monkey relative of the virus that causes AIDS in humans – HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus. My research has contributed importantly to the understanding of the mechanisms by which HIV causes disease and to vaccine development efforts. Dr. Anthony Fauci discusses the difficulty of finding a vaccine for HIV/AIDS in 2017. HIV vaccine development efforts have come up short Vaccines have unquestionably been society’s most potent weapon against viral diseases of medical importance. When the new disease AIDS burst onto the scene in the early 1980s and the virus that caused it was discovered in 1983-84, it was only natural to think that the research community would be able to develop a vaccine for it. At a now famous press conference in 1984 announcing HIV as the cause of AIDS, then U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret Heckler predicted that a vaccine would be available in two years. Well, it is now 37 years later and there is no vaccine. The rapidity of COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution puts the lack of an HIV vaccine in stark contrast. The problem is not failure of government. The problem is not lack of spending. The difficulty lies in the HIV virus itself. In particular, this includes the remarkable HIV strain diversity and the immune evasion strategies of the virus. So far there have been five large-scale Phase 3 vaccine efficacy trials against HIV, each at a cost of over US0 million. The first three of these failed quite convincingly; no protection against acquisition of HIV infection, no lowering of viral loads in those who did become infected. In fact, in the third of these trials, the STEP trial, there was a statistically significant higher frequency of infection in individuals who had been vaccinated. The fourth trial, the controversial Thai RV144 trial, initially reported a marginal degree of successful protection against the acquisition of HIV infection among vaccinated individuals. However, a subsequent statistical analysis reported that there was less than a 78% chance that the protection against acquisition was real. A fifth vaccine trial, the HVTN 702 trial, was ordered to confirm and extend the results of the RV144 trial. The HVTN702 trial was halted early because of futility. No protection against acquisition. No lowering of viral load. Ouch. The complexity of HIV What is the problem? The biological properties that HIV has evolved make development of a successful vaccine very, very difficult. What are those properties? First and foremost is the continuous unrelenting virus replication. Once HIV gets its foot in the door, it’s “gotcha.” Many vaccines do not protect absolutely against the acquisition of an infection, but they are able to severely limit the replication of the virus and any illness that might result. For a vaccine to be effective against HIV, it will likely need to provide an absolute sterilizing barrier and not just limit viral replication. HIV has evolved an ability to generate and to tolerate many mutations in its genetic information. The consequence of this is an enormous amount of variation among strains of the virus not only from one individual to another but even within a single individual. Let’s use influenza for a comparison. Everyone knows that people need to get revaccinated against influenza virus each season because of season-to-season variability in the influenza strain that is circulating. Well, the variability of HIV within a single infected individual exceeds the entire worldwide sequence variability in the influenza virus during an entire season. What are we going to put into a vaccine to cover this extent of strain variability? HIV has also evolved an incredible ability to shield itself from recognition by antibodies. Enveloped viruses such as coronaviruses and herpes viruses encode a structure on their surface that each virus uses to gain entry into a cell. This structure is called a “glycoprotein,” meaning that it is composed of both sugars and protein. But the HIV envelope glycoprotein is extreme. It is the most heavily sugared protein of all viruses in all 22 families. More than half the weight is sugar. And the virus has figured out a way, meaning the virus has evolved by natural selection, to use these sugars as shields to protect itself from recognition by antibodies that the infected host is trying to make. The host cell adds these sugars and then views them as self. These properties have important consequences relevant for vaccine development efforts. The antibodies that an HIV-infected person makes typically have only very weak neutralizing activity against the virus. Furthermore, these antibodies are very strain-specific; they will neutralize the strain with which the individual is infected but not the thousands and thousands of other strains circulating in the population. Researchers know how to elicit antibodies that will neutralize one strain, but not antibodies with an ability to protect against the thousands and thousands of strains circulating in the population. That’s a major problem for vaccine development efforts. HIV is continually evolving within a single infected individual to stay one step ahead of the immune responses. The host elicits a particular immune response that attacks the virus. This puts selective pressure on the virus, and through natural selection a mutated virus variant appears that is no longer recognized by the individual’s immune system. The result is continuous unrelenting viral replication. [Understand new developments in science, health and technology, each week. Subscribe to The Conversation’s science newsletter.] So, should we researchers give up? No, we shouldn’t. One approach researchers are trying in animal models in a couple of laboratories is to use herpes viruses as vectors to deliver the AIDS virus proteins. The herpes virus family is of the “persistent” category. Once infected with a herpes virus, you are infected for life. And immune responses persist not just as memory but in a continually active fashion. Success of this approach, however, will still depend on figuring out how to elicit the breadth of immune responses that will allow coverage against the vast complexity of HIV sequences circulating in the population. Another approach is to go after protective immunity from a different angle. Although the vast majority of HIV-infected individuals make antibodies with weak, strain-specific neutralizing activity, some rare individuals do make antibodies with potent neutralizing activity against a broad range of HIV isolates. These antibodies are rare and highly unusual, but we scientists do have them in our possession. Also, scientists have recently figured out a way to achieve protective levels of these antibodies for life from a single administration. For life! This delivery depends on a viral vector, a vector called adeno-associated virus. When the vector is administered to muscle, muscle cells become factories that continuously produce the potent broadly neutralizing antibodies. Researchers have recently documented continuous production for six and a half years in a monkey. **VL: I think it’s this paper, quote from abstract “Here we report that monkey 84-05 has successfully maintained 240–350 μg/ml of anti-SIV antibody 5L7 for over 6 years”: https://dx.doi.org/10.3389%2Ffimmu.2020.00449) We are making progress. We must not give up.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Ronald C. Desrosiers, University of Miami. Read more:Should my child get the COVID-19 vaccine? 7 questions answered by a pediatric infectious disease expertHow HIV became a treatable, chronic diseaseWhy the South still has such high HIV rates Ronald C. Desrosiers receives funding from the National Institutes of Health.news.yahoo.com
Illinois law aimed at preventing people with HIV from transmitting the virus has been criticized as unfair and unscientific. Activists are pushing for a full repeal.
The law makes it a felony for an HIV-positive person to have unprotected sex without first disclosing his or her HIV status.chicagotribune.com
The superspreaders behind top COVID-19 conspiracy theories
Legitimate questions about the virus created perfect conditions for conspiracy theories. COVID CLAIM: Boyle says the coronavirus is a genetically engineered bioweapon that escaped from a high-level lab in Wuhan, China. COVID CLAIM: Nikulin argues the U.S. created the virus and used it to attack China. He first voiced the belief in a Jan. 20, 2020, story by Zvezda, a state media outlet tied to the Russian military. EVIDENCE: There is no evidence that the U.S. created the virus or used it as a weapon to attack Iran.
Statement by Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband on World AIDS Day
On December 1, as our country joins in observing World AIDS Day, the Justice Department stands with all people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). In recognizing World AIDS Day 2020 Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband gave the following statement:“The Department of Justice is proud to play a central role in protecting the civil rights of individuals living with HIV and AIDS. On this day, the Civil Rights Division reaffirms its commitment to eradicating discrimination against those living with HIV or AIDS. Discrimination against individuals with HIV or AIDS is not only unlawful, it also is contrary to this nation’s ideals. The settlement agreement secured a monetary payment to the individual and the business adopted a non-discrimination policy.justice.gov
Study finds long-acting shot helps women avoid HIV infection
Results so far suggest that the drug, cabotegravir, was 89% more effective at preventing HIV infection than Truvada pills, although both reduce that risk. The results mirror those announced earlier this year from a similar study testing the shots versus the daily pills in gay men. It promises HIV prevention help to young women, “those who need it the most,” he said. There were more side effects, mostly nausea, with the daily pills. “People need choices for HIV prevention,” and this gives a new option, Warren said in a statement.
Coastal Health District to offer day of drive-thru HIV testing at Brunswick High School
To raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing and help people know your HIV status, Georgias Coastal Health District will hold free drive-thru HIV testing events from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22 in the parking lot of Brunswick High School. A follow-up visit will be scheduled for anyone who tests positive and counseling will be made available to those individuals. Health officials said testing is the first step in maintaining a healthy life and reducing the spread of HIV. Staff will also be available to discuss HIV prevention options such as PrEP, the daily pill to prevent HIV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care.
AIDS report: Kids are lagging and COVID-19 is harming care
Four years ago, the United Nations set goals for limiting HIV infections and improving treatment by the end of 2020, and all will be missed because the coronavirus pandemic is hurting access to care, the report concludes. Here are highlights from the report:INFECTIONSAbout 1.7 million new HIV infections occurred in 2019 down 23% since 2010 but far short of the 75% reduction goal. Were still seeing 150,000 kids being newly infected with HIV each year.In sub-Saharan Africa, girls and young women make up 10% of the population but account for 25% of new HIV infections. It breaks my heart that 4,500 girls, young women, were being infected every week in Africa every week! Were very, very worried, profoundly worried, about COVID-19 harming patients and efforts to curb the HIV, she said.
As researchers at Northwestern and elsewhere scramble to find a treatment for COVID-19, they hope this time the money wont run out before the next threat hits
People are going to know what the word coronavirus means for the rest of their lives, Mesecar said. The attention is there. Now its going to be, I never want to have this happen again. Lets get the legislators to say, You know what, coronaviruses are nasty like HIV was, and we have an entire institute for HIV at NIH. Maybe we should think about funding increases to infectious diseases and pandemics so were prepared better next time.'chicagotribune.com
'Science will come through': Doctor who pioneered HIV treatment discusses potential Covid-19 drugs
Now, his focus is Covid-19, or more specifically, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. He shared his thoughts on some of the most prominent drugs and approaches under consideration for Covid-19 right now. Gilead's remdesivir"Personally, I think remdesivir is up there for a promising drug," Ho said. Ho noted hydroxychloroquine "was largely ignored by the scientific community" before it was "promulgated by our president." The problem, Ho noted, is the trial in China didn't have a placebo control.cnbc.com
Vaccine shows promise for preventing active TB disease
An experimental vaccine proved 50% effective at preventing latent tuberculosis infection from turning into active disease in a three-year study of adults in Africa. Doctors were encouraged because protection declined only a little after two years, and even a partially effective vaccine would be a big help against TB. There is a TB vaccine now, but it's given only to very young children and partly prevents severe complications. Researchers have been seeking a vaccine that also works in adults, to curb spread of the disease. Thirteen people in the vaccine group and 26 in the other group developed active TB.chicagotribune.com
Indiana tries to curb HIV crisis linked to drug abuse
An HIV outbreak in southeastern Indiana has grown to nearly 90 cases diagnosed since January. It's being blamed on prescription painkiller abuse and IV needle sharing. As Dean Reynolds reports, the state has temporarily lifted its ban on needle exchanges in an effort to contain the outbreak.cbsnews.com
Child once thought "cured" of HIV tests positive
Child once thought "cured" of HIV tests positive Physicians at the University of Mississippi Medical Center were monitoring a four-year-old girl believed to have been cured of HIV after going two years with no trace of the virus. But a routine checkup this month showed that the virus has returned. Dr. Jon LaPook reports.cbsnews.com