Connect with us

POZ

March 2016 continues upward HIV trend in Phl with 736 new cases

Seven hundred and thirty-sex (736) new HIV Ab seropositive individuals were reported to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines this March, a number that – while lower than the February figure of 751 – was still 10% higher compared to the same period last year.

Published

on

Seven hundred and thirty-sex (736) new HIV Ab seropositive individuals were reported to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines this March, a number that – while lower than the February figure of 751 – was still 10% higher compared to the same period last year (667). Of the new cases, most (97%) were male, with the median age of 28 years old (age range: eight years-63 years). More than half belong to the 25-34 year age group while 27% were youth aged 15-24 years.

The regions with the highest number of reported cases for March were: National Capital Region (NCR) with 284 (39%) cases, Region 4A with 94 (13%) cases, Region 3 with 82 (11%) cases, Region 7 with 71 (10%) cases, and Region 11 with 65 (9%) cases.

Reported modes of transmission were sexual contact (709), needle sharing among injecting drug users (IDU) [26], and mother-to- child transmission (1). Eighty-six percent (86%) of those transmitted through sexual contact were among males who have sex with males (MSMs).

HIV1 HIV2 HIV3 HIV4 HIV5 HIV6

The effect of HIV among the youth continue to be even more defined, with the March data showing 204 (28%) cases involving youth aged 15-24 years. Most (96%) were male. Ninety-nine percent (203) were infected through sexual contact (17 male-female sex, 110 male-male sex, 76 sex with both males and females), and 1 (<1%) through needle sharing among IDU.

Also becoming even more defined is the emergence of those who engage in transactional sex as a key affected population. People who engage in transactional sex are those who report that they pay for sex, regularly accept payment for sex or do both. In March, 12% (90) of the reported cases engaged in transactional sex. Most (96%) were male (Table 4) whose ages ranged from 18 years-54 years (median: 28 years) while 4 were female whose ages ranged from 23 years-34 years (median: 25 years). Forty percent (35) of males who engaged in transactional sex were the ones who paid for sex while 2 of the females engaged in both.

READ:  Macky: 'Start with stepping out of your comfort zone'

Also in March, there were 520 people living with HIV (PLHIV) who started taking antiretroviral medicine (as part of antiretroviral therapy). This was 16% higher than the same period last year (n=448). The median CD4 of these patients upon enrollment was 151 cells/mm3.

A total of 13,387 PLHIVs were presently on ART as of March 2016. Most (96%) were males. The median age of patients was 31 years (range: 11 months-77 years). Ninety-six percent were on first line regimen, 3% were on second line regimen and <1% were on mixed first and second line regimen.

For the month of March 2016, there were 26 reported deaths. Of the number, 92% (24) were male while 8% (two) were female. Fifteen (58%) of the reported deaths belong to the 25-34 year age group, eight were in the 35-49 year age group, two were youth aged 15-24 years old and one belongs to the 50 years and older age group. All were infected through sexual contact (four male-female sex, 14 male-male sex, eight sex with both males and females).

POZ

Uninfected individuals born to mothers living with HIV at risk of obesity and asthma

HIV-negative teens and young adults with a history of in utero HIV exposure showed more than fourfold increased odds of obesity and asthma-like symptoms compared to their unexposed peers.

Published

on

Photo by Banter Snaps from Unsplash.com

Adolescents and young adults who were born to mothers with HIV but remained uninfected themselves still face a greatly heightened risk of obesity and asthma-like symptoms, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have found.

In a study published in Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS), the team revealed for the first time that HIV-negative teens and young adults with a history of in utero HIV exposure showed more than fourfold increased odds of obesity and asthma-like symptoms compared to their unexposed peers.

“Our study found that there are metabolic and immune consequences to being exposed to HIV in utero,” says Lindsay Fourman, MD, of the Metabolism Unit, Department of Medicine, MGH, and lead author of the study. “These results underscore the need for all children of mothers with HIV – even those who are HIV-negative – to be screened and continually monitored over their lifetimes by clinicians attuned to their health risks. Too often, their exposure to HIV is lost from their medical records after they are found to be HIV-negative.”

Globally, more than one million babies are born each year to mothers with HIV. With the scale-up of prenatal antiretroviral therapy to prevent maternal transmission during pregnancy, up to 98 percent of these infants may be HIV-exposed but uninfected (HEU). While understanding the short-term health consequences of intrauterine HIV exposure has been actively investigated, the long-term health outcomes of uninfected individuals into adolescence and adulthood remain largely unknown.

READ:  Concerns of a traveling poz

The MGH researchers shed light on the subject by looking at the mother’s level of immune cells – known as CD4 T cells – during the last trimester of pregnancy. They found that lower maternal CD4 T cell count was strongly associated with increased body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight, in their uninfected, adolescent offspring. Lower CD4 T cell count is also associated with more severe HIV infection during pregnancy.

“These linkages suggest the need for good immune system control during the mother’s pregnancy,” emphasizes Steven Grinspoon, MD, chief, Metabolism Unit at MGH and study co-author. “Improved immune regulation may not only be good for the mother during pregnancy, but for her child over the long-term.”

The comprehensive study drew on a cohort of 50 adolescents and young adults (ages 13 to 28 years old) who were HIV-exposed but uninfected (HEU), and 141 of their peers not exposed to HIV during pregnancy. All were part of the Research Patient Data Registry that includes patients from MGH, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and other affiliated hospitals. The researchers found that obesity was present in 42 percent of the HEU adolescents and young adults compared to 22 percent of their unexposed counterparts.

“It’s well known that obesity in all segments of the population is associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and insulin resistance,” notes Fourman, adding that an estimated 18 million HEU individuals younger than 15 years old currently exist throughout the world. “And studies have shown that 80 percent of obese adolescents remain obese as adults.”

READ:  Jeric Tengco: ‘There’s life beyond HIV+ diagnosis’

The MGH study further showed that asthma-like symptoms occurred in 40 percent of the HEU group compared to 23 percent of its peers.

More broadly, the MGH study could help scientists gain insights into the role of the intrauterine environment in modulating the long-term health of individuals exposed in utero to a wide range of maternal conditions. For example, points out Grinspoon, “fetal exposure to maternal obesity or gestational diabetes has been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, asthma and autoimmunity later in life. The findings from our study could teach us about the effects of inflammation during pregnancy on long-term health outcomes. This is a fertile area for further investigation.”

Co-author Grinspoon is professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, chief of the MGH Metabolism Unit, and director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard. Lead author Fourman is instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and endocrinologist at MGH. Co-author Takara Stanley, MD, is associate professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and pediatric endocrinologist at MGH. 

Continue Reading

POZ

Women with HIV at increased risk of early onset menopause

Researchers confirmed that women living with HIV experience menopause at a younger age, specifically 48 years, roughly three years earlier than uninfected women. This population additionally had higher rates of early menopause and premature menopause.

Published

on

Photo by David Marcu from Unsplash.com

Thanks to medical advancements, HIV-positive women now have a longer life expectancy, exposing them to numerous midlife health issues such as menopause. A new study demonstrates that women with HIV are more likely to enter the menopause transition at an average age of 48 years, 3 years younger than the general population. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Newly diagnosed HIV-positive patients who adhere to the latest therapy protocols are expected to live into their mid-70s or longer. That means these patients are now faced with aging issues that affect sexual and reproductive health, including menopause.

The average age of menopause in Canada and the United States is between 50 and 52 years. Previous studies have shown that women living with HIV are at an increased risk of early (age between 40 and 45 y) and premature (age <40 y) menopause (also known as primary ovarian insufficiency). However, this study from Canada is the first known study to determine the average age of menopause for HIV patients, the prevalence of early menopause (between 40 and 45 y) and premature menopause (before 40 y), and other correlates influencing age at menopause.

Study researchers confirmed that women living with HIV experience menopause at a younger age, specifically 48 years, roughly three years earlier than uninfected women. This population additionally had higher rates of early menopause and premature menopause. In addition, lower education and hepatitis C coinfections were also shown to influence the risk of early menopause, with other possible modifying factors including marital status and region of birth.

READ:  As a lesbian, am I still at risk for HIV infection?

Because menopause is associated with changes in mood, sexual function, reduced quality of life, and increased the risk of developing other comorbidities such as heart disease and osteoporosis, a woman’s increased risk of early menopause has implications for healthcare practitioners planning their care.

Study results appear in the article “Prevalence and correlates of early-onset menopause among women living with HIV in Canada.”

“Healthcare practitioners should be aware of the increased risk for premature and early menopause in their female patients living with HIV in order to provide appropriate counseling and management, given the known increased risk for potential adverse long-term health consequences associated with early estrogen deprivation,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

Continue Reading

POZ

Virus characteristics predict HIV treatment efficacy with antibody treatment

HIV-1 virus characteristics were identified to predict treatment efficacy with a specific antibody treatment using sequence-based methods. The identified virus characteristics may be used to determine if a patient is a good or poor candidate for specific antibody-based treatments in the future, reducing time and cost involved in treating the virus.

Published

on

Current HIV-1 therapies have been proven to be highly effective in slowing the progression of the virus in the body with only minimal side effects. The daily antiretroviral therapy (ART) uses a combination of HIV-1 medicines. A proportion of patients diagnosed with HIV-1, however, cannot take the ART for many reasons. An alternative option includes antibody-based treatments that are currently being developed; however it is difficult to predict those that would be most appropriate for these more expensive treatments.

Now published in the Journal of Virology, research at Boston Medical Center (BMC) discovered specific virus characteristics that can help predict the efficacy of HIV-1 treatments using antibody-based treatments.

Led by Manish Sagar, MD, an infectious diseases physician at BMC, HIV-1 virus characteristics were identified to predict treatment efficacy with a specific antibody treatment using sequence-based methods. The identified virus characteristics may be used to determine if a patient is a good or poor candidate for specific antibody-based treatments in the future, reducing time and cost involved in treating the virus.

Antibody treatments bind the HIV-1 envelope protein that protects the virus and helps it avoid the immune system response. These envelope proteins also have extensive DNA sequence variation that provides virus information and whether a treatment would be effective or not. It is difficult to predict if an antibody-based therapy will be effective based on knowing the envelope sequence alone, so sequence information is commonly obtained before patients are started on HIV-1 treatments to confirm that their virus will be susceptible to the prescribed therapies.

READ:  Concerns of a traveling poz

In the study, HIV-1 envelope sequence motifs were identified that predict treatment efficacy with a certain type of antibody treatment.

“These findings will allow physicians to make better-informed decisions on treatment plans for patients with HIV-1, ultimately treating the virus to slow it down earlier, ” says Sagar, also an associate professor of medicine and microbiology at Boston University School of Medicine. “Making this process more efficient will only improve patient care, while reducing the time and money spent on finding the right treatment for these patients.”

Antibody-based therapies that require less frequent doping are effective against drug-resistant variants, and may strengthen humoral responses, essential for defense against bacterial pathogens.

Continue Reading

POZ

Determinants of employability of people living with HIV

We knew this all along: People living with HIV may face discrimination in employers’ hiring practices, according to a study that specifically found that medical and socioeconomic factors may hinder their employment.

Published

on

Photo from Pexels.com

A newer study backing what we knew all along: HIV-related discrimination.

People living with HIV may face discrimination in employers’ hiring practices, according to a study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, which specifically found that medical and socioeconomic factors may hinder their employment.

This particular study included 170 people living with HIV in Turkey. It found that younger persons with HIV had a much higher probability of participation in the labor force, as did those who were wealthier and generated a higher income. Also, individuals who were working at the time of diagnosis were more likely to be employed. Illicit drug use, a longer time since diagnosis, and low CD4 T cells counts were negatively associated with employment.

“We can easily control HIV virus with anti-retroviral medication, but it is almost impossible to control socioeconomic factors such as the stigma and the prejudices, which are fueled by ignorance and the lack of awareness campaigns,” said the study’s author Durmu Özdemir, PhD, a professor at Yasar University. “There is a serious role for governments and non-governmental organizations to explain the positive impact of anti-retroviral treatment and the need for a normal life for people living with HIV.”

Earlier, in 2014, the UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) reported that on average, one in eight PLHIV report being denied health services, and one in nine is denied employment because of their HIV-positive status. Also, an average of 6% reported experiencing physical assault because of their HIV status. People living with HIV who are members of key populations also face “double stigma” since they get discriminated not only because of their HIV status, but also because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, drug use or engagement in sex work.

READ:  State of the Nation: The Grievances of PLHIVs

Continue Reading

POZ

New HIV strain recorded under same group that caused pandemic

The discovery marks the first time a new subtype of HIV-1 has been identified since 2000. To stress, though: Existing treatments for HIV are effective against variants of the HIV virus, including the new subtype.

Published

on

Photo by Belova59 from Pixabay.com

A team of its scientists identified a new subtype of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), called HIV-1 Group M, subtype L. This marks the first time a new subtype of “Group M” HIV virus has been identified since guidelines for classifying new strains of HIV were established in 2000.

Group M viruses are responsible for the global pandemic, which can be traced back to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The findings of the study – titled “Complete genome sequence of CG-0018a-01 establishes HIV-1 subtype L” – was published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS).

“In an increasingly connected world, we can no longer think of viruses being contained to one location,” said Carole McArthur, Ph.D., M.D., professor in the departments of oral and craniofacial sciences, University of Missouri — Kansas City, and one of the study’s authors. “This discovery reminds us that to end the HIV pandemic, we must continue to outthink this continuously changing virus and use the latest advancements in technology and resources to monitor its evolution.”

Since the beginning of the global AIDS pandemic, 75 million people have been infected with HIV and 37.9 million people today are living with the virus.

To determine if a virus is in fact a new HIV subtype, three cases must be discovered independently. In this case, the first two samples of this subtype were discovered in DRC in the 1980s and the 1990s. The third, collected in 2001, was difficult to sequence at that time because of the amount of virus in the sample and the existing technology.

READ:  Previously incarcerated trans women can be caught in cycle leading to repeat jail time

With next-generation sequencing technology now available, researchers can build an entire genome at higher speeds and lower costs. In order to utilize this technology, Abbott scientists had to develop and apply new techniques to help narrow in on the virus portion of the sample to fully sequence and complete the genome.

“Identifying new viruses such as this one is like searching for a needle in a haystack,” said Mary Rodgers, Ph.D., a principal scientist and head of the Global Viral Surveillance Program, Diagnostics, Abbott, and also a co-author of the study. “By advancing our techniques and using next generation sequencing technology, we are pulling the needle out with a magnet. This scientific discovery can help us ensure we are stopping new pandemics in their tracks.”

Now this is worth stressing: Existing treatments for HIV that can suppress viral load so that people living with HIV can no longer transmit it, are effective against variants of the HIV virus, including the new subtype. This means – again to emphasize – that a new strain is not a new public health crisis. With the identification of the strain, though, doctors can now test for it.

Abbott created its Global Viral Surveillance Program 25 years ago to monitor HIV and hepatitis viruses and identify mutations to ensure the company’s diagnostic tests remain up to date. In partnership with blood centers, hospitals and academic institutions around the world, Abbott has collected more than 78,000 samples containing HIV and hepatitis viruses from 45 countries, identified and characterized more than 5,000 strains, and published 125 research papers to date to help the scientific community learn more about these viruses. 

READ:  Jeric Tengco: ‘There’s life beyond HIV+ diagnosis’

Continue Reading

POZ

12% of new HIV cases in Phl in July are people who engaged in transactional sex

In total, in July, there were 1,111 newly confirmed HIV-positive individuals reported to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines. This was 29% higher compared with the diagnosed cases (859) in the same period last year.

Published

on

Photo by George Beridze from Unsplash.com

Twelve percent (134 of 1,111) of the new HIV cases reported to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP) in July engaged in transactional sex, highlighting the behavior as a driver in the still-continuing worsening HIV situation in the country.

The percentage of the newly infected who engaged in transactional sex is similar to June’s figures (also 12%, or 123 of 1,006). Even earlier, in May, it was higher at 13% (or 144 of 1,092).

For July, 94% (126) of those who engaged in transactional sex were male and aged from 15 to 58 years old (median: 29 years). Forty-eight percent (61) of the males reported paying for sex only, 37% (46) reported accepting payment for sex only, and 15% (19) engaged in both.

Also, among the eight female cases who engaged in transactional sex, 88% (7) were reported to have accepted payment for sex only; while one female reported paying and accepting payment for sex.

Surprisingly, reporting of transactional sex was included in the HARP only in December 2012. HARP identifies people who engage in transactional sex as those who reported that they either pay for sex, regularly accept payment for sex, or do both.

This is not the only population gravely affected by HIV in the Philippines.

For one, the number of diagnosed HIV infections among females has been increasing. The number of diagnosed (402) females from January to July 2019 tripled, compared to the diagnosed (131) cases in the same period of 2014, five years prior. Ninety-two percent (4,012) of all female cases since 1984 were in the reproductive age group (15-49 years old) at the time of diagnosis.

READ:  Batangas City passes ordinance protecting SOGIE, follows lead of Batangas Province

As FYI: In the early years of the HIV epidemic in the Philippines (1984-1990), 62% (133 of 216 cases) of the diagnosed were female. But since 1991, the proportion of diagnosed males has been greater than that of females each year. From 1991 to present, males comprised 94% (65,079) of the 69,296 diagnosed cases. Also,from January 2018 to July 2019, 3% (551) of 17,909 diagnosed people are transgender women.

Second, HIV continues to greatly impact young Filipinos.

As per HARP: “The predominant age group among those diagnosed has shifted to 25-34 years old starting 2006 from 35-49 years old in 2001 to 2005.” But “the proportion of HIV positive cases in the 15-24 year age group nearly doubled in the past 10 years, from 17% in 2000 to 2009 to 29% in 2010 to 2019.”

In July, there were 59 newly diagnosed adolescents, 10-19 years old at the time of diagnosis. Further, one case was 10-14 years old, 15 cases were 15-17 years old, and 43 cases were 18-19 years old. All were infected through sexual contact (eight male-female sex, 37 male-male sex, and 14 had sex with both males and females).

There were two diagnosed cases less than 10 years old and both were infected through vertical (nee mother-to-child) transmission.

Also in July, 348 (31%) cases were among youth 15-24 years old; 95% were male. All were infected through sexual contact (34 male-female sex, 233 male-male sex, 81 sex with both males and females).

READ:  Your discomfort over our human rights?

Third, 82 Filipinos who worked overseas within the past five years, whether on land or at sea, were diagnosed in July. They comprised 7% of the total newly diagnosed cases for the month. Of these, 90% (74) were male. All were infected through sexual contact (15 male-female sex, 39 male-male sex, and 28 sex with both males and females).

Fourth, in July, 10 pregnant women were diagnosed with HIV. Six cases were from NCR and one case each from Regions 1, 4A, 7 and 11. The age of diagnosis ranged from 16 to 39.

Reporting of pregnancy status at the time of testing was also only added recently, from the year 2011. And since 2011, a total of 333 diagnosed pregnant women were reported. More than half (54%, 180) were 15-24 years old at the time of diagnosis, and 38% (127) were 25-34 years old.

HIV can be managed via taking of antiretroviral medicines. But to date, only approximately half of the total 69,512 Filipinos living with HIV are on ART.

So perhaps not surprisingly, in July2019, there were 55 reported deaths due to any cause among people with HIV. Ninety-eight percent (54) were males. Two (4%) were less than 15 years old at the time of death, six (11%) cases were 15-24 years old, 30 (54%) were 25-34 years old, and 17 (31%) were 35-49 years old. Ninety-two percent of these cases were reported to have acquired the infection through sexual contact.

READ:  As a lesbian, am I still at risk for HIV infection?

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Most Popular