Author Interviews, Global Health, HIV, NEJM / 17.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50304" align="alignleft" width="107"]Prof-Richard-Hayes.jpg Prof. Hayes[/caption] Dr. Richard J. Hayes, DSc, FMedSci Professor of Epidemiology and International Health London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: HIV incidence rates remain at very high levels in many parts of southern Africa. Universal testing and treatment (i.e., ensuring that everyone in a community tests for HIV and that everyone diagnosed with HIV is started on treatment as soon as possible) has been proposed as a strategy to achieve steep reductions in HIV incidence in generalized epidemics. Prior trials have shown inconsistent results as to whether this strategy could be effective. HPTN 071 (PopART) was carried out in 21 urban communities in Zambia and South Africa, with individual communities randomly assigned into one of three arms: A, B or C. The 14 communities in Arms A and B received annual rounds of home-based HIV testing by community health workers who supported linkage to care, antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence and other HIV services. The seven communities in Arm C received the local standard of care. We looked to see if the HIV incidence in the communities receiving universal testing and treatment would be lower (over time) compared to the incidence in the standard of care communities.
Author Interviews, HIV, University of Michigan / 15.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50266" align="alignleft" width="200"]Rogério Meireles Pinto, LCSW, Ph.D. Professor and Associate Dean for Research University of Michigan School of Social Work  Dr. Pinto[/caption] Rogério Meireles Pinto, LCSW, Ph.D. Professor and Associate Dean for Research University of Michigan School of Social Work MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In order to decrease the rate of HIV infection, interventions to scale up PrEP will need to address identified barriers at multiple ecological levels. In the past decade, interventions proposed to address PrEP implementation barriers were limited to one ecological level or another (e.g., individual or community). The failure to consider interventions targeting multiple ecological levels simultaneously may help explain why PrEP implementation is lagging. This failure is also due to methodological limitations of PrEP implementation studies.This high-quality paper presents a thorough and theoretically grounded review of original research on HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) implementation in the U.S.
Author Interviews, HIV, USPSTF / 20.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45507" align="alignleft" width="142"]John W. Epling, Jr., M.D., M.S.Ed Professor of Family and Community Medicine Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Roanoke, VA USPSTF Task Force Member Dr. Epling[/caption] John W. Epling, Jr., M.D., M.S.Ed Professor of Family and Community Medicine Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Roanoke, VA USPSTF Task Force Member Medical Director of Employee Health and Wellness Carilion Clinic Dr. Epling maintains an active clinical primary care practice  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: HIV continues to be a significant public health issue, with about 40,000 people diagnosed each year. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reviewed the most recent evidence on how primary care clinicians can best help prevent HIV and its devastating health consequences. We looked at the research on two different topics: screening for HIV, and pre-exposure prophylaxis—a medication that prevents HIV, commonly known as PrEP. 
Author Interviews, HIV, Microbiome, PLoS, Sexual Health / 16.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48583" align="alignleft" width="98"]Brent E. Palmer, PhDAssociate Professor of MedicineDirector, ClinImmune and ACI/ID Flow Cytometry FacilityDivision of Allergy and Clinical ImmunologyAurora, Colorado 80045 Brent Palmer[/caption] Brent E. Palmer, PhD Associate Professor of Medicine Director, ClinImmune and ACI/ID Flow Cytometry Facility Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology University of Colorado Anschutz Medical College Aurora, Colorado 80045  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Previous studies showed that in western populations, men who have sex with men (MSM) have a distinct gut microbiome composition when compared with men who have sex with women (MSW). We wanted to understand how these microbiome differences in MSM could impact their immune system. To test this, we transferred feces from healthy MSW and MSM to gnotobiotic (germ-free) mice and examined the immune system in the mice post-transplant. In mice that received transfers from MSM, there were higher frequencies of activated T cells in gut tissues, which are the primary targets of HIV. This result suggested that gut microbes associated with MSM sexual behavior may actually contribute to HIV transmission by driving activation of HIV target cells. In fact, when we stimulated human gut derived cells with gut microbes isolated from MSM and MSW, cells that were stimulated with microbes from MSM were infected at a higher rate.
Author Interviews, HIV, HPV, Race/Ethnic Diversity, STD, Vaccine Studies / 08.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Perry N Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH Dean and Professor Department of Urban-Global Public Health Rutgers Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The rate of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is high among young minority gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men despite the availability of a vaccine that can prevent the infection, a Rutgers School of Public Health study found.
Author Interviews, HIV, Immunotherapy / 21.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46689" align="alignleft" width="124"]Tatiana Garcia-Bates, Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Graduate School of Public Health University of Pittsburgh Dr. Garcia-Bates[/caption] Tatiana Garcia-Bates, Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Graduate School of Public Health University of Pittsburgh MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is now a manageable disease with the advent and availability of highly effective, combination antiretroviral therapy (ART). Unfortunately, as soon as ART is interrupted, the virus quickly rebounds to high levels and again targets the immune system. Therefore, new immunotherapeutic treatments are sought to re-program the immune system to control the virus after ART interruption. In many ways, chronic HIV infection, even when controlled, resembles cancer in how it impacts the immune system. Both conditions for example are associated with immune dysfunction, where the immune cells (specifically T cells) that are supposed to protect our bodies against invading microorganisms or cancers become exhausted and fail to respond effectively. In cancer, effective immunotherapies have been developed to reverse this immune exhaustion to extend the fighting capacity of the T cells. An example of this is drugs that target immune checkpoints, or “shut down” proteins, expressed on activated T cells, such as the programmed death-1 (PD-1) receptor. When engaged, PD-1 sends a negative signal to deactivate the T cell, and this contributes to the immune exhaustion seen in both cancer and in chronic infections. Some cancers express the ligand or the “trigger” for this shut down receptor, called PD-1 ligand (PD-L1). When this interaction between PD-1 and PD-L1 is interrupted, for example by using a blocking antibody, T cells can regain their killing capacity and destroy infected cells or cancer cells. This anti-PD-1 therapy has demonstrated high success against a variety of tumors. Therefore, we tested this approach in the context of HIV infection using a well-characterized cohort of HIV-positive individuals to see if we could improve their T cell responses to HIV in a laboratory setting.
Author Interviews, CMAJ, HIV, Sexual Health / 20.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46090" align="alignleft" width="200"]"HIV infecting a human cell" by NIH Image Gallery is licensed under CC BY 2.0 HIV Infecting T Cell[/caption] Rachel Rodin Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control Public Health Agency of Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: On December 1, 2016 (World AIDS Day), the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, federal Minister of Justice, committed to working with provinces and territories, affected communities, and medical professionals to examine the criminal justice system’s response to non-disclosure of HIV status in the context of sexual relations. To this end, Justice Canada worked with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), provincial and territorial public health and justice counterparts, and a variety of other stakeholders to develop a comprehensive report on the issue of HIV non-disclosure. As part of this work, Justice Canada asked PHAC to provide an assessment of the most recent medical science on sexual HIV transmission risk. In collaboration with external peer reviewers, PHAC undertook a systematic review of the full body of scientific evidence on sexual HIV transmission risk. The review found that the risk of sexual transmission of HIV is negligible when an individual is taking antiretroviral therapy as prescribed and maintains a suppressed viral load. The review also concluded that the risk remains low when the individual is on antiretroviral therapy with varying viral load, or is not on antiretroviral therapy but uses condoms.   
Author Interviews, HIV, HPV, PLoS, Sexual Health / 09.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45122" align="alignleft" width="128"]Brandon Brown, MPH, PhD Associate Professor Center for Healthy Communities Department of Social Medicine, Population and Public Health UCR School of Medicine Riverside, CA  Dr. Brown[/caption] Brandon Brown, MPH, PhD Associate Professor Center for Healthy Communities Department of Social Medicine, Population and Public Health UCR School of Medicine Riverside, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The authors have been working in Lima, Peru on HIV-related projects for over 17 years. This particular study arose out of interest from our main community collaborator and the only gay men’s health NGO in Lima, Epicentro Salud (http://epicentro.org.pe/index.php/en/). The NGO noticed that one of the main health issues among their clients was genital warts. When we learned this, we applied for funding through the Merck Investigator Initiated Studies Program to conduct a study examining the link between genital warts and incident HIV infection. [caption id="attachment_45123" align="alignleft" width="400"]The relationship between anogenital HPV types and incident HIV infection among men who have sex with men and transgender women in Lima, Peru The relationship between anogenital HPV types and incident HIV infection among men who have sex with men and transgender women in Lima, Peru[/caption] Although most studies have shown a general link between HPV and HIV co-infection, our findings illustrate the strong relationship between individual HPV types and HIV infection. Specifically, individuals in our study with any HPV type, more than one HPV type, or high-risk HPV were more likely to acquire HIV.
Author Interviews, HIV, NEJM, Yale / 17.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43945" align="alignleft" width="149"]Brinda Emu, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) Yale School of Medicine Dr. Emu[/caption] Brinda Emu, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) Yale School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This was a Phase 3 study of a new antiretroviral agent, ibalizumab, for the treatment of HIV-1 infection.  Ibalizumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets the CD4 receptor on host cells.  CD4 is the receptor that HIV uses to infect CD4+ T cells.  By binding to the CD4 receptor, ibalizumab prevents viral entry.  This study recruited patients that harbor multi-drug resistant HIV and were failing their current regimen of antiretroviral agents, and thus had limited options for treatment of their HIV-1 infection using approved medications.
Author Interviews, HIV, Pharmaceutical Companies / 16.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: TaiMed BiologicsStanley Lewis, M.D. TaiMed Biologics Irvine, CA 92614 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The phase III clinical trial was conducted to assess the efficacy and safety of Trogarzo™ (ibalizumab-uiyk) injection in patients with multidrug resistant HIV-1. The study design was approved by the FDA. Results obtained were included in the New Drug Application submitted to the FDA which approved Trogarzo™ on March 6, 2018. The phase III, open-label study, enrolled 40 patients with multidrug-resistant (MDR) HIV-1 in whom multiple antiretroviral therapies had failed. All patients at baseline were experiencing viral failure. After a seven-day control period, patients received an intravenous 2000 mg loading dose of Trogarzo™ which was the only change made to their antiretroviral regimen. Through the 24-week treatment period of the study, patients were given a maintenance dose of 800 mg of Trogarzo™ every two weeks along with an optimized background regimen that included at least one additional fully active agent.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gastrointestinal Disease, HIV, JAMA / 05.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43740" align="alignleft" width="200"]Barrett's Esophagus -wikipedia Barrett's Esophagus -wikipedia[/caption] Shan Rajendra MBBCh, MSc , MD, FRCP, FRACP Professor of Medicine University of New South Wales Director of Medicine & Clinical Executive Director Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital Director Gastro-Intestinal Viral Oncology Group Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research Sydney  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: High-risk human papillomavirus(HPV)  infection has been strongly associated with a subset of Barrett’s dysplasia and oesophageal adenocarcinoma. The research question was; Does HPV status of Barrett’s high-grade dysplasia and esophageal adenocarcinoma influence survival as in viral positive head and neck cancers? We therefore sought to determine the prognostic significance of esophageal tumor HPV status and associated viral transcriptional markers (E6/E7 mRNA and p16INK4A) and TP53.
Author Interviews, HIV, Merck / 02.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: merck Kathleen Squires MD Director, Division of Infectious Diseases Jefferson University Hospitals and Ming-Tai Lai, PhD Senior Principal Scientist, Biology Discover Merck   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Squires: The DRIVE-FORWARD study is a pivotal, randomized, double-blind, Phase 3 study that evaluated the safety and efficacy of doravirine (DOR), a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) in treatment-naïve adults with HIV-1 infection. Data from week 48 of this trial have previously been presented demonstrating that doravirine met its primary endpoint of non-inferior efficacy compared to ritonavir-boosted darunavir (DRV+r). In addition, at 48 weeks, a secondary endpoint showed that the doravirine-treated group had statistically significant lower levels of fasting LDL-C and non-HDL-C versus the DRV+r group. The data presented at AIDS 2018 are week 96 data from the DRIVE-FORWARD trial. At week 96, the doravirine group demonstrated efficacy of 73.1% compared with 66.0% in the DRV+r group, a treatment difference of 7.1% (95% CI: 0.5, 13.7)  Two participants in the DOR treatment group developed genotypic and phenotypic resistance to DOR through 96 weeks of treatment. The rate of discontinuation of therapy due to adverse events was 1.6 percent in the DOR group and 3.4 percent in the DRV+r group. Doravirine is a late-stage investigational NNRTI for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in treatment-naïve adults and is being evaluated both as a once-daily single-entity tablet in combination with other antiretroviral agents, and as a once-daily fixed-dose combination regimen with lamivudine (3TC) and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). Earlier this year, Merck announced that the FDA accepted for review two New Drug Applications (NDAs) for doravirine for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in treatment-naïve adults. The NDAs are based upon the findings at week 48 of two ongoing Phase 3 trials, DRIVE-FORWARD and DRIVE-AHEAD, evaluating the efficacy and safety of doravirine and the fixed-dose combination regimen of DOR/3TC/TDF, respectively. The FDA has set a target action date of October 23, 2018 for both applications. Dr. Lai: This study aimed to characterize the mutant viruses selected in treatment-naïve participants through week 48 from DRIVE-FORWARD and DRIVE-AHEAD, and to assess the impact of selected mutations on non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) susceptibility and viral fitness. All of the seven doravirine (DOR)-resistant mutants are either partially susceptible or susceptible to etravirine. Mutants containing the F227C substitution were shown to be hypersusceptible to some nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) such as azidothymidine (AZT), tenofovir (TFV), lamivudine (3TC), and MK-8591. Among the 12 participants who developed efavirenz (EFV) resistance, 9 of the EFV-resistant clinical mutants were susceptible to DOR with fold-change <2.5. The majority of DOR-selected viruses identified in the treatment-naïve participants in clinical trials to date retain susceptibility to etravirine and hypersensitivity to some NRTIs, with low replication capacity. In addition, the majority of EFV-selected viruses retain susceptibility to DOR. 
Author Interviews, HIV, JAMA / 25.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43405" align="alignleft" width="150"]Michael S. Saag, MD Professor,Division of Infectious Diseases UAB Dr. Saag[/caption] Michael S. Saag, MD Professor,Division of Infectious Diseases UAB MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 
  • An update of prior recommendations made by the IAS-USA, which have been updated every 2 years since 1996
  • Cover ARVs for prevention and treatment of HIV infection
  • Developed by an international panel of 16 volunteer experts in HIV research and patient care appointed by the IAS–USA
    • Members receive no compensation and do not participate in industry promotional activities while on the panel
  • Primarily for clinicians in highly resourced settings; however, principles are universally applicable
  • Reviewed data published or presented from September 2016 through June 2018
  • Rated on strength of recommendation and quality of evidence
Author Interviews, Global Health, HIV / 25.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43466" align="alignleft" width="200"]Professor Donna Spiegelman ScD Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Biostatistics Director, Center for Methods in Implementation and Prevention Science (CMIPS)­­­­­­, Yale School of Public Health Professor, Department of Statistics and Data Science, Yale University Director, Interdisciplinary Methods Core, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS Yale School of Medicine Dr. Spiegelman[/caption] Professor Donna Spiegelman ScD Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Biostatistics Director, Center for Methods in Implementation and Prevention Science (CMIPS)­­­­­­, Yale School of Public Health Professor, Department of Statistics and Data Science, Yale University Director, Interdisciplinary Methods Core, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS Yale School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: HIV infections can be transmitted from mothers to their infants during pregnancy, childbirth, and  breastfeeding.  Without access to a package of health services that includes antiretroviral medicines and counseling on best breastfeeding practices, it is estimated that 25% of children born to HIV-positive mothers become infected with HIV.In low-resource settings, 50% of these children die before their second birthday. A 32% increase in under-five mortality between 1988 and 2003 prompted the Kenyan government to establish Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programs in over 10,000 health facilities. This achievement was supported by U.S.President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the which contributed over $248 million to PMTCT programs in Kenya between 2004 and 2014. Although this investments in PMTCT coincided with a remarkable halving of Kenya’s under-five mortality rate, it is unknown whether this improvement can be causally attributed to PEPFAR funding for PMTCT. During the 2000s, child mortality decreased across most of sub-Saharan African countries.  These regional trends, rather than PEPFAR funding, may explain all or part of Kenya’s reduction in over 10,000 in child mortality. To help identify whether PEPFAR’s investments in PMTCT made a causal contribution to this reduction in child mortality, we used statistical methods to assess whether the amount or “dose” of PEPFAR funding provided to different provinces in Kenya was associated with increased HIV testing among pregnant women, which is a critical first step in identifying which women need PMTCT, and reduced infant mortality in Kenya.
Author Interviews, HIV, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, STD / 24.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43452" align="alignleft" width="135"]Monika K. Goyal, M.D., M.S.C.E., senior study author Assistant professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine Children’s National Health System Washington, DC Dr. Goyal[/caption] Monika K. Goyal, M.D., M.S.C.E., senior study author Assistant professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine Children’s National Health System Washington, DC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) are at an increased risk for syphilis and HIV. We know that adolescents account for 20 percent of the 1 million cases of PID that are diagnosed each year. We also know that an estimated one in four sexually active adolescent females has a sexually transmitted infection (STI). While screening for syphilis and HIV is recommended when diagnosing PID, actual screening rates among adolescents have been understudied. This multi-center study aimed to quantify rates of HIV and syphilis screening in young women diagnosed with . pelvic inflammatory disease in pediatric emergency departments and to explore patient- and hospital-specific characteristics associated with screening for these two sexually transmitted infections.
Author Interviews, Beth Israel Deaconess, HIV, Lancet, Vaccine Studies / 08.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42987" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dan Barouch, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard Director, Center for Virology and Vaccine Research Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston, MA 02215 Dr. Barouch[/caption] Dan Barouch, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard Director, Center for Virology and Vaccine Research Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston, MA 02215 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study demonstrates that the mosaic Ad26/Env HIV vaccine candidate induced robust and comparable immune responses in humans and monkeys. Moreover, the vaccine provided 67% protection against viral challenge in monkeys.   
Author Interviews, CDC, HIV, University of Michigan / 26.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42366" align="alignleft" width="200"]Rogério M. Pinto, LCSW, Ph.D. Associate Professor Associate Dean for Research School of Social Work University of Michigan Ann Arbor, USA Dr. Pinto[/caption] Rogério M. Pinto, LCSW, Ph.D. Associate Professor Associate Dean for Research School of Social Work University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This research, published in Health Education & Behavior (https://doi.org/10.1177/1090198118760681),highlights the crucial role of providers of social and public health services in helping patients to access lifesaving HIV services. Before 2012, providers were encouraged and trained to link patients to behavioral interventions to help patients modify their behaviors to protect themselves against HIV transmission and infection. A shift in policy from targeting anyone at risk to those at highest risk (called “High Impact Prevention”) made these interventions less available (they were actually discontinued) and new policy dictated that providers should have as many people as possible access HIV testing and link them to HIV primary care in order to receive antiretroviral medication.
Author Interviews, HIV, University of Michigan / 13.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42366" align="alignleft" width="200"]Rogério M. Pinto, LCSW, Ph.D. Associate Professor Associate Dean for Research School of Social Work University of Michigan Ann Arbor, USA Dr. Pinto[/caption] Rogério M. Pinto, LCSW, Ph.D. Associate Professor Associate Dean for Research School of Social Work University of Michigan Ann Arbor, USA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This integrative review, published in the journal AIDS and Behavior, includes content from 47 peer-reviewed scholarly articles reporting multiple barriers to high-risk individuals trying to access pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the HIV drugs that reduce subsequent risk of infection. We found 31 potential solutions to 30 barriers at the patient, provider and health-system levels. In synthesizing this research from a multi-level perspective, based upon a socioecological model, our report contributes much-needed analysis to the rapidly expanding field of PrEP implementation research. At this stage in the scale-up of U.S. PrEP programs, it is important to systematically and comprehensively analyze and integrate knowledge about the successes of and the barriers to PrEP implementation. Our review provides a comprehensive analysis and informs the direction of PrEP implementation across a variety of settings.
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HIV, Infections / 12.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42261" align="alignleft" width="200"]Lesley S. Park, PhD, MPH Instructor, Medicine- Primary Care and Population Health BioStanford Center for Population Health Sciences (PHS) Associate Director, Research and Data Strategy; Director, PHS Postdoctoral Fellowship Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) Cancer Core Co-Director Dr. Lesley Park[/caption] Lesley S. Park, PhD, MPH Instructor, Medicine- Primary Care and Population Health BioStanford Center for Population Health Sciences (PHS) Associate Director, Research and Data Strategy; Director, PHS Postdoctoral Fellowship Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) Cancer Core Co-Director MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: As the population of persons living with HIV/AIDS is aging, the overall burden of cancer is substantial and increasing; however, we have much to learn about the potential cancer prevention benefits of antiretroviral treatment (ART). Our study is the first to examine the effects of prolonged periods of viral suppression and potential cancer prevention benefits. While prior randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and observational studies have examined viral suppression and cancer risk, they mostly were limited to small numbers of cancer outcomes or were only focused on few specific cancer types. Our study demonstrated a benefit of the prevention of cancer development in AIDS-defining cancers (non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Kaposi sarcoma), which was expected, but also in some non-AIDS-defining cancer types (lung, larynx, melanoma, leukemia). 
Author Interviews, HIV, Infections, OBGYNE / 12.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42314" align="alignleft" width="114"]Manish Sagar, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine Boston MA  Dr. Sagar[/caption] Manish Sagar, MD Infectious Disease Physician at Boston Medical Center Boston MA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Women compromise the majority of new infections in the world and most of them acquire the virus after sexual exposure.  The goal of the study was to understand how HIV establishes initial infection in the female genital tract. We obtained discarded vaginal tissue and isolated cells present in the outermost layer that contact the virus during exposure.
Author Interviews, CDC, HIV, Sexual Health / 29.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sonia Singh, PhD, Epidemiologist Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention CDC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: HIV infection is a persistent health concern in the United States, particularly for people at high risk of infection such as gay and bisexual men. We used data from the National HIV Surveillance System to estimate HIV incidence and prevalence and the percentage of undiagnosed HIV infections overall and among gay and bisexual men. Estimated HIV incidence declined nearly 15% overall in the U.S. from an estimated 45,200 infections in 2008 to 38,500 in 2015. Estimated HIV incidence declined for both males (9%) and females (33%) over this period. Estimated HIV incidence declined 32% among heterosexuals, 42% among people who inject drugs and 20% among gay and bisexual men who also inject drugs. Estimated HIV incidence remained relatively stable among gay and bisexual men; however, it increased over 25% among Latino gay and bisexual men, almost 45% among gay and bisexual men ages 25 to 34 and 30% among gay and bisexual men ages 55 and older. The percentage of undiagnosed HIV infections decreased nearly 20%, from 18.1% in 2008 to 14.5% in 2015. The percentage of undiagnosed HIV infections among gay and bisexual men declined 21.6%, from 21.3% in 2008 to 16.7% in 2015. In 2015, the percentage of undiagnosed HIV infections was highest among gay and bisexual males ages 13-24 (52.2%) compared to other age groups and higher among Latino (20.1%) and African American (19.6%) gay and bisexual men, as well as Asian gay and bisexual men (20.5%), compared to white gay and bisexual men (11.9%).
Author Interviews, HIV, NYU, PLoS, Zika / 23.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40227" align="alignleft" width="300"]Researchers at NYU College of Dentistry are developing a test for Zika virus that uses saliva to identify diagnostic markers of the virus in a fraction of the time of current tests. NYU/Sapna Parikh Researchers at NYU College of Dentistry are developing a test for Zika virus that uses saliva to identify diagnostic markers of the virus in a fraction of the time of current tests.
NYU/Sapna Parikh[/caption] Maite Sabalza Ph.D Post Doctoral Associate Department of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology College of Dentistry, New York University New York, NY 10010 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: With previous NIH funding we were able to develop an automated “dual assay” (able to detect both host antibodies and viral RNA) for HIV. In relatively short time, we were able to migrate those findings into the new assay for ZIKA Virus.
Author Interviews, HIV, NIH, PLoS / 18.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39372" align="alignleft" width="300"]“HIV-infected T cell” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0 HIV-infected T-cell
NIAID image[/caption] Tae-Wook Chun, Ph.D. National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20892  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: While antiretroviral therapy (ART) has improved the clinical outcome for people living with HIV, persistence of viral reservoirs in the peripheral blood and lymphoid tissues remains a hurdle to complete eradication of virus and cure of the infection. We know the vast majority of people living with HIV will experience plasma viral rebound within weeks of cessation of therapy. Considering that current research on the treatment of people living with HIV has been heavily focused on developing strategies aimed at achieving sustained virologic remission in the absence of ART, it is of great interest to investigate whether treatment interruption results in expansion of the viral reservoir and/or damage to the immune system. Using data from a recently concluded trial that employed short-term analytical treatment interruption (ATI), we found that, as expected, HIV DNA increased in the CD4+ T cells of individuals living with HIV during the treatment interruption phase. However, the size of the HIV reservoirs as well as immune parameters returned to baseline 6–12 months after the participants resumed ART. 
Author Interviews, HIV, Infections, Lancet, STD / 12.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38868" align="alignleft" width="155"]Professor Jean-Michel Molina MD Head of Department of Infectious Diseases, Hôpital Saint-Louis Paris France  Prof. Molina[/caption] Professor Jean-Michel Molina MD Head of Department of Infectious Diseases, Hôpital Saint-Louis Paris France  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is a high rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among Pre-exposure prophylaxis users and we wished to assess whether post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) with doxycycline could reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infections in this population. We have found indeed a high rate of STIs most of them (71%) being asymptomatic and warranting therefore systematic testing. Also PEP reduced the incidence of syphilis and chlamydiae infection by 70%, not for gonorrhea due to the high rate of detection in throat swabs without any impact of PEP.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Compliance, HIV, JAMA / 16.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38366" align="alignleft" width="200"]Ryan Sanford Ryan Sanford[/caption] Ryan Sanford, MEng Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery Montreal Neurological Institute McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: With the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) the outlook for HIV+ individuals has dramatically shifted from a fatal disease to a chronic manageable condition. However, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders are still prevalent. The etiology of this dysfunction remains unknown. Previous work has reported progressive brain atrophy in HIV+ individuals with advanced disease and poor viral suppression, but it is unclear whether stable treatment and effective viral suppression can mitigate the progression of brain atrophy. To examine this issue, we followed well-treated HIV+ individuals with good viral suppression and well-matched controls, and assessed whether ongoing brain atrophy occurs over time. The main finding in this study was the HIV+ participants had reduced brain volumes and poorer cognitive performance compared to the control group, but the changes in brain volumes and cognitive performance were similar between the groups.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, HIV, Lancet / 13.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38292" align="alignleft" width="97"]Dr Valentina Cambiano PhD Institute for Global Health University College London London UK Dr. Cambiano[/caption] Dr Valentina Cambiano PhD Institute for Global Health University College London London UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) which involves the use of drugs, which are used to treat HIV, in people without HIV to prevent them from getting is a critical new advance in HIV prevention. It has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by 86% and the benefits heavily out-weigh any concerns. However, introducing this intervention has a cost. When we started working on this study the National Health Services was discussing whether to introduce PrEP and if so for which populations. Unfortunately, at the moment NHS England is not providing Pre-exposure prophylaxis. However, a large study, the PrEP impact trial, funded by the NHS, has just started and this will provide PrEP to 10,000 people.
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, HIV, Sexual Health / 09.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38140" align="alignleft" width="116"]Adrian Juarez, PhD, RN Assistant Professor The State University of New York School of Nursing  Department of Family, Community and Health Systems Sciences Buffalo, New York 14214 Dr. Juarez[/caption] Adrian Juarez, PhD, RN Assistant Professor The State University of New York School of Nursing Department of Family, Community and Health Systems Sciences Buffalo, New York 14214     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: HIV testing is considered the initial component of HIV eradication strategies such as “seek, test, treat, and retain.” This study examines the characteristics of an urban, transgender population in western New York when volunteering for an HIV test. The use of an intersectional lens was observed in order to determine the level of influence of sexual partnership types, previous HIV and STD testing, substance use, housing status referral source and racial/gender identification on HIV testing.
Author Interviews, HIV, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 08.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marcin Jankiewicz  University of Cape Town Cape Town, South AfricaMarcin Jankiewicz  University of Cape Town Cape Town, South Africa  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The Children with HIV Early Antiretroviral (CHER) trial, conducted in Cape Town and Soweto, was designed when there was uncertainty whether to start antiretroviral therapy (ART) as soon as HIV was diagnosed (below 12 weeks of age) or to wait until there was evidence of immuno-compromise and disease progression. Also, there were concerns about maintaining adherence, long-term toxicity and also resistance in the setting of few antiretroviral options. Early outcomes showed a decreased risk in childhood mortality in the early treatment arms compared to deferred treatment, becoming standard of care globally. The CHER cohort is one of the largest and best documented of children receiving ART within the first year of life. Also, age- and community-matched HIV exposed uninfected (HEU) and HIV unexposed (HU) uninfected infants were enrolled in parallel for a linked vaccine study. We therefore had an amazing opportunity to link with a neurodevelopmental sub-study in participants from Cape Town and apply sophisticated neuroimaging modalities that could link with clinical, virological and immunological characteristics.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Cognitive Issues, HIV / 03.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37849" align="alignleft" width="107"]Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, DFASAM Department of Community Health Sciences Boston University School of Public Health Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicin Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center Boston , Massachusetts Dr. Saitz[/caption] Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, DFASAM Department of Community Health Sciences Boston University School of Public Health Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicin Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center Boston , Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Many people living with HIV infection use alcohol and other drugs including marijuana. People with HIV infection are also susceptible to cognitive dysfunction from many causes from HIV infection itself to aging. The main findings were that among people with HIV and substance use disorder, lifetime marijuana and alcohol use were not associated with cognitive dysfunction, likely due to competing risks.  But current marijuana use was associated with cognitive dysfunction.
Author Interviews, HIV, Infections / 06.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Paul M. Salcuni, MPH Department of Health and Mental Hygiene New York City MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: NYC Health Department is committed to ensuring equitable access to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for all New Yorkers who are HIV-negative and may be exposed to HIV. We examined trends in PrEP prescribing by 602 ambulatory care practices in New York City from 2014 to 2016, as well as associated patient and practice factors, to inform our comprehensive scale-up efforts. For every 100,000 medical visits in the first three months of 2014, roughly 39 involved a patient being prescribed PrEP. In the second quarter of 2016, 419 of every 100,000 medical visits at those same practices involved a PrEP prescription. Despite this nine-fold increase overall, some groups of patients among these practices were less likely to be prescribed PrEP. Those groups include men of color, women, and people getting health care at smaller private practices or practices outside of the city center.