Wednesday, July 25, 2012

HIV updates

The XIX Annual International AIDS Conference is currently underway in Washington, D.C., and several recent developments have occurred in the fight against HIV/AIDS:

Home Testing

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first over-the-counter home-use rapid HIV test on July 3. The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is designed to allow individuals to collect an oral fluid sample and obtain test results within 20 to 40 minutes.

A positive result with this test does not mean that an individual is definitely infected with HIV, but rather that additional testing should be done in a medical setting to confirm the test result. Similarly, a negative test result does not mean that an individual is definitely not infected with HIV, particularly when exposure may have been within the previous three months. The test has the potential to identify large numbers of previously undiagnosed HIV infections especially if used by those unlikely to use standard screening methods.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

On July 16, FDA approved Truvada (a fixed dose combination of two antiretrovirals used to treat HIV) to reduce the risk of HIV infection in uninfected individuals who are at high risk of HIV infection and who may engage in sexual activity with HIV-infected partners. Truvada is to be used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in combination with safer sex practices to prevent sexually-acquired HIV infection in adults at high risk. Truvada is the first drug approved for this indication.

Truvada for PrEP is meant to be used as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention plan that includes risk reduction counseling consistent and correct condom use, regular HIV testing, and screening for and treatment of other sexually-transmitted infections. Truvada is not a substitute for safer sex practices. As part of PrEP, HIV-uninfected individuals who are at high risk will need to take Truvada daily to lower their chances of becoming infected with HIV should they be exposed to the virus.

For more information about PrEP, visit

Prevention with Positives

Earlier this week, US CDC launched the first ever Prevention with Positives website to help address the prevention needs of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Trends in HIV-related Risk Behaviors Among High School Students

An early release MMWR article “Trends in HIV-Related Risk Behaviors Among High School Students — United States, 1991–2011” describes the analysis of data from the biennial national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) with results that suggest that progress in reducing some HIV-related risk behaviors among high school students overall and in certain populations stalled in the past decade. The article suggests that renewed educational efforts and other risk reduction interventions are warranted to reduce the number of young persons who become infected with HIV.

Maine Reports

Maine's May 2012 HIV/STD update and 2011 HIV/STD Surveillance Report are now both posted on the Maine CDC website.

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