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New HIV prevention data for women

Two studies presented at CROI today, ASPIRE and the Ring Trial, show the promise of a new prevention technology for women - the dapivarine vaginal ring. Both trials showed similar findings – with the ring reducing risk of transmission by approximately 30%. Efficacy was substantially higher among women older than 21 years who appeared to keep the ring in consistently throughout the month. As with previous trials, adherence appeared to be lower among adolescent women, which may explain the lower levels of efficacy in those under 21 years.

Pangaea strongly supports calls for investment in further evaluation of the dapivirne ring, and in Microbicides more broadly.

Dr Megan Dunbar, Pangaea’s Senior Vice President of Research and Policy commented, "Women need to be at the center of decision-making about future research and implementation of the ring. Open label studies designed with women’s full input must move forward to answer if and how real-world use may lead to greater adherence and improved efficacy, particularly for those in younger age groups.”

The other key message from today is that we need to move rapidly forward on scaling up PrEP for women, which is currently the only proven ART-based prevention intervention.

In April this year, Pangaea will convene an expert meeting of policy and community leaders, advocates and researchers to determine key priorities for advancing research to roll-out of prevention innovations for young women, including PrEP and the vaginal ring.

For more information about the dapivirne ring, please visit the AVAC website at www.avac.org http://www.avac.org/

This World AIDS Day is a promising one with several new HIV prevention interventions for young women on the horizon.

It is in Zimbabwe's best interest to prepare for these emerging strategies now. Just last year, HIV prevalence among pregnant women aged 15-24 in Zimbabwe was a startling 10.4 percent. This number is indicative of a larger trend in southern Africa where adolescent women are up to eight times more likely to become infected with HIV than young men.

Young women's high rates of HIV are due in part to biological, social and economic factors making them more susceptible. Because efforts to promote abstinence, monogamy and the use of male condoms have not been enough to stop HIV among girls and young women, researchers have been working to develop women-initiated biomedical prevention interventions. Years of scientific exploration here in Zimbabwe and around the world are finally starting to pay off. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), microbicide gels and rings are three methods that could potentially turn around the endemic rates of HIV in young women.

Denmark has played an important role in the Global AIDS response. However, at the same time that the Danish government agreed to implement the SDGs, it announced that it has also prepared a finance act that proposes dramatic cuts in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

We understand that this includes a planned yearly cut of 65 million DK to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for 2015 and 2016 (almost $20 million USD), despite the promises made by the Danish Prime Minister and Nordic heads of state during US President Obama’s 2013 visit to Stockholm and the pledge made at the Global Fund Replenishment meeting in 2013. The Global Fund is the mechanism through which more than 8 million people have accessed life-saving HIV medicine over the last decade. It provides preventative treatment so that women living with HIV can have HIV-negative babies, and it supports prevention and harm reduction services to underserved populations. Your government is putting these gains at risk and letting people down.

On top of this, the Danish Government proposes to end its contributions to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, end funding for the International Partnership for Microbicides and International AIDS Vaccine Initiative that advance scientific research in microbicides and AIDS vaccines, as well as decreasing its contributions to UNAIDS, and bilateral support to HIV/AIDS and health programs in high prevalence countries.

These cuts are in sharp contrast to what global leaders committed to in New York in September With ninety other international NGOs, we call on the Danish Government to deliver on the promises it has made to help meet the Sustainable Development Goals, and reverse the threatened cuts to the global AIDS response – and the Global Fund, in particular.

For more information and to read the Open Letter from Civil Society Organizations Around the World please visit the following link

http:///www.globalfundadvocatesnetwork.org/over-90-ngos-call-on-danish-pm-to-reverse-cuts-in-fight-against-hivaids

AIDS is not one uniform global epidemic, but a series of individual epidemics driven by local circumstances. The need for effective HIV treatment programs that reflect particular contexts has never been greater.

A major new program of Pangaea is, to develop and cost a series of single descriptive case studies documenting effective approaches to HIV service delivery in East and Southern Africa. The goal of this project is to document ARV treatment and support programs that are improving the uptake and retention of clients in care. Pangaea is collaborating with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), who will be performing the cost estimates for each of the case studies. The selection of programs for the case study development will seek to present information about a diverse set of programs, looking at both community- and facility-based services and at programs addressing urban and rural populations, key affected populations, and programs that are well integrated with other areas of health services including primary care, sexual, reproductive, and maternal health, and TB services. We are particularly interested in identifying effective HIV treatment initiatives that combine the clinical expertise found in the health facilities and the leadership of the local communities to help as many HIV positive people stay in care and on treatment.

The ultimate goal of the project is to produce clear, policy-relevant cost and effectiveness data around best practices in the HIV space. In addition, dissemination of the methodology used to create the case studies and cost estimates can serve as a template for replication of the process at country levels in order to better understand what program models are working. Through this process, Pangaea seeks to improve uptake and scale of HIV services and fill the gaps in the HIV treatment cascade.

The project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

As each case study is finalized, it will be posted on this website. Completed case studies include:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved the first rapid Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) test for the simultaneous detection of HIV-1 p24 antigen as well as antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 in human serum, plasma, and venous or fingerstick whole blood specimens. Approved for use as an aid in the diagnosis of HIV-1 and HIV-2 infection, the Alere Determine HIV-1/2 Ag/Ab Combo test is also the first FDA-approved test that independently distinguishes results for HIV-1 p24 antigen and HIV antibodies in a single test.

Read full press release by clicking here.

37 million People worldwide are living with HIV (amfAR Statistics 2014: Worldwide)

16 million Women living with HIV (United Nations Statistics 2014)

15 million People living with HIV having access to antiretroviral therapy (amfAR Statistics 2014: Worldwide)

5,600 People Contract HIV every day - more than 230 every hour (amfAR Statistics 2014: Worldwide)