New scientific findings to inform HIV prevention efforts were among the key highlights shared at CROI yesterday, according to Dr. Carl Dieffenbach, Director of the Division of AIDS at NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). After another day full of presentations on the latest in HIV science at the 2016 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston on February 24, we had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Dieffenbach to get his take on findings that may be of particular interest to AIDS.gov followers.
Dr. Dieffenbach discussed the findings from ASPIRE, a large NIH-funded clinical trial that found that a vaginal ring containing a sustained-release antiretroviral drug conferred partial protection against HIV among women in sub-Saharan Africa. The ring reduced the risk of HIV infection by 27 percent in the study population overall and by 61 percent among women ages 25 years and older. The study results were announced at CROI and simultaneously published online in the New England Journal of Medicine . (View the presentation by Dr. Jared Baeten. Read the related post from NIH.)
Dr. Dieffenbach also highlighted initial findings presented on a novel approach to promote and support the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among Black gay and bisexual men. The promising findings from the NIH-supported HIV Prevention Trials Network study 073 were particularly welcome coming the day following the release of analyses by CDC indicating that if current HIV diagnoses rates persist, about 1 in 2 Black men who have sex with men (MSM) in the U.S. will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime. The study found that daily PrEP uptake was high among the participating Black MSM in 3 U.S. cities and that the coordinated counseling model appeared to support sustained adherence and a reduced rate of HIV infection. (Read more about HPTN 073 )
Tomorrow, Dr. Dieffenbach will return to share brief highlights of the science presented on the conference’s final day.