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FDA approves Truvada for prevention of HIV/AIDS
July 16th, 2012
03:30 PM ET

FDA approves Truvada for prevention of HIV/AIDS

Adults who do not have HIV but are at risk of getting the disease will now be able to take a drug to reduce their chance of getting infected. For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug for this use on Monday.

The drug is Truvada, an antiretroviral medication made by Gilead Sciences, Inc., which was already approved by the FDA in 2004 to help control HIV infection. 

Truvada is a combination of two HIV medications - emtricitabine (Emtriva) and tenofovir (Viread) - into one pill that is taken once a day.  As a treatment for HIV, it is always used in combination with other HIV drugs.

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Studies highlight effectiveness of HIV prevention drug
July 11th, 2012
05:45 PM ET

Studies highlight effectiveness of HIV prevention drug

A drug widely used to treat HIV is also highly effective at preventing infection in HIV-free individuals - as long as those individuals take the drug every day as prescribed, newly released trial data shows.

The drug, an antiretroviral pill known as Truvada, interferes with the replication of the most common HIV virus and can reduce the risk of new infection by 62% or more if taken consistently, according to the results of three studies published today on the website of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In May, based on these and other studies, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee recommended that the agency approve Truvada for men who have sex with men, people whose romantic partner is HIV-positive, and other high-risk groups. If approved, Truvada would be the first drug indicated for the prevention of sexually transmitted HIV.

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Filed under: Health.com • HIV/AIDS

Overheard: Ban on gay men donating blood
July 9th, 2012
12:04 PM ET

Overheard: Ban on gay men donating blood

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Blood donations are down in the U.S. this summer. Gay men have been banned from donating blood because it has been connected to the spread of AIDS. But policymakers are re-examining that ban. The debate has raged among officials, and created a national conversation, as reflected in in CNN.com comments.

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Filed under: Conditions • HIV/AIDS

FDA approves first at home rapid HIV test
July 3rd, 2012
02:02 PM ET

FDA approves first at home rapid HIV test

 The first ever over-the-counter rapid HIV test has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Users of the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test swab their upper and lower gums with the included test pad device and place it into a vial of solution.  Much like a pregnancy test, one line shows up if the test is negative, two lines means a positive test. Test results take about 20 minutes.

A positive reading does not mean a definite human immunodeficiency virus, but that additional testing should be scheduled with a health professional.  However, the FDA also cautions that 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 FDA approved another in-home test in 1996, however those samples needed to sent away to a lab for results.

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Today is National HIV Testing Day
June 27th, 2012
01:24 PM ET

Today is National HIV Testing Day

Almost 1.2 million Americans living in the United States are HIV positive,  but about 240,000 (or 1 in 5), don't know they are infected. That's because they have not been tested.

Today is the 18th National HIV Testing Day, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending everyone between the ages 13 and 64 get an AIDS test. 

The CDC says: "An HIV test is recommended once a year for people at increased risk - such as gay and bisexual men, injection drug users, or people with multiple sex partners. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing (e.g., every 3 to 6 months)."
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FDA panel recommends approving home HIV test
May 15th, 2012
07:48 PM ET

FDA panel recommends approving home HIV test

Consumers may soon be able to test themselves for HIV and quickly learn the results in the privacy of their own homes following a unanimous approval recommendation from a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee on Tuesday.

The panel said the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test should be made available over-the-counter (OTC) saying the test is safe and effective and that the benefits far outweigh the potential risks.

If approved by the FDA, the test will be the first OTC test to be marketed for HIV or any infectious disease.  FDA advisory committee recommendations are not binding, but they are generally followed.

An estimated 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.  One in five of those are unaware of their HIV status.  And about 50,000 new cases of HIV are reported each year.

OraSure Technologies, Inc., the manufacturer of this new test, also makes the already approved OraQuick ADVANCE Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test.

That test can only be used in a clinical setting and results are provided in 20 minutes.  The In-home test is a modified version where the individual swabs the upper and lower gums with a test pad device.  That device is then inserted into a vial of solution. Much like a pregnancy test, one line shows up if the test is negative, two lines means it's  positive.

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April 4th, 2012
05:01 PM ET

Clues to creating an effective HIV vaccine

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week reveals clues for understanding the human immune response to the HIV virus.

“This analysis has produced some intriguing hints about what types of human immune responses a preventive HIV vaccine may need to induce,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“With further exploration, this new knowledge may bring us a step closer to developing a broadly protective HIV vaccine.”

The findings created a buzz when they were originally presented at the annual AIDS Vaccine conference in Bangkok, Thailand in September 2011.

For more, check out CNN's previous report on the study.

'Cutting' your risk of prostate cancer
March 12th, 2012
10:32 AM ET

'Cutting' your risk of prostate cancer

They don't call it "The Big C" for nothing. People don't even like to say the word out loud.

The good news, we're told, is that there are many things we can do – or not do – in our adult lives to lower our risk of developing different types of cancer. Want to avoid lung cancer? Don't smoke. Want to lower your risk of skin cancer? Stay out of the sun, or utilize a proper sunscreen.

But a new study published Monday in Cancer suggests that at least one decision our parents make FOR us may have an impact on our predisposition to certain types of cancer.

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Filed under: Cancer • HIV/AIDS • HPV • Men's Health • Sex

Sexual activity and STD rate up among seniors
February 2nd, 2012
06:30 PM ET

Sexual activity and STD rate up among seniors

New research published Thursday by the British Medical Journal shows that 80% of 50 to 90 years olds are sexually active.  And with that, cases of sexually transmitted diseases have more than doubled in this age group over the past 10 years.

“You never have to retire from sex,” says clinical psychologist Judy Kuriansky. “But you should always behave as the 20-30 year-olds do. You need to be cautious about it.”

Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that incidences of syphilis and chlamydia in adults aged 45 to 64 have nearly tripled over the past decade. Cases of Gonorrhea are up as well.

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Experimental vaccine helps protect monkeys against AIDS-like infection
January 5th, 2012
10:51 AM ET

Experimental vaccine helps protect monkeys against AIDS-like infection

The road to a vaccine to protect against HIV and AIDS has run into a lot of dead ends, but a new study in monkeys suggests a new path may have been found.  Researchers say two new experimental vaccines partially protected monkeys from an HIV like infection, reducing the likelihood of contracting the disease by 80% to 83%, compared to the placebo.  

Both studies, published online Wednesday in the journal Nature, tested several Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) vaccine regimens on 40 rhesus monkeys each.  Researchers found the vaccines provided some protection to monkeys that were exposed to an extremely virulent, hard to neutralize strain of SIV. Not only did the vaccines reduce the chance of infection, but for monkeys that became infected, it substantially reduced the amount of virus in their blood.

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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