2014-2015 Friday ID Conference Series Begins

This week marks the start of the CFAR/IGHID Friday ID Conference Series for the 2014-2015 school year.

Power and Sample Size Boot Camp
Speakers: Michael Hudgens and Katie Mollan
UNC CFAR Biostatistics Core

September 5, 2014
8:30-9:30 a.m.
1131 Bioinformatics (first floor auditorium), UNC-CH Campus

The CFAR Biostatistics Core will present on power and sample size calculation using examples from HIV research. Topics will include an introduction to statistical power and related terminology, a discussion of the investigator and statistician roles in sample size calculation, and presentation of statistical software and brief formulas for sample size and power computation.

UNC CFAR partners with the clinical division of infectious diseases and the Institute for Global Health & Infectious Disease on a weekly conference series featuring distinguished clinicians and scientists from UNC, local universities, and other national and international institutions. The topics are varied and appeal to not only infectious disease specialists, but also professionals in epidemiology, public health, microbiology, biostatistics and other global health-related disciplines.

The conference takes place every Friday (September through May) from 8:30-9:30 a.m. in 1131 Bioinformatics (first floor auditorium) on the UNC campus. For more information, please contact the conference coordinator, Kathy James. To suggest a speaker, contact the faculty organizer, David Wohl.

For the current conference schedule, please click here.

New book: Innovations in HIV Prevention Research and Practice through Community Engagement

Innovations in HIV ResearchUNC CFAR investigator Scott Rhodes, PhD, MPH, from the Wake Forest School of Medicine has edited a new book: Innovations in HIV Prevention Research and Practice through Community Engagement.

Leaders in the field who are working at various points along the community-engagement continuum, with diverse populations, and different types of HIV prevention interventions (e.g., individual, community, and structural) have contributed important chapters that outline both innovative interventions designed to reduce HIV risk among some of the most affected communities and authentic and meaningful approaches to engagement, partnership, and CBPR. Chapter authors include community members who may come from communities greatly affected by HIV in the United States; organization representatives who are providing services to members of these communities; business representatives; federal scientists and practitioners; and academic researchers who must negotiate the challenges of their institutions (e.g., tenure and funding) and federal and foundation funders who may not understand the challenges and potential successes associated with authentic engagement, partnership, and CBPR.

Information can be found at Springer and at Amazon.

Cohen to deliver 2014 Norma Berryhill Distinguished Lecture

Dr. Myron CohenCFAR Associate Director Dr. Myron Cohen (Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Health; Yeargan-Bate Eminent Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, and Epidemiology; and Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases and Director, Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases) will deliver the 2014 Norma Berryhill Distinguished Lecture.

The event will be held Wednesday, October 22, at 5:30 p.m. at the Carolina Club. A reception with light refreshments will be held immediately following the lecture at 6:30 p.m.

The Dean and Advisory Committee of the School of Medicine established the Norma Berryhill Lectureship in September 1984. The Lectureship has two essential components: (1) a Lecture to be given annually by a tenured or tenure-track member of the faculty of the Medical School and (2) a convocation of the Medical School to be held at the time of the Lecture and at which new faculty members will be recognized.

The selection of the Norma Berryhill Lecturer is meant to honor a member of the faculty whose accomplishments have added distinction to the Medical School. The convocation is also intended to further a sense of community within the Medical School. Because Mrs. Berryhill was a major champion in promoting community connections, the Lectureship was named in her honor.

Video from Dr. Cohen on the Global AIDS Epidemic: Where Epidemiology Meets Biology and Public Health

UNC CFAR in the News: HIV drug linked to higher suicide risk

The UNC CFAR is getting exciting news coverage! Our researchers Katie Mollan, MS, Joe Eron, MD, Kevin Robertson, MD, and ACTG investigators have been featured in WedMD, Harvard News, and MedPage Today for their new article which explores the risks of anti-HIV drug efavirenz. This drug appears to double the risk that patients will develop suicidal thoughts or take their lives.

Study co-author Dr. Joseph Eron shared that “Efavirenz is a very important and effective antiretroviral medication that is the foundation for much of HIV therapy worldwide.” Dr. Eron explained that “suicidality (i.e. suicidal thoughts or suicidal behavior or suicide death) is a very serious adverse event that requires clinicians to actively engage patients to assess risk”. This new study demonstrates a clear association between efavirenz and suicidality.

Although the absolute risk of suicidality is relatively small, Eron explained that it appears to be persistent, lasting as long as patients take the drug. Antiretroviral treatment typically is lifelong, helping people with the AIDS-causing virus live healthier lives.

“Clinicians should be aware of this ongoing risk, and talk to their patients to assess suicidality,” Eron added. That means looking for any history of depression or suicidal thoughts or attempts, the study noted.

Good alternatives to efavirenz do exist for patient who may need to start, or to switch to, another therapy. In settings where alternative therapies are not available, the benefits of efavirenz-based therapy with management of depression will usually outweigh the risks of no treatment, especially for people with low CD4 cell counts.

Follow the coverage:

WebMD: “Common HIV Drug May Boost Suicide Risk”

Harvard News: “Widely Used HIV Drug Linked to Higher Suicide Risk”

MedPage Today: HIV Drug Linked to Suicidality Risk

Video Clip: The link between Efavirenz and Suicide

Researchers Convene to Discuss Using New Technologies in Health Research

On October 4, 2013, researchers and practitioners from local academic and research institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and community agencies convened at the Inaugural Symposium on Using New Technologies to Enhance Healthy Behaviors on UNC campus. The free symposium featured speakers from the National Institutes of Health, UNC Chapel Hill, FHI 360, and RTI International presenting current research on utilizing technology to promote healthy behavior across diverse behavioral areas, with particular focus on HIV, cancer, and obesity. The keynote lecture was delivered by Dr. William (Bill) Riley, PhD, chief of the Science of Research and Technology Branch in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Plenary talks on “Past and Current Issues in Technology and Health Behavior” were given by Drs. Deborah Tate and Seth Noar of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and School of Journalism and Mass Communication, respectively. Two scientific sessions and a lunchtime poster session focused on issues of using mobile phones, social media, and diverse devices to promote health.

The sponsors of the symposium (UNC Center for AIDS Research, Communications for Health Applications and Interventions—CHAI Core, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Lineberger Cancer and Control Program) plan to host similar events in the coming years to address emerging topics in using technologies for health promotion. An ultimate goal of this and future events is to bring together researchers from different disciplines, fields of research, and institutions to develop a network of professionals with interests in technology and health to promote collaborations and present research findings. Please view the symposium agenda and presentations by clicking the links below. If you would like to be subscribed to a new listserv devoted to circulating information on using new technologies for health promotion, or for any other information about this event, please email Catherine Grodensky.

To view the videos, please visit our YouTube page or the Social and Behavioral core’s page!

UNC HIV prevention research named scientific breakthrough of the year

Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The HIV Prevention Trials Network 052 study, led by Myron S. Cohen, MD of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been named the 2011 Breakthrough of the Year by the journal Science.

HPTN 052 evaluated whether antiretroviral drugs can prevent sexual transmission of HIV among couples in which one partner has HIV and the other does not. The research found that early treatment with antiretroviral therapy reduced HIV transmission in couples by at least 96 percent.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The complete list of top 10 scientific breakthroughs of the year was published online today.

The editors at Science, the flagship publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said in their announcement that “In combination with other promising clinical trials, the results have galvanized efforts to end the world’s AIDS epidemic in a way that would have been inconceivable even a year ago. ‘The goal of an AIDS-free generation is ambitious, but it is possible,’ U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told scientists last month.”

The HPTN 052 study is proof of a concept more than 20 years in the making. “From the time the first AIDS drugs were developed in the mid-1990s, our UNC team of virologists, pharmacologists, and physicians has been working on the idea that antiretrovirals might make people less contagious,” said Cohen, who is Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Epidemiology at UNC. “By 2000, the UNC study team thought the idea was strong enough to try to prove it. “This idea eventually became HPTN 052,” Cohen said.

It would be another five years before researchers from the HIV Prevention Trials Network started enrolling people in the study, eventually nearly 2000 couples at 13 sites in nine countries . In May of this year, four years before the study’s scheduled completion, an outside monitoring board requested that the results be released immediately, because they were so overwhelmingly positive.

“Prevention of HIV-1 Infection with Early Antiretroviral Therapy” was published August 11, 2011 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Jon Cohen, a writer for Science, said in an article about the breakthrough, “HPTN 052 has made imaginations race about the what-ifs like never before, spotlighting the scientifically probable rather than the possible.”

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp said, “We’re proud that Science magazine has recognized Mike Cohen and his colleagues for such inspiring leadership in the global fight against AIDS. They are wonderful examples of how Carolina’s faculty conduct research that saves lives.”

Since their release, the study results have been reverberating throughout the policy community. U.S. and international organizations such as the World Health Organization, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, have incorporated or soon will incorporate “treatment as prevention”–the strategy proved by HPTN 052–into their policy guidelines for battling the AIDS epidemic.

“While I am obviously thrilled to have this research recognized as the Science breakthrough of the year,” Cohen said, “witnessing the translation of this scientific discovery on a global scale truly is the best reward.”

The research was conducted by the HIV Prevention Trials Network, which is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases with additional funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health, both part of the National Institutes of Health. Additional support was provided by the NIAID-funded Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group.

Related stories:

To see original site:

http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2011/december/unc-hiv-prevention-research-named-scientific-breakthrough-of-the-year