UNC to Test Injectable Long-Acting Implant to Prevent HIV

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have received a three-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a new implantable drug delivery system for long-lasting HIV-prevention.

Scientists in the UNC School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases and the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy are developing an injectable drug delivery system that forms an implant that steadily releases anti-HIV medication over long periods of time.

The injectable formulation includes an anti-HIV drug, a polymer and a solvent. The three-compound liquid will solidify once injected under the skin. As the polymer slowly degrades, the drug is released. Efficacy of the new formulation to prevent HIV transmission will be evaluated using state of the art pre-clinical models developed at UNC.

Currently, a once-daily pill exists to prevent HIV infection. However, adherence to this daily regimen can be challenging for some people.

“This long-acting injectable formulation could provide a discrete and efficient method to protect against HIV infection and improve adherence, which is one of the major challenges of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP,” said Rahima Benhabbour, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and one of the study’s co-principal investigators. “The formulation is adaptable to a number of drugs alone or in combination and can be fine tuned to meet a targeted release regimen.”

Read more here..

SYNChronicity 2017: The National Conference for HIV, HCV, and LGBT Health

SYNChronicity (or SYNC 2017) is HealthHIV’s national conference addressing HIV and HCV disease prevention, care and treatment. With the National Coalition for LGBT Health co-hosting SYNC 2017, the agenda is expanded to include LGBT health. The conference is titled SYNChronicity because the approach is to SYNC various audiences with a variety of topics with the intended outcome of advancing HIV, HCV and LGBT health.

Additionally, new track and institutes have been added to the 2017 Sync Agenda, including the Black Women’s Health Track and PrEP Preamble.

PrEP Preamble:
SYNCing CROI Data with PrEP Implementation
Sunday, April 23, 2017, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

HealthHIV is hosting the PrEP Preamble: SYNCing CROI Data with PrEP Implementation on Sunday, April 23 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

SYNC 2017 registration is not required to attend this event; all are invited to attend, including:
• Prescribing Providers (NP, PA, DO, MD);
• PrEP Advocates;
• Potential or Current PrEP Consumers;
• Health Department Staff; and
• Health Center Personnel

Please visit the conference website for more information. Click here to register. 

Summer Internship in CFAR Biostatistics Core – Application Deadline April 24

Summer 2017 Internship Opportunity at the UNC Center for AIDS Research

Do you want to use math to help the fight against HIV/AIDS?

The Biostatistics Core at UNC Center for AIDS Research is seeking a summer undergraduate intern, paid $11 to 14/hour, 10-20 hours per week. The Core helps design studies, analyze data and advance statistics methods for HIV research, at UNC and internationally. As a summer intern, you will have the opportunity to aid in statistical analysis and gain valuable experience in multidisciplinary research. Students majoring in math, statistics, computer science, or another quantitative research field are invited to apply. If you have R-project, SAS or STATA coding experience let us know! To learn more about our research, go to http://unccfar.org/ (Cores – Biostatistics).

Students from underrepresented minorities majoring in any of the above fields are highly encouraged to apply.

Application deadline: Mon April 24, 2017

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Eligible Candidates:

-Are currently enrolled undergraduate students curious about a career in biostatistics or medical research

-Have a keen interest in mathematics, statistics, and/or programming

-Are computer savvy, abstract thinkers with math training through Calculus 1

-Want to learn more about HIV/AIDS and are able to meet in person on UNC main campus

To apply, please send your resume, availability, and a list of 2 or more references (teachers or people you have worked with) to Katie Mollan: kmollan@unc.edu

If you have questions, please contact us via email.

IRB Pop-Up Event at the UNC Clinical and Translational Research Center

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 10.16.18 PMCheck out this upcoming IRB pop-up event from our friends at UNC School of Medicine!

IRB Pop-ups provide on-campus IRB consultations for researchers. IRB Analysts will have access to your IRB application and can answer questions about existing or proposed research.

Apr 19, 2017, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Clinical and Translational Research Center
Burnett-Womack 1042
Contact Phone: 919-966-3113

If you can’t make the next Pop-up but have questions, please call IRB at 919-966-3113 or email irb_questions@unc.edu.

PLOS Medicine Special Issue: Advances in HIV Prevention, Treatment and Cure

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The editors of PLOS Medicine are delighted to announce a forthcoming Special Issue focused on HIV research, along with guest editors Drs Linda-Gail Bekker, Steven Deeks and Sharon Lewin. Submissions are now being invited, with a deadline of June 9, 2017.

PLOS Medicine, the leading open access medical journal published by PLOS, welcomes submission of reports of high-quality research studies to be considered for publication in a special issue covering advances in the prevention, treatment and cure of HIV infection. This special issue, to be published at the end of 2017, will be guest edited by Dr Linda-Gail Bekker of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, University of Cape Town; Dr Steven Deeks of the University of California, San Francisco; and Dr Sharon Lewin of the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital. Alongside research papers, the special issue will include commissioned content contributed by leaders in the field.

HIV infection continues to pose a critical risk to health in many countries, with 2.1 million people (including 150,000 children) estimated by UNAIDS to have been newly infected in 2015. Due to intensive efforts to diagnose and treat people with HIV, 18.2 million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy according to the most recent estimates. However, given an estimated total HIV-infected population of 36.7 million at the end of 2015, a substantial treatment gap leaves many millions of people at risk of AIDS-related diseases and, if unaware of their status, likely to infect others.

For this issue, the editors are inviting reports of high-quality research studies with the potential to inform clinical practice or thinking, focused on:

  • State of the global HIV epidemic—large-scale epidemiological studies addressing important topics, including progress towards UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 targets and the status of key populations
  • HIV prevention—clinical research aimed at development of vaccines, drugs and biomedical approaches
  • Clinical and epidemiological studies seeking to characterize and improve management of HIV infection and co-morbidities
  • Scientifically rigorous and practically relevant implementation research studies focused on HIV prevention and treatment, especially in low- and middle-income countries
  • Towards a cure for HIV infection—translational and clinical studies aiming to achieve control or elimination of HIV

Please submit your manuscript at: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/s/submit-now. The deadline is June 9th, 2017.

Presubmission inquiries are not required, but do indicate your interest in the special issue in your cover letter. Questions about the special issue can be directed to plosmedicine@plos.org.

2017 CFAR Developmental Award Webinar – March 28

The UNC Center For AIDS Research (CFAR) Developmental Core will be conducting a webinar on Tues., March 28th, at 9 am EDT.  This free webinar will focus on applying for and implementing a 2017 CFAR Developmental Award, and will address the application process, NIH requirements, necessary documents, and more.  Both domestic and international research will be addressed and questions are welcomed.  You may send your questions to us beforehand or ask them via text at the time of the webinar.

To register, email cathy@unc.edu.  We will send out directions on how to attend the webinar at the time of your registration.

MEASURE Evaluation: Translating Data into Health Recommendations

Zambia-Visitors-Sept-2016-02_with-banner-768x485By Kathy Doherty, Senior Research Writer MEASURE Evaluation

Health data are essential to understanding what is working in a health system and what is not. Data alone, however, are just numbers, unless transformed into compelling information products that communicate and lead to action to improve health care.

For the past year MEASURE Evaluation—a $180 million program housed in the Carolina Population Center at UNC and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)—has provided technical assistance to 14 health professionals from Zambia’s Ministry of Health, the National AIDS Council, the Ministry of Community Development, and the University of Zambia. They spent three weeks last fall in Chapel Hill working on data products, such as posters, data dashboards, and trend lines, and then flew home, certificates of achievement in their baggage and a vetted health communication product on their laptops.

Take, for instance, Boyd Kaliki, a provincial monitoring and evaluation (M&E) officer with the health ministry in Lusaka – Zambia’s capital. He supports programs to prevent HIV transmission and uses the country’s data software to generate visuals that illustrate what health data are saying. For this training, he focused on merging data sets to discover why only 37 percent of HIV-positive women of childbearing age are using modern contraceptives.

He compared women living with HIV, who do use contraceptives, with other data and discovered that HIV-positive women with more education were more likely to use contraceptives, and that rural women were less likely to use them. His analysis led to three conclusions:

  1. The government should offer HIV testing, counseling, and treatment along with family planning services and incentives in rural and urban areas.
  2. The government should improve health education so women living with HIV understand how to take precautions for their health during and after pregnancy.
  3. The government should help families keep their girls in school, because education correlates with contraceptive use and delayed childbearing.

To learn more, visit the IGHID blog here.

38th Annual Minority Health Conference

The Annual Minority Health Conference was launched by the Minority Student Caucus in 1977 and has been conducted nearly every year since then. Major objectives are to highlight health issues of concern to people of color and to attract students interested in minority health to the School.

Planning and implementation of the Conference are led by the School’s Minority Student Caucus, which designates the chair of the Planning Committee each year.

This year’s event these is “Systems of Power: Recalling Our Past, Restructuring Our Future”. This conference is the largest student-led health conference, and it aims to raise awareness around health disparities.

To register, visit the website.

HPTN 083 Webinar – Give PrEP a Shot!

The HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) has launched a new study, HPTN 083, to evaluate whether injectable cabotegravir (CAB) can safely protect cisgender men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW) who have sex with men from acquiring HIV as well as Truvada, an oral tablet taken daily for HIV prevention, also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). If found to be safe and effective for HIV PrEP, injectable CAB may be easier for some people to adhere to than daily oral Truvada.
 
This webinar will provide a comprehensive overview of HPTN 083 by explaining why the study is being done and what will happen during the study. Additionally, the HPTN’s commitment to community participation at all levels of research will be described by detailing the many community involvement and engagement activities used in preparation for the study and now during its implementation.
 
For more information about the HIV Prevention Trials Network and HPTN 083, please visit http://www.HPTN.org.