Lung cancer deaths higher among people living with HIV

According to the U.S. National AIDS Strategy report, about 1 in 5 American adults smoke. Among adults living with HIV, the number of people who smoke is 2 to 3 times greater. The report also states that smoking can cause health risks specifically for people who are living with HIV. For example, smokers with HIV are at higher risk (as compared to nonsmokers with HIV) of developing smoking-related cancers, bacterial pneumonia, COPD, heart disease, and oral candidiasis (thrush).

Furthermore, previous research found that HIV-positive smokers lose years of life to cigarettes as compared to nonsmokers with HIV.

If all of that wasn’t enough to convince gay and bi men with HIV to kick the habit, a new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association narrows the range of research, focusing specifically on projected lung cancer deaths.

The researchers found that nearly 25 percent of people who adhere well to anti-HIV medications but continue to smoke will die from lung cancer. Among smokers who quit at age 40, only about 6 percent will die of lung cancer. The authors also found that people with HIV who take antiviral medicines but who also smoke are from 6 to 13 times more likely to die from lung cancer than from HIV/AIDS.

“Quitting smoking is one of the most important things that people with HIV can do to improve their health and live longer,” Travis Baggett, MD, MPH, of the MGH Division of General Internal Medicine and coauthor of the study, said in a recent press release. “Quitting will not only reduce their risk of lung cancer but also decrease their risk of many other diseases, such as heart attack, stroke and emphysema.”

To read a press release about the study, click here. To find out more about how you can quit smoking, click here and here.  For more information about Health Alerts, go to the Health Alerts page of this Website. To subscribe to the Pitt Men’s Study Health Alerts, send an email to rgy2@Pitt.edu, with the word subscribe in the subject line.

 

Health Alerts are presented by the HIV Prevention and Care Project and the Pitt Men’s Study at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, with funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Syphilis rates among gay men more than 100x greater than stright men

From medpagetoday.com

The first state-specific analysis of syphilis among men who have sex with men (MSM) shows they have dramatically higher incidence than men whose only sexual partners are female, the CDC is reporting.

Data from 2015, analyzed with a new methodology, show that the incidence of primary and secondary syphilis among MSM was 309.0 cases per 100,000 people, compared with 2.9 per 100,000 among men who reported sex with women only, according to Alex de Voux, PhD, of the CDC’s epidemic intelligence service, and colleagues at the CDC and Emory University in Atlanta.

The disparity was even more marked when the rate among MSM was compared with the 1.8 cases per 100,000 population seen among women, the researchers reported in the April 7 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Read the full article.

 

Find PrEP providers in your area with the PrEP Locator

From m4mHealthSex.org

There’s a lot of research now regarding PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and how taking this daily anti-viral medication can keep you from becoming infected with HIV. The problem is that most gay men don’t want to ask their doctor about it and don’t know how else they can get it.

truvadaBut now you can use a free online tool called PrEP Locator to find PrEP providers near you. The locator is a national directory of providers that you can search by entering your zip code. It’s also accessible on your smart phone as well as your computer.

Note too that in some cases, providers can also help with the cost of PrEP.

PrEP Locator is presented by Emory University, in partnership with M•A•C AIDS Fund.

If you live in the Pittsburgh area, you can also find local resources here.

For more information about PrEP and how it can help protect you from becoming infected with HIV, go to our Website: https://m4mhealthysex.org/what-is-prep/.

 

 

Smoking may be more likely to kill HIV patients than the virus

From NBC News online

Smoking is so deadly that it may be more likely to kill HIV patients than the virus, researchers reported Thursday.

A second study helps explain why — it causes dozens of cancer-causing DNA mutations.

New cocktails of HIV drugs can keep patients healthy, even though they don’t cure the infection. And they work so well that HIV patients who can get the drugs have almost the same life expectancy as uninfected Americans.

Image: Mutations produced by smoking
A chart of the yearly number of mutations produced in a given type of cell by smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Genome Research Limited

The trouble is, 40 percent of HIV patients smoke — more than twice the rate of U.S. adults as a whole.

Dr. Krishna Reddy of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and colleagues wanted to see which was worse — smoking or HIV. They used a computer projection to calculate the odds.

Smoking is worse, they report in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. On average, smoking cuts six years from the life expectancy of an otherwise healthy 40-year-old with well-controlled HIV, they found.

“It is well known that smoking is bad for health, but we demonstrate in this study just how bad it is,” Reddy said in a statement.

Read the full article.

Pennsylvania still experiencing alarming increase in new syphilis infections

As of May 2016, Pennsylvania is still experiencing an alarming increase in syphilis cases, primarily among men who have sex with men (MSM). Over the last 5 years, Pennsylvania has experienced a 90% increase in syphilis infections. Most were men under the age of 30.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. If it goes untreated, it can lead to serious health problems including paralysis, blindness, and dementia. In the late stages, the disease can damage internal organs and can result in death.  In its early stages, syphilis is 100% curable with simple antibiotics.

Syphilis can be transmitted through oral sex and although condoms can help prevent infection, they’re not an absolute guarantee against it.  

You can get syphilis and not have any symptoms, so the only way to know you’re infected is to get a simple blood test. As a result of the increase in syphilis cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends that all sexually active MSM get a routine syphilis test every 6 months. Several locations around the state have free syphilis testing, click on this link to find testing near you: hivtest.cdc.gov.

To find out more about Syphilis, go to www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/stdfact-syphilis.htm

You can also email medical help at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health by sending a message to rgy2@pitt.edu.

“1 in 2 black men (who have sex with men) will get HIV”

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)…

If current HIV diagnoses rates persist, about 1 in 2 black men who have sex with men (MSM) and 1 in 4 Latino MSM in the United States will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime, according to a new analysis by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The study, presented today at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Bostonprovides the first-ever comprehensive national estimates of the lifetime risk of an HIV diagnosis for several key populations at risk and in every state.

croi_lifetime_risk_msm_race_ethnicity

“As alarming as these lifetime risk estimates are, they are not a foregone conclusion. They are a call to action,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention. “The prevention and care strategies we have at our disposal today provide a promising outlook for future reductions of HIV infections and disparities in the U.S., but hundreds of thousands of people will be diagnosed in their lifetime if we don’t scale up efforts now.”

 

Read the full article on the CDC’s Website.

 

Gay/bi men are 2% of population but 67% of all new HIV infections in 2014

From Reuters Health

HIV still on the rise among gay menNew strategies to reduce risky sexual behaviors among young gay and bisexual men with human immunodeficiency virus may be needed to reduce new infections, according to a new study.

Researchers found that most young gay and bisexual men with HIV don’t have the virus suppressed by medication, making them more likely to infect others, and more than half reported recent unprotected sex.

While medications for HIV and access to those treatments improved over time, lead author Patrick Wilson said addressing unemployment, education and mental health is also important.

“I think we have to take a multipronged approach,” said Wilson, of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

Gay and bisexual men represent about 2 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for about 67 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV in 2014, according to the HIV Surveillance Report released on Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (see Reuters Health story of December 6, 2015 here).

The steepest rise in HIV diagnoses between 2005 and 2014 was among young gay and bisexual men, with increases ranging from 56 percent among young white men to 87 percent among young black and Latino men.

Continue reading.

Vitamin D sufficiency may speed up immune recovery during HAART

From medicalnewstoday.com

vitimin D aids HARRTThere are an estimated 33 million people infected with HIV worldwide – 1.2 million of them in the US. The advent in 1996 of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) – a combination of different classes of medications taken daily – means that for many patients who have access to the medication, what was once a fatal diagnosis can now be managed as a chronic disease.

For their study, Prof. Ezeamama and colleagues examined 18 months of data for 398 HIV-positive adults on HAART.

The data included a measure of participants’ vitamin D levels at the start of the trial (baseline) and their CD4 cell counts at months 0, 3, 6, 12 and 18.

In their analysis, the researchers looked at how the changes in CD4 cell counts related to the baseline levels of vitamin D over the study period.

They found that participants with sufficient levels of vitamin D at baseline recovered more of their immune function than participants with vitamin D deficiency.

Read the full story.

Health Alert for men who have sex with men

Syphilis health alertPennsylvania (and the Pittsburgh area in particular) is stillexperiencing an alarming increase in syphilis cases, primarily among men who have sex with men (MSM). Over the last 5 years, Pennsylvania’s MSM community has experienced an 85% increase in syphilis infections. MSM represented approximately 65% of all new syphilis cases reported in the state.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. If it goes untreated, it can lead to serious health problems including paralysis, blindness, and dementia.   In the late stages, the disease can damage internal organs and can result in death.  In its early stages, syphilis is 100% curable with simple antibiotics.

You can get syphilis and not have any symptoms, so the only way to know you’re infected is to get a simple blood test.

As a result of the increase in syphilis cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends that all sexually active MSM get a routine syphilis test every 6 months. Several locations around the state have free syphilis testing, click on this link to find testing near you: hivtest.cdc.gov.

To find out more about Syphilis, go to the CDC’s Website.

New study finds zero new HIV infections among PrEP users

A new study has found zero new HIV infections among a group of people on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco tracked the health of over 600 people as they used Truvada daily for 32 months to prevent the virus in a real-world setting.

The average age of the study participants was 37, and 99 percent were men who have sex with men. Members of this group also reported a higher likelihood of having multiple sex partners than those not using PrEP. Again, no one in the study contracted HIV. Lead author Dr. Jonathan Volk emphasized that this is the first time such a study has been done in a clinical practice setting at this size. The findings were published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The medical staff at the Pitt Men’s Study emphasize that PrEP is not a substitute for condoms. It should be used in addition to condoms, to further reduce your risk. It is also important to note that PrEP doesn’t protect against other STDs like syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.

To learn more about PrEP, check out the CDC’s Website. If you have questions about PrEP, you can speak to your doctor. You can also call the PrEP clinic at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: (412) 647-0996.