New Study Sheds Light On Truvada's Ability To Prevent HIV Infection After One Week of Dosing

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A new study into Truvada’s efficacy as a form of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has found that the drug is most effective at preventing HIV contraction after a person has been taking the drug for a full week. The study also further detailed just how effective PrEP proved to be at reducing the risk for HIV infection. One of the major arguments against PrEP’s use has been the belief that at risk populations like drug users might not take their medication regularly enough to benefit from its protection.

According to the study’s findings, subjects exhibited risk reductions ranging between 75 and 91 percent after a single day’s dosage. After three days, risk reduction rose to somewhere between 95 and 97 percent, and after five to seven days the drug proved to be 98-99% effective. Apparently risk reduction remains well above 90 percent after a week going off of Truvada, presumably because of the drug’s presence within people’s bloodstream.

“High PrEP activity for MSM was achieved by approximately 1 week of daily dosing,” the study’s authors explained. “Although effective intracellular drug concentrations persist for several days after stopping PrEP, a reasonable recommendation is to continue PrEP dosing for 4 weeks after the last potential HIV exposure, similar to recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis.”

It’s important to point out that while the study’s findings applied specifically to people who were taking Truvada at regularly scheduled intervals from day to day. Current trials looking into the drug’s ability to prevent HIV infection when taken immediately before sex are still ongoing but have yet to provide similar results.

Read more about the study’s findings here and here.

(h/t Joe.My.God)

A Trip to Vienna For The Glamorous and Gargantuan Life Ball AIDS Benefit: Towleroad Abroad


It’s one thing to hear about Life Ball, the enormous charity extravaganza that takes over Vienna annually to raise support for HIV/AIDS charities, but it’s quite another to experience it first hand. The over-the-top affair, including palatial parties and star-studded spectacles, attracts all sorts of guests, from the fabulous to the fringe.

Above all, Life Ball, organized by AIDS LIFE, is dedicated to supporting organizations that work with people who are HIV-positive or have AIDS. The annual event is the largest AIDS charity event in Europe. Its massive impact is fueled by the scale, grandeur and, yes, at times, rowdiness of the party that draws in the big names, big crowds and, most importantly, big dollars. In 2014, for example, Life Ball raised 2.3 million euros from tickets, drink sales, an auction and other events. (For more on Life Ball’s charitable impact, see our post here.)

We joined a small army of media, celebrities and drag queens venturing to Vienna last weekend to witness all of the Life Ball Austrian adventure for ourselves. Although we’re still recovering from a fab 48 hours in the capital city, we’ve got plenty of highlights to share.

The hills are alive with the sound of YAS GAWD, AFTER THE JUMP

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Vienna's Life Ball: The Impact After the Party

Photo: Derek Storm

At a press conference before last weekend’s Life Ball in Vienna, AIDS LIFE Chairman and Life Ball CEO Gery Keszler described the primary effect of the massive annual party: “We’re making a loud scream for awareness.” We’ve already recounted some of the over-the-top antics that help that scream get heard by the 40,000-plus attendees of the Life Ball Opening Ceremony and legions of media, but Life Ball does a lot more for the HIV-positive community and those living with AIDS.

For starters, the hard-partying guests are doing their own part, as profits from the Life Ball cash bar go to supporting the net proceeds, thanks to donations from sponsors and restaurant partners. Additionally, ticketed events, VIP areas, an auction featuring a gown worn by Conchita Wurst, tickets to the Golden Globes and a trip to Paris help drive the funds generated. In 2014, the Life Ball raised 2.3 million euros.

Learn more about the organizations Life Ball is supporting this year, AFTER THE JUMP

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You Can Live Well with HIV by Seeking Treatment and Care to Get You There

Cedric has been living with HIV since 2013. In the video below, he and others living with HIV talk about how their lives have dramatically improved since seeking treatment and getting proper care.


More than 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV. Approximately 168,000 of those people have never been diagnosed. Additionally, more than 50% of those infected with HIV are not being treated.

CDC HIV1The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) knows that the key way to help people living with HIV to achieve longer, healthier lives is by getting people the proper medical care they need in order to lower the levels of HIV in the body. Not only does viral suppression facilitate life spans that are near normal, but it inhibits transmission of HIV to others.

And only 30% of those living with HIV have achieved viral suppression. That number could be raised to 76% by getting people the proper care they need. People tend to avoid seeking care because of poor access, cost of pharmaceuticals, a lack of knowledge about treatments, and stigma attached to HIV, but the CDC's study shows how vitally important it is to get people tested for HIV, and into care as soon as possible once diagnosed.

In fact, a 20-year-old diagnosed with HIV who gets the proper medical treatment adds an average of nearly 40 years to his or her life.


Treatment works, and that's the message of the CDC's campaign which is informed by the input of more than 100 people living with HIV. In the video we featured last week, several of them talk about when they discovered they needed to seek care. In the video below, they talk about living well and the difference having good care has made in their lives.

"Don't wait [to seek care]," says Cedric, who has been living with HIV since 2013. "It's not something where you can just sit around and say, 'oh, I'll go tomorrow' or 'I'll wait until next week, I don't feel well right now.'... [Knowing that] it's under control, that I have it by the neck, that's important to me."

To read more about how HIV treatment works, visit the CDC's website to find out how to get in care, stay in care, live well, and find the resources and social services providers that will help you achieve viral suppression and live a longer, healthier life.


College Wrestler Michael Johnson Sentenced to 60 Years in Prison in Controversial HIV Case

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Michael Johnson, once a college wrestler at Lindenwood, University in Missouri, was expelled from his school and arrested in 2013 after a one-time sex partner reported to the police that Johnson had infected him with HIV. Johnson had recently informed the man of his newfound HIV status, but according to the man, he believed that Johnson knew of his status while they were sexually active. In the two years since Johnson was first arrested, five other men have come forward with similar allegations, one of whom is also now HIV positive. In their investigation, authorities found video recordings that Johnson had made of himself having sex with multiple men, evidence which the state used against him in its criminal suit.

Johnson’s court trial came to a swift close earlier this week where a jury found him guilty of two Class A felonies for infecting two men and four Class B felonies for exposing other men to the virus. Ultimately the trail boiled down to two opposing narratives. All throughout his trial Johnson insisted that he’d disclosed his status to each of his partners once he knew he’d become positive himself. Each of his accusers claimed that they had no idea that Johnson was poz. 

Writing for Buzzfeed, Steven Thrasher describes the state’s case against Johnson as one shot through with dated, unreliable science from an era in which we did not fully understand HIV as well as high-strung emotions. During his days as a competitive athlete Johnson often used the stage name “Tiger Mandingo,” an identity that he would often use on the hookup apps that he used to meet men. 

Today the jury handed down its final sentence--a total of 60 years in prison, that Johnson’s legal time is challenging for him to be able to serve concurrently, which would cut his sentence down to 30 years.

Wrote AIDS activist Peter Staley on Facebook:

Missouri, and Johnson's sex partners, may well feel they got some sort of justice today, but at what cost? This verdict and sentence will make it much harder to slow the spread of HIV. Others will become infected because of today's "justice." This sentence practically screams "don't get tested" to every citizen in the state, especially young black men.

Elton John Captivates Senate Panel with Testimony on HIV/AIDS: VIDEO


Elton John testified before Congress on AIDS this week for the first time in 12 years, delivering a message to the Senate Appropriations Committee, marking the progress made in more than a decade of fighting HIV/AIDS, and urging the panel to continue funding programs which are helping eradicate it.

Said Elton: "This Congress indeed has the power to end AIDS...There is a window of opportunity before us — a window through which we can very clearly see the end of AIDS — within my lifetime. We cannot afford to let that window close."

The testimony followed a reception the prior evening held by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Patrick Leahy at which John also spoke: "I’m here to say once again that we cannot have lost 40 million lives to HIV and AIDS in vain...Although PEPFAR and the Global Fund have made a huge impact, the reality is that most people living with or at risk of contracting HIV do not have access to lifesaving prevention, care and treatment. But all of that can change, and will change, if Congress remains steadfast in its commitment to ending this epidemic."

Also testifying was anti-gay Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren, who sat beside Elton during the testimony. Elton's husband and Chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation David Furnish, sat directly behind them. Furnish is serving as Grand Marshal of the  2015 Toronto Pride parade this year.



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