Tuesday, September 12, 2023 – KFF Health News

Protesters arrested after demanding HIV prevention program at Capitol

Seven people occupied the office of Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, demanding that Congress reauthorize the global PEPFAR program, and were later arrested. Meanwhile, reports say Medicare Part D patients with HIV may see drug costs reduced under the inflation-reducing law.

Washington Post: Seven arrested in protest against McCarthy’s office over HIV program

Seven people were arrested after they occupied the office of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Capitol Hill and demanded that Congress reauthorize the global initiative to fight HIV and AIDS, PEPFAR. PEPFAR allocations — the president’s emergency plan for AIDS relief — are set to expire on September 30. The program has been credited with saving the lives of more than 25 million people. (Silverman, 9/11)

Axios: Why a long-standing HIV relief program has a higher risk of funding this year

The HIV/AIDS community is also concerned about increased scrutiny of federal HIV programs, and that a 2024 budget proposal by House Republicans called for the elimination of the CDC’s Ending the HIV Epidemic program that began under Trump administration. “These culture wars are now seeping into and harming public health,” Kyle McGowan, of consulting firm Ascendant Strategy Partners, who served as chief of staff at the CDC during the Trump administration, told KFF Health News. (Reed, 9/7)

More about the cost of HIV medications —

Medicare Payer Information: Medicare Part D patients with HIV may see lower drug costs under an IRA

An Avalere analysis found that redesigning the Medicare Part D inflation cap law may improve affordability for HIV-positive beneficiaries, but stakeholders will need to take steps to ensure beneficiaries get the most from these cost reductions. “The Part D IRA redesign provisions are intended to reduce affordability challenges and may significantly impact PWH,” the analysis stated. “HIV stakeholders hope that addressing affordability challenges will increase access to antiretrovirals and potentially improve antiretroviral adherence.” (Waddell, 9/11)

Fierce Healthcare: Blue Cross NC removes HIV drugs from exorbitant price tiers

Following charges last December that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina violated a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by discriminating through health insurance plan design, the state’s largest insurer removed 48 drugs from its Most expensive drug classes. This change is expected to allow patients to pay for HIV medications at affordable prices. In the Mid-Year Drug Formulary (PDF), no HIV drugs remain in the most expensive drug levels, tiers 5 and 6. The insurer also moved 19 generic HIV medications to Tier 2 and removed quantity limits previously imposed on HIV medications. (Tong, 9/6)

In HIV/AIDS research &

idsmap: The “wait and pounce” antibodies created by a promising HIV vaccine candidate

One HIV vaccine candidate has been shown to be able to direct B cells, the part of the immune system that makes antibodies, to be able to produce broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) with the ability to block the entry of many strains of HIV. to T cells. . Dr. Wilton Williams of Duke University described the vaccine candidate in a plenary session at the 12th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2023) in July. (Cairns, 9/7)

Medical Express: Researchers find that genetically normal HIV prefers to “hide” in organs of the immune system

A small number of HIV-infected cells remain in the tissues of people infected with the virus and on antiretroviral therapy. The existence of these viral reservoirs has been known for a long time, and they are real obstacles to HIV treatment. However, until now, it was not known in which organs the virus prefers to hide. … In a study published in the journal Cell Reports, scientists revealed that genetically sound viruses, which are responsible for viral rebound in the event of interruption of antiretroviral treatment, are concentrated in the deep tissues of the spleen, lymph nodes, and immune system organs. (Jeffrey, 9/11)

Freethink: At least 5 people have been cured of HIV. Will the epidemic end?

Being diagnosed with AIDS was a death sentence—in the United States, more than half of the people diagnosed with the disease between 1981 and 1992 died within two years. But today, the life expectancy of a person in the United States infected with HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — is the same as that of the rest of the population. (Hauser, 9/9)

About aging with HIV –

New York Times: Statins may reduce heart disease risk in HIV patients

Americans living with HIV are achieving the previously unimaginable: a steady march toward aging. But starting around age 50, many people infected with the virus face a range of health problems, from heart disease and diabetes to social isolation and cognitive decline. And so the medical research community, which about three decades ago developed life-saving drugs to keep the virus at bay, is now looking for new ways to keep people with HIV healthier in their later years. (Ryan, 9/10)

Healthline: Olympian Greg Louganis: We need to improve care for older adults with HIV

Olympic diving icon Greg Louganis shares how he learned to overcome anxiety by working his “brave muscles” and why he is passionate about improving care for mental health and people aging with HIV. (Mastroianni, 9/9)

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