Volume 13 Number 9/10 September/October 2012

The September/October issue of HTB leads with HIV-related studies that stood out from the programme of the 52rd ICAAC, including interesting new HIV and TB compounds.

We also continue our coverage from the IAS World AIDS Conference, with reports that include the HPTN-52 study, an analysis of hormonal contraception and risk of HIV transmission, and the second part of a cure-based review. We also include a non-technical 8-page supplement on AIDS 2012 that may be useful for use in clinics (see below).

Closer to home – and on a timeline that will be in place before you get to read this – the UK policy to provide free HIV trteatment to anyone in the UK, irrespective of residency status, is something that needs to be widely publicised. The political decision to follow the evidence suggesting this will result in better health as a nation for minimal cost, will also improve the lives of a significant minority of people who delay HIV testing or seeking treatment until HIV has already progressed to symtomatic stages.

In the current confusion over restructuring changes to the NHS, it is important to have confirmed that HIV will remain under specilised national commissioning in England, at least in the short-term, and model standards that will hopefully be useful to inform this process have been developed by BHIVA. These are now online for consultation in draft format, prior to a launch planned to commemorate World AIDS Day later in the year.

Also, contentious for healthcare in the UK, is the increasing speculation about treatment options once generic formulations of efavirenz become available from the end of 2013. In reporting the welcome news of FDA approval for a new single-pill integrase-based combination (Quad) for use in selected treatment-naive patients, our comments question whether company pricing will allow many people in the UK to access this drug.

Finally, we review new TB compounds in late stage development and report price reductions for the GeneXpert cartridges that have the potential to revolutionise diagnosis and management of TB in settings where this technology becomes available.

Happy Autumn reading…

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