Volume 14 Number 9/10 September/October 2013
This issue of HTB leads with the news that the CROI website archive continues to be blocked. While this may seem an unusual story to bring to our front page it is central to the way that community information and activist projects such as i-Base function.
None of the community writers for HIV Treatment Bulletin have a traditional medical education or background. Our ability to report and cover the latest research is closely related to being able to have open access to recent and historical studies.
While twenty years ago when CROI held its first meetings, the data was still restricted to the conferences, the commitment to publishing conference abstracts for those unable to attend, played a ground-breaking role that most other health areas have yet to appreciate. Over the years, online coverage slowly expanded to include webcasts for all oral presentations with simultaneous access to slides and posters. [Note: CROI has a new site for 2014].
We think that this continued access is a very reasonable community demand and hope that HTB readers support the new CROI secretariat by insisting on full restoration of the previous website.
By contrast, the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) – now in its 53rd year – continues as a lumbering dinosaur, with little available online and abstracts only publically available for a short time, behind a difficult to navigate database. Hence, our reports from ICAAC this year are sometimes limited to abstract reviews plus articles from the US-based natap.org (who also helpfully published some of the slides).
Antiretroviral news included EU approval of cobicistat and the decision by NHS England to cover Stribild as an option for a limited number of people. Dolutegravir will be soon to face the same regulation and access process and three articles cover US approval of dolutegravir, implications for UK access and global pricing. A simple demand for dolutegravir worldwide is that it should be priced similarly to the respective cost of efavirenz. If this does not occur it is unlikely to gain widespread use – particularly in covetable (and profitable) first line markets, despite its desirable characteristics.
Additional good news is that both the UK and France will continue to support the Global Fund in the goal of further extending treatment access and the welcome news that the UK, from April 2014, will relax restrictions on HIV positive health workers.