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Study finds HPV vaccine cuts cancer rates by almost 90%

Cervical cancer kills more than 300,000 women worldwide every year but the disease is uncommon in young women under 30

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Courtesy of King's College London

LONDON — The HPV, or human papillomavirus, vaccine cuts cervical cancer cases in young women by nearly 90%, according to a King’s College London study published in The Lancet. 

The study — which Cancer Research U.K. called “historic” — found that cervical cancer rates in women aged 12-13 vaccinated against HPV were 87% lower than women without the vaccine. In women aged 14-16, rates were 62% lower and 34% lower in women 16-18. 

Nearly all cervical cancers, which are the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, are caused by viruses. The research fuels hope that vaccination could almost eliminate the disease. 

The King’s College researchers looked at U.K. population-based cancer registry data between January 2006 and June 2019. The women were inoculated with the Cervarix vaccine, which protects against two strains of cancer-causing. New vaccines, sold by Gardasil, protect against even more strains.

The study estimates that by mid-2019, there were 450 fewer cervical cancer cases and 17,200 fewer cases of pre-cancers in the vaccinated population.

“This study provides the first direct evidence of the impact of the UK HPV vaccination campaign on cervical cancer incidence, showing a large reduction in cervical cancer rates in vaccinated cohorts,” study co-author Dr. Kate Soldan from the U.K. Health Security Agency said, per CNN.

“This represents an important step forwards in cervical cancer prevention,” she said. “We hope that these new results encourage uptake as the success of the vaccination program relies not only on the efficacy of the vaccine but also the proportion of the population vaccinated.”

It is still too early to know the full impact that HPV vaccinations have on cervical cancer rates. 

Though all women are at risk of cervical cancers, the disease is uncommon in young women, as it occurs most often in women over the age of 30, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study also collected data from the outdated Cervarix vaccine — the U.K. now uses Gardasil. 

According to the BBC, cervical cancer kills more than 300,000 women worldwide every year. Almost 90% of those deaths come from middle and low-income countries, and the hope is vaccination will have an even bigger impact in those nations. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) started the first-ever global commitment to eliminate cancer called the Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer. The goal is to vaccinate 90% of girls against HPV before they turn 15. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services started a campaign to increase HPV vaccination rates, mainly targeting states with low vaccination rates. 

Prof Peter Sasieni, one of the researchers at King’s College London, called the study “just the tip of the iceberg.” He added that the “impact has been huge.”

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Health

FDA oks adverts for first condom specifically designed for anal intercourse

FDA authorized One Male Condom also aa a contraceptive to reduce risk of pregnancy and the transmission of STIs during vaginal intercourse

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Courtesy of Global Protection Corp.

WASHINGTON – Boston, Massachusetts-based Global Protection Corporation, a world leader in manufacturing and distributing sexual health products, condom manufacturing, lubricant manufacturing and much more was granted permission by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, (FDA), to market its condoms designed for anal intercourse.

On Wednesday, the FDA authorized the marketing of the One Male Condom, are also indicated as a contraceptive to help reduce the risk of pregnancy and the transmission of STIs during vaginal intercourse.

Before today’s authorization, the FDA had not cleared or approved condoms specifically indicated for anal intercourse. Unprotected anal intercourse carries the greatest sexual exposure risk of HIV transmission. Consistent and correct condom use has the potential to significantly help decrease the risk of STIs. While today’s authorization underscores the public health importance of condoms tested and labeled specifically for anal intercourse, all other FDA-cleared condoms can continue to be used for contraception and STI prevention. It’s important to continue to use condoms consistently and correctly to reduce the risk of STI transmission, including HIV, and to prevent pregnancy.

“The risk of STI transmission during anal intercourse is significantly higher than during vaginal intercourse. The FDA’s authorization of a condom that is specifically indicated, evaluated and labeled for anal intercourse may improve the likelihood of condom use during anal intercourse,” said Courtney Lias, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Office of GastroRenal, ObGyn, General Hospital, and Urology Devices in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

“Furthermore, this authorization helps us accomplish our priority to advance health equity through the development of safe and effective products that meet the needs of diverse populations. This De Novo authorization will also allow subsequent devices of the same type and intended use to come to the market through the 510k pathway, which could enable the devices to get on the market faster,” she added.

The One Male Condom is a natural rubber latex sheath that covers the penis. It has three different versions: standard, thin and fitted. The fitted condoms, available in 54 different sizes, incorporate a paper template to aid in finding the best condom size for each user. When used during anal intercourse, the One Male Condom should be used with a condom-compatible lubricant.

The safety and efficacy of the One Male Condom was studied in a clinical trial comprised of 252 men who have sex with men and 252 men who have sex with women. All participants were between 18 through 54 years old.  

The study found that the total condom failure rate was 0.68% for anal intercourse and 1.89% for vaginal intercourse with the One Male Condom. Condom failure rate was defined as the number of slippage, breakage or both slippage and breakage events that occurred over the total number of sex acts performed.

For the One Male Condom, the overall percentage of adverse events was 1.92%. Adverse events reported during the clinical trial included symptomatic STI or recent STI diagnosis (0.64%), condom or lubricant-related discomfort (0.85%), partner discomfort with lubricant (0.21%) and partner urinary tract infection (0.21%).

The symptomatic STI or recent STI diagnoses observed in the study were self-reported and may be the result of subjects having intercourse without a condom or may have preceded use of the One Male Condom, as STIs were not measured at baseline.

The FDA reviewed the One Male Condom through the De Novo premarket review pathway, a regulatory pathway for low- to moderate-risk devices of a new type. Along with this De Novo authorization, the FDA is establishing criteria called special controls that define the requirements related to labeling and performance testing.

When met, the special controls, in combination with general controls, provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness for devices of this type. This action also creates a new regulatory classification, which means that subsequent devices of the same type with the same intended use may go through the FDA’s 510(k) pathway, whereby devices can obtain clearance by demonstrating substantial equivalence to a predicate device.

The FDA granted the marketing authorization to Global Protection Corp.

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AIDS and HIV

New highly-infectious variant of HIV discovered by Dutch scientists

This new variant of HIV-1 damaged the immune system twice as fast, “placing individuals at risk of developing AIDS much more rapidly”

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The human immunodeficiency virus in the bloodstream (Photo Credit: NIH/CDC)

CAMBRIDGE, UK – A study published this week by Science (journal) detailed an alarming discovery by researchers, clinicians and epidemiologists in the Netherlands of a new, highly-infectious mutated variant strain of the human immunodeficiency virus, (HIV), circulating in the country.

The BEEHIVE project – which stands for “bridging the epidemiology and evolution of HIV in Europe and Uganda,” detailed the findings which showed that a distinct subtype-B viral variant of HIV-1 damaged the immune system twice as fast, “placing individuals at risk of developing AIDS much more rapidly”, and those with this variant were at a higher risk of transmitting the virus to others.

The variant, known as the “VB variant”, causes CD4 cell decline to occur twice as fast in infected individuals compared with other viral variants. This is a clinical hallmark, or “signature” of the extent of damage caused by the HIV virus. In addition, those infected with the VB variant also demonstrated an increased risk of transmitting the virus to others, the data suggests.

Individuals infected with the new “VB variant” (for virulent subtype B) showed significant differences before antiretroviral treatment compared with individuals infected with other HIV variants:

  • Individuals with the VB variant had a viral load (the level of the virus in the blood) between 3.5 and 5.5 times higher.
  • In addition, the rate of CD4 cell decline (the hallmark of immune system damage by HIV) occurred twice as fast in individuals with the VB variant, placing them at risk of developing AIDS much more rapidly.
  • Individuals with the VB variant also showed an increased risk of transmitting the virus to others.

The project’s researchers, clinicians and epidemiologists did determine however, that those infected with the VB variant had “similar immune system recovery and survival to individuals with other HIV variants.”

However, the researchers stress that because the VB variant causes a more rapid decline in immune system strength, this makes it critical that individuals are diagnosed early and start treatment as soon as possible.

BEEHIVE project‘s lead author Dr Chris Wymant, from the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute and Nuffield Department of Medicine, said: “Before this study, the genetics of the HIV virus were known to be relevant for virulence, implying that the evolution of a new variant could change its impact on health. Discovery of the VB variant demonstrated this, providing a rare example of the risk posed by viral virulence evolution.”

“Our findings emphasize the importance of World Health Organization guidance that individuals at risk of acquiring HIV have access to regular testing to allow early diagnosis, followed by immediate treatment. This limits the amount of time HIV can damage an individual’s immune system and jeopardise their health. It also ensures that HIV is suppressed as quickly as possible, which prevents transmission to other individuals,” Senior author Professor Christophe Fraser from the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute and Nuffield Department of Medicine, added.

In its Global HIV & AIDS statistics — Fact sheet, the UNAIDS Secretariat detailed the statistical data: 

GLOBAL HIV STATISTICS

  • 28.2 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy as of 30 June 2021.
  • 37.7 million [30.2 million–45.1 million] people globally were living with HIV in 2020.
  • 1.5 million [1.0 million–2.0 million] people became newly infected with HIV in 2020.
  • 680 000 [480 000–1.0 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2020. 
  • 79.3 million [55.9 million–110 million] people have become infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic.
  • 36.3 million [27.2 million–47.8 million] people have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic.

People living with HIV                                                                          

  • In 2020, there were 37.7 million [30.2 million–45.1 million] people living with HIV.
    • 36.0 million [28.9 million–43.2 million] adults.
    • 1.7 million [1.2 million–2.2 million] children (0–14 years).
    • 53% of all people living with HIV were women and girls.
  • 84% [67– >98%] of all people living with HIV knew their HIV status in 2020.
  • About 6.1 million [4.9 million–7.3 million] people did not know that they were living with HIV in 2020.

People living with HIV accessing antiretroviral therapy

  • As of 30 June 2021, 28.2 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy, up from 7.8 million [6.9 million–7.9 million] in 2010.
  • In 2020, 73% [56–88%] of all people living with HIV were accessing treatment.
    • 74% [57–90%] of adults aged 15 years and older living with HIV had access to treatment, as did 54% [37–69%] of children aged 0–14 years.
    • 79% [61–95%] of female adults aged 15 years and older had access to treatment; however, just 68% [52–83%] of male adults aged 15 years and older had access.
  • 85% [63– >98%] of pregnant women living with HIV had access to antiretroviral medicines to prevent transmission of HIV to their child in 2020.

New HIV infections

  • New HIV infections have been reduced by 52% since the peak in 1997.
    • In 2020, around 1.5 million [1.0 million–2.0 million] people were newly infected with HIV, compared to 3.0 million [2.1 million–4.2 million] people in 1997.
    • Women and girls accounted for 50% of all new infections in 2020.
  • Since 2010, new HIV infections have declined by 31%, from 2.1 million [1.5 million–2.9 million] to 1.5 million [1.0 million–2.0 million] in 2020.
    • Since 2010, new HIV infections among children have declined by 53%, from 320 000 [210 000–510 000] in 2010 to 150 000 [100 000–240 000] in 2020.

AIDS-related deaths

  • AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by 64% since the peak in 2004 and by 47% since 2010.
    • In 2020, around 680 000 [480 000–1 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses worldwide, compared to 1.9 million [1.3 million–2.7 million] people in 2004 and 1.3 million [910 000–1.9 million] people in 2010.
  • AIDS-related mortality has declined by 53% among women and girls and by 41% among men and boys since 2010.
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Coronavirus

CDC: 85% of gay & lesbian adults in U.S. are vaccinated against COVID

Data on COVID-19 vaccination among LGBTQ persons limited because of the lack of routine SOGI data collection at the national & state levels

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Photo Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/GSA

ATLANTA – A new study report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), found that found 85.4% of gay and lesbian Americans above age 18 had received at least one vaccine dose as of October 2021.

The study, conducted from August 29 until October 30, 2021, also found that by comparison, only 76.3% of heterosexuals reported receiving at least an initial dose by the same date.

The report noted that Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations have higher prevalence of health conditions associated with severe COVID-19 illness compared with non-LGBT populations.

The potential for low vaccine confidence and coverage among LGBT populations is of concern because these persons historically experience challenges accessing, trusting, and receiving health care services

Data on COVID-19 vaccination among LGBT persons are limited, in part because of the lack of routine data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity at the national and state levels.

In March of 2021, the Blade reported the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has revealed deep-seated inequities in health care for communities of color and amplifies social and economic factors that have contributed to those communities being hit hardest, and Mega-vaccination centers set up by California health officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been addressing and tracking the issue- the LGBTQ communities are still not being tracked.

This lack of data collection has frustrated and angered California State Senator Scott Wiener who authored a bill last year that passed through the legislature and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last Fall that mandates gathering sexual orientation and gender identity data related to the COVID testing in California.

“We’re one year into the pandemic, and LGBTQ people continue to be erased in our public health response to COVID-19 — similar to our invisibility throughout history. No government is successfully tracking COVID-19 cases in the LGBTQ community, despite a law I wrote mandating that California do so,” Weiner told the Blade. “And, we now know that LGBTQ people are more vulnerable to COVID-19. We’ve also just learned that vaccination demographic data doesn’t include LGBTQ data. It simply shocking that in 2021, progressive health agencies continue to forget about our community,” he added.

The CDC also noted that gay and lesbian adults were more likely to be concerned about COVID-19 and to believe in the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

“We know that the prevalence of certain health conditions associated with severe COVID-19 illness, such as cancer, smoking, and obesity, are higher in LGBT populations, and access to health care continues to be an issue for some people in the LGBT community,” Dr. A.D. McNaghten, a member of the CDC’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Team and corresponding author of the study, told ABC News. “We wanted to see if vaccination coverage among LGBT persons was the same as non-LGBT persons.”

The CDC data recorded that bisexual and transgender adults had similar vaccination rates to heterosexual adults with 72.6% of bisexual adults fully vaccinated by the end of October, as were 71.4% of transgender adults. The numbers however for Black and Hispanic lesbian women had lower rates of vaccination at 57.9% and 72.6%, respectively, compared to Black and Hispanic heterosexual women at 75.6% and 80.5%, respectively.

Higher percentages of gay or lesbian adults and bisexual adults reported that they thought COVID-19 vaccine was very or somewhat important to protect oneself (90.8% and 86.8%, respectively) compared with heterosexual adults (80.4%), and higher percentages of adults who identified as transgender or nonbinary reported they thought COVID-19 vaccine was very or somewhat important to protect oneself (83.2%) compared with those who did not identify as transgender or nonbinary (80.7%).

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