President Obama Allocates An Additional $35 Million Toward ADAPs – In a speech on December 1, World AIDS Day, President Obama announced that the federal government will contribute an additional $35 million to state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs). The programs, which provide free antiretrovirals to low-income people with HIV, have faced budget shortfalls due to the economic crisis, forcing many states to tighten eligibility requirements and implement waiting lists. President Obama also allocated an additional $15 million toward HIV clinics and treatment centers. According to government officials, the funds represent a reallocation of existing Department of Health and Human Services funds rather than additional money. For more information, please see the //www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jPIkNiZK652sop4c_KkV1UVLh_iQ?docId=d5b66ab7e90f475794ce2731d567c739″>Associated Press article.
Phase 3 Trial Results Show Gilead’s Investigational Booster Cobicistat Is Effective And Safe – Interim 48-week results from an ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial show that Gilead Science’s investigational boosting agent //www.aidsbeacon.com/news/2011/12/05/tag/cobicistat/”>cobicistat is as effective as //www.aidsbeacon.com/news/2011/12/05/tag/norvir/”>Norvir (ritonavir). Boosting agents are drugs that allow patients to take medications less often without losing efficacy. Results showed that 85 percent of previously untreated adults with HIV who took cobicistat-boosted //www.aidsbeacon.com/news/2011/12/05/tag/reyataz/”>Reyataz (atazanavir) plus //www.aidsbeacon.com/news/2011/12/05/tag/truvada/”>Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir) successfully achieved undetectable viral loads (amount of HIV in the blood), compared to 87 percent of study participants taking Norvir-boosted Reyataz plus Truvada. Discontinuation rates due to side effects were similar between the two groups of participants. Based on the results, Gilead stated that it would apply for approval of cobicistat from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the second quarter of 2012. For more information, please see the //www.gilead.com/pr_1635996″>Gilead Sciences press release.
Supreme Court To Decide On Government Liability For Breaches Of HIV Privacy – Justices for the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments this week on whether the federal government can be held liable for emotional distress when it illegally discloses a person’s HIV status. The government was sued by an HIV-positive pilot whose status was disclosed to officials at the Federal Aviation Administration by officials in the Social Security Administration, violating medical privacy laws. The government argues that it is only responsible for damages due to economic losses from such violations, not emotional distress. For more information, please see the article in the //www.latimes.com/health/la-na-court-hiv-20111201,0,4050316.story”>Los Angeles Times.
Merck Initiates Anti-Stigma Initiative For People With HIV And Their Clinicians – U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck has announced a new anti-stigma initiative to improve health care and communication between people with HIV and their clinicians. The program, called Clinic Activation to Lead and Implement Best Practices for Enhancing Response to HIV (CALIBER), includes a website with a discussion guide on dealing with and reducing stigma related to HIV and an expert panel of physicians to help answer stigma-related questions. For more information, please see the //www.caliberofcare.com/docs/CALIBER%20News%20Release.pdf”>Merck press release (pdf) or the //www.caliberofcare.com/”>CALIBER website.
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