#3: New Study Evaluates Sensitivity of HIV Screening Tests
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was responsible for the deaths of approximately 1.1 to 1.3 million individuals in 2015. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there were approximately 40 million individuals living with HIV at the end of 2015. Only 60% of HIV-positive individuals know of their infection status; the remaining 40%, which amount to approximately 14 million individuals, are unaware of their status and can unknowingly transmit the virus.
For individuals at high risk of acquiring HIV, the WHO recommends pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which is the daily use of antiretroviral drugs by HIV-negative individuals to prevent transmission. Individuals are typically tested for HIV before beginning PrEP, and are continually monitored as they continue to take antiretroviral drugs. Participants are usually screened for HIV through antigen/antibody immunoassays or through antibody rapid tests, both of which are serological tests that detect if antibodies produced in response to HIV antigens are present.
In a new study published in the Oxford University Press, lead investigator Constance Delaugerre, PharmD, PhD, and her colleagues, sought to evaluate the effectiveness of multiple HIV diagnostic tests. Participants consisted of patients in the ANRS IPERGAY study which was a randomized, double-blind PrEP trial for men who have sex with men, a group considered high-risk for infection.
Continue learning about the new study on HIV screening test sensitivity, here
#2: Pet Owners May Be at Increased Risk for Tick-Borne Diseases
About 31% of households with pets reported finding a tick crawling on a human in the household, compared with only 20% of households without pets. In addition, 19% of those in pet-owning households found a tick attached to a human in the home; this occurred in 14% of households without pets. Study authors also note that about 20% of households with pets reported finding ticks on their pets. However, when looking at the prevalence of tick-borne diseases, the research team found no difference between pet-owning and households without pets—both reported 20% verified tick-borne illness.
“It makes sense that people who have pets, especially dogs, are more likely to be around fields or areas where ticks could be hanging out,” said Bruno Chomel, DrSc, DVM, MS, PhD, a researcher at the University of California, Davis, who was not part of this study. “Pets can bring these parasites into the human environment, especially if they sit on couches or sleep in beds with owners.”
Besides owning a pet, researchers also believe that certain characteristics of properties may correlate with the difference in numbers, such as owning a vegetable garden, compost pile, or log pile.
Read more about the risk of tick-borne diseases in pet owners, here