Inside This Issue: HHS reorganizes key HIV resources, HIV and COVID-19 global response, funding opportunity for HIV prevention, NMAC virtual conference, COVID-19 research reports, and educational resources.
HIV Information Resources
HHS Reorganizes Key HIV Resources, Retiring AIDSinfo and infoSIDA Sites
In mid-September, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) transitioned its AIDSinfo and infoSIDA websites and associated HIV/AIDS activities from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of AIDS Research (OAR) and the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy. Previously, AIDSinfo – and its Spanish-language sister site infoSIDA – were the go-to websites for federal HIV guidelines and a range of other HIV information for both clinicians and consumers. Resources from these sites have been transferred to ClinicalInfo.HIV.gov and HIVInfo.NIH.gov.
ClinicalInfo.HIV.gov is now the home of federal HIV clinical guidelines; a drug database that includes both FDA-approved HIV and opportunistic infection drugs, as well as investigational HIV drugs; and a medical glossary of HIV-related terms. The Understanding HIV section of the HIVInfo.NIH.gov site is now the place to find fact sheets and infographics in plain language suitable for consumers, as well as information about nationally recognized HIV/AIDS awareness days. According to TargetHIV, HIVInfo.NIH.gov will eventually host research information from OAR, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the NLM.
HIV and COVID-19: Global Response
Global Fund Highlights Public Health Advances, But Warns COVID-19 Could Reverse Gains
In its recently released Results Report 2020, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Fund) summarized recent advances in global efforts to combat these three major infectious diseases, but warned that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse that progress. Projects supported by the Fund partnership have saved an estimated 38 million lives since 2002, including 6 million in 2019 alone, according to the report. This represents a 20% increase in the number of lives saved compared to the previous year.
During 2019, in countries where the Fund invests:
- 20.1 million people received antiretroviral therapy for HIV;
- 718,000 HIV-positive mothers received medicine to keep them alive and prevent transmitting HIV to their babies;
- 5.7 million people were tested and treated for tuberculosis (TB);
- 160 million mosquito nets were distributed to protect nearly 320 million people from malaria for three years.
The Fund attributes its recent achievements to increased efficiencies in service delivery, success in finding and treating more people with lifesaving medications, cost savings on health products, and greater collaboration among the Fund and its partner organizations.
However, these gains are now threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Fund report. The volume of HIV testing has declined 50% in some places, and new TB case notifications have decreased up to 75%, which could lead to a rise in new infections as people unaware of their status continue to transmit the diseases to others.
“This is an inflection point,” noted Fund Executive Director Peter Sands. “We can surrender the gains we have made against HIV, TB, and malaria, and allow our progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals to be sharply reversed. Or we can act with speed and scale, investing far greater resources than have yet been committed, to counter both the direct impact of COVID-19 and to mitigate the knock-on consequences for HIV, TB, and malaria.”
UNAIDS Report Examines Opportunities for Leveraging HIV and COVID-19 Response
At the Virtual Fast-Track Cities 2020 conference on 9 and 10 September, approximately 1,500 representatives of more than 300 cities and municipalities around the world discussed urban responses to COVID-19 and HIV. On the opening day of the event, UNAIDS released a report that examines how countries grappling with COVID-19 are using the experience and infrastructure from their HIV response to ensure a more effective response to both pandemics. COVID-19 and HIV: 1 Moment, 2 Epidemics, 3 Opportunities focuses on three key issues and the opportunities they present:
- How key lessons learned from the HIV response should inform COVID-19 responses.
- How the HIV infrastructure is already driving COVID-19 responses and has the potential to catalyze accelerated progress through shared services and expansion.
- How the COVID-19 response, informed by the history of responding to HIV, offers a historic opportunity to build a bridge to adaptable results-driven systems for health that work for people.
“This is a unique opportunity to reimagine systems for health,” noted Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “All eyes are on health, health systems and health care, with countries wanting to be better equipped to deal not only with COVID-19 but also to create healthier, more resilient societies. We can seize this opportunity by learning from HIV and from COVID-19 to make important changes to develop rights-based, equitable, people-centered systems for health.”
CDC Funding Opportunity Focuses on HIV Prevention Programs for CBOs
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (HPS21-2102) for a cooperative agreement program in which community-based organizations (CBOs) will develop and implement comprehensive high-impact HIV prevention programs. The funded programs must align with the four pillars of the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative: diagnose, treat, prevent, and respond. These involve increasing the proportion of persons with HIV who are aware of their HIV status; providing timely HIV treatment to persons with HIV and maintaining them in care; preventing new HIV transmissions; and responding quickly to potential HIV outbreaks to get needed prevention and treatment services to people who need them.
“Community-based organizations are uniquely positioned to complement and extend the reach of HIV prevention efforts implemented by state and local health departments and education agencies to support the optimization of services across public, private, and other community-based organizations,” according to CDC. The agency expects to make approximately 90 awards averaging about $470,000 annually over a five-year period – with total funding of $210 million. Interested CBOs must submit a letter of intention by September 30, and must submit their application no later than November 20. The anticipated award date is July 1, 2021. For additional information, contact: Portia Brewer, firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: (770) 488-3185.
NMAC’s Virtual HIV/AIDS Conference Scheduled for October
NMAC's 2020 U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS (2020 USCHA) will be held virtually on October 19 to 21. The event will feature five plenary sessions, 60 workshops, 12 institutes, and an online exhibit hall. The theme of 2020 USCHA is “Family Reunion II” – which reflects how “the HIV movement is a large and diverse family,” according to NMAC. The ten presentation tracks at the conference are:
- Race (exploring diversity and inclusion in the HIV framework);
- Federal (examining how federal agencies and community stakeholders are working together to reduce the impact of HIV);
- HIV Prevention During COVID-19;
- HIV Care and Wrap-Around Services During COVID-19;
- Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE): Next Steps;
- Reaching Communities Hardest Hit by HIV;
- HIV Policy and COVID-19;
- Community organizing during COVID-19;
- Expand HIV Testing to Include COVID-19 Testing; and
- Track en Español (Spanish-language track examining intersections between COVID-19 and HIV, including barriers and opportunities for testing, prevention, and access to care).
2020 USCHA will also feature the conference’s first virtual jobs fair on October 20. “The new federal resources for the Ending the HIV Epidemic plan means thousands of new jobs,” according to NMAC. “USCHA wants to bring together the people who need jobs with the organizations who receive the new EHE funding. We also want to make sure that the people who get these jobs represent the communities hit hardest by HIV.”
Recent COVID-19 News from MMWR
CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) continues to provide extensive coverage of COVID-19-related research – typically publishing several new reports each week and then archiving them on a page devoted to studies on COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 – the virus responsible for COVID-19. For your convenience, we have grouped recently published MMWR reports on COVID-19 into several subtopics below:
- Serial Testing for SARS-CoV-2 and Virus Whole Genome Sequencing Inform Infection Risk at Two Skilled Nursing Facilities with COVID-19 Outbreaks – Minnesota, April-June 2020
Transmission, Prevention, and Pandemic Response
- Timing of State and Territorial COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders and Changes in Population Movement – United States, March 1-May 31, 2020
- Transmission Dynamics of COVID-19 Outbreaks Associated with Child Care Facilities – Salt Lake City, Utah, April-July 2020
- Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities – United States, July 2020
- Association Between CMS Quality Ratings and COVID-19 Outbreaks in Nursing Homes – West Virginia, March 17-June 11, 2020
- Preventing COVID-19 Outbreaks in Long-term Care Facilities Through Preemptive Testing of Residents and Staff Members – Fulton County, Georgia, March-May 2020
- Preventing and Mitigating SARS-CoV-2 Transmission – Four Overnight Camps, Maine, June-August 2020
- Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Among Frontline Health Care Personnel in a Multistate Hospital Network – 13 Academic Medical Centers, April-June 2020
- Primary Indicators to Systematically Monitor COVID-19 Mitigation and Response – Kentucky, May 19-July 15, 2020
- Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine Prescribing Patterns by Provider Specialty Following Initial Reports of Potential Benefit for COVID-19 Treatment – United States, January-June 2020
Health Risks, Outcomes, and Related Issues
- Characteristics and Maternal and Birth Outcomes of Hospitalized Pregnant Women with Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 – COVID-NET, 13 States, March 1–August 22, 2020
- SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Hospitalized Pregnant Women: Reasons for Admission and Pregnancy Characteristics – Eight U.S. Health Care Centers, March 1-May 30, 2020
- SARS-CoV-2-Associated Deaths Among Persons Aged <21 Years – United States, February 12-July 31, 2020
- Delay or Avoidance of Medical Care Because of COVID-19-Related Concerns – United States, June 2020
- Prevalence of Underlying Medical Conditions Among Selected Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers – Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 31 States, 2017-2018
- Decreased Influenza Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic – United States, Australia, Chile, and South Africa, 2020
HIV Treatment Campaign Materials from CDC
As part of its Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign, CDC has been rolling out a new set of HIV Treatment Works (HTW) products and materials. HTW resources are available in a variety of formats, including posters, print ads, palm cards, web banner ads, short- and long-form videos, and social media assets. These new materials are designed to support and encourage people with HIV to get into care, stick with their medication regimens, reduce their health risks, and live well with HIV throughout their lives. Recently added HTW materials – which are available in both English and Spanish – emphasize the importance of viral suppression for people with HIV, both for maintaining their own health and for effectively eliminating the risk of sexual transmission to others. You may also search for specific HIV prevention materials by topic, campaign, format, language, and target audience on CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together resource library page.
New Fact Sheets and Infographics from AIDSVu and CDC
In conjunction with last week’s National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day observance, the AIDSVu website posted a series of infographics focusing on HIV among older persons in the U.S. These include:
- a state and county-level map of HIV prevalence among persons aged 55 and older;
- a graph comparing new HIV/AIDS diagnoses among older persons in different racial/ethnic groups;
- graphs showing the proportion of HIV diagnoses by age and gender;
- trends in the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among older persons; and
- the proportion of persons with HIV in different age groups who have achieved viral suppression.
CDC also recently published updated fact sheets focusing on two population groups – HIV and Gay and Bisexual Men and HIV and Older Americans. The fact sheets present information on new HIV diagnoses and trends; HIV prevalence; the continuum of HIV care; prevention challenges; and steps CDC is taking to support HIV prevention and testing in each group.