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2018: Mathilde Krim dies

Mathilde Krim dies at age 91. Dr. Krim, a geneticist and virologist who turned from studying cancer to studying AIDS, started the AIDS Medical Foundation in 1983, and then became the founding chairwoman of the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) in 1985. She raised hundreds of millions of dollars for AIDS research, prevention, treatment, and advocacy. In announcing her passing, the New York Times calls her “America’s foremost warrior in the battle against superstitions, fears and prejudices that have stigmatized many people with AIDS.”

PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) celebrates its 15th anniversary. When PEPFAR began in 2003, only 50,000 people in Africa were on lifesaving HIV treatment. PEPFAR now supports over 14 million people on treatment globally.

A study of MSM in Thailand finds that having a sexually transmitted infection does not affect the ability of people living with HIV to achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load. The results confirm the generalizability of the “Undetectable = Untransmittable” (U=U) message.

A new study reports that targeted, high-coverage roll-out of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was associated with a 25% reduction in new HIV diagnoses in one year. The study followed 3,700 MSM in New South Wales, Australia, who were taking PrEP with high levels of adherence. It is the first empirical study to test PrEP’s population-level effectiveness.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine, issues a draft recommendation that clinicians should offer PrEP to individuals at high risk for HIV infection. The Task Force gives its “A” recommendation—the strongest endorsement it can give—to PrEP, stating that, when taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV among those at high risk, and concluding with “high certainty” that there is a substantial benefit to the target population.

December 1st marks the 30th anniversary of the observance of World AIDS Day.