Testing New Forms of Long-Acting HIV Prevention Medications

The UCLA Vine Street Clinic team is excited to be a part of on-going research testing the effectiveness of long-acting forms of HIV prevention medications. The current option, Truvada™ for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) requires that people take a pill every day, which can present barriers for many. There are two studies currently seeking to expand the options available for PrEP.

The first is the AMP Study (Antibody Mediated Prevention). This is a new approach to HIV prevention. Usually, people receive a vaccine and their bodies produce antibodies that prevent the person from becoming infected with the disease. The AMP Study’s approach is different. Research participants will be given the antibodies directly (skipping the vaccination) via an intravenous infusion. The goal of this study is to test whether this broadly-neutralizing antibody (named VRC01) can prevent HIV infections. For more information and details, check out their website: https://ampstudy.org/about

The second study is CAB LA. CAB LA, formally known as “HPTN 083: A Phase 2b/3 Double Blind Safety and Efficacy Study of Injectable Cabotegravir Compared to Daily Oral Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate/Emtricitabine (TDF/FTC), for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis in HIV-Uninfected Cisgender Men and Transgender Women who have Sex with Men,”. This study aims to evaluate the efficacy of an injectable medication – cabotegravir – as PrEP in HIV-negative cisgender men and transgender women who have sex with men. Participants will receive the injections 4 weeks apart and every 8 weeks thereafter. We are one of two Los Angeles sites for this study, the other being the UCLA CARE Center. For more information about CAB LA, check out the HPTN site: https://www.hptn.org/research/studies/hptn083.

UCLA Vine Street Clinic is proud to be part of these global efforts to end the spread of HIV. If you would like to participate in one of these studies, you can contact our staff at (866) 449-UCLA.

Dr. Walter Ling Honored at CPDD

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CBAM would like to congratulate Dr. Walter Ling, 2017 recipient of the Nathan B. Eddy Memorial Award, acknowledging outstanding research efforts that have advanced knowledge of drug dependence. Dr. Ling’s research provided key information that led to the approval of many of the existing medication options for treating drug dependence. His illustrious career spans decades, covering groundbreaking research into the treatment of opioid, cocaine, and methamphetamine use disorders. His work has expanded to 15 countries to advance addiction medicine and research. The much-deserved award was presented on June 18 at the annual College on Problems of Drug Dependence conference. Dr. Ling is a long-time colleague and mentor to CBAM faculty and staff.

Ling CPDD Award_2017

HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Services at Charles R. Drew and MLK Outpatient Center

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Dr. Wilbert Jordan, Medical Director of the OASIS Clinic at Martin Luther King Jr. Outpatient Center and Associate Professor, Internal Medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU), recently announced that the OASIS Clinic has initiated biomedical services to prevent HIV. Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is one of the newest tools available in the HIV prevention toolbox.

PrEP is a way for people who don’t have HIV but who are at very high risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. It is an FDA-approved medication that is highly effective in preventing HIV when taken properly. South Los Angeles has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the entire county. It now has low and no-cost PrEP available as an additional strategy for fighting this epidemic.

To support patients in accessing PrEP clinical services, Charles R. Drew University recently received a grant from Gilead Sciences, the maker of the PrEP drug, Truvada. The grant funds PrEP Navigation services to assist patients in navigating complex medical and psychosocial systems to help them obtain and adhere to PrEP. Under the direction of David P. Lee, Community Faculty at CDU, the program will be staffed with two PrEP Navigators with services available in English and Spanish. The Navigators will also increase patient education and community awareness in the Watts, Willowbrook, and Compton communities.
“PrEP information and access has spread like wildfire in many parts of LA County, but many of the people who come to our HIV testing site have never heard about PrEP. That’s unfortunate, because in many ways, the need is greatest here in South Central Los Angeles. But, hopefully, this is the beginning of complete access for this community,” Lee says.

The PrEP Navigation Services are housed in Building M with the HIV Testing and Counseling Program. Since HIV testing is a required part of accessing PrEP services, the proximity of both programs provides seamless referrals for HIV testing, PrEP navigation, and PrEP clinical services. The office can be reached at 323-563-5804.

Jan B. King, MD, MPH, Area Health Officer for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Public Health, also announced PrEP clinics will be held there each Thursday, starting March 30, 2017 from 4:00PM to 8:00.

The health center is located at 11833 S. Wilmington Ave, Los Angeles, CA. The center can be reached at 323-568-8100, press “0” after the language prompt.

2016 Publications!

CBAM works at the intersection of academia and community. We frequently publish findings from our research and collaborative projects with top scientific journals. Summaries of those articles are made available on our website so that everyone can see the fruits of our labor. In 2016, we covered a range of topics from HIV Stigma to integrating substance use care in primary health care settings. Read more here: http://www.uclacbam.org/about-us/publicationsresources/.

Research study candidate now sober!

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This lovely card arrived at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic over the holidays. It came from a patient who screened for one of our methamphetamine clinical trials. She was ultimately considered ineligible because of a medical condition, but the diagnosis she received here, prompted her to see her primary care physician. She wrote to let us know that, not only is her condition now under control, but that “My visits to your clinic were the catalyst that inspired my abstinence”. She’s been clean for more than a month.

It warms our hearts to know that we make a difference, even to those patients who don’t make it into our studies.

Greetings from Vietnam!

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Greetings from Vietnam! Dr. Shoptaw attended the workshop “Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) Workshop”, where he presented on “The Use of ATS and the Risk of HIV Infection in the United States: Some Models of Intervention.”

Pictured here is Dr. Shoptaw (right) with Professor Robert Ali (left) from Australia and Professor Apinum Aramrattana (center) from Thailand.

December Events – “Addressing the Intersection of Racism & HIV” and S.H.E. is Beautiful

 
Although December signals the end of the year, we have been quite busy at CBAM. Members of the CHIPTS team at CBAM joined with community and government agencies to co-sponsor two local events. The City of Los Angeles AIDS Coordinator’s Office, in collaboration with several key community partners, hosted a conference on “Addressing the Intersection of Racism & HIV.” This event discussed important topics such as the role of mass incarceration in the spread of HIV, provision of health care services by jails and police departments to economically disadvantaged people and other individuals who come in contact with law enforcement, and the shifting demographics of HIV and how that impacts the policy decisions being made. Speakers challenged those of us in attendance to reflect on the ways in which organizational practices could have unintended, negative consequences that disproportionately impact HIV-positive people of color. Additionally, panelists discussed the ways in which the direct criminalization of HIV promulgates stigma and fear among the community. The event was a great success, providing important and relevant information to frontline staff such as Drug and Alcohol Counselors, MSWs, MFTs, public health professionals, and LCSWs! 
 
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In addition to that great event, we were happy to support “S.H.E. is Beautiful”, a second event put on by the Los Angeles Women PrEP Network, which includes community representatives from the Los Angeles Women’s Collaborative, LA County HIV Drug & Alcohol Task Force, APLA Health, UCLA Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), One Woman Can, and UCLA/Los Angeles Family AIDS Network (LAFAN).. This all-day event was dedicated to empowering women to take charge of their own sexual health. The program featured Dr. Nina Harawa, whose presentation broke down risk in the context of HIV. Other presentations included a primer on HIV and PrEP, how to implement PrEP and its efficacy in clinical settings, healthy relationships, and Sin Verguenza, a culturally-sensitive tool utilized to begin conversations about HIV in the Latino community.

In the upcoming year, we will continue to support events like these as we strive to provide our communities to provide the tools needed for people to make healthy, informed choices.

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A Reminder

Yesterday, a former research patient stopped by our clinic to drop off this cake as a token of appreciation, reporting 7 months of sobriety and counting. This is why we do the work we do at CBAM.
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National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
September 27 is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This day is a call to action to reduce the impact of HIV in the gay community. HIV disproportionately affects men who have sex with men – more so than any other group in the United States. Furthermore, HIV greatly affects communities of color within the men who have sex with men community. Young African-American men are the most disproportionately affected – it is estimated that 1 in 2 will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.

This National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the CDC encourages people to:
– Talk about HIV! Normalizing the conversations around HIV will help people to talk about it and be able to make informed decisions.
– Get tested! Knowing your status is key to keeping yourself and your partners healthy.
– Use protection! Condoms, pre-exposure prophylaxis, post-exposure prophylaxis, and making educated choices are all tools to help slow down the spread of HIV.
– If you are HIV-positive, begin taking medication to achieve viral suppression – which is important for the your health but also greatly reduces the chance of transmitting the virus to others.

For more information, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a lot of great resources!

HPTN Visits VSC!

This week, the UCLA Vine Street Clinic (UVSC) team hosted site visitors from the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN). UVSC is one of 21 sites participating in the HPTN 085 trial, also known as the AMP (Antibody Mediated Prevention) study. This study will evaluate the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of the VRC01 antibody in preventing HIV-1 infection in healthy adults at high risk of HIV infection. Participants will be men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender individuals, who will receive an IV infusion of the antibody or a placebo every 8 weeks for approximately two years.

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