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Director's Update

September - October 2011

Dr. Kevin Fenton
Director, NCHHSTP

As we observe the 30th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS, exciting developments continue to be made in HIV research. At the July 2011 International AIDS Society meeting, CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) and its partners shared the results of three pivotal studies. These studies provided conclusive evidence that antiretroviral medication can prevent HIV transmission or acquisition. A multi-site study, which included heterosexual couples at CDC's research station in Kisumu, Kenya, reported that earlier initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected persons reduces transmission of HIV to uninfected partners by 96%. Two other studies—one multi-site study that included DHAP's sites in Uganda and one study exclusively conducted by DHAP in Botswana—found that use of antiretrovirals for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) by HIV-uninfected persons reduced their acquisition of HIV by 60-80%. These results were welcome news for prevention of HIV among heterosexuals, especially combined with the 2010 results of iPrEX that showed PrEP prevents HIV acquisition among men who have sex with men. CDC's next steps will include leading the effort to develop guidelines for the use of antiretrovirals for HIV prevention and to translate these findings into improved domestic and international HIV prevention programs.

HIV-related school health moves to NCHHSTP

In October, NCHHSTP will welcome the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) to our national Center. This realignment will improve coordination across CDC's HIV/STD prevention programs and optimize support for achieving the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). It includes a goal to educate young people about HIV before they begin engaging in behaviors that place them at risk.

DASH comes to NCHHSTP from CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP). Under this new alignment, most of DASH's current work will continue, but will be managed under a new organizational structure. Steps are underway to integrate DASH's HIV/STD work into NCHHSTP, prioritize activities, and manage the logistics of staffing transitions. DASH's non-HIV-related school health programs and activities will be housed in a new NCCDPHP division.

We look forward to working across our program areas with DASH's talented staff to strengthen our efforts in reducing HIV and STDs among our youth.

Viral Hepatitis Action Plan Update: Know More Hepatitis

Although not well known, viral hepatitis affects more than 4 million Americans. In response to the 2011 HHS Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, NCHHSTP's Division of Viral Hepatitis is developing a national education campaign focused on hepatitis C called Know More Hepatitis. The campaign aims to raise awareness about this epidemic and encourage people at risk to get tested. To accomplish these goals, it will use multi-media approaches and will consist of three distinct overlapping phases. The first phase is designed to raise broad-based awareness of chronic viral hepatitis among multiple audiences. The second phase is intended to build the capacity of health care providers to conduct risk assessments, test their patients, and refer them to appropriate medical care. The third phase targets populations most at risk for chronic infection and encourages them to seek testing. The campaign is supported in part by the CDC Foundation. Stay tuned!

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Viral Hepatitis Action Plan