Day 1 plenaries continued the themes from the opening ceremony with great presentations on the epidemiology of the HIV pandemic from Steffanie Strathdee. Alex Coutinho presented data on Universal Access, the stage beyond the 90:90:90 target set by WHO. Some countries in Africa appear to be close to passing these benchmarks include Rwanda and Swaziland. There were few dry eyes at the conference as Edwin Cameron, a South African judge described his life living openly as a HIV positive gay man since 1986. He introduced his godson who has been living with HIV since his birth 22 years.
A Clinical highlight of the morning was the PrEP:New Drugs session. Robert Grant (TUAC01) reviewed the risk of drug resistance versus the benefit of HIV prevention across 6 randomized clinical trials and one demonstration project. This study was of great interest to those doctors involved in PrEP studies in Australia so the take home messages are:
1) FTC resistance occurred in 10 who received FTC/TDF PrEP, including 33% (5/15) with acute infection when starting PrEP, and in 3% (5/157) with established infection. 98 infections were prevented giving 10 (98/10) infections prevented for every FTC resistant infection.
2) Tenofovir resistance occurred in 1 who received TDF PrEP, including 10% (1/10) with acute infection when starting PrEP, and none (of 90) with established infection. 53 infections were prevented by TDF PrEP giving 1 (53/1) infection prevented for every tenofovir resistant infection
3) A screen for acute viral symptoms in PrEP assessments led to deferral of PrEP among 30 of 1603 (1.9%) of whom 2 (6.7%) were found to have acute HIV. No acute infections were missed using this screen.
At the Late Breaker session K Rawlings presented data on the uptake of PrEP in the USA with almost 80 000 people started PrEP in the USA to end of 2915, 76% are men. No data was available on longer term use of PrEP.
The highlight of the ‘Cancer and HIV’ program was a presentation by Andrew Grulich from Kirby Anal cancer in people with HIV (TUSY0803).
To summarise. Historically anal cancer is the third most common cancer in HIV +ve males after KS and lymphoma. In heterosexual males it is 10 x more common, in gay males it is 50 X more common than the general population with an incidence of up to 100 / 100 000. Following ART and CD4 recovery there has been a rapid decline in KS and lymphoma but only a slight decline in anal cancer incidence which remains high even with normal CD4.
In terms of primary prevention HPV vaccination results in a 75% reduction in high grade disease in young gay men but preliminary data did not show that it was effective in males older than 26 although further studies are needed.
In terms of secondary prevention – screening and treatment is complicated by the 75% prevalence of high risk virus with 30 – 40% high grade disease but there appears to be less progression to cancer compared with cervical disease. Treatment pathways are currently uncertain. In comparison to colposcopy anosocpy requires much more training.
In terms of tertiary prevention detection of anal cancer remains controversial with some recommendations to perform annual PR examinations
In the epidemiology session Alison Rodger presented results from the PARTNER (TUAC0206). This prospective, observational study enrolled 1166 HIV sero-discordant couples who reported condomless sex and HIV-1 RNA load suppressed to less than 200 copies/mL. 1166 enrolled couples, 548 heterosexual and 340 MSM provided had a median follow-up of 1.3 years. No HIV transmissions occurred within the studied couples. 11 infections occurred from ‘unlinked’ partners. This gave rate of within-couple HIV transmission of zero with upper 95% confidence limit of 0.30/100 couple-years, and for condomless anal sex 95% CI of 0.71 per 100 couple-years of follow-up. These results are very encouraging in terms of the tremendous value of treatment as prevention.