POZ

Men who have sex with men (MSM) and who practice rectal douching before receptive anal intercourse have a higher risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV and HCV), aidsmap reports.

Publishing their findings in Sexually Transmitted Diseases, researchers conducted the first meta-analysis and systematic review to assess the HIV- and STI-related risks associated with rectal douching among MSM. They included 28 studies published between 1982 and 2018 that included a total of 21,570 MSM participants. Forty-six percent of the studies were conducted in the United States, 35% were from Europe and the remainder were from South America, Asia and Africa.

Fifty-two percent of the participants reported rectal douching. Of that group, 52% reported recent condomless intercourse, and 58% reported a high number of recent sex partners.

The meta-analysis included 24 studies with a total of 20,398 participants. Men in these studies who reported rectal douching, compared with those who did not, had a 2.8-fold higher risk of HIV. After an adjustment for other factors that may have influenced this association, this figure was reduced only slightly, to a 2.74-fold increased risk.

The 15 studies that provided data about the link between rectal douching and other STIs indicated that the practice was associated with a 2.46-fold increased risk of such a diagnosis. In particular, rectal douching was tied to a threefold higher risk of HBV, HCV, chlamydia and gonorrhea. After an adjustment for factors that may have influenced the association between douching and all non-HIV STIs, the figure was reduced to a 2.27-fold increased risk.

Rectal douching may influence the risk of contracting HIV and other STIs by damaging the delicate rectal lining, flushing out protective bacteria in the rectum and transmitting infections through shared rectal douching tools.

The study authors stressed that long-term studies are needed to further explore the association between rectal douching and HIV and other STIs.

To read the aidsmap article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here....


POZ

In an effort to support gender equality, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) pledged over $2 billion this year to support women and girls affected by HIV/AIDS.

Founded in 2003, PEPFAR has invested over $85 billion dollars so far in the global fight against HIV.

Nearly $200 million of the multibillion-dollar investment will be channeled into DREAMS programming for adolescent girls and young women, according to a PEPFAR press release. DREAMS is PEPFAR’s public-private partnership with organizations that include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, and ViiV Healthcare.

Since 2015, DREAMS has provided more than $800 million to women and girls living in Africa and the Caribbean, which respectively have the highest and second-highest prevalence of HIV in the world. Already, new HIV diagnoses among adolescent girls and young women in most of DREAMS’ intervention regions have dropped by more than 25%.

The new funding will continue to be used to prevent girls from contracting HIV at birth and throughout adolescence and provide treatment and cervical cancer screenings to HIV-positive women. Furthermore, PEPFAR’s investments will help address structural sexism and empower women and girls to take charge of their own lives by involving them in all decisions regarding their health care.

“We believe that every girl, every woman, deserves equality, health and the opportunity to realize her dreams,” said Deborah L. Birx, MD, the U.S. global AIDS coordinator and head of PEPFAR, in the release.

Since 2003, PEPFAR has saved 17 million lives and prevented millions of HIV infections.

In May 2018, PEPFAR celebrated 15 years. To learn more about its accomplishments, read “PEPFAR Helps Over 14 Million People Access HIV Treatment.” Below is a video marking the anniversary.