Heather Boerner

Heather Boerner

Journalist and Author

Heather Boerner is an award-winning journalist who specializes in storytelling on healthcare issues. She's most interested in how people choose between equally important needs.

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Antibiotics After Sex Nearly Halves Incidence of STIs

On-demand postexposure prophylaxis with doxycycline might significantly reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), new research shows.

In fact, prophylaxis with doxycycline after sex resulted in a 47% drop in new infections, French researchers report.


Darunavir Linked to Heightened Heart Disease Risk

The analysis from the Data Collection on Adverse Events of Anti-HIV Drugs (D:A:D) study shows that ritonavir-boosted darunavir is associated with a 59% increase in risk, but researchers found no such association for ritonavir-boosted atazanavir. They did not have enough data to include cobicistat.

"I can't say to a patient that if you stay on this drug, you will develop a myocardial infarction. I can only say that it increases your risk this much," said investigator Lene Ryom, MD, PhD, from the Centre for Health and Infectious Disease Research at the University of Copenhagen.


Zika Can Persist in Semen for 3 Months

Zika RNA can linger in semen for up to 3 months, but clears from vaginal fluid almost immediately, according to interim results from the first prospective study of patients infected with the virus.

"These findings support the CDC recommendations for men to abstain from sex or use condoms for 6 months," said investigator Gabriela Paz-Bailey, MD, PhD, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


New, Better-Tolerated Antiretrovirals Emerging for HIV

Imagine starting a patient on antiretroviral therapy without having to individualize the regimen to take into account factors such as hepatitis B, renal function, sensitivity to abacavir, and drug resistance.

A phase 2 study of the new integrase strand transfer inhibitor bictegravir, used in combination with emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide, suggests that will be possible.


'Keeping the Foot on the Gas' of HIV Research at CROI 2017

"Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas," said Susan Buchbinder, MD, from the University of California, San Francisco, who is chair of the CROI conference committee. "We're at a critical juncture. We need to increase our efforts to realize the benefits of new testing technology, better therapies, and dissemination of treatment," she told Medscape Medical News.

To that end, presentations at the meeting will address the challenges that remain in the field of HIV, including how to reach vulnerable populations.


Real-Time Data Key to Kenya's HIV Prevention Roadmap

"It's one thing to have a document and put it out there. It's another to put that document into practice," she said. "You must have country ownership and a commitment that's matched between the county and the local officials."


Latest ASPIRE Vaginal Ring Data Speak to Women's Experiences

For prevention programs to be appealing, they must make "people feel strong, less anxious, more in control of their lives, and able to enjoy sex," said Jared Baeten, MD, PhD.


More Surprises From ÉCLAIR: Cabotegravir's 'Long Tail'

The mean half-life of the drug was 18 days after the first injection; this rose to 40 days after the third injection. However, the overall data were less consistent.

In some men, cabotegravir dropped below effective levels 24 weeks after injection. In others, cabotegravir was still detectable in the blood 52 weeks after injection.

Those amounts are consistent with a drug that persists for "several additional months," said Susan Ford, PhD, a pharmacokineticist at Parexel in Deerfield, Illinois, who has been working on the drug for close to a decade.


Beliefs About Condoms Can Blind Physicians to PrEP Needs

Four years into the era of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention, doctors' attitudes about condom use might be influencing their willingness to prescribe PrEP, leaving high-risk patients unprotected, according to a recent survey of medical school students.

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HIVR4P Ushers in 'Next-Gen' Prevention

"This isn't your mother's prevention conference," Dr Cohen told Medscape Medical News. "This is not about giving out more condoms and giving them out better. We're much more concerned now about the who, what, when, where, why, and how of HIV prevention, and about creating more tools for the people at greatest risk."