News and Impact of VACS

2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

The Center for AIDS Information & Advocacy, A program of Legacy Community Health Services published an HIV treatment alert in March, which included a review starting on page 41 entitled, “Weight gain poses higher diabetes risk with HIV in US veterans study.” This review was on the Herrin et al. article published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome entitled, “Weight gain and incident diabetes among HIV-infected veterans initiating antiretroviral therapy compared with uninfected individuals.”

  • PubMed Link
  • PDF of just the Herrin et al. review
  • Link to VACS 2016 Publication page

February 2017

  • Jessie Torgersen was awarded the Young Investigator Award Scholarship for her Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) poster entitled, “Prevalence and Risk Factors for Hepatic Steatosis in HIV+ Persons”. Link to VACS 2017 Poster page
  • Amy Justice presented to the Commission on Economic Competitiveness and The Commerce Committee regarding “Building the Precision Medicine and Personalized Health Cluster in Connecticut”. Hartford, CT, February 3, 2017. Amy starts presenting at 2:04:20.
Fiellin-Becker-Malloy_Oct2016

(from left) Connecticut State Representative Theresa Conroy; Dr. David Fiellin, Yale School of Medicine; Yale School of Medicine Dean Robert Alpern; Dr. Gail D'Onofrio, Yale School of Medicine; Governor Dannel P. Malloy; Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner; and Dr. William Becker, Yale School of Medicine. (Photo by Michael Marsland / Yale University)

2016

December 2016

  • Matthew Freiberg accepted an invitation to join the American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Associations (ASA) committee on Science and Clinical Education Lifelong Learning Planning. Matt was nominated as an expert advisor on the committee, which will focus on the association between Cardiovascular Disease and HIV.

October 2016

  • Vincent Lo Re is the recipient of the 2016 HIVMA Research Award, being presented at the ID Week Meetings in New Orleans, Louisiana. This award recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to HIV medicine in clinical or basic research early in their careers. Link
  • Oxford University Press was granted permission to use Bianca Yuh et al.’s article entitled, “Weight change after antiretroviral therapy and mortality,” in a Nutrition CME on HIV/AIDS.
  • David Fiellin, a leading expert in addiction medicine, was featured in an article by Jenny Chen from Yale University School of Medicine, entitled “New ways to help people avoid opioid overdose and beat addiction,” for helping Connecticut address the opioid crisis.
  • David Fiellin and William Becker attended a press conference (picture right) hosted by Yale University’s Schools of Medicine and Public Health, convened by Connecticut Governor Daniel P. Malloy to receive the state’s final report and strategic plan on fighting the opioid epidemic. Ziba Kashef covered the news in an article entitled, “Yale experts deliver state strategic plan to battle opioid epidemic.”
  • Amy Justice attended an event organized by the Yale University Debate Association, taking a side on the topic, “Resolved: Prioritize finding a cure for HIV/AIDS over treatment and prevention.” Dr. Justice debated with Keymanthri Moodley, a bioethicist at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University, and stated, “Treatment and prevention may not be enough, but treatment as prevention may be enough.” Debate news was covered in a Yale Daily News article, by Ishaan Srivastava, entitled, “Researchers reflect on three decades of HIV research.”

September 2016

August 2016

mvp at dav

(left-to-right: Jennifer Lee, VA Deputy Secretary of Health & Human Resources; Sumitra Muralidhar, MVP Program Director; Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Michael Gaziano, MVP Principal Investigator; John Concato, MVP Principal Investigator).

July 2016

  • The VA Million Veteran Program is now the largest genomic biobank in the world. The White House press release mentions “500,000 veterans have voluntarily donated their health data to the future of science and medicine through the VA’s Million Veteran Program (MVP), marking a critical halfway point to the goal of signing up one million veterans.”) Of note, the White House press release was timed to coincide with the President’s presentation at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) national convention in Atlanta earlier that week (that also mentioned the project). See photo (right) from the DAV event taken just before the President’s remarks.

May 2016

April 2016

  • Amy Justice was featured in Yale News for having a grant approved by the National Cancer Institute with Vincent Lo Re (UPenn) in an article entitled, “Amy Justice awarded research grant to study liver cancer and HIV.”
  • Amy Justice was quoted in an article in the Washington Post, written by Lenny Berstein entitled, “The graying of HIV: 1 in 6 new U.S. cases are people older than 50.”

March 2016

February 2016

Amy Justice et al.’s article published in Drug Alcohol Depend entitled, “Risk of mortality and physiologic injury evident with lower alcohol exposure among HIV infected compared with uninfected men”, has received the following publicity:

  • Yale News published a press release, written by Ziba Kashef, entitled, “Research in the news: Even moderate alcohol intake may harm people with HIV”.
  • Philly.com's HealthDay section published a news article, written by Mary Dallas, entitled, "Alcohol More Harmful for People With HIV, Study Suggests”.
  • WFMJ's Health section published an article entitled, "Alcohol more harmful for people with HIV". 
  • Health24 published a news article under there HIV/AIDS section entitled, "Alcohol risk higher for HIV+ patients".
  • U.S. News and World Report published an article under their Health section, written by Mary Dallas, entitled, "Alcohol More Harmful for People With HIV, Study Suggests".

January 2016

2015

September 2015

  • Dan Weisberg et al.’s article published in JAIDS entitled, “Long-term Prescription of Opioids and/or Benzodiazepines and Mortality Among HIV-Infected and Uninfected Patients”, was featured in ASAM Weekly in their weekly update under the "Addiction and Comorbid Conditions" section.
  • Dave Rimland was featured in an article entitled, "Aging with HIV" in the fall issue of Emory Medicine.

August 2015

  • Dan Weisberg et al.’s article published in JAIDS entitled, “Long-term Prescription of Opioids and/or Benzodiazepines and Mortality Among HIV-Infected and Uninfected Patients”, was featured by the New Haven Register in the Health section in an article by Cara Rosner entitled, “Yale Study: Higher risk of death among veterans taking opioids long-term”.

July 2015

June 2015

  • Amy Justice and Rob Dubrow were interviewed for an episode, on HIV and Cancer, for Yale Cancer Center Answers, a weekly radio program that airs Sunday evenings from 6:00-6:30 pm on WNPR. The airing date for their interview is Sunday, June 7th and can be found here.
Dan Weisberg et al.’s article published in JAIDS entitled, “Long-term Prescription of Opioids and/or Benzodiazepines and Mortality Among HIV-Infected and Uninfected Patients”, has received the following publicity:
  • Yale News published a press release, written by Ziba Kashef, entitled, “Research in the news: Long-term use of prescription opioids linked to higher mortality”.
  • The Body Pro published a news article, written by Mark Mascolini, entitled, “Long-Term Painkiller Use Linked to Higher Death Risk Among HIV-Positive Individuals”.

May 2015

  • Shilpa Viswanathans et al. JAIDS paper entitled, “Adherence and HIV RNA Suppression in the Current Era of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy” has been featured in the aidsmap news in an article by Michael Carter entitled, “Modern NNRTI regimens can be effective with 85% adherence”.

April 2015

The Center for AIDS Information & Advocacy, A program of Legacy Community Health Services published an HIV treatment alert in April, which included a review starting on page 19 entitled, “Heart attack rate twice higher with HIV among veterans at low risk.” This review was on the Paisible et al. article published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome entitled, “HIV infection, cardiovascular disease risk factor profile, and risk for acute myocardial infarction.”

  • PubMed Link
  • PDF of just the Paisible et al. review
  • Link to VACS 2015 Publication page

Kathy McGinnis et al.’s AIDS and Behavior paper entitled, “Number of Drinks to ‘‘Feel a Buzz’’ by HIV Status and Viral Load in Men”, has received numerous publicity:

  • Times of India published a news article, entitled, “HIV-infected men are more sensitive to alcohol!”
  • The New Haven Register published an article in the Health section entitled, “Yale study finds HIV-positive men more affected by alcohol”.
  • CT News published a news article, written by Amanda Cuda, entitled, “Yale study: Men with HIV faster to get alcohol ‘buzz’”.
  • Yale News published a press release, written by Ziba Kashef, entitled, “A bad buzz: Men with HIV need fewer drinks to feel effects”.

March 2015

  • Joe King et al.’s JAMA Surgery paper entitled, “30-day postoperative mortality among HIV infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy and procedure-matched uninfected comparators”, was summarized in NEJM Journal watch, written by Carlos del Rio, entitled, “Postoperative Mortality Among HIV-Infected Patients”.

February 2015

  • JAMA Surgery featured Joe King’s “Thirty-Day Postoperative Mortality Among Individuals With HIV Infection Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy and Procedure-Matched, Uninfected Comparators” on the “Online First” section on their website. The article can be found on PubMed here.

2014

July 2014

  • Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers published a press release about Matthew Goetz et al. article entitled “Development and validation of an algorithm to identify patients newly diagnosed with HIV infection from electronic health records.” – Pubmed Link – The press release is entitled “Identifying newly diagnosed HIV-infected people using electronic medical records,” and can be found here.

May 2014

  • AIDSMEDS featured Joe Lim et al.’s article “Relationship between alcohol use categories and noninvasive markers of advanced hepatic fibrosis in HIV-infected, chronic hepatitis C virus-infected, and uninfected patients”, in their May 28th email update under “Treatment News” (Pubmed Link). The news article was entitled “Alcohol is very risky for those coinfected with HIV and Hep C”, and can be found here.

April 2014

  • Ryan Greysen’s manuscript, “Does social isolation predict hospitalization and mortality among HIV+ and uninfected older veterans?” won the 2014 American Geriatrics Society Outstanding Junior Research Manuscript Award and was featured in their faculty newsletter.

March 2014

  • Vincent Lo Re et al.’s article made the lead story for the national magazine, GI & Hepatology News. The story was entitled, “Patients with both HIV and HCV have higher hepatic decompensation rates, despite antiretrovirals” and it was written about the article “Hepatic Decompensation in Antiretroviral-Treated Patients Co-Infected With HIV and Hepatitis C Virus Compared With Hepatitis C Virus–Monoinfected Patients: A Cohort Study.” – Pubmed Link  
  • Jessica White et al.’s themed discussion/poster at the 21st Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston Massachusetts received an article on the HIV and Hepatitis website and can be read here. The title was “Depressionand HIV are risk factors for incident heart failure among veterans.”
  • HIV Treatment Alerts did a review of Kaku Armah et al.’s article “Prehypertension, hypertension, and the risk of acute myocardial infarction in HIV-infected and -uninfected veterans.” The review was in their march issue beginning on page 7 entitled “High blood pressure adds to heart attack risk in people with HIV.” – Pubmed Link
  • Amy Justice was interviewed for an article in Health Affairs entitled, “Living with HIV and growing old.” by T. R. Goldman.

2013

December 2013

  • The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) released an interview with Matthew Freiberg entitled, “Epidemiologist immerses himself in big data as he studies the link between HIV and cardiovascular disease.” Link includes five interview clips.
  • HIV InSite posted an article in December 2013, entitled “Polypharmacy in HIV-infected individuals,” which referenced Dr. Jennifer Edelman’s oral presentation from ID week 2013 entitled, “HIV+ individuals on ART are at risk of polypharmacy: more medication increases mortality.”

November 2013

  • Amy Justice’s talk at the GeSIDA 5th National AIDS Congress Spanish Society of Infectious Disease, entitled, “HIV and aging: The next therapeutic challenge,” was featured in a special digital newsletter

Octobr 2013

  • “Veteran, Doctor Receives Lifetime Award” -- In October 2013, Dr. Michael Simberkoff, PI of VACS New York (Brooklyn/Manhattan) Site, was the third physician to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the VA Society for Practitioners of Infectious Diseases, (VASPID) for his time in the Navy. VANGUARD, issue Winter 2014 presented an article on Dr. Simberkoff’s award on page 34.
  • In follow up to ID week, October 2-6, Infectious Disease News wrote an article about Jen Edelman’s oral presentation entitled, “Polypharmacy associated with mortality in HIV.” Link
  • In follow up to ID week, October 2-6, National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project quoted Lydia Barakat’s poster entitled “Comparing clinical outcomes of HIV-infected to HIV-uninfected older adults hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia.” Link

September 2013

  • Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences wrote an article about Lesley Park's research on liver cancer in the HIV/AIDS population entitled, "Figuring out who will get liver cancer." Link

April 2013

  • A Geriatrics and Palliative Care Blog (GeriPal), in April, discussed Meredith Greene’s “Management of HIV infection in advanced age” article. Link

March 2013

  • Nature Reviews Cardiology highlighted a summary of Matthew Freiberg's "HIV Infection and the Risk of Acute Myocardial Infarction" article. Link
  • Matthew Freiberg's "HIV Infection and the Risk of Acute Myocardial Infarction" article has received an estimated total of 135 media hits as of 3/11/13. This included coverage in outlets in Pakistan, Canada, India, UK, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. The University of Pittsburgh compiled a summary of press coverage on the article.
  • A capsule summary was put together by Clinical Care Options (CCO), on Keri Althoff’s oral presentation at the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI). The presentation was entitled, “Increased risk for MI, ESRD, and non-AIDS-defining cancers in HIV-infected vs HIV-uninfected adults, but similar age at events.” Link

January 2013

  • Yale Press Release on January 28th about a new collaborative study led by Yale, the VA Healthcare System, and the North American Cohort Collaboration supports the accuracy of an index used for predicting mortality as patients with HIV age. The study appears in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS). The article is entitled "Predicting survival among those aging with HIV infection."Link

2012

December 2012

  • US Medicine wrote an article entitled, “HIV patients appear to age more rapidly; researchers want to know why that is.” This was based off of Kevin High’s Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome article, “HIV and aging: State of knowledge and areas of critical need for research. A report  to the NIH office of AIDS Research by the HIV and Aging Working Group.” Link

November 2012

  • Melissa Herrin, Yale University Medical Student, was featured in an article from Yale Medicine on the START Program titled, "New research program gives incoming students a head start", in the Autumn 2012 issue. Link to the webpage
  • One of VACS's recent articles was summarized in "Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Health: Current Evidence," a free NIDA-funded newsletter covering the latest clinically relevant research on alcohol, illicit drugs, and health. Link to newsletter
  • An article written by Peter Hunt that appeared in Current HIV/AIDS Reports recognizes the VACS Index in its own section. Login to Download Article
  • Dr. Amy Justice had a video interview at the 3rd International HIV & Aging Workshop that took place in Baltimore earlier this month. Link to video interview

September 2012

  • The VACS Index and Calculator were featured in an article titled "'Premature Aging' and HIV: Dispelling Myths and Calculating Risk" on The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource website. Link

August 2012

  • The VACS article, "Comorbid diabetes and the risk of progressive chronic kidney disease in HIV-infected adults: Data from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study", was used in an article published by Journal Watch HIV/AIDS Clinical Care entitled "Diabetes + HIV = A Double Whammy for CKD"

July 2012

Amy Justice along with other VACS affiliates have been getting national attention for their presentations at the 2012 International AIDS meeting.

  • Amy Justice referenced in CBS News. Link
  • Amy Justice referenced in The Washington Post. Link
  • Amy Justice quoted in the LA Times. Link
  • Amy Justice referenced in an ABC News article. Link
  • Vincent Lo Re featured in the AIDS 2012 Newsletter.
  • Vincent Lo Re featured on Aidsmap.com. Link

May 2012

  • Dr. Robert Dubrow, chair of the VACS Cancer Core, has been selected as the Yale School of Public Health "Teacher of the Year" for 2012. He teaches classes in Epidemiology and is consistently praised for his supportive teaching, passion, and expertise. Dr. Robert Dubrow will speak at the Class of 2012 Commencement ceremony on May 21st, and his name will be inscribed on the Distinguished Teaching Award Plaque at the School of Public Health.
  • Keith Sigel's lung cancer paper was distributed by NATAP (National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project)
  • Keith Sigel's lung cancer paper was featured in the AIDSinfo newsletter. Link

April 2012

  • Mary Logeais tied for first place at New England SGIM for her oral abstract presentation based on obesity and weight trends and how thy influence the VACS Index and mortality rates
  • NA-ACCORD has been referenced as one of the data systems in the new IOM report monitoring HIV care in the US.
  • Keith Sigel's paper on lung cancer was recently reviewed in Journal Watch. Link to web Login to Download Article 

March 2012

High Blood Pressure Increases Heart Attack Risk in HIV - Work led by Kaku Armah from CROI 2012
Keith Sigel's paper on Lung Cancer was recently reviewed in Journal Watch

2011

November 2011

  • VACS findings on the FIB-4 and liver cancer were featured in an article on the CATIE website. Link
October 2011
  • WXXI EARNS TWO TELLY AWARDS FOR ITS NATIONAL TV SERIES, SECOND OPINION
    Hosted by Dr. Peter Salgo, Second Opinion presents actual medical cases to a panel of experts to debate the pros and cons of diagnostic testing, interpret test results, and prescribe the best course of action. Its "HIV in Middle Age" episode and "H1N1 Special Edition" episode garnered the awards.
September 2011
  • VACS has received a Notice of Award for COMpAAAS. Congratulations to all!
  • Our next 2011 VACS Scientific Meeting will take place October 12-14, 2011. Click here.
April 2011


HIV positive people are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease overall, compared with HIV negative individuals, according to findings from Kaiser Permanente presented this month at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2011) and according to a report in the April 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Archives of Internal Medicine News Release

March 2011


Refining the Picture of Chronic HIV Infection: The Impact of Pulmonary Disease - While the importance of pulmonary infections is well known to HIV providers, the burden of non-infectious pulmonary disease is less clear. Studies suggest that HIV-infected patients have higher rates of emphysema, pulmonary hypertension and lung cancer, even after controlling for tobacco exposure. A study in the February 2011 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, by Kristina Crothers et al., adds to this evidence, providing a broad view of the changing spectrum of pulmonary disease in a large HIV-infected cohort. 

Matthew Freiberg et al.'s study presented at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2011), entitled, "HIV is associated with clinically confirmed myocardial infarction after adjustment for smoking and other risk factors", found that HIV positive people on ART with well-preserved immune function were not at greater risk, however, and that abacavir (Ziagen) was not linked to heart attacks. 


January 2011


Kris Ann Oursler et al.'s article entitled, "Association of age and comorbidity with physical function in HIV-infected and uninfected patients: results from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study", published in AIDS Patient Care and STDs received the following publicity below. Age-related declines in physical function no more common in HIV. People living with HIV are no more likely than their HIV-negative peers to experience age-related declines in physical functioning-a problem tied to poorer health in older people.

2010 and older

February 2010

HIV-Infection and Fragility Fracture Risk among Male Veterans. Womack J, et al. CROI 2010


HIV Contributes to Lung Cancer Risk, but Not Nearly as Much as Smoking . Sigel K, et al. CROI 2010

HIV Infection and HIV/HCV Coinfection Increased Risk of Strokes in Veterans Study . Sico J, et al. CROI 2010

January 2010

Other 2010:

The Public Health Strategic Health Care Group is pleased to announce the release of Clinical Case Registry (CCR) reports on 10 ten measures of HIV care quality that have been endorsed by the National Quality Forum, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the quality of healthcare in the United States by endorsing national consensus standards for measuring and publicly reporting on performance of health care organizations and providers.


These NQF measures cover several aspects of general medical and HIV HIV-specific care. These reports on VHA performance in 2009 on these NQF measures of HIV care quality were produced by the VHA Center for Quality Management in Public Health.


These NQF measures are applied to a population of Veterans with HIV infection in VHA care that differs somewhat from the population described by National HIV Registry Reports. NQF measures have additional requirements for inclusion. For example, unlike the Registry Reports, use of these NQF measures requires that patients be alive at the end of the calendar year, have been diagnosed as known to be HIV-positive by the first half of the year and, as at a minimum for most measures, require that the patients be engaged in VHA care. Because of these differences in inclusion criteria, the numbers of patients in these NQF measures differs from the number numbers of patients in similar National HIV Registry Reports.


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empty empty empty empty empty empty A detailed analysis of 2008 VHA performance on these NQF measures was recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2010; 170(14):1239-1246). Link

President Barack Obama announced the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). The development of the Strategy was headed up by the Office of National AIDS Policy. The three major goals of the NHAS was to reduce infection rates, increase access to care, and reduce related health disparities among infected persons. 

The Center for Quality Management in Public Health, Public Health Strategic Health Care Group is pleased to announce that the Clinical Case Registry (CCR) reports for HIV care in 2009 are now available on the VA intranet. Link 

These reports cover several aspects of patient demographics, ARV treatment rates and other important clinical topics related to HIV care. We urge you to review this clinical information for your station, VISN and nationally. As you will see, there are over 24,000 Veterans who have been diagnosed with HIV and are in care nationwide in 2009.


Fall 2009

Amy Justice et al.'s article entitled, “Towards a combined prognostic index for survival in HIV infection: the role of non-HIV biomarkers”, published in HIV Medicine, was featured in: