Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
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Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

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Prevention Pill Cuts HIV Risk For Injecting Drug Users

Jun 13, 2013

A once-a-day pill has been proven to lower the risk of getting HIV among needle-using drug addicts, just as it does among heterosexual couples and men who have sex with men.

Among 2,400 injecting drug users in Bangkok, those assigned to take a daily dose of an antiviral drug Viread, or tenofovir generically, had half the risk of getting HIV over a four-year period as those who took a placebo pill. Among those who took tenofovir faithfully, there were 74 percent fewer infections.

Results of the long-awaited study, launched eight years ago, are the capstone of an HIV prevention strategy called PrEP, for pre-exposure prophylaxis.

The same antiviral drugs that have revolutionized the treatment of HIV since the mid-1990s have now been shown to prevent infection in all groups at risk of getting the virus. A year ago the Food and Drug Administration approved PrEP to prevent sexual transmission.

"We now know that PrEP ... can help HIV-uninfected people protect themselves from HIV regardless of the route of exposure," says Dr. Robert Grant of the University of California, San Francisco, who chaired a 2010 PrEP study involving men who have sex with men.

At the same time, the results leave many questions unanswered. How should daily antiviral medication be deployed in the real world outside a study setting for a diverse population of drug users who may not take the pills faithfully? How can it be paid for? And might it drain resources from another proven-but-controversial prevention strategy — providing drug users with clean needles?

The number of potential beneficiaries is enormous.

South African AIDS authority Dr. Salim Abdool Karim notes there are about 16 million injecting drug users around the world, and close to 20 percent of them are already infected with HIV.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says eight percent of the estimated 50,000 new HIV infections seen in this country every year are among injecting drug users — about 4,000 infections.

But in some places, such as the former Soviet republics of eastern Europe and parts of Asia, injection drug use is associated with as much as 80 percent of new HIV cases.

In a commentary that accompanies the findings in The Lancet, Karim says it an "important study," but cautions that PrEP "is not a replacement for politically sensitive needle exchange programs."

He also points out that it's not possible to know if the antiviral medicine prevents HIV infections solely from contaminated needles or from unprotected sex, because drug users "might also engage in commercial sex to get money for drugs."

Over the course of the study, injection drug use and needle sharing dropped sharply, perhaps because all participants got counseling about the riskiness of these behaviors. But since that was true for people who got tenofovir and placebo, the drug worked to lower infection risk.

Grant, the San Francisco AIDS researcher, notes that the study is the longest trial of PrEP so far, so the fact that no more serious side effects were seen among tenofovir-users shows that the drug is safe for as long as seven years. Some have worried about the potential for kidney damage and other ill effects.

Reports of nausea were higher among those on tenofovir, but only for the first two months. There were no signs that taking the drug led to the emergence of drug-resistant viruses.

The CDC, which helped fund the Thai study, says PrEP for injecting drug users "could contribute to the reduction of HIV incidence in the United States."

In interim guidelines published at noon Thursday, the CDC says doctors should use a drug called Truvada, which contains tenofovir plus an antiviral called emtricitabine, to prevent HIV in drug users. Truvada contains the same dose of tenofovir used in the Thai study, and it's the drug already approved for PrEP among those at risk for sexual transmission.

Truvada costs about $1,200 a month, or $14,400 a year. Many insurers are covering it for PrEP.

A CDC spokeswoman says the agency doesn't know how much the drug is being used for PrEP since the FDA approved it for this indication last summer, although anecdotal reports suggests the pickup has been slow.

A spokeswoman for Gilead Sciences, which makes Truvada, says the company provides the drug free of charge for US residents without insurance who meet income guidelines. But it's not clear how the drug would be made accessible in parts of the world where injection drug use accounts for most HIV infections – and government funding for HIV prevention is scarce.

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