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HIV/AIDS News Digest: June 16, 2011

June 17, 2011

Here is a quick look at a few HIV/AIDS stories recently reported in the media:

New Music Video From R&B Songstress Marsha Ambrosius Tackles Safer Sex and HIV/AIDS (From Examiner)

Lady Gaga isn't the only singer who is using her videos and music to serve as teachable moments about pressing societal issues. British soul singer Marsha Ambrosius' new video, "Late Nights & Early Mornings," stresses the importance of safer sex.

The Examiner wrote:

Late Nights & Early Mornings,' is the title track from Ambrosius' debut album and the follow-up to her current hit, 'Far Away' ... In her new music video, Marsha does not hold back in promoting protected sex.

While there is plenty of 'seductive' music and images in the song, during the 'climax' Ambrosius insists that her partner use a condom when they go to bed. This is in stark contrast to a couple that does not use protection and end up contracting the HIV virus. This is the classic case of music video turned sex education class.

View video below:

A few months ago, Ambrosius' video "Far Away" dealt with the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) suicides. In an interview with Fenuxe, Ambrosius admitted that the song and video were based on a friend.

"I'd gone through a serious situation with a friend of mine who'd attempted suicide. And when you're best friends with someone that's in such a dark place in their lives, it's difficult for you to stand by them when they push you away so much. And I think no one really spoke about that angle of the pain, like what it does to people."

View video below:

New HIV Diagnoses Down in Washington, D.C., but Epidemic Still a Major Crisis (From WTOP)

According to a new report conducted by Washington, D.C.'s health department, our nation's capital has some good news when it comes to HIV/AIDS -- new infections are down from 1,311 in 2007 to 755 in 2009. But, Chocolate City still has a serious crisis on its hands with an HIV prevalence rate of 3.2 percent, the highest in the U.S. and triple the World Health Organization standard rate for an epidemic.

The report credits needle-exchange programs for a 60 percent decline in the transmission of HIV/AIDS via intravenous drug use, and also notes that 75 percent of residents diagnosed as HIV-positive entered into treatment within three months, an increase over 58 percent in 2005. Deaths, late testing and HIV to AIDS progressions also declined in 2009. Experts warn, though, that it is too early to characterize that decline as a "substantial change in the District's epidemic."

The report also found the following:

  • African-American men bear the highest burden of the disease -- 7.1 percent were living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Thirty-nine percent of people living with HIV/AIDS were men who have sex with men (MSM); 27.2 percent contracted HIV through heterosexual contact; and 16.4 percent of HIV/AIDS cases were among injection drug users.
  • Heterosexual contact is the leading mode of transmission among blacks living with HIV/AIDS at 32.4 percent, while sex between MSM was the leading mode of transmission among whites at 79 percent and Hispanics at 51.8 percent.
  • D.C. residents ages 40 to 49 were the most significantly impacted by HIV/AIDS, with 7.4 percent of residents in that age group living with the disease.
  • Black women in D.C. were 14 times more likely to be living with HIV/AIDS than white women.

Read the full report here.

Microbicides Follow-Up Clinical Trials Finally Announced (From BusinessLIVE)

Last year the biggest news to come out of the International AIDS Conference were the results of the CAPRISA study. Researchers from South Africa found that a microbicide using tenofovir (Viread) reduced the overall HIV risk by 39 percent in the women in the study, with a 54-percent reduction in women who reported the best adherence to the gel.

On Tuesday, it was announced that the Follow-on African Consortium for Tenofovir Studies (FACTS) would conduct the phase 3 trial to be known as FACTS 001.

"FACTS 001 follows the positive results of the CAPRISA 004 trial last year, which tested the safety and effectiveness of 1% tenofovir gel among nearly 900 women at two sites in South Africa.

"The research found that using the gel before and after sex provided moderate protection against sexually transmitted HIV and Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2). However, CAPRISA 004 was a relatively small trial (Phase IIb trial) and was not designed for licensure purposes."

FACTS 001 will be funded by the South Africa Department of Science and Technology, the South Africa Department of Health and the U.S. government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Ambassador Gips from the U.S. added, "We are committed to empowering women and girls to protect themselves by finding new HIV prevention options. Confirming tenofovir gel's effectiveness is a fundamental and essential step in that direction."

Other HIV/AIDS Articles in the Media

Celebrities Walk the Red Carpet at amfAR's NY Inspiration Event [Slideshow] (From International Business Times)

Gilead Under Investigation Over Manufacture of Drugs (From PharmaTimes)

Florida Man Charged With HIV Transmission Is Released (From The Florida Independent)

Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for and

Copyright © 2011 The HealthCentral Network, Inc. All rights reserved.

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