HIV/AIDS News Digest: July 7, 2011
July 7, 2011
Here is a quick look at a few HIV/AIDS stories recently reported in the media:
People living with HIV are 2-3 times more likely to smoke than people who are not positive. Smoking in general causes serious health risks regardless of one's HIV status, but smoking-related diseases are a major cause of illness and death in people living with HIV. Experts claim that if people living with HIV were to stop smoking, they could reduce their risk of mortality by 16 percent, major cardiovascular disease by 20 percent and non-AIDS-related cancers by 34 percent.
The difficult part is getting people to kick their habit for good, but a new program is using cell phones to help people living with HIV to quit smoking. In addition to being given brief advice about how to stop smoking, written information, and nicotine replacement therapy, researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center found that participants who had been given a mobile phone and a prepaid telephone number to access counseling support were four times more likely to report abstinence from cigarettes for seven days than individuals who received standard smoking cessation support. The mobile phone counseling also significantly increased the chances of patients reporting total abstinence from cigarettes.
"By conducting counseling over the cell phone, we were able to greatly increase our ability to consistently contact patients and deliver a relatively intensive intervention," wrote the researchers.
The catch is that quitting rates were low in this small pilot study. But the researchers state that their findings are somewhat encouraging and they want to perform this study on a much larger scale.
Inorder to increase HIV testing in Fort Myers, Fla., Julian Ramirez and Ranel Garcia from Island Coast AIDS Network take to the streets and walk up and down the US 41 with condoms and pamphlets about HIV to pass out to everyone from local residents to sex workers. The two will talk to anyone who is willing to listen about HIV testing, the importance of safer sex and HIV basics.
The News-Press profiled the group's work:
Since the beginning of May, workers and volunteers with the Island Coast AIDS Network have walked the streets of Fort Myers from Edison Mall to Palm Beach Boulevard, trying to educate residents about the importance of safe sex and the threat of HIV.
Ramirez, for the most part, says that the community has been receptive to their work, but he admits that some people -- mostly Spanish-speaking immigrants -- had never seen a condom or heard of HIV. He told the News-Press, "Some respond with blank stares. It got me a little bit worried."
French researchers have found that treating newborns with Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) to prevent them from developing HIV could cause life-threatening adrenal failure. While there are no reported deaths, the researchers suggest that Kaletra should not be given to infants, especially since there are other medications that can be used.
The LA Times wrote:
A team headed by Dr. Albane Simon of the Hopital Necker-Enfants Malades, Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris evaluated blood spots from 50 HIV-negative infants who received Kaletra after birth and compared them to spots from 108 infants who had received other drugs, including zidovudine, lamivudine and nevirapine. Among those receiving Kaletra, seven (14 percent) had abnormally high 17OHP levels, but none of those treated with the other drugs had abnormally high 17OHP levels. Levels of 17OHP were highest in those infants whose mothers had been treated with Kaletra during the pregnancy. The team also found unusually high levels of DHEA-S in the infants treated with Kaletra, with the highest levels again in those whose mothers had received the drug during pregnancy. All of the infants who were delivered full-term were asymptomatic, the researchers said, but three of them who were delivered prematurely experienced life-threatening conditions compatible with adrenal insufficiency, including abnormally low levels of sodium in the blood (hyponatremia), higher than normal levels of potassium (hyperkalemia, associated with kidney failure) and cardiogenic shock. All the symptoms resolved when treatment with Kaletra was stopped, but the long-term effects are unknown.
In March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned that an oral solution of the drug used to treat HIV infection in newborns could cause serious heart, kidney or breathing problems.
Other HIV/AIDS Articles in the Media
TheBody.com Blogger Maria T. Mejia Profiled in the Windy City Times (From Windy City Times)
CD4s Above 500: HIV Treatment Need Still Unclear (From POZ.com)
Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
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This article was provided by TheBody.com.
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