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HIV/AIDS News Digest: August 2, 2011

August 2, 2011

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


Can Antiretrovirals Cause Bone Fractures In People Living With HIV/AIDS? Outlook Unclear (From the AIDS Beacon)

Despite past studies showing that low bone density and bone fractures are more common in people living with HIV/AIDS, there hasn't been any definitive proof that antiretrovrials increase the risk of developing bone fractures. And if HIV/AIDS advocates and doctors were looking for that proof at this year's International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment, and Prevention, they were disappointed.

The results from a large scale study say that it's still unclear.

Researchers from Veterans Affairs North Texas Health Care System concluded that the drugs Viread and Kaletra were associated with higher risk of bone fractures, but that doctors should really look at traditional risk factors such as age, body weight, race, smoking, alcohol consumption, and corticosteroid use to determine one's risk.

The AIDS Beacon reported:

"Cumulative antiretroviral therapy exposure risk is modest compared to the traditional risk factors for osteoporosis," said Dr. Roger Bedimo from the Veterans Affairs North Texas Health Care System, who presented the results last week at the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment, and Prevention (IAS 2011).

"A significant increase in the fracture rate was noted in the HAART [highly active antiretroviral therapy] era, but we cannot infer that this is due to antiretroviral exposure per se," he added. Dr. Bedimo noted that the increase could be due to longer survival times, for example, rather than a direct effect of the antiretrovirals on bone loss.

Who wants to be the one to tell the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene?


Advocates Support Overturning Iowa's Criminal HIV Law (From the Gazette)

According to the Iowa newspaper The Gazette, the Community HIV & Hepatitis Advocates of Iowa Network (CHAIN) is working hard to convince Iowa officials to overturn the state's HIV nondisclosure law. The group claims that the law is against public interest, and discourages people from both getting tested for HIV and from informing their partners about their status.

Under the law, actually infecting someone is irrelevant. If a person who knows that they are HIV positive and engages in intimate contact with another person, that is considered a Class B felony and carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

The Gazette reported:

About 150 volunteers are members of CHAIN, which formed in 2005, including health care professionals who also advocate for funding for the AIDS drug assistance program and other issues.

The group this year promoted legislation to repeal the HIV law, but the bill died in subcommittee.

"It's a complex issue," said [Virginia] Tonelli, [CHAIN's advocacy coordinator], adding that CHAIN will try again in the next legislative session. "Sometimes it's a difficult conversation to have. We had a lot more support than we expected."

Since the law took effect in Iowa in 1998, 37 people have been charged with the crime and 26 of those were convicted.

Currently, there are nine men in prison who have been found guilty under this state law.


Missed Opportunities for HIV Diagnosis in the ER (From Science Daily)

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It's been estimated that 200,000 Americans are HIV positive and don't know it. One small strategy to reduce that number by increasing testing is using the emergency room to test people for HIV, but researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) found that ER docs often miss opportunities to diagnose patients, even when a regular HIV testing program is in place at their hospital.

To test just how many missed opportunities there might have been, researchers reviewed records of 276 newly diagnosed HIV patients to determine whether that particular diagnosis could have been made if they had been tested during an earlier ER visit. Researchers found missed opportunities occurred in 157 visits to an academic emergency department, 24 visits in an urban community hospital and six visits to a suburban community hospital.

According to UC Assistant Professor of emergency medicine Michael Lyons, M.D., "HIV testing in is one of the most critical parts of the fight against HIV." He added, "Previous studies have shown that patients with undiagnosed HIV often visit health care settings, particularly emergency departments, before eventually receiving a diagnosis, but how to capitalize on these opportunities for earlier diagnosis remains unclear. We also do not fully understand how the frequency of missed opportunities differs between different emergency departments."


Other HIV/AIDS Articles in the Media:

Five Questions About HIV Testing (From Penn Live)

Recent NIH Grant Funds UCLA HIV Research with AIMS to FIND a Cure Through Inactive Cells (From the Daily Bruin)

Florida Center Offers Speed Dating and Sex Education for Seniors (From Fox News)

Man Shares Experience of Taking PrEP (From Positively Aware)

Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.

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



  
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