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CRIA News

Spring 2000

CRIA Begins Study to Address Depression in People Living with HIV and AIDS

For a number of obvious reasons, people who are infected with HIV experience higher rates of clinical depressions than the general population. CRIA has occasionally conducted or sponsored studies to address this problem, and our latest independent trial will examine a possible treatment option for depression in PLWAs.

Our new pilot study of S-adenolyl-methionine (SAM-e) is a cooperative effort with Dr. Richard Brown at Columbia University Medical Center, Dr. David Goldenberg at Cornell Medical Center and Dr. Kristine Jones of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This agent has been used widely in Europe to treat depression but has only just recently begun to receive serious consideration for this purpose in the United States. SAM-e is a naturally occurring compound in humans which may help to regulate a number of vital bodily functions, including those which affect a person's mood. Researchers have long known that persons who have clinical depression frequently have abnormally low levels of SAM-e in their system and it is hoped that our trial will confirm the drug's ability to rapidly enhance the psychological well-being of our patients. Participants in this trial will be taking SAM-e twice daily over an eight-week period, and they will be completing a test to evaluate psychometrics six times. Patients will also have blood draws to measure SAM-e and homocysteine levels as well as viral load and CD4 counts.

This study is particularly important since so many of PLWAs are already on many toxic drugs and may be reluctant to use widely prescribed antidepressants. SAM-e also does not have nearly the same number or severity of side effects as other drugs to treat depression. CRIA thanks the Pharmavite Corporation for contributing the product for this trial.


CRIA Awarded Contract to Produce Clinical Trials Directory

CRIA is pleased to announce our recent award in March of a contract by the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute to produce a hard-copy and online directory of HIV/AIDS clinical trials within New York and the Tri-State region. CRIA's charge is not only to ensure that this information reaches care providers in all regions of the state who can refer patients to proposed treatments which offer the greatest potential for advancing HIV medicine, but also to conduct an extensive assessment component. CRIA will be placing particular emphasis on examining how useful the directory is at reaching under-served populations and helping ethnic minorities and women to learn about the potential advantages of participating in clinical research. CRIA's assessment program will include many different constituencies involved in the clinical research process, from scientists, to care providers, to PLWAs themselves.

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Although the hard-copy directory will be produced twice a year, CRIA plans to continually update the online version so that providers have the most current information to use when advising their patients. Look for updates on the progress of this new program in future editions of CRIA Update.


CRIA Completes City-Funded Hepatitis C/HIV Co-infection Treatment Education Contract

At the end of February, CRIA completed its work on a special three-month Ryan White Title I supported initiative to educate under-served people living with AIDS (PLWAs) in New York City on the many issues surrounding Hepatitis C (HCV)/HIV co-infection. CRIA was selected as the sole provider of this important new city-wide initiative due to our unique experience speaking about the complex healthcare issues pertaining to co-infection. And, CRIA is pleased to report that we far surpassed the city's expectations for numbers of persons reached by this program. In fact, CRIA was able to serve nearly 45% more than the 1,180 persons we had hoped to reach within the contract period.

Unfortunately, CRIA's work on educating PLWAs about HCV/HIV co-infection has been so successful that many agencies we work with continue to request the specialized workshops for their clients, even though we no longer have the necessary funding to operate this program. We are attempting to at least meet a portion of the overwhelming demand for continuing HCV/HIV education by fundraising in the private sector. We are optimistic that at least some of these proposals will be successful. Also, James Learned, CRIA's recently hired expert on HCV/HIV co-infection issues has agreed to stay on with us full time. Nevertheless, we are hopeful that the New York City Department of Health will eventually recognize the continuing need for treatment education on HCV/HIV co-infection issues, and fund CRIA's work in this area in the near future to avoid a permanent end to these services.





  
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This article was provided by AIDS Community Research Initiative of America. It is a part of the publication CRIA Update. Visit ACRIA's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 

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