aids limerickBy Melissa
She didn't want to have it, for days
She took all her pills,
but still she got ill
And now she is sometimes afraid.
New Combo Effective
Fourteen children age 15-days to two-years-old completed 16 weeks of AZT/Epivir/Viramune therapy. Nine of them were undetectable (three of the five infants were younger than three months old and six of the nine infants were more than three months old when therapy began). Control of HIV replication was less rapid in younger infants than older infants. Long-term follow-up will allow assessment of the durability of the antiretroviral activity. The kids had less than 6 weeks of prior anti-HIV therapy.
Norvir Effective for Kids
Norvir in combination with one or two additional antiretroviral agents reduces viral load in more than 60 percent of HIV+ children with advanced disease after 12 weeks. The twelve children reaching a year on therapy continued to have significant viral load decreases. However, the range in viral load was from a drop of 2.7 logs (which is very good) to an increase of 1.7 logs.
There were good immune responses in all the children as seen by "substantial" increases T-cell count, CD4 percentage, and CD4/CD8 ratio, even in children not reaching undetectable viral load. They are more active, have more weight gain, and have less hospitalization. The 34 children had previously taken anti-HIV therapy and were receiving at least two new drugs in this study. When they entered the study, half the children had viral loads greater than 200,000, although the range was 500 to more than 2 million.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
Hepatitis B vaccine does not work well in symptomatic HIV-positive children, researchers found. The HIV-negative children born to HIV-positive women had a 100 percent response rate to the vaccine. But asymptomatic HIV-positive children had a 25 percent response rate, while HIV+ symptomatic children had a 12.5 percent response. Dr. Daisy M. Machado said the 10 mg vaccine dose used should probably be doubled. Hepatitis B can be transmitted to unborn children.
Antivirals Protect Fetus
A perinatal transmission study showed: Women not taking antiviral therapy had a transmission rate of 21.3%. Women with less than 1,000 viral load had a 5% transmission rate. Those with viral loads between 1,000 and 9,999 had a 15% transmission rate while women with greater than 10,000 viral load had a 37% transmission rate. Transmission rates for women on antiviral therapy was 7% for those with 1,000 to 9,999 viral loads and 18% for women with more than 10,000 viral loads. The rate for women on therapy with less than 1,000 was also 5%.
Megace Not for Children
Megace's adrenal suppressive effect in HIV-infected children may have serious consequences. Researchers said children whose adrenal system is suppressed while using Megace should go off the drug gradually, while taking the corticosteroid hydrocortisone, which is used to treat adrenal hormone deficiencies. The adrenal suppression "was evident after as few as seven weeks of therapy" and did not appear related to the dosage used.
Cocktails' Help Children
Triple-drug AIDS cocktails work as well in children as in adults. Doctors have been reluctant to give children the therapy due to concerns over toxicity, efficacy, and recommended dosage; however, the study found good results in 432 seriously ill HIV-positive children receiving AZT, ddl, and nevirapine. Five percent of the children died and more than 40 percent responded to the triple-drug therapy, compared to 14 percent of those receiving only ddl and nevirapine. The doctor, who noted that the drugs were fairly well tolerated, said that her group now plans to study four-drug cocktails.
This article was provided by Women Alive. It is a part of the publication Women Alive Newsletter.