HIV/AIDS Newsroom: January 10, 2000
Willingness to Participate in HIV Vaccine Trials Among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (www.jaids.com)
(12/15/00) Vol. 25, No. 5, P. 459; Perisse, Andre R. S.; Schechter, Mauro; Moreira, Ronaldo I.; et al.
Investigators assessed the willingness to participate in HIV vaccine trials of initially HIV-seronegative men participating in an HIV seroincidence cohort study. Approximately 70 percent of the 815 men indicated that they would participate in an HIV vaccine study, largely for altruistic reasons. The primary factors for not wanting to participate were fear of HIV infection from the study's shots and a vaccine-induced positive HIV test result. Eighty-five percent of the 34 men who eventually seroconverted to HIV had indicated a willingness to participate in a vaccine study. The researchers were encouraged by the altruism on the part of so many of the test participants, but they were concerned about the fears expressed by some of the risk of HIV infection from the vaccine itself, as it indicated a gap in public information and awareness about HIV vaccines specifically.
New statistics show that the rate of tuberculosis (TB) in Wichita, Kansas, increased significantly last year. A total of 19 cases were confirmed by the end of October, compared to just eight one year before. Charley Magruder, head of the Wichita-Sedgwick County Department of Community Health, explained that while the individual number of cases is still low, Wichita's number of TB cases per 100,000 people has been greater than the rate for the entire state for the past several years. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials are meeting with representatives from the local health department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment this week to discuss the TB situation in Wichita.
Lawmaker Proposes Testing All [Connecticut] Teenagers for Chlamydia
Newsday Online (www.newsday.com)
Connecticut State Sen. Toni Harp (D-New Haven) has stirred up controversy with her suggestion that all high school seniors in the state be tested for chlamydia. Harp noted that throughout Connecticut, the number of reported cases of the sexually transmitted disease increased by 18 percent between 1996 and 1999. Harp, co-chairwoman of the legislature's public health committee, explained that the testing would be "kind of a health promotion activity for young people that will hopefully reduce the amount of infertility that exists in our society." But Betty Gallo--a lobbyist for the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union--said the issue of mandatory chlamydia testing for all high school seniors raises significant privacy issues, and she asserted that funds spent on such a program would be better used to expand education and prevention efforts.
Health officials in Hampton, Virginia, report that four of the 65 Gateway employees screened for tuberculosis (TB) last week tested positive, but none have active disease. The tests were conducted after a Gateway employee tested positive for TB; however, it appears that the four individuals who tested positive were infected years ago. Test results are still pending for another eight workers who were in close proximity to the sick employee, but they are not expected to have active infection either.
New research reveals that after 18 months, short-course zidovudine treatment administered during late pregnancy appears to have no significant side effects on infants born to HIV-positive women. Dr. J. Simonds of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues with the Bangkok Collaborative Perinatal HIV Transmission Study Group studied the outcomes of children born to 393 HIV-infected women between June 1996 and February 1998. The pregnant women were randomized to receive a treatment regimen of either zidovudine or a placebo starting at 36 weeks of pregnancy, and 55 of the 395 children born were infected with HIV. The researchers report in the online version of the journal Pediatrics (2001;107:e5) that there were no major adverse reactions related to the short-course zidovudine therapy, although it remains unknown whether adverse events will develop as use of the regimen becomes more widespread or after several years of follow-up.
As part of an effort to decrease the teenage pregnancy rate by half, British health officials are making the controversial "morning-after" pill available to schoolgirls. The pill, which is used to prevent a pregnancy occurring a day after intercourse, will be available in schools to girls as young as 11 without parental consent. However, some anti-abortion activists asserted that the morning-after pill is just an abortion with a different name and could lead to more cases of sexually transmitted diseases.
On Tuesday, British officials revealed that over 800 hemophiliacs have died as a result of having been received blood products tainted with HIV. According to Health Secretary John Denham, most of the 813 hemophiliacs who contracted HIV after receiving contaminated blood products were also infected with hepatitis. In all, more than 1,200 people contracted HIV via National Health Services treatment prior to the 1983 discovery of the relationship between HIV and factor concentrates.
In a commentary, John Stremlau, the International Relations department head at the University of The Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and Ntabiseng Nkosi, a post-graduate student in the department, express their outrage at the number of students who have fallen ill or have died from HIV in South Africa. The authors note that the majority of new infections are among young people, "most [of whom] are too young to remember apartheid, but its legacy of broken communities and dysfunctional families impedes AIDS prevention." A key priority must be changing sexual behavior, as sex education remains taboo and gender differences in infection rates indicate that men in their late 20s to 30s pass HIV on to teenage girls. In conclusion, Stremlau and Nkosi call for increased national and international commitment to fight the AIDS epidemic in South Africa.
According to Vadim Pokrovsky, head of Russia's National Center for the Fight against AIDS, 1 million Russians could be infected with HIV by the end of this year. If the current rate of infection continues, he said, 50 percent of the population could have the virus with 10 years. Pokrovsky, speaking on Moscow Echo Radio, said the country needs $70 million to fight the disease, but the government has only allocated $3 million for this year's budget. He also noted that while the World Bank has said it will loan Russia $50 million over 10 years, more funds are needed immediately. Government statistics indicate there are 80,000 cases of HIV in Russia, but Pokrovsky said that the actual number is closer to 500,000. Recent estimates from the United Nations suggest that 130,00 Russians had HIV as of year-end 1999; however, that number was expected to hit 300,000 by the end of 2000.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.