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HIV/AIDS Newsroom: September 26, 2000

Homozygosity for a Conserved Mhc Class II DQ-DRB Haplotype Is Associated With Rapid Disease Progression in Simian Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Macaques: Results From a Prospective Study
Journal of Infectious Diseases Online (
09/00 Vol. 182, No. 3, P. 716; Sauermann, Ulrike; Stahl-Hennig, Christiane; Stolte, Nicole; et al.

Just as people infected with HIV have varying disease progression, SIV-positive macaques also have differing disease progressions, possibly influenced by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes. Researchers conducted a prospective study of six unrelated monkeys homozygous for Mamu-DQB1*0601 and DRB1*0309-DRB*W201 and six heterozygous monkeys infected with SIVmac. Previous research linked homozygosity for Mhc-Mamu (Macaca mulatta)-DQB1*0601 with rapid disease progression in SIV-infected macaques. In the new study, five of the homozygous animals and one heterozygous monkey -- all with signs of AIDS -- died soon after infection. A retrospective survival analysis of more than 70 SIV-infected monkeys confirmed the results. According to the investigators, the DQ-DRB genotype allows for reliable selection before infection of monkeys who have a predisposition for rapid disease progression.

Hopkins AIDS Center to Get Federal Funds
Washington Post (
09/26/00 P. B3

The Johns Hopkins Center for AIDS Research has been granted over $7.3 million in federal funds for the next five years. The first donation, $1.5 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will be used to study latent HIV infection, immune restoration, HIV prevention, and to help improve research communication systems.


Presidential AIDS Council Recommends Action for Clinton's Last Days
Reuters Health Information Services (

During the last days of the Clinton administration, the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) has recommended that Clinton help fund vaccine research and development. Ronald Dellums, council chairman, and executive director Daniel Montoya have asked the administration to support programs for global AIDS relief. The council also recommends legislation to increase Medicaid's coverage for people with early HIV infection, including a plan to work with the Ryan White CARE Act. The PACHA report also challenges the next president to help promote HIV vaccines, support debt relief for developing nations, and encourage pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of anti-AIDS drugs.

Federal Trade Commission Bans Yet Another Distributor's Internet Sales of Faulty HIV Tests
Reuters Health Information Services (

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has settled charges that Sovo Tec Diagnostics Inc. was selling faulty HIV tests over the Internet, as the distributor has agreed to stop claiming its tests are accurate. The tests, HIV1/2 Stat-Pak Ultra fast, or rapid tests, are not approved for sale in the United States, and not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. President Amhad Shirzadi of Sovo Tec was found guilty of deceiving customers and putting out false claims. The company must notify all customers of this settlement and remain under a testing period for five years, so that the FTC can randomly test their HIV kits for accuracy.

Don't Blame Kids for Failing Sex Ed
Washington Post--Health (
09/26/00 P. 5; Trafford, Abigail

The debate on sex education and family values is not over, as many children are left in the dark without the guidance necessary to become healthy sexual adults. Many kids do not receive sex education at home, school, or from popular culture. Deborah Roffman, sexuality consultant in Baltimore and author of Sex and Sensibility, states that children reflect what adults do, and many are having casual sexual relationships with multiple partners. The Washington Post has covered a pattern of casual oral sex among middle school students. According to author Trafford, parents are at fault for this activity. Sex education courses cover only anatomy, AIDS awareness for safe sex, and sometimes abstinence. This is not enough to help teach morals and emotional consequences of sex, she writes. Tamara Kreinin, president of Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), believes that young people need to learn love, values, and respect when it comes to sex education. Abstinence-based education leaves kids without the knowledge they need to address reality. Roffman thinks schools are going backwards, and urges them to re-evaluate their sex ed programs and deal with the issue.

Local Summit: Is AIDS a Threat to National Security
U.S. Newswire (

The AIDS epidemic in Africa is now a threat to world security. Washington Post correspondent Barton Gellman, who covers national defense issues and the AIDS crisis, will present his views on this threat at the Prince George's Community College HIV/AIDS Summit this Friday. The summit is taking place with the help of a grant from the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Maryland, Prince George's County has the second highest AIDS rate. The summit should bring together local leaders who can formulate plans to increase AIDS awareness. Michael Shaffer, supervisor of health education for county schools, and Rhonda White-Yakoub of the AIDS program for the county will attend the summit in Largo.

United Kingdom Authorities Clear AIDS Vaccine for Human Testing
Reuters Health Information Services (

The United Kingdom's Medicines Control Agency has approved human testing for the experimental modified vaccinia Ankara-strain (MVA) vaccine candidate funded by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. The candidate is targeted for use in Africa, and the first part of the vaccine entered trials in England this August. The vaccine candidates are the result of work between Andrew McMichael of Oxford University and Professor J.J. Bwayo of the University of Nairobi in Kenya.

Someone to Watch Over Patients
American Medical News (
09/18/00 Vol. 43, No. 35, P. 26; Shelton, Deborah L.

Brown University's Immunology Center has an outreach program for 100 HIV patients that uses directly observed therapy to make sure patients take their medicine. The observed therapy technique is well-known for use in tuberculosis, but it has also been successful in helping HIV-infected individuals adhere to their demanding drug regimens. Brown professor of medicine Dr. Charles Carpenter believes the program helps many patients who have social problems, such as unemployment or mental conditions, and need help with treatment adherence. Peer counselors help the patients and answer questions about side effects or other concerns. About half of the 40 participants have maintained undetectable viral loads, and Dr. Carpenter suggests that the program "will be cost effective if you consider the expense of hospitalization due to nonadherence."

Unsafe-Sex Storm Brews in San Francisco
Advocate (
09/12/00 P. 16; Romesburg, Don

A report in San Francisco about increasing HIV rates among gay men has led to a debate over HIV. The report showed that unsafe sex among gay men appears to be rising in the city, leading to 573 projected new transmissions of HIV this year, compared to 283 in 1997. Public health department director Mitch Katz says that several studies indicate the rise, but critics feel there are no hard numbers standing on their own. Katz said the new report indicates the need for a "new phase in HIV prevention. This is not about blame; it's about ownership." However, with over $16 million a year being spent on HIV prevention by area AIDS organizations, some activists are questioning how the funds are being spent. The report suggested new methods for prevention, such as condom distribution that focuses on HIV-positive "tops" and HIV-negative "bottoms."

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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.