HIV/AIDS Newsroom: October 26, 2000
Spoligotyping and Polymorphic GC-Rich Repetitive Sequence Fingerprinting of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Strains Having Few Copies of IS6110
Journal of Clinical Microbiology Online
10/00; Vol. 38, No. 10, P. 3572; Yang, Z.H.; Ijaz, K.; Bates, J.H.; et al.
Researchers from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System evaluated IS6110 fingerprinting for use in sequencing genes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A total of 88 isolates were used; they revealed 34 different IS6110 patterns. The data show that the pTBN12 fingerprinting method used was more accurate among low copy number isolates than spoligotyping.
UNAIDS said Wednesday that drugs to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to newborns should be offered to all HIV-infected pregnant women who are about to deliver. In the past, it was suggested that the drugs be given only for small pilot studies and other research; however, use of nevirapine, AZT, or AZT with lamivudine has been proven safe for mothers and infants. Despite the drug therapy, as many as one in five newborns born to infected mothers may contract HIV through breast-feeding.
Web Marketer Pleads Guilty to Selling Flawed HIV Test Kits
10/26/00; P. A4
Web marketer Stanley Lapides, who sold the Ana-Sal HIV home test kit over the Internet, has pleaded guilty to selling an inaccurate and unapproved test. Hundreds of people bought the home test kit, which has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the Web site selling the tests, the Ana-Sal kits provided 99 percent accurate results within five minutes; however, FDA tests disproved those claims. The only home test kit approved for HIV is the Home Access Express HIV-1 Test System, for which samples are sent to outside testing facilities. Lapides mailed over 600 kits to U.S. customers without stating the product was not FDA-approved; it is not yet certain how many of the test kits were sent out of the country. Federal officials are now trying to contact individuals who bought the tests from a number of non-invalid Web sites, including www.hivoraltest.com and www.hivsalivatest.com.
A computer model known as the neural network has identified patterns of mutations in HIV genes that make the virus resistant to stavudine, which is sold under the brand name Zerit by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Virco, a Belgian genomics company, will present these findings today at the fifth International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection in Scotland. The discovery will help scientists provide better treatments to AIDS patients, as the resistance profile for Zerit has not been clear. Teun Grooters, director of antiviral research at Bristol-Myers, said the model "confirms that you need multiple mutations to get resistance to this drug." Dr. Brendan Larder, head of the study at Virco, also noted that using the computer's drug-resistance test is quicker and cheaper than laboratory tests.
The House has passed a foreign aid spending bill that supports President Clinton and the full $435 million he asked for to forgive the debts of many poor nations. The debt relief measure is part of a nearly $15 billion foreign aid bill for fiscal 2001 that also provides $300 million to fight HIV and AIDS worldwide and $425 million for family planning. The Senate will likely debate the bill soon.
The San Diego County Health Department reports that a growing number of AIDS patients in the city are intravenous drug users or have had sex with injection drug users. According to the report, "Cases attributable to directly injecting drugs and secondary spread to sexual partners and offspring account for a larger proportion of AIDS cases each year." Whereas in 1984 2 percent of AIDS patients in San Diego County reported using injection drugs, that number rose to 13 percent in 1999. San Diego health officials have recorded more than 10,200 AIDS cases since 1981, and between 4,700 and 9,000 more residents are thought to have HIV. The report was released just a week after the City Council declared a health state of emergency, moving it one step closer to a needle exchange. Thus far, however, the county Board of Supervisors has refused to sanction an exchange program. The report noted that HIV is spreading fastest among women and ethnic minorities in the county, although the number of AIDS cases among young males is also increasing.
Dr. Ronald Mitsuyasu, director of the University of California at Los Angeles AIDS Research and Education Center, announced at the fifth International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection that adding an immune booster to normal HIV therapy helps patients. Mitsuyasu and colleagues administered the immune booster interleukin-2 (IL-2) to the drug cocktails of one group of patients, while another group received only highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). The patients taking the IL-2 in addition to HAART saw significant increases in CD4 cells and also reported fewer episodes of AIDS-related illnesses.
A survey conducted for the sexual health charity Marie Stopes International (MSI) indicates one in six parents in the United Kingdom have not talked about sex with their teens, even though 90 percent of parents believe they should be responsible for sex education. The study also found that 25 percent of parents with a 15-year-old have not talked about sexually transmitted diseases or HIV/AIDS with the child. In the United Kingdom, one in 20 parents do not plan to discuss sex with their children, mostly due to embarrassment over the subject, the survey revealed. Furthermore, the study showed that over one in five parents believed their children would learn about sex elsewhere. The British government has tried to reduce the country's rate for teen pregnancies through better sex education and a 65 million pound campaign. Forty-three percent of the parents had talked to their kids about sex at age 12, while 17 percent were still planning to discuss sex when their child had reached 15. MSI's Dr. Liliana Risi notes, "The survey reveals a gap between good intentions and the reality of what parents will or will not discuss." Risi also suggested that parents need to provide hard facts when talking about sex with their teens, instead of only emphasizing the emotional issues involved.
Russia is losing 1,000 people a day due to smoking, drinking, poverty, and an overall lack of health care. Life expectancy for Russian men has dropped to 59.9 years, compared to 72 for women, according to the Russian Academy of Medical Science. A growing number of Russians have diseases like tuberculosis, syphilis, hepatitis B and C, and anemia, and many pregnant women experience difficulties because of iron deficiency, diabetes, and sexually transmitted diseases. The academy's Oleg Shchepin notes that Russia's overall population has dropped to 146 million people, with a death rate that rose to 14.7 per 1,000 and a birth rate of 8.4 per 1,000.
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.