HIV/AIDS Newsroom: October 27, 2000
Progressive Infection in a Subset of HIV-1 Positive Chimpanzees
Journal of Infectious Diseases Online (www.journals.uchicago.edu/JID)
10/00) Vol. 182, No. 4, P. 1051; O'Neil, Shawn P.; Novembre, Francis J.; Hill, Anne Brodie; et al.
Researchers from Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta studied 10 chimps with chronic HIV infection. One developed AIDS, and three showed evidence of progressive HIV infection. The progressors had low T cell counts, significant CD4:CD8 inversion, and noticeable reduction in interleukin-2 receptor expression by CD4 T cells. They also had higher plasma virus and lymphoid virus loads than nonprogressors. The scientists concluded that progressive HIV-1 infection can occur in chimps, similar to the way HIV infection progresses among humans.
The Senate passed a bill on Thursday to protect healthcare workers against needle stick accidents. Under the legislation, which has been cleared by the House and now heads to the president for his approval, hospitals and healthcare facilities must consider using safer medical devices to lower the number of needle injuries. Voicing his support for the measure, Andrew Stern, the president of the Service Employees International Union, said: "Today we saved the lives of thousands of healthcare workers, and we will soon, I hope, see a day where no more healthcare workers get stuck by a needle and wonder whether it's a death sentence."
Pioneers of HIV, Gallo and Montagnier, Hope for Vaccine in Seven Years
Agence France Presse (www.afp.com)
A vaccine for HIV could be available in seven years, said HIV co-discoverers Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier. Drs. Gallo and Montagnier were in Oviedo, Spain, to receive the Prince of Asturias prize for Scientific and Technical Research. According to Gallo, although it is not yet certain how or when an HIV vaccine will be developed, the current rate of research suggests that a definitive vaccine could be found by 2007. The researchers' teams, from the University of Maryland and the Pasteur Institute in Paris, have been collaborating on a transactivator (TAT) protein-based vaccine.
A new study from Dr. Ann Anderson Kiessling of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston shows that HIV levels in semen are independent of blood HIV levels. Kiessling and colleagues measured virus levels in semen specimens from 12 HIV-infected men, two of whom were not taking antiviral therapy. The researchers, who reported their findings earlier this week at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's annual meeting in San Diego, concluded that semen HIV comes from a different part of HIV infection and may react to antiviral treatment differently than blood HIV. According to Kiessling, while the majority of reverse transcriptase inhibitors crossed into the semen compartment, not all of the protease inhibitors fared as well.
In Canada, six newborns have been born after their fathers took part in a procedure to "wash" HIV from their semen, an Italian doctor announced this week. The technique, invented by Dr. Augusto Enrico Semprini in Milan, claims to allow a woman to have a baby with an HIV-positive partner without passing on the infection. Semprini said the oldest Canadian child born after the procedure is now seven. He claims to offer parents a way to remove HIV-infected cells from semen, using a fluid called percol that is mixed with a semen sample in a test tube. A centrifuge helps force infected semen through the fluid, to the top of the test tube. The infected cells are filtered out, the sample is checked for HIV, and if clear, the woman undergoes artificial insemination with the "washed" sperm.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has allocated over $100,000 to fight AIDS in five Zambian refugee camps. According to officer Kelvin Shimo, $55,000 will go to Mwange in Northern Zambia, while $42,000 will be used in the Meheba refugee settlement; together, the settlements are host to more than 60,000 refugees. The money will be devoted to training, purchasing teaching materials, and educational efforts. The refugees are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases and need "a multi-sectoral program that addresses the broader reproductive health needs of the refugees community related to the spread of HIV/AIDS," Shimo said.
As of the end of September, Vietnam had recorded 24,473 cases of HIV, although the official statistics may represent just a fraction of the actual number of infections. Most of the cases are in Hanoi, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City and Quang Ninh, an official from the national committee against AIDS said. The country's annual anti-AIDS budget is $5 million.
During the two-day annual conference of the pharmaceutical society of Nigeria, National Publicity Secretary Uche Akpakama spoke about the need for tuberculosis (TB) awareness among pharmacists. He said the resurgence of the disease is related to such issues as poor nutrition, the AIDS epidemic, and poverty. The theme of the conference was "the role of pharmacists in managing TB."
A World Health Organization (WH0) representative said Wednesday that 600,000 Zambians have died from AIDS, with another 1.5 million deaths from the disease by 2015. According to WHO Representative in Zambia Edward Maganu, 20 percent of adults in Zambia are HIV positive and life expectancy has dropped from 56 to 38 years. Maganu, speaking at the Family Health Trust Strategic Planning workshop, noted that "a very worrying trend is that girls 15 years to 19 years are four times more likely to be infected with HIV as males are in that age group." The official said he was encouraged, however, by the decreasing number of HIV infections among 15- to 19-year-olds in urban areas, and he urged communities to invest in prevention efforts.
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.