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Action Is Eloquence
Letter From the Editor

By Leslie Hanna

Autumn, 2000

Autumn: summer is now long past and so too is its key conference. The XIII International AIDS Conference was a provocative experience, particularly because it was the first such ever to have been held in the developing world. Conference Coverage presents a full account of this historic event.

In Approaches to Interrupting HAART for the Treatment of HIV Infection, Mark Dybul, MD, a researcher at Anthony Fauci's laboratory at the National Institutes of Health, offers an insider's perspective on the controversial studies they presented in Durban. To date, the numbers of people who have undertaken HAART interruptions in a careful, controlled manner -- i.e., under clinical study -- are very small and the underlying hypotheses unproved. Whether or not these strategies will ever become beneficial and approved therapeutic options remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the HIV/AIDS community needs definitive answers for every new experimental treatment, and so BETA has been and will continue following this topic closely. Restoring Immunity in HIV Disease by Bruce Walker, MD, provides some of the immunologic rationale behind starting and stopping antiretroviral therapy.

Coverage of another key conference of the late summer, the Second International Workshop on Adverse Drug Reactions and Lipodystrophy in HIV, is the focus of Women and HIV. So-called lipodystrophy is one of the foremost and dynamic topics in HIV research and medicine today. I report on what has been discovered so far about the relationship of gender to this new syndrome.

Also in this issue is a feature on Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV-Related Risks, which discusses familiar STDs and other conditions that cause inflammation that heighten risk for HIV acquisition and transmission. Therapeutic Drug Monitoring explores the potential utility of an established clinical tool -- regular testing of drug levels in the blood -- to optimize individual anti-HIV regimens.

One of the most exciting things about this Autumn issue is the launch of a new department, The Global Epidemic. Upcoming editions will feature diverse discussions relating to the worldwide HIV/AIDS crisis, from epidemiologic updates to cost-benefit analyses to reports on successful efforts already underway in various places around the world. Discussions here in the West about HIV/AIDS in developing regions typically revolve around how, such as how to improve access to health care, and how to pay for the costs of treatment for millions of HIV-infected people.

The inaugural edition of this department will address why such actions should be taken, a fundamental question that often goes unvoiced and sometimes provokes discomfort, resentment, and even fears about competition for finite world resources. Human Rights and the AIDS Crisis: The Debate over Resources, by Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, explains why we in the developed world should care and why we must act.

Back to the SFAF BETA Autumn, 2000 contents page.

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