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Conference Coverage for Everybody: Retrovirus 2003

Audio Webcast of Search for a Cure's Conference Recap

February 2003

Search for a Cure, a nonprofit HIV advocacy group in Boston, hosted a free community luncheon immediately after the Retrovirus conference ended on Valentine's Day. They had a pair of HIV experts -- Dr. Cal Cohen, a prominent physician who is research director of the Community Research Initiative of New England and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Sigal Yawetz, an associate physician at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston -- give the non-M.D. world a superb rundown of the conference's highlights. Here's what they had to say; you'll need an audio player to listen in.

For a full article summarizing this meeting, click here.

Treatment Choices

First-Line Treatment Battle: Sustiva vs. Viramune
Dr. Cohen talks about new research on NNRTIs: The results of the head-to-head study comparing Sustiva (efavirenz) with Viramune (nevirapine) and the side effects of both drugs. (2 minutes, 40 seconds)
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Nukes Face Off: Viread vs. Zerit
Dr. Cohen reviews new knowledge about NRTIs: A study compares Viread (tenofovir) to Zerit (d4T, stavudine); some NRTIs are more closely associated with lipodystrophy than others; and there are signs that some supplements might help manage NRTI side effects. (2 minutes, 31 seconds)
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Protease Inhibitors Get Simpler
Dr. Cohen discusses new research on protease inhibitors: The availability of simpler, more effective drug regimens, the superiority of Kaletra and the promise of two new drugs: fosamprenavir (a.k.a. "908") and atazanavir. (1 minute, 15 seconds)
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One-Class Therapy?
Dr. Cohen talks about a new idea researchers are considering for treatment-experienced HIVers: The possibility that using only one class of drugs in a regimen (e.g., only protease inhibitors or only NRTIs) may have some benefit. (56 seconds)
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The (Partial) Downfall of Treatment Interruptions
Dr. Cohen recaps what we now know about structured treatment interruptions: Many don't work, but researchers still have some hope in newer ideas, like "cycling" -- a few days on, a few days off. (5 minutes, 12 seconds)
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New HIV Medications on the Way
Dr. Cohen talks about a few of the many HIV drugs in the pipeline that were mentioned at the conference, including T-20 (which has since been approved for use in the U.S.) and T-1249, which could work even better than T-20. (2 minutes, 12 seconds)
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HAART Side Effects and HIV-Related Health Problems

Which Is Worse for Your Heart: HIV Meds or Cigarettes?
Dr. Cohen talks about the D:A:D study, which found that HIV meds do slightly increase a person's risk of developing heart disease, but that other factors -- like smoking or family history of heart problems -- play a much more significant role. (2 minutes, 7 seconds)
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Keeping Your Bones Healthy
Dr. Cohen reviews research suggesting that some supplements, like calcium and vitamin D, might help offset the bone problems that HIV is known to cause. (59 seconds)
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Facial Wasting and New-Fill
Dr. Cohen mentions a type of treatment for facial wasting that isn't officially approved by the U.S. government, but which many doctors in the U.S. and overseas have used with success. (48 seconds)
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HIV Prevention and Testing

Bill Clinton Pitches Needle Exchange
Dr. Cohen recalls former U.S. President Bill Clinton's speech to doctors at the beginning of the conference, in which he regretted not being more supportive of needle-exchange programs. Dr. Cohen also reflects on the keys to preventing HIV transmission, especially among drug users. (1 minute, 52 seconds)
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HIV Testing: If It Only Happened More
Dr. Yawetz reviews research showing how, by offering HIV tests to all emergency room patients at several Boston hospitals, we can increase the number of people who are aware whether they have HIV -- and will thus be much less likely to pass it on to others. (1 minute, 24 seconds)
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Where Are All the Women in Clinical Trials?
Dr. Yawetz recaps a few of the studies from the conference that focus on women (including studies on lipodystrophy, heart disease and bone problems), and urges more women to seek out and volunteer for medical studies so researchers can learn even more. (3 minutes, 49 seconds)
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When HIV Transmission Is Most Likely
Dr. Yawetz talks about an important study from Uganda that found people's viral loads tend to be highest shortly after they're infected with HIV, and shortly before they die from AIDS. (1 minute, 57 seconds)
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This article was provided by Search for a Cure.
 

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