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HIV/AIDS News You Can Use

March 19, 2003

Fuzeon (T-20) Receives FDA Approval

Fuzeon, also known as T-20 or enfuvirtide, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in combination with other anti-HIV medications to treat advanced HIV-1 infection in adults and children ages 6 years and older. Fuzeon is the first drug in a new class of HIV/AIDS treatments called fusion inhibitors, which work by blocking HIV's entry into CD4 cells.

Though the makers of Fuzeon haven't announced how much it will cost in the U.S., experts estimate it's likely to be around $20,000 a year. Why will it be so expensive, and is there anything that can be done about it? Read Lei Chou's report from GMHC's Treatment Issues.

For more information on Fuzeon, browse through The Body's collection of articles.

How Research From the Retrovirus Conference Impacts Treatment

John James interviews Dr. Cal Cohen, a leading U.S. AIDS physician and an expert at The Body's "Ask the Expert" forums. Dr. Cohen discusses some of the important treatment messages for physicians and patients from the 10th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

To read more conference overviews -- including one on when to start HAART by Dr. Cohen, and another on managing metabolic complications by Dr. Pablo Tebas, click here!

Update on HAART-Experienced Treatment Strategies

More reports are still coming in from the Retrovirus conference. In this article, Bob Huff looks at treatment interruptions and strategies for the treatment-experienced.

The Body en Español

Know someone who needs treatment and prevention materials in Spanish? Check out The Body's collection of materials!

Also available: The Body's Foro de Tratamientos, where our Spanish-speaking treatment experts are on hand to answer questions!

Blind Yet Visionary, an HIVer Battles On

José María Medellín has HIV -- and blindness caused by CMV retinitis -- but his inner strength has powered him through the darkness. Click here to read his emotional story.

U.S. Congress Won't Tie Global AIDS Relief to Abortion

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have agreed on a $15 billion global AIDS package. It will not include restrictions on aid for groups that support abortion. Mark Issac, vice president of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, said the legislation "could truly be a turning point in the world's efforts to stop the deadly AIDS pandemic."

Fake Procrit Poses Health Threat

Warnings have been sent to healthcare providers about the recent discovery of potentially health-threatening counterfeit versions of Procrit (epoetin alfa), an anemia drug. To read the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's statement, click here, and check the packaging on your prescription!

ADAPs Still in Deep Trouble

The U.S.'s AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs), which provide medications for about 150,000 low-income patients, are in crisis. With patients living longer, state and federal budgets have been strained with higher monthly drug costs incurred over longer periods of time.

New York AIDS Services in Shambles

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg recently announced an overhaul of the city's AIDS services -- and not a moment too soon. This article from Body Positive shows just how chaotic the system has become.

Clinton Foundation Lowers HAART Prices in Bahamas

At the recent Retroviruses conference, former U.S. President Bill Clinton talked about how his organization lowered the price the Bahamas government paid for HIV treatment, from $3,600 to $500 per year per patient.

Web Highlights

A Selection of the Top HIV/AIDS Stories From Across the Internet:

Lack of Demand Forcing Indian Pharmaceutical Companies to Shift Production From Antiretrovirals to Other Drugs
Patent fights and inadequate funding inhibit developing countries' ability to buy the drugs
From (March 19, 2003)

Insurance Fights Grow on "H.I.V. Retirement"
Long-term disability payments become increasingly tougher to secure for people with HIV
From The New York Times (free registration required) (March 18, 2003)

Monkey Offers AIDS Clue
A species of monkey resistant to their equivalent of HIV could help scientists develop new approaches to human treatments
From BBC News (March 18, 2003)

Japan Only Now Confronting Rising HIV Rate
The country's population of female commercial sex workers is most at risk
From San Francisco Chronicle (March 17, 2003)

Enfuvirtide, an HIV-1 Fusion Inhibitor, for Drug-Resistant HIV Infection in North and South America
The results from a study on Fuzeon, or T-20, in treatment-experienced HIVers
From New England Journal of Medicine (March 13, 2003)
The above study is also available in PDF form.

View From the Pipeline: The 2003 Review of Experimental Antiretrovirals
An overview of research presented at last month's Retrovirus conference
From Physicians' Research Network Notebook (free registration required) (March 13, 2003)

Youth and HIV: The Epidemic Continues
An overview of research presented at last month's Retrovirus conference
From Physicians' Research Network Notebook (free registration required) (March 13, 2003)

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