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HIV/AIDS News You Can Use

March 26, 2003

Call for Deeper Review of Vaccine Findings

Four major AIDS organizations in the U.S. are calling for a more complete analysis of last month's AIDSVAX trial results. The results showed that AIDSVAX, an HIV vaccine in development, seemed to have some benefit among a small group of non-Hispanic minorities, but was ineffective for everybody else.

HIV May Sometimes Boost T-Cell Counts

It's generally accepted that HIV infection, if left untreated, will slowly lower a person's T-cell counts as time goes on. But what if that wasn't always the case? New research on SIV, the monkey equivalent of HIV, suggests that the virus might actually cause an INCREASE in CD4 and CD8 T-cell counts, at least during the early stages of infection.

New Tactics for Preventing HIV Among Drug Users

The Expanded Syringe Access Demonstration Program (ESAP) is one result of a growing trend throughout the U.S.: the institution of new, more realistic strategies to prevent the spread of HIV among injection drug users. Click here for the details.

Do HIV Meds and Allergy Shots Mix?

Allergy season has just begun throughout much of the U.S., and you may be wondering if it's safe for people taking HIV medications to get allergy shots. Here is one answer from Dr. Keith Henry, one of The Body's HIV specialists on staff in our "Ask the Experts" forums.

Community Support Is Key to Learning About HIV Meds

Why is it so important that people with HIV receive treatment counseling from their community and their peers? "The empathy and depth of experience that people living with HIV/AIDS can share with each other" makes peer education invaluable, says treatment educator Tamil Kendall.

Abstinence Education Funding Hits Record Levels

A record $120 million in federal money will be invested in abstinence education this year, including $117 million to maintain ongoing programs and $3.5 million in one-time funds that will go to specific programs. Supporters of comprehensive sex education are dismayed by the new spending.

HIV: A Slippery Little Devil

HIV evolves more rapidly than previously thought, researchers have found; it's constantly developing new ways to evade the body's natural immune response to invading viruses. The new finding underscores the challenges to developing an effective vaccine, but also raises hopes that a better understanding of how HIV works could help scientists find new ways to fight it.

Latin Americans in Desperate Need of HAART Access

About one million people in Latin America are infected with HIV, but only 200,000 receive life-extending antiretroviral drugs. The World Health Organization hopes to double that number by 2005.

Physicians Support U.S. AIDS Funding Bill

As the struggle over global AIDS funding continues in the U.S. government, the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care has decided to enter the fray. They've come out in strong support of a compromise bill now before the U.S. House of Representatives.

A Personal Plea for HIV Meds in South Africa

"It saddens our heart to hear that you have still not decided to let your people live," laments Samaila Garba, a Nigerian woman with HIV. In this letter to South African President Thabo Mbeki, she pleads for him to provide antiretrovirals to all HIV-positive South Africans.

Is the President's AIDS Advisory Council Useless?

Some people think that the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS should be disbanded. Want to know why? David Salyer from Atlanta's AIDS Survival News explains.

Why Science Doesn't Have All the Answers

Though we'd like to think that medical science will eventually find a way to cure all diseases, science very often can't do it alone. In a fascinating article, Harvard professor Richard Levins discusses the complex relationship between science and society, and how the solutions to some of the world's most vexing health problems can't always be found in a laboratory.

Finding Peace and Joy in Helping Others

"Like a heavy weight has been lifted.
My rolling chair allows me to soar beyond the ceiling into space
where there are no limitations, no sadness, no regrets.
I am happy."
-- from "Exuberance," a poem by Antoinette-Marie Williams

Find Your Nearest AIDS Organization

Need to find an AIDS organization in the United States, Canada or anywhere else in the world? Check out The Body's extensive list of resources.

Cruise-Ship Virus Especially Risky for HIVers

Norovirus -- a group of viruses formerly known as "Norwalk-like viruses," which infected many people on cruise ships late last year -- is especially a concern for people with HIV. Click here for more information on how to protect yourself from Norovirus.

Web Highlights

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

Exposure to Antiretroviral Therapy in Utero or Early Life: The Health of Uninfected Children Born to HIV-Infected Women
HIV meds appear not to cause serious birth defects in babies of HIV-infected women
From Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (April 1, 2003)

Catholic Church Firm Over Condoms
As a new anti-AIDS campaign starts in Kenya, the church staunchly opposes the use of condoms
From The Nation, Nairobi (March 25, 2003)

Women Do Just as Well as Men on HAART, Major Cohort Reports
There are subtle signs of differences, however: Women tend to switch regimens sooner, and their viral load is slightly more likely to eventually rebound, though researchers aren't yet sure why
From (March 25, 2003)

HIV Rising in the East
A huge HIV/AIDS epidemic is on the brink of devastating much of Eastern Europe
From The Lancet (free registration required) (March 22, 2003)

Doctors Urged to Support Disobedience Campaign
Unrest grows in South Africa as the government stubbornly avoids creating a national HIV treatment plan
From South African Press Association, Johannesburg (March 20, 2003)

Alcohol Increases HIV Risk
Alcohol abuse may increase susceptibility to HIV infection, researchers have found
From BBC News (March 15, 2003)

Metabolic and Morphologic Complications in HIV Disease: What's New
A review of recent findings on insulin resistance, body fat changes and related problems
From Physicians' Research Network Notebook (March 11, 2003)

Coinfection With Hepatitis Viruses and HIV
Another chapter from the comprehensive, online textbook on HIV disease provided by the University of California-San Francisco and San Francisco General Hospital
Information resource from HIV InSite (March 2003)

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