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HIV/AIDS News You Can Use

May 14-22, 2003

Most Medicaid Programs, U.S. Insurers Will Cover Fuzeon Costs

At $19,900 for a year's supply, the HIV drug Fuzeon (T-20) costs more than twice as much as any other HIV treatment. But 94 percent of the U.S.'s 142 largest insurers have agreed to cover this drug, as have Medicaid programs in 48 states.

HIV Treatment: What It's All About

Starting treatment? Read this guide to the nuts and bolts of HIV treatment, from Positively Aware.

Also check out The Body's collection of articles on starting treatment. It includes information on when to start, advice on what to keep in mind when you begin HAART, and personal essays from people who've been there before.

Have a question about when to start HIV treatment or what to start with? Ask The Body's online experts Dr. Ben Young and Dr. David Wohl!

HIV Vaccine Day Passes as Skepticism Grows

May 18 was International HIV Vaccine Awareness Day. It's a day to thank the thousands of people working on an HIV vaccine. To show support for them, many people wore an AIDS ribbon upside-down to form a "V" for "vaccines," a vision of a world without AIDS, and a symbol of the urgent need to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. Click here to read the U.S. National Institutes of Health's press release.

Nearly half of African Americans surveyed (48 percent) and more than a quarter of Hispanics (28 percent) believe that an HIV vaccine already exists and is being kept a secret. Twenty percent of adults in the general population share that belief. To help reduce these numbers, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is trying to educate the general public about ongoing research.

How HIV Works: An Easy-to-Understand Guide

Don't you wish you could get a solid, down-to-earth, understandable explanation of how HIV works without having to learn a thousand new medical terms in the process? This brief, illustrated overview from Glaxo will take you through the basics.

The Key to Adherence: Empowering Patients

An international group of HIV specialists met recently to talk about how difficult it is for some people with HIV to adhere to their HAART regimens. Patients, they agreed, should be informed from the beginning about the risks, uncertainties, side effects and pill burdens involved when taking different regimens. Armed with this knowledge, those patients should take part in the final decision about what type of treatment is most appropriate.

HIV Spread Going From Bad to Worse in Russia

If HIV continues to spread at its current rate, 10 million to 12 million Russians may become infected by 2010, a Russian official said at a recent press conference. Russia officially has about 200,000 people living with HIV, though some estimates put the actual number of infected at up to 1.5 million.

HIVers and the Americans With Disabilities Act

What exactly is the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and what does it do for people with HIV? This collection of questions and answers about the ADA will fill you in.

Metabolic Problems: Treatment Guidelines

Many different types of health problems -- lipodystrophy, diabetes, high cholesterol and bone disease, to name a few -- are part of a group of problems called "metabolic complications." HIVers tend to be at higher risk for these complications, but there's a new set of international guidelines created to help HIV doctors manage them.

Adherence Solutions for Homeless HIVers

Forty homeless men with HIV were recruited in Edmonton, Canada to see if once they were moved off the streets to stable housing -- not shelters -- they would be able to steadily take their HIV medications. For the results, click here.

New Protease Inhibitor Nears U.S. Approval

Within the next month, we're likely to see the approval of the first once-a-day protease inhibitor. Known as atazanavir or by its commercial name, Reyataz, it'll be used in combination with other drugs mostly as a first-line HIV treatment -- and may not be as bad for HIVers' cholesterol levels as other protease inhibitors. Want to learn more about it? The Body has a large collection of articles covering everything from the basics on atazanavir to the latest research.

Dead Monkeys and War: How an HIV-2 Epidemic Was Born

An international group of researchers think they've figured out how and when HIV-2, the strain of HIV now decimating sub-Saharan Africa, began to spread to humans. Their theory: Humans first got it when slaughtering monkeys in the 1940s, then passed it to others during the African wars of independence in the 1960s and 1970s.

What Happens When Smallpox Vaccines and HIV Mix?

What are the risks of smallpox vaccination for people with HIV? Will the smallpox vaccine cause HIV to progress? How much does CD4 count matter? This article has the answers.

U.S. Global AIDS Bill Nears Final Approval

By a voice vote, the U.S. Senate agreed to give President Bush the $15 billion he sought to fight global AIDS and to prod the rest of the world's wealthy nations to follow America's lead. The Senate's version of the bill (which includes some debt relief for poor countries) must now be approved by the House of Representatives before the President can sign it.

Even after the U.S.'s massive $15 billion global is signed by the President, government officials will still need to argue over how much of that money they'll actually put into next year's budget. Through the entire process, The Body's collection of news and analysis articles will keep you updated and informed!

Could HAART Cause Muscle Damage?

Researchers in Italy were surprised to find that a higher-than-expected number of people who take HAART might be at risk for muscle damage. Males and anyone taking Zerit (d4T, stavudine) seemed to be at higher risk than others.

Women: Get Yourself the Sex You Want!

Few women are lucky enough to reach adulthood with a full understanding of their bodies, and particularly of their sexuality. Laura Jones of Positively Aware provides some helpful advice and resources.

Mexican Bishops Equate Condom Advocacy With "Depravity"

Leading Mexican clergy have attacked the country's first lady, Marta Sahagun, for advocating the use of condoms as protection against AIDS.

Keeping Thrush at Bay

The best way for someone with HIV to avoid candidiasis, a fungal infection known as thrush when it occurs in the mouth, is to keep his or her CD4 count from dropping below 200. STEP Ezine provides more information in this brief overview.

Psychiatric Problems in HIVers

Some people with HIV also suffer from mental health problems -- but how, and why? Understanding the answers to these questions can be extremely important in helping doctors determine the best treatment. This slide presentation from Ewald Horwath, M.D., provides an overview of these issues.

HIV Treatment Newsletter for Limited-Resource Areas

"HIV & AIDS Treatment in Practice" is a new e-mail newsletter available for healthcare providers working in limited-resource settings throughout the world. Click here to read more about the newsletter, which will publish twice a month.

Web Highlights

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

HIV's History Traced: U.S. Virus Arrived Early and Spread Fast
New evidence suggests HIV arrived in the U.S. around 1968 and immediately spread "like wildfire"
From Nature Magazine (May 20, 2003)

Kaiser Family Foundation, NCPTP Studies "Paint Portrait" of Youth Sexual Activity, Attitudes
Among their findings: About 10 percent of respondents think it's "not a big deal" to occasionally have sex without a condom
From Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report (May 20, 2003)

Global Health Experts Concerned Countries Not Prepared to Handle Influx of Funds to Treat HIV-Positive Individuals
Many developing nations might not have the tools or knowledge they need to scale up their treatment programs, advocates say
From Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report (May 19, 2003)

Metabolic Complications of HIV Therapy
A highly thorough overview of lipodystophy, insulin resistance, bone disease and other HIV/HAART-related metabolic problems
From HIV InSite (May 2003)

Introduction: Integrating Nutrition Therapy Into Medical Management of Human Immunodeficiency Virus
A comprehensive look at general nutritional management, evaluation and intervention for wasting, insulin resistance, fat redistribution, dyslipidemia, lactic acidosis, food safety and bone abnormalities for people living with HIV
From Clinical Infectious Diseases (April 1, 2003)

AIDS Has a Woman's Face: Gender and Power: New Strategies for HIV Prevention
Audio and slide presentations from a University of California-San Francisco conference
From HIV InSite (March 7, 2003)

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