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July 31, 2003

Number of Gay Men With HIV Sharply Increases in U.S.; Number of Americans With AIDS Increases, but Deaths Decline

The number of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the U.S. who were newly diagnosed with HIV rose by 7.1 percent from 2001 to 2002, according to new government statistics. New AIDS diagnoses in the U.S. increased by 2.2 percent, although there is some good news: AIDS-related deaths are down by 5.9 percent.

Winning the Mental Battle Against HIV

"Keeping a positive attitude is not an easy thing. And for most of us it's not something easily achieved on a daily basis. But it helps to have a positive outlook as your overall goal. Some days you meet that goal, some days not. But knowing in the back of your mind that moving forward is your overall game plan can help you get through some of the rough times." HIV-positive for 12 years, Seth Engber is certified in guided imagery and hypnosis therapy, and promotes the benefits of these techniques for stress reduction and self-care awareness to people living with AIDS.

Controversy Brews as Doctors Are Urged to Mix HIV Prevention With HIV Care

Reducing transmission of HIV in the United States requires new strategies, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). New recommendations released by the CDC and other medical agencies call for healthcare providers to counsel people with HIV on how they can avoid infecting others. Click here for detailed information on this new plan.

Many AIDS advocates are unhappy about the CDC's new prevention guidelines. They warn that the new rules could divert money from existing prevention programs that are aimed at people with a high risk of becoming infected with HIV.

Warning Issued on 3TC/Abacavir/Tenofovir Combo

People starting or switching drug regimens should not use the three-drug regimen 3TC (lamivudine, Epivir), abacavir (Ziagen) and tenofovir (Viread), according to the early results of an ongoing study.

Facial Wasting Update: Causes Are Murky, but Treatments Are in the Works

Although the cause of facial wasting in people with HIV remains a matter of debate, there's no question that it happens, and that it's emotionally devastating, says Dr. Robert Frascino. In this summary of recent research findings, he discusses potential treatments for facial wasting and how doctors are getting better at diagnosing and monitoring the condition.

HIV Affects Everybody in Africa, Whether Positive or Negative

"Sixty million Africans have been touched by AIDS in the most immediate way. They are either living with HIV, have died of AIDS or they have lost their parents to AIDS. But the toll of those directly affected is even higher," says Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.

Hanging In: Fourteen Years of HIV Meds

Sue Gibson has been on HIV meds since 1989, when AZT was the only drug available. Since then she's tried many regimens -- and endured high pull burdens and many side effects. But she hung in there: Sue's now on her simplest regimen yet, and is experiencing none of the side effects her earlier regimens caused.

One in Five Pregnant U.S. Women Aren't Tested for HIV

More than 20 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. have never been tested for HIV, despite CDC recommendations released in 1995 calling for all pregnant women to be tested for the virus.

Could "Fat Redistribution" Be a Misnomer?

Timothy Wilkin, M.D., reports on the latest results of the FRAM study, a major analysis of lipodystrophy in people with HIV. "Probably the most controversial finding of the FRAM study is the lack of an association between lipoatrophy and central fat gain," he says -- meaning that so-called "fat redistribution" might not be a redistribution at all.

The Risks of Crystal Meth and HIV: It's Just Common Sense

"Regardless of what scientific studies show about the higher replication of HIV while using drugs, if using said drug is making you have more sex with more partners, you can't help but pick up more strains of HIV and STDs." Carlos A. Perez writes about his experience with crystal meth (methamphetamine).

How ADAP Waiting Lists Get Started

Why do at least nine states in the U.S. now have a waiting list for access to antiretrovirals? Pharmacist Glen Pietrandoni discusses some of the reasons.

An HIV Vaccine for People With HIV?

Any strategy that can reduce a patient's time on HAART and save him or her money will lead to more people having access to these life-saving medications. One strategy still being researched is the use of "therapeutic vaccines," which can potentially help the body fight off HIV after a person has already been infected. Timothy Wilkin, M.D., provides an update.

Strengthen Your Organization Via the Web

The Internet has revolutionized the way AIDS fundraising works -- and if your organization is looking for more money, the Web can be the perfect way to get it. AIDS treatment advocate John S. James recaps a recent conference on using technology to organize, raise funds and help others.

Web Highlights

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

Questions to and Answers From the International AIDS Society-USA Resistance Testing Guidelines Panel
A PDF containing 20 questions about drug resistance addressed by top medical experts
From Topics in HIV Medicine (July-August 2003) (PDF)

New HIV Test Able to Track When Person Was Infected
Florida will launch a new HIV monitoring system this fall which uses a more sophisticated blood test that could help lead to more effective treatment of people with HIV
From Miami Herald (July 27, 2003)

Bacterial STIs More Common in HIV-Positive Gay Men Since HAART
An increasing number of sexually transmitted diseases among British gay men with HIV -- and the finding that most of these men also had detectable HIV viral loads -- raises concerns about the possible transmission of drug-resistant HIV
From (July 24, 2003)

Pos-Pos Sex: What You Need to Know
Dispensing with those condoms is your decision -- but there are health issues you should think about first. HIV specialist Dr. Stephen Taylor talks about the risks of rubberless sex between HIV-positive partners
From Positive Nation (February 2002)

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