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HIV/AIDS News You Can Use

September 24, 2003

HIV Positive and Having a Baby

"Not having a baby ourselves was a huge hole in our lives. It was as if HIV had taken everything away from us." But Wendy, who is HIV positive and married to a negative man, plowed ahead. After debating it for years, she finally decided to try to get pregnant naturally; when that didn't work, she used fertility medications. She now has a baby boy (negative!). Here's her story, provided courtesy of Positively Aware.

Updated Review of Research on Metabolic Problems

Though most people don't realize it, people with HIV had wasting and high triglycerides well before HIV treatment even existed. In recent years, however, the number of people suffering from these kinds of metabolic complications has increased, raising concerns that they may be due to the use of antiretrovirals. Reporting from ICAAC 2003, Keith Henry, M.D., provides an overview of the latest research on this issue.

Looking for more research updates from ICAAC 2003? This e-mail contains several more highlights from the conference we covered last week, and dozens of additional summaries are available on our site. Visit our ICAAC 2003 page for a full rundown.

Are You at Risk for HIV Infection?

If you're HIV negative but concerned you may be in danger of becoming infected, read this fact sheet from New Mexico AIDS InfoNet. It provides an overview of the situations and behaviors that can increase your risk of contracting HIV.

More Convenient Anemia Treatment May Be on the Horizon

A preliminary analysis of once-weekly epoetin alfa (Procrit), used to treat anemia, found promising signs that administering one dose of the drug every two weeks could be just as effective as once-weekly or thrice-weekly dosing schedules. Robert Frascino, M.D., reports.

Many With HIV Don't Disclose Before Casual Sex

Nearly 75 percent of HIV-positive people living in New Orleans do not disclose their HIV status to their casual sex partners, according to a recent study.

Do Treatment Interruptions Work? Depends on the Patient

To interrupt treatment or not? That is the question on many a patient's mind. Charles E. Clifton provides a detailed look at an important discussion on structured treatment interruptions that took place at this summer's International AIDS Society conference.

For more on treatment interruptions, read through The Body's collection of articles.

Bone Problems in HIVers Not Caused by Meds

HIV infection itself -- not the drugs used to treat it -- has the harmful effect on bones observed in many people with HIV, according to researchers in Argentina. The researchers discovered that the longer people had been infected with HIV, the more likely they were to have low bone density, regardless of the HIV meds they have or haven't taken.

Initial Therapy: Efavirenz, Kaletra, Nevirapine Are Tops

In a large study of 1,119 HIV-positive people who were taking their first HAART regimens, treatment regimens containing efavirenz (Sustiva), lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) or nevirapine (Viramune) were found to be more potent than regimens containing boosted indinavir (Crixivan) or nelfinavir (Viracept). Gerald Pierone, Jr., M.D., reports from ICAAC 2003.

Ex-Health Official With HIV Jailed for Willfully Infecting Others

A former San Francisco Health Commissioner, who is HIV positive, was jailed on Wednesday after being indicted under a California law that makes it a crime to intentionally infect a sexual partner with HIV, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Mostly Good News on HAART's Effect on Babies

HIV-negative babies born to HIV-positive mothers generally don't experience any short- or medium-term health problems, according to the results of a large European study. The researchers did find, however, that antiretroviral use significantly increased the risk of premature delivery and reversible anemia.

New Study Confirms Earlier Trizivir Findings

A new study in Spain has confirmed the results of ACTG 5095, a study that found that Trizivir (AZT + 3TC + abacavir) was not quite as potent as the efavirenz (Sustiva)- or nevirapine (Viramune)-containing regimens for initial therapy. Andrew Pavia, M.D., reports from ICAAC 2003.

Discussion Continues on When to Start Treatment

Earlier this year, the U.S. government released a new set of guidelines to help healthcare workers determine the best time to start treating people with HIV and what to start treatment with. Judy Aberg, M.D., reports from ICAAC 2003 on a symposium reviewing the guidelines' most important revisions.

The Bottom Line on Herpes

How do you get herpes? Is there a cure? Does herpes pose a health risk for people with HIV? What's the difference between genital herpes and the herpes sores you get on your mouth? This fact sheet from New Mexico AIDS InfoNet has the answers.

Efforts Continue on the HIV Vaccine Front

There's still no progress as of yet on developing an AIDS vaccine, although there are now many researchers working on it. Read this update from the AIDS Vaccine 2003 Conference, which took place last week in New York.

Want to take a closer look at the research presented at this conference? The AIDS Vaccine 2003 Conference Web site allows you to browse the abstracts of many conference presentations.

How Does 908 Interact With Other Meds?

Several studies of the interactions between the developing HIV protease inhibitor 908 (GW433908, fosamprenavir) and other medications were presented at ICAAC 2003. Edwin DeJesus, M.D., reports on their findings, including those highlighting the drug's interaction with Kaletra, antacids and atorvastatin (Lipitor), which is used to treat high cholesterol.

FTC Gets Along Fine With AZT, Tenofovir

The newly approved once-a-day NRTI FTC (emtricitabine, Emtriva) appears to interact safely with AZT (zidovudine, Retrovir) and tenofovir (Viread), according to the results of short-term studies in HIV-negative people. Andrew Pavia, M.D., reports from ICAAC 2003.

Why It's Important to Monitor for Resistance

Both resistance testing and therapeutic drug monitoring are crucial tools to manage HIV-positive people who are treatment naive as well as those who are treatment experienced. Mark Holodniy, M.D., explains why.

Web Highlights

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

Starting HAART at Low CD4 Count Can Mean That Functional Immune Response Is Blunted
New research supports an opinion held by many healthcare workers that treatment should be started before a person's CD4 count drops below the 250 mark
From (September 23, 2003)

Women Living With HIV Caring for Each Other
HIV-positive women in Botswana have created an innovative support network through which newly diagnosed women receive individual care and companionship from other women living with the virus
From UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (September 23, 2003)

Countries Receive a Low Score From the UN in Fight Against AIDS
A new United Nations report gives no country an A; though many countries have some sort of comprehensive prevention, education or treatment strategy, the report says that ignorance and stigma still run high and that far more money is needed
From The New York Times (September 22, 2003)

Public Health Service Task Force Recommendations for Use of Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnant HIV-1-Infected Women for Maternal Health and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV-1 Transmission in the United States
These updated guidelines include this year's newly approved antiretrovirals
From HIV/AIDS Treatment Information Service (September 22, 2003)

Substitution of Nevirapine, Efavirenz, or Abacavir for Protease Inhibitors in Patients With Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection
When HIV-positive people on successful treatment switched their protease inhibitor to abacavir (Ziagen), their risk of treatment failure increased, this study found -- although significantly fewer people on abacavir had to stop therapy due to side effects, compared to people who had switched to efavirenz or nevirapine
From The New England Journal of Medicine (September 11, 2003)
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