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April 25, 2007

In This Update:
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV & Your Health
  • HIV Transmission & Other STDs
  • HIV & the Law
  •   HIV TREATMENT

    FDA Panel Recommends Approval of Maraviroc
    A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel has unanimously recommended that the FDA approve the new HIV medication maraviroc, despite some ongoing safety concerns. Maraviroc (brand name: Celsentri) would be used to treat HIVers with multidrug resistance. The FDA panel called for further study of maraviroc, citing a need for more tests involving women and minorities, as well as unresolved questions about the drug's side effects. The FDA will likely decide by the end of June whether to approve maraviroc.

    The Body covered clinical trials of maraviroc at the 14th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in February. Click here to read a review by Graeme Moyle, M.D., of two important maraviroc trials. Click here to read or listen to an interview with Roy Gulick, M.D., a researcher involved with one of those maraviroc trials.


    Lazarus Returns: Tales of Rescue Therapy in a New Era of HIV Treatment
    Ten years ago, "Lazarus syndrome" was the term some people used to describe HIVers who came back from the brink of death when combination HIV treatment became available. Lately, it's been happening all over again: The same long-term survivors, who once again saw their health slipping because they developed resistance to most HIV meds, are getting a new lease on life thanks to a new generation of HIV medications. In this article, three men with multidrug resistance share their experiences with the latest HIV treatment regimens.


    Amino Acids Found in Human Blood May Open Door to New HIV Drug Class
    German scientists have discovered a string of amino acids (a "peptide") in human blood that appeared to prevent 60 different strains of HIV from infecting cells in lab tests. The peptide, called VIRIP, could pave the way for a new class of HIV meds, offering options for HIVers with drug resistance. VIRIP may even be useful as a microbicide. Unfortunately, like Fuzeon (enfuvirtide, T-20), a VIRIP-based drug would be expensive to produce and would have to be injected.


    A Glimpse of HIV Meds on the Horizon
    Want a peek at the HIV medications researchers plan to roll out over the next few years? Check out this report on antiretrovirals in development. It's a quick review of potential HIV medications currently moving down the drug development conveyor belt, from the three antiretrovirals in the last phase of clinical trials to the dozens of drugs still being tested in beakers and petri dishes.


    Bone Marrow Transplant Unlikely to "Cure" HIV, Report Finds
    Over the years, scientists have explored different theories on ways to eradicate HIV in a person's body. One of these theories suggested that a bone marrow transplant might just do the trick by wiping out key reservoirs of HIV. But a new report appears to debunk this idea: An HIV-positive French man with an undetectable viral load received a bone-marrow transplant to treat leukemia, and he appeared to do well at first. But his HIV rebounded when he briefly stopped taking HIV meds after the transplant. Sadly, the young man later died after his body rejected the transplanted bone marrow. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)

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      HIV & YOUR HEALTH

    HIVers -- Particularly Women -- More Likely to Have Heart Attacks, New Study Finds
    A large, new U.S. study appears to confirm what many HIV experts have suspected for a long time: HIV-positive people have heart attacks more often than HIV-negative people. The findings were especially striking among women: The eight-year study found women were nearly three times more likely to have a heart attack if they were HIV positive, compared to a 40 percent higher risk for men. However, the study didn't shed much light on why HIVers seem to have a higher heart attack risk, or why women had a much higher risk than men. What can you do in the meantime to keep your heart happy? Exercise, maintain a healthy weight, quit smoking (if you haven't already) and have your heart monitored regularly. (Web highlight from The Washington Post)


    Beating Fatigue: How to Keep the F-Word From Running Your Life
    Fatigue is a real problem for many people living with HIV, but there are steps you can take to prevent it from interfering with your life. Fatigue can be caused by HIV-related health problems, medications or the psychological strain that sometimes accompanies living with HIV. In this article, psychologist Judith Rabkin outlines the causes of fatigue and explains some treatment strategies for keeping it under control.

    Do you have questions about fatigue? Check out our "frequently asked questions" page, or visit our "Ask the Experts" forum on fatigue and anemia.


    Positive Aging: What You Should Know
    Aging can have as much of an impact on your health as HIV, whether you're a long-term survivor or you just tested positive at the age of 50. There are lots of things older HIVers can do to stay on top of age-related health issues and HIV. In this article, Dr. Richard Havlik, formerly of the U.S. National Institute on Aging, discusses the impact HIV can have on the health of older HIVers, and how you can age gracefully with HIV.

    Click here to browse The Body's archive of overviews, news and research about HIV and aging.

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      HIV TRANSMISSION & OTHER STDs

    Are You at Risk for HIV? Take This Quiz
    Are you worried you have HIV? The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. But if you want to know how well you're protecting yourself from HIV, we've got an online tool that can help: This completely anonymous HIV risk assessment quiz. By answering a few questions about your background and your habits, you can learn a lot about your level of risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases -- and find out what you can do to stay HIV-free. (This quiz was produced by Body Health Resources Foundation)

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      HIV & THE LAW

    When Will Bush Lift Ban on HIV-Positive Foreigners?
    To the ongoing embarrassment of HIV advocates in the United States and abroad, the U.S. government prohibits HIV-positive foreigners from entering the country. On Dec. 1, 2006, U.S. President George Bush promised to issue an executive order easing the long-standing ban, but that order has yet to be issued. A government spokesperson has said the order is still "underway" and that the process is "complex," but wouldn't give further details. In the meantime, HIV advocates at a forum in Washington, D.C., added to the chorus of voices calling for an end to the ban. The current law prevents HIV-positive foreigners from obtaining visas or green cards -- although exceptions can be made under special circumstances.


    Under the executive order proposed by Bush last December, HIV-positive people would be allowed to enter the country and stay for up to 60 days without having to seek special permission. To learn more about the proposed change, click here. You can also click here to read more articles about HIV and immigration.


    HIV-Positive Australian Prosecuted for Knowingly Infecting a Teenager
    Having unprotected sex with someone without revealing you're HIV positive can land you in lots of trouble. It's not only a moral issue; it's also become a criminal issue, with a growing number of people facing possible jail time in the United States and elsewhere for knowingly infecting their partners. The latest case: An HIV-positive 34-year-old in Australia has been accused of infecting a man in his late teens. (Web highlight from The Age)

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    Also Worth Noting

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the April 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Patina du Prey's Memorial Dress," 1993-1997; Hunter Reynolds
    Visit the April 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "On the Stage," is curated by Tomoko Ashikawa, the curator/director at AG Gallery in Brooklyn and the Artists File Coordinator at Artists Space in New York.

    Profiles in Courage
    Inspiring Stories From HIV-Positive Women

    "Love is love," insists Charlene. That belief sustained her when she discovered that the love of her life was HIV positive. She met him in 2002; by 2004 she was engaged, but was also diagnosed with HIV herself. After her husband died in 2005, Charlene made up her mind to focus on activism. She had witnessed firsthand how isolation, depression and poor health care had incapacitated her husband. "He was one of the ones that slipped through the cracks in the system. ... The whole system failed him."

    Charlene now leads a successful HIV/AIDS ministry at her church, takes classes, writes short stories and poems, and works in a hospital laboratory. However, her activism takes a backseat to her commitment to her four children (from a previous marriage): Each week she prepares Sunday dinner so the family can spend time together.

    The Body is proud to have had the chance to interview Charlene for our new HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Women. Click here to read the full transcript.

    Connect With Others
    A
    t The Body's Bulletin Boards

    HIV Meds During Pregnancy: Should I Be Worried?
    (A recent post from the
    "HIV Treatment" board)

    "I just read an article [that said, 'Antiretroviral drugs used to prevent HIV transmission from mother to child can cause genetic damage in infants that may increase their risk of developing cancer in the future, according to new research.'] I am worried. ... I am a positive woman who looks forward to having babies. This recent research got me worried, and I would be very glad to hear from positive mothers who have had babies ... to know if my fears are founded or not."

    -- kolo

    Click here to join this discussion thread, or to start your own!