• LIVING WITH HIV
Young, Hispanic, HIV-Positive Mother Celebrates 10 Years of Survival and Advocacy
Lizette Green had to convince her doctor she was at risk for HIV. A 16-year-old Hispanic girl living in Washington state, Lizette had recently gotten married, was pregnant and had just been
treated for gonorrhea. But she had to practically beg her physician for an HIV test -- and when she finally got it, it came back positive. "I lived in a small community where it was
unheard of that a pregnant, Hispanic, teenage female could have HIV," she writes. "I had no one to talk to! I needed answers and began to educate myself." Today, Lizette works
as a youth peer advocate, is the proud mom of three HIV-negative children, and is celebrating more than 10 years of thriving with HIV.
The Word on Disclosure
The prospect of disclosing your HIV status is frightening, but there are steps you can take to ease the process for yourself and your loved ones. This brief article provides some tips on
disclosure, and offers some motivational advice as well. "[Disclosure] can help you to get the proper medical treatment that you deserve," explains prevention educator Bridget Hughes, "and
it can open doors to meeting and getting the peer support of others who are also HIV positive."
Want more tips on disclosing your status? Read through our collection of articles on telling others you have HIV.
Helping Your HIV-Positive Child Come of Age
In the bad old days, many parents with HIV-positive babies were told their child might not have a chance to grow up. Now, thanks to HIV meds, most children in wealthy countries who were infected
at birth have become healthy teenagers and young adults. However, with survival come the challenges of helping your HIV-positive child grow into adulthood. All the normal processes of self-discovery
that teenagers and young adults go through can be complicated by HIV. Imagine trying to take your medications secretly at a sleep-over party, or figuring out how to disclose your HIV status
to your high-school sweetheart. This article, written by a team of pediatric HIV experts, outlines some of the challenges young people face, and how their families can help.
• HIV TREATMENT
Kaletra-Based Regimens May Suppress Viral Load Despite Missed Doses
Some HIV meds are more "forgiving" of missed doses than others. Researchers have known that for some time -- but just how far does that forgiveness go? In the case of Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir),
it looks like it goes awfully far: A new, short-term study of treatment-experienced HIVers taking a Kaletra-based regimen has found that the regimen is still likely to keep your viral load
low even if you miss three doses a week or more. The findings aren't by any means a green light to start skipping meds -- the study only covered 24 weeks of therapy -- but they do suggest
a little more wiggle room for people who occasionally miss their dose. Click the headline above to read the abstract of this study. (Web highlight from the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency
Missed HIV Clinic Visits Tied to Increased Risk of Death
Feeling healthy enough that you think you can safely skip your next appointment with an HIV doc? You may want to think again: A recent study found that -- surprise! -- going to an HIV doctor
at least once every few months is good for your health. In fact, that might be an understatement: The study found that people who miss even one of their quarterly appointments with an HIV
doctor or clinic are at an increased risk of dying. The findings point not just to the importance of making all your appointments, but also to the need for services that help HIVers with
poor access to health care. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)
• COMPLICATIONS OF HIV & HIV MEDS
Stopping Bone Loss: Study Tests a Yearly Drug Injection
Bone health often gets overlooked by HIVers and their doctors alike, but it's actually quite common for people with HIV to experience a thinning or hollowing of their bones, which can lead
to fractures. There are many strategies to treat bone loss, including daily calcium and vitamin D supplements. A recent study also examined whether a drug called zoledronate can help: According
to the researchers who performed the small, two-year study, an annual injection with zoledronate can be "a potent and effective therapy for the prevention or treatment of bone loss in
HIV-infected men." Click on the headline above to read a PDF of the full study. (Web highlight from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism)
Study Casts Doubt on Glitazones as Lipoatrophy Treatment
A small Canadian study suggests that, despite some promising signs in earlier research, a group of diabetes meds known as "glitazones" may not help treat fat loss ("lipoatrophy")
in people with HIV. The Canadian researchers found no significant difference in fat recovery between people who took a glitazone and people who didn't. However, the study was limited
by its small size (only 78 people), and many people in the study were actively taking HIV meds that have been linked with lipoatrophy, such as Zerit (stavudine, d4T) and Retrovir (zidovudine,
AZT), which may have blunted the glitazone's effects. The study was published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. (Web highlight from AIDSmeds.com)
An accompanying editorial by noted HIV researcher Steven Grinspoon, M.D., suggests that glitazones may still be useful for reversing lipoatrophy, but should probably be reserved for HIVers
with diabetes, which is already treated with glitazones. The editorial is only available by paid subscription; you can access
it here. If you'd like to read the abstract of the Canadian glitazone study, click here (the full article also requires
a paid subscription).
Though glitazones may not work as a lipoatrophy treatment, there are some other options available for people looking to lessen the symptoms of fat loss. Check out The
Body's Lipoatrophy Resource Center to learn more.
• HIV TRANSMISSION
On HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, Researchers and Activists Mark 10 Years of Hunting
In May 1997, President Bill Clinton announced a dramatic goal molded after John F. Kennedy's moon challenge of the early 1960s. Clinton's demand: Develop an HIV vaccine within a decade. This
Friday, that deadline will pass unfulfilled, but the 10-year milestone is being celebrated, not mourned. May 18, the anniversary of Clinton's speech, is HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, and activists,
scientists and government groups are coming together to explain why finding a vaccine is still urgent and how far researchers have already come. "I think there is genuine excitement
in the field," says Dr. Mark Mulligan, executive director of the Emory Vaccine Center's Hope Clinic. "[HIV vaccines] we are using now are much stronger than they were just five
to 10 years ago." (Web highlight from Southern Voice)
Community forums, panel discussions and public awareness campaigns to commemorate HIV Vaccine Awareness Day are being held across the United States. Visit
this Web page to find out if an event is happening near you.
Despite Setbacks, Promising HIV Vaccine Research Continues
So, are we ever going to have a vaccine to prevent HIV infection? The fact that we are still hunting for an HIV vaccine 20 years after the first studies began is disappointing, but in a statement
for the 10th annual HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, top officials from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases explain that there are reasons for hope. A number of large, promising
studies are in progress, and another is slated to begin later this year.
HIV Vaccine Campaign Urges African Americans to Participate in Research
The "Be the Generation" campaign to promote HIV vaccine research has a special message for African Americans: Help! HIV has killed close to 200,000 African Americans, and nearly
half of all newly diagnosed people in the United States are African American, the HIV Vaccine Research Education Initiative notes. Those numbers make it more important than ever before that
more HIV-negative African Americans volunteer for HIV vaccine studies, the campaign says. This brochure on HIV vaccine research further explains why African Americans should get involved
and how they can help.
HIV negative and interested in joining an HIV vaccine trial? Click here to search through a database of enrolling vaccine
trials throughout the world.
• STDs & SEX EDUCATION
Oral Sex Linked to Throat Cancer, HPV Infection
Forget about cigarettes and booze: If you really want to increase your risk for oral cancer, a new study suggests you should just have a lot of oral sex. Researchers found that men
and women who have given oral sex to more than five partners are more than twice as likely to have oral or throat cancer than people who have never had oral sex -- and that oral sex seems
to play a much greater role in oral cancer development than smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. These results aren't cause for great alarm, because oral cancers affect only two out of
every 100,000 adults in the United States. But this study may lead experts to rethink who should be taking Gardasil, the new vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV), which is currently indicated
mainly for girls and young women. HPV appears to be the chief cause of oral cancer. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)
Instead of answering questions about kinky sexual adventures, sex-advice columnist Dan Savage devotes most of his latest column to a no-holds-barred discussion about what these study results
really mean. Click here to read Savage's provocative thoughts.
Free Sex-Ed Software for Teens, Young Adults
Are you looking for a creative way to educate young people about sexuality and sexual health? Maybe you're a young person who would like to improve your knowledge of HIV and other sexually
transmitted diseases (STDs)? "It's Your Call: Making Sexual Decisions" is free, interactive software that helps high-school- and college-aged people of all sexual orientations explore
their personal values, needs and desires while getting information about sexuality and sexual health. The language is funny, down-to-earth and easy to understand. (Web highlight from the
University of Alberta)
• HIV OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Spotlights Plight of Women With HIV
When she was diagnosed with HIV in Argentina in 1986, Patricia Perez never could have imagined she'd be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. But 21 years later, that's exactly where she finds
herself, thanks to her tireless work on behalf of women living with HIV in Latin America. Perez has seen the number of women living with HIV in her region rise, but despite the growing numbers,
the majority remain silent about their HIV status, fearing rejection and discrimination. Perez works to give these women their voices back: "As women living with HIV," she says, "we
know what we need, so we should be sitting down at the tables where governments are making the decisions." (Web highlight from Inter Press Service)