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July 19, 2007

In This Update
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV Treatment & Complications
  • HIV News
  • HIV Transmission
  • HIV Outside the U.S.

    HIV Does Not Define Me: How One Woman Came to Accept Her Diagnosis
    A few months after she turned 19, Marvelyn Brown was hospitalized with a case of pneumonia. Then her doctors told her that she was also HIV positive. Marvelyn was completely floored: "I thought I was above HIV, not even knowing that the 'H' in HIV stood for human. I thought it stood for homosexual or heroin addict. ... [A]nything but me." Five months later, Marvelyn started speaking publicly about HIV, and she hasn't stopped since. One of her goals is to help others understand what she has figured out since her diagnosis: "HIV is not an adjective. It does not define a person." (Web highlight from Savvy Miss)

    Hitting the Road With HIV
    Travel can be liberating, but venturing out into the world when you're HIV positive is often complicated. In this article, you'll find some great pointers on how to navigate the challenge of being an HIV-positive traveler. Get tips on making sure your destination is friendly to HIV-positive visitors, figuring out what shots you'll need (and which ones to avoid), managing your meds on the road and ensuring you stay fit during your vacation.

    Study Finds More Depression Among People Who Switch HIV Meds Often
    Are HIVers who are still on their first or second treatment regimen happier than HIVers who have been through multiple regimens? The answer appears to be yes, according to a new British study. The study found higher rates of depression among people who had switched HIV meds many times or stopped treatment entirely than people who were still on their first or second regimen. Though the findings may raise as many questions as they answer, they do point to how important mental health is for people with HIV -- whether they're new to treatment or have been on many regimens. (Web highlight from



    First-Line Therapy: What Should You Take?
    Looking for an in-depth rundown of the latest treatment options for people who are about to take HIV meds for the first time? Take a look at this comprehensive review by David Wohl, M.D. -- it's the latest addition to our library of educational materials for HIV health care professionals at The Body PRO. In this article, Dr. Wohl discusses the ins and outs of the official U.S. HIV treatment guidelines, and explains how to fine-tune a person's first HIV treatment regimen. CME/CE credit is available for physicians, pharmacists and nurses!

    Study Shows TH9507 May Help Treat HIV-Related Fat Gain
    Results of a recent study suggest that an artificial growth hormone releasing factor may be an effective treatment for HIV-positive people with extra fat around the middle. The study found that people with HIV who took TH9507 for 26 weeks lost enough fat around their belly to go down one pants size. However, much more research must be done on TH9507 to ensure that it's safe and effective over the long term.

    Want to learn more about recent research on TH9507? You can listen to, or read a transcript of, a presentation on TH9507 that Steven Grinspoon, M.D., made earlier this year at the 14th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. You can also listen to, or read a transcript of, our interview with Dr. Grinspoon about insurance coverage for TH9507 and other growth hormone drugs.

    The HIV-HPV Connection
    Cancers appear to be growing more common among people with HIV, and a common sexually transmitted disease, human papillomavirus (HPV), may be partly to blame. Check out this article to learn more about HPV, including an explanation of HPV's link to anal and cervical cancer, an overview of HPV vaccines and tips on how people with HIV can protect themselves from HPV and its complications.


      HIV NEWS

    Well-Known HIV Activist Succumbs to Liver Cancer
    Ferd Eggan, a well-known HIV activist and former AIDS coordinator of Los Angeles, Calif., died earlier this month of liver cancer. Diagnosed with HIV in 1986, Ferd used his experience as a civil rights worker and gay activist to help launch the Chicago, Ill., chapter of ACT UP in the late 1980s. He continued his activism in Los Angeles, where he championed the establishment of needle-exchange programs and was one of the first to shine a spotlight on the link between crystal meth use and HIV risk. (Web highlight from Los Angeles Times; free registration required)

    Hillary Clinton Criticized for Comments on HIV Among African Americans
    A black advocacy group accused Hillary Clinton of "pandering" to African Americans when talking about HIV during a televised debate in June between Democratic U.S. presidential candidates. "I found it interesting that [Clinton] chose a presidential debate, held before a largely African-American audience, to speak out on the fact that HIV/AIDS funding does not fairly reach African Americans with HIV," wrote the president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. "I only wish [Clinton] had voted the same way last year in the United States Senate, when we really needed" her, he added.



    Even HIV-Positive Women Struggle to Get Their Negative Sexual Partners to Use Condoms
    If you knew your sexual partner was HIV positive, would you practice safer sex? If you're an HIV-negative man dating an HIV-positive woman, it appears the answer is often no. According to a small U.S. survey of HIV-positive women, 18 percent said they had unprotected sex on a regular basis with their monogamous partner. In nearly all of these relationships, the man was HIV negative. Researchers found these women were unable to insist on condom use; as a result, they lived in constant fear of passing HIV to their partner, and felt guilt and distress at their inability to control their sexual choices. (Web highlight from

    Migrant Workers May Spread HIV From U.S. to Mexico, Research Suggests
    Mexican migrant workers come to the United States hoping to provide their families with money and a better way of life. But what many may not realize is that they can also get HIV. In fact, according to researchers, migration increases the risk that a person will get HIV. This means that places in Mexico with the highest U.S. migration rates also have the highest rates of HIV. Unfortunately, those places are often rural areas that have the least resources and experience in dealing with the virus.

    Study Explains Why It's Harder to Get HIV Through Oral Sex
    Why is it so much harder to get HIV through oral sex than anal sex? New research may provide at least part of the answer. Researchers have found that the CD4 cells in a person's rectum are much more likely than CD4 cells in a person's tonsils to have CCR5 coreceptors -- which HIV usually uses to attach itself to, and infect, a CD4 cell. (Web highlight from

    New York City Syphilis Cases Climb Sharply; Many Are HIV Positive
    Yet another warning sign that safe sex is still important for HIVers, even if they're in a pos-pos relationship: New cases of syphilis are way up in New York City, and half of all new syphilis infections are in people with HIV, officials report. The sudden jump marks the first increase in syphilis cases in New York City in more than two years, and it's especially pronounced among men who have sex with men.



    Zimbabwe's Economic Collapse May Be Reducing HIV Rate, Researchers Suggest
    There's nothing like rampant inflation to change a man's habits. Usually we hear about how poor areas of the world are hit harder by HIV than richer areas, but Zimbabwe appears to be a surprising exception to that rule. Some researchers suggest that the economic situation in Zimbabwe has gotten so bad that men can no longer afford to juggle multiple relationships, have mistresses or even visit sex workers, thus resulting in Zimbabwe's recent drop in HIV rates.

    Indian Official Says Women "Cannot Trust Men," Should Use Condoms
    "You cannot trust men or your husbands ... If you believe that men will be careful, then you can forget about protecting yourself." These aren't the words of an outspoken HIV activist: They came from the lips of Renuka Chowdhury, a high-ranking female member of India's government. Speaking at a meeting that focused on HIV among Indian women, she called for stronger efforts to provide condoms to women and urged women to use condoms no matter what.

    Also Worth Noting

    Get Involved
    Take a Survey on
    Body Fat Changes

    PoWeR logo
    Are you an HIV-positive person who has experienced body fat changes? There's a survey that HIV activist Nelson Vergel, founder of the advocacy group Program for Wellness Restoration, would like you to take. Concerned that many researchers are turning their focus away from the body fat changes that are still a major concern for many HIVers, he's hoping this survey can help make people's voices heard. Click here to take it!

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the July 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Super Heroes," 2000;
    David Abbott
    Visit the July 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "I'm Not Mad at You, I'm Mad at the Dirt," is curated by Scott Hug, an artist whose work focuses on current social and political events, investigating politics, pop culture and media obsession.

    Connect With Others
    t The Body's Bulletin Boards

    Finally Starting HIV Treatment, But Still Concerned
    (A recent post from the
    "Living With HIV" board)

    "I started Truvada and Viramune last night at 6 p.m. This is my first experience with fighting my HIV infection that I was diagnosed with on July 1, 2005. So far, everything seems normal, even a wee bit better than normal, as I feel a great weight lifting. I have agonized over starting meds for two years, and now it seems like, 'Why did I wait so long?' ... Interested in chatting with anyone about [their experiences] with these meds. ... That fear I had is lifting, but I am certain there are many unanswered questions that will be surfacing soon."

    -- Augustus

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