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July 27, 2007

In This Update
  • Breaking Research From IAS 2007
  • HIV Treatment
  • Health Complications in HIVers
  • HIV Transmission
  • Making a Difference
  • HIV News
  • HIV Outside the U.S.
  •   BREAKING RESEARCH FROM IAS 2007

    Podcasts, Interviews, Summaries and More: TheBody.com Covers IAS 2007
    When nearly 1,000 studies are presented at a major HIV conference, how can you possibly figure out which were the most important? We've got the answer: TheBody.com's team of HIV experts and reporters has spent the past week in Sydney, Australia, covering the 4th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2007). Exclusive, daily podcast summaries and one-on-one expert interviews are now available, and much more coverage will roll in over the days to come!


    Next-Day Podcast Summaries: Listen in as Experts Review Conference Highlights
    At IAS 2007, we proudly rolled out an exciting new feature of our respected conference coverage: next-day podcast summaries! Tune in as noted HIV physicians Daniel Berger, M.D., and Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H., walk us through the highlights of each day's presented studies, from the latest on HIV meds in development to new findings exploring ways for mixed-status couples to safely conceive a child. In addition to the 24-minute interviews, we've also got study slides, full transcripts and links to further study information. (U.S. physicians and nurses can earn free CME/CE credit at The Body PRO for each of these summaries!)

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      HIV TREATMENT

    Your HIV Treatment Regimen: Can You Have It All?
    Whether you're just beginning HIV meds or have already been on multiple regimens, finding the right combination of meds can seem confusing -- even impossible! That's why last month, TheBody.com hosted a live chat with Dr. Edwin DeJesus, one of the top HIV care providers in the United States. He answered questions submitted by our readers about how to choose an HIV treatment regimen that works best for them, taking into consideration factors such as side effects and drug interactions. Even if you missed the chat, you don't have to miss a single word: The full transcript is now online!


    Held Up in U.S., First CCR5 Inhibitor Nears Approval in Europe
    A medical advisory panel in Europe has given a thumbs-up to maraviroc (proposed brand name: Celsentri) -- the first in a new class of HIV meds known as CCR5 inhibitors. Now that it's cleared the panel, maraviroc could be officially approved for use in the European Union within the next few months. Maraviroc's approval in the United States was put on hold in June, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it still had questions about the drug. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)

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      HEALTH COMPLICATIONS IN HIVERS

    Protein Buildup May Be Linked to Fat Gain in HIVers on Protease Inhibitors, Researchers Say
    Some HIV meds appear to cause body fat changes and related problems in people with HIV. But how do they do it? A new study may have brought us closer to an answer, at least when it comes to protease inhibitors. U.S. researchers have found that protease inhibitors seem to cause a buildup of a specific type of protein, which the researchers think may lead to a buildup of fat or cholesterol. The effect appears similar to a condition seen in people who have early-aging syndromes, the researchers noted.


    Untreated Syphilis Nearly Costs HIVer His Vision
    Ethan had been living with HIV for less than three years when his vision started to blur. It kept getting worse, until he was almost completely blind. It turned out that Ethan had syphilis and never got tested for it, even though he was sexually active. His vision has improved somewhat since he started syphilis treatment, but his story is a reminder that unprotected sex still has its dangers, regardless of whether you and the person you're sleeping with share the same HIV status.

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      HIV TRANSMISSION

    Is HIV Really a Gay Disease?
    We know that anyone can get HIV, but many people still pigeonhole it as a gay disease. Can both points of view be correct? What exactly do the statistics say about how "gay" HIV is? In this article, Enid Vázquez of Positively Aware takes a look at exactly how many HIVers in the United States are men who have sex with men.


    Sex, Videotape and ... No Condoms?
    How do you reach out to young porn actors so you can educate them about HIV? In this story, Keith Green recounts how he discovered that a Chicago-based porn Web site didn't offer any HIV awareness or prevention tools to its employees, most of whom are minorities. Green explains what he -- and a group of dedicated activists and health care providers -- did to change things. "We were extremely conscious to ... not judge or look down upon the way these young men had chosen to earn their living," Keith recounts. "We understood that for many of them this wasn't a choice, really. This was a matter of economic survival."


    Scientists Identify Genes That May Slow HIV Progression
    How is it that some HIV-positive people seem to always have a low viral load even though they're not on treatment? Researchers have pinpointed three genes that may help find an answer. In addition to explaining why some people are able to naturally keep HIV at bay, the discovery casts new light on how the immune system can overcome HIV infection, which may help scientists hunting for an HIV vaccine or a new form of treatment.

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      MAKING A DIFFERENCE

    College Program Brings Out the Creative Side of HIV Activism
    Columbia College in Chicago isn't your run-of-the-mill arts and communications school. Its program, Critical Encounters, is trying to revolutionize the way students and staff members think about the relationship between art and activism. In the 2006/2007 academic year, Critical Encounters focused on HIV; students came up with some impressively creative ways to bring the issue home to their college campus.

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      HIV NEWS

    Family of Refugee Who Died From Lactic Acidosis Awarded $4.5 Million
    Although it may come as little consolation to the family of Jacqueline Makombe, a judge has ordered the U.S. government to pay them $4.5 million for what happened to her. Makombe, a 39-year-old Congolese refugee, was infected with HIV when she was gang-raped by members of Congo's military. According to her family, Makombe repeatedly came to a federally funded clinic in Chicago complaining of the symptoms of lactic acidosis, a rare but potentially fatal buildup of lactic acid that can be caused by some HIV meds. But the clinic failed to recognize the symptoms (which can include frequent vomiting, rapid breathing, an enlarged liver, and hands or feet that turn blue) and she died from the complication.

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      HIV OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

    British Justice System Recklessly Enforcing HIV Transmission Laws, Advocates Say
    People with HIV are being oppressed by overly aggressive law enforcement in the United Kingdom, as the justice system takes a heavy-handed approach to HIV transmission laws, advocates say. Thirteen British HIVers have been convicted of transmitting HIV to others, but most of those are from guilty pleas rather than jury verdicts. Advocates warn that "inappropriate pursuits of non-cases" are having a chilling effect on the lives of HIV-positive people in the United Kingdom. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)


    Indonesia Tries Sex Education Through Text Messages
    A flamboyant sex educator from Singapore who goes by the name of Dr. Love has launched a text messaging campaign in Indonesia. Indonesians can send questions about sex to a panel of local doctors through their mobile phones, and a Web site with a virtual character will be built around the questions they submit. Dr. Love -- whose real name is Wei Siang Yu -- hopes the site will be widely used by Indonesian youths, 57 percent of whom learn about sex from friends or pornographic movies, according to one survey.

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    Also Worth Noting

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the July 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Drunk Again," 1992; Chuck Nanney
    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
    A
    t The Body's Bulletin Boards

    Can People Really
    Be So Intolerant?

    (A recent post from the
    "Living With HIV" board)

    "I was listening to the television show Maury ... and there was an HIV/AIDS poll. The poll was saying, 'If you liked someone and started dating and found out that they were infected, would you continue the relationship?' 19% said yes. 81% said no. This is very scary and very sad. I am a teenage girl [living with HIV], and when I grow up I would want to fall in love and have children. To know a lot more people wouldn't continue the relationship bothers me. People are very rude out in this world."

    -- Kels

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

    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!