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August 2, 2007

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

    One Conference, Many Perspectives: Experts Sound Off on IAS 2007 Highlights
    At a meeting as large as the 4th International AIDS Society Conference (IAS 2007), there are bound to be many highlights. But which are the breakthrough studies -- research with the ability to change the way HIV medicine is practiced? In this growing series of podcast interviews from IAS 2007, we asked some top HIV experts which studies were most critical. We also spoke with notable researchers presenting at IAS and asked them to walk us through their studies. Listen in to these interviews and get a unique, first-hand look at the latest research in HIV. Transcripts of all our podcasts will be available soon!

    Visit our IAS 2007 home page for more of our thorough coverage of IAS 2007.

    Conference Coverage for the Rest of Us: A Recap Without the Mumbo Jumbo
    Most HIV conference coverage is geared toward medical professionals: It's heavy on terms that only researchers can understand. Looking for a more "HIVer-friendly" recap? Listen or read this interview with Daniel Berger, M.D., to get a more down-to-earth summary of some of the biggest research to come out of IAS 2007.

    Skin Cancers More Common in HIV-Positive People, Research Finds
    Count skin cancer among the growing number of cancers that researchers say occur more frequently among HIVers. A new study presented at IAS 2007 shows that basal cell carcinoma (the most common form of skin cancer) and melanoma (the most dangerous form of skin cancer) are more than twice as common among HIV-positive people than HIV-negative people. The researchers recommend regular skin cancer screening for people with HIV.

    Click here to read expert analysis from Daniel Berger, M.D., on this study and other important cancer studies that were presented at IAS 2007. It's all part of The Body PRO's comprehensive podcast coverage of this important conference!

    Dietary Counseling May Help Prevent Lipid Rise Among HIVers Starting Treatment
    Can simply meeting with a nutritional expert keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels from going up when you start HIV treatment? The answer, according to Brazilian researchers, is yes. In a study presented at IAS 2007, the researchers found that people who met with a dietician once every few months after starting HIV meds were three times less likely to develop high cholesterol and triglycerides than people who didn't receive any nutritional counseling.

    To read more tips on how you can reduce your cholesterol and triglycerides, click here.



    Mixed-Status Couples Can Have a Baby Naturally, Suggests Swiss Physician
    Although it's controversial to say so, HIV-positive people with undetectable viral loads who are in a monogamous relationship are unlikely to transmit HIV during unprotected sex. So if you want to have a baby, and you're part of a couple in which the man is HIV positive but the woman is not, could it be safe to have unprotected sex in order to get pregnant? Research by an HIV specialist from Switzerland suggests it's possible -- as long as you time sex right and the woman takes pre-exposure prophylaxis meds as an added precaution. Daniel Berger, M.D., recaps this study as part of our coverage of IAS 2007.

    We also interviewed the HIV specialist who conducted this intriguing study; you can click here to listen to the 15-minute podcast (transcript coming soon), or click here to see a slide presentation of the study results.

    For personal stories and expert advice on having a baby when you're HIV positive, tune into the latest edition of This Month in HIV,'s ongoing podcast series on critical news in the HIV world.



    Serosorting Is a Terrible Idea for HIV-Negative People, HIV Educator Writes
    As an experiment, HIV-positive treatment educator Mark Milano changed the HIV status on his online personal ad from "no answer" to "negative." Suddenly, he got tons of responses from interested men who were trying to avoid HIV by choosing partners with the same HIV status, a practice called serosorting. Some HIV prevention experts support serosorting, but Milano isn't one of them. "Serosorting works fine if you are HIV positive ... but encouraging HIV-negative gay men to ask strangers their HIV status is not only useless, it's dangerous," he writes. In this essay, Milano explains why.

    Condoms, HIV Testing Still Important Among Over-60 Crowd, New York City Says
    As most anyone over 60 can attest, just because you're past middle age doesn't mean that you stop having sex. It also doesn't mean that you should stop having safer sex, which is why New York City's Department for the Aging is providing free condoms and HIV testing to people living in the city's senior centers. "Often, older people do not concern themselves with HIV and AIDS because they assume that they are not at risk, and that can be a tragic mistake," says the city's commissioner of aging. In fact, according to a recent study, people 50 and older accounted for 16 percent of new U.S. HIV diagnoses in 2005; people over 65 accounted for 2 percent.

    Microbicides Face Uncertain Future as Prime Candidate Fizzles Out
    For some time, researchers have been trying to create an HIV prevention method that's as reliable as condoms but lies solely in the hands of women. Microbicides have been a shining example, but there have been many disappointments along the way toward developing an effective microbicide. One such disappointment is Ushercell, which appeared promising through most of its development, until researchers suddenly discovered signs that the gel might actually increase a woman's HIV risk.

    Click here to learn more about the race to invent a gel, cream, suppository, film, lube, sponge or vaginal ring that can prevent heterosexual women from becoming HIV positive during sex.



    People Blame Witchcraft as HIV Claims Lives in Papua New Guinea
    Hundreds of women in Papua New Guinea have been hunted down, brutally tortured and murdered after being accused of killing people with HIV through witchcraft, officials and researchers say. There have been 500 attacks on supposed witches in the last year, the Centre for Independent Studies in Australia estimates. "People believe a witch would behave in a certain way, would walk in a certain way. That's all the basis that they have and there's realistically no tangible substance to it," an official said. HIV rates have leaped by 30 percent per year since 1997 in Papua New Guinea, according to the United Nations.

    Indonesian Province Considers Implanting Microchips in HIVers
    Officials in one Indonesian province have set off a firestorm with the announcement that they're considering inserting microchips into HIVers in order to better monitor their behavior and sexual activities. The controversy is taking place in the province of Papua (not to be confused with Papua New Guniea, a neighboring country), where the HIV rate is increasing rapidly and the government is struggling to contain it. For now, at least, the microchip law is still under discussion.

    Look! Up in the Sky! It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's ...
    A giant hot air balloon shaped like a condom floated over the Dutch city of Lichtenvoorde on July 27. It might sound like a stunt by an eccentric millionaire, but it was actually a safe-sex message sponsored by local public health officials and meant to call attention to the need for more HIV awareness. The balloon floated lazily over a major three-day festival in the city, while on the ground, nurses distributed free condoms and educational materials.

    Also Worth Noting

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the August 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Gay," 1993;
    Jerome Caja
    Visit the newly launched August 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, curated by Arnold J. Kemp, is a dedication to the works of Jerome Caja and David Cannon Dashiell, HIV-positive artists who died in the 1990s.

    Connect With Others
    t The Body's Bulletin Boards

    "I Found Out, But
    Haven't Been Told"

    (A recent post from the
    "Gay Men & HIV" board)

    "I am negative and recently found out that my boyfriend of a couple months is positive (by looking through his personal belongings). I don't know what to do. Do I tell him I know? Do I wait for him to tell me? ... He told me he was negative when we both did not know things were going to get serious between the two of us. Had he told me was positive, nothing would have developed between the two of us. Have I been lied to? Am I a fool? The funny thing is I'm not scared nor sad, I just feel in shock. This man means a lot to me, but maybe I don't mean the same to him ..."

    -- craft

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