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September 26, 2007

In This Update
  • Podcasts From ICAAC 2007
  • HIV Treatment & Complications
  • HIV Activism
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV Research
  • HIV in the U.S. News
  • HIV Outside the United States

    Interviews With HIV Experts on the Latest Research
    Important new HIV research was presented at ICAAC 2007 last week in Chicago, Ill., and was there to cover it! We interviewed researchers regarding their own studies, and spoke to clinicians and researchers about what they thought were the key presentations. Check back to make sure you don't miss a thing! Additional transcripts and MP3 podcasts will be added regularly.

    Click here for a full list of ICAAC interviews.


    A Roadmap to Today's HIV Complications
    Improvements in HIV treatment have dramatically changed life with HIV over the last 10 years. HIVers with access to treatment can now hope to live long, healthy lives, largely free of the opportunistic infections that are traditionally associated with untreated HIV. However, there's a new generation of HIV-related health complications to stay on top of. Check out this article from Positively Aware for a list of things to watch out for, and what you can do to protect yourself.



    Planning a World AIDS Day Event?
    World AIDS Day is just two months away, so if you're thinking of organizing an event for Dec. 1, there's no time like the present to start getting ready! Check out our collection of handy tips on how to put together a memorable World AIDS Day event.



    Rejected Because of Your HIV Status? It's Their Loss!
    When his partner of four years left him, saying that he couldn't feel comfortable with an HIV-positive man, Jack Degnan searched for an explanation. Now an HIV health worker, Degnan helps other people explore how an irrational fear of being infected and the desire for unprotected sex sometimes make HIV-negative people reject HIV-positive partners. He's come to see this rejection as a gift, however: "I like to think of having HIV as a screening tool," Degnan says. "Anyone who is unable to look beyond my virus is not the kind of person I want to spend time with anyway."



    Herpes Treatment to Prevent HIV? A Review of This Summer's Research
    Could treating genital herpes help prevent HIV? Recent studies have shown that people with genital herpes and HIV might be more likely to transmit HIV, and HIV-negative folks experiencing herpes outbreaks might be especially vulnerable to HIV. This suggests that herpes treatment may help reduce a person's risk of both getting and transmitting HIV. This research recap from the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project discusses the latest study results on genital herpes medication for HIV prevention.

    Another HIV Vaccine Bites the Dust
    The clinical trial of an HIV vaccine that experts considered one of the most promising vaccines in development was stopped last week after researchers found that it failed to prevent HIV infections or reduce the amount of virus in study participants who became HIV positive. The vaccine was supposed to stimulate an increased CD4 cell response that researchers hoped would fight off HIV infection or progression. The executive director of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition tried to put a positive spin on the findings: "It isn't the end of the line," he said. "[The data] aren't the answers we wanted, but they will help improve our other vaccine candidates."

    Click here to read the announcement from the vaccine maker about the trial's discontinuation.



    Black Leaders Come Together for Historic Meeting to End HIV
    The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA) is hosting what it says is the first-ever conference dedicated to developing a five-year plan to significantly reduce HIV cases among African Americans. The meeting will be held in New York City in early October. African Americans account for about 13 percent of the U.S. population, but made up about half of new AIDS diagnoses in the United States in 2005, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It's a crisis," said Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, the chairman of the board for the NBLCA. "Once you hear the numbers, you realize the impact, the unthinkable loss of lives that we as a community are facing. You absolutely know that a lot of this could be prevented." (Web highlight from

    U.S. Presidential Candidate Edwards Details His Plan to Fight HIV
    Former Senator and 2008 U.S. presidential hopeful John Edwards has publicly detailed how he would fight HIV if elected president. At a health care forum in Washington, D.C., the Democratic candidate called for spending $50 billion over five years to provide worldwide, universal access to HIV prevention and treatment. On the home front, Edwards says he would expand Medicaid coverage to include HIVers before they progress to AIDS, increase HIV prevention resources in black and Hispanic communities, ensure comprehensive sex education, and lift the ban on federal funding for needle-exchange programs.

    To stay on top of the latest news involving HIV and the 2008 U.S. presidential election, keep an eye on our election 2008 page.

    Click here for John Edwards' complete HIV platform.



    UNAIDS to Wealthy Nations: To Stop HIV, We Must Have More Money
    A massive inflow of cash is the only way that UNAIDS can meet its commitment to provide the entire developing world with access to HIV prevention, treatment and care by 2010, the group reported this week. The price tag for universal access? About US$42 billion, UNAIDS says -- dramatically more money than it currently gets from wealthy donor countries. UNAIDS also warns that the funding situation is actually getting worse, not better: "If current trends continue, the gap between resources available and resources needed to achieve global objectives will widen each year through 2015," the organization reports. (Web highlight from

    Click here to download a brief summary of the UNAIDS report, or click here to download the report in its entirety.

    Using HIV Drugs for Prevention Could Avoid Three Million Infections in Africa
    As many as three million new HIV infections could be prevented in sub-Saharan Africa over the next 10 years if Viread (tenofovir) is used before a potential exposure, according to U.S. and United Kingdom researchers. The researchers calculated that widespread, daily use of Viread by sexually active adults in sub-Saharan Africa could reduce new HIV cases by as much as 74 percent. The estimated cost: US$2 billion over 10 years -- that's $1.2 billion less than what was spent on HIV prevention worldwide by UNAIDS in 2005 alone.

    Click here to read the study abstract in the Sept. 19 edition of the online journal PLoS One.

    Rwanda: Calling All Uncircumcised Males!
    By now we've all heard that male circumcision can reduce a man's risk of HIV infection through heterosexual sex by more than half. Because of this, the Rwandan government has announced plans for a massive male circumcision program, which will begin by targeting the army, police and students in higher education. Funding for the campaign may come at least partially from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

    AIDS Crisis Politicized in South Africa as Death Toll Mounts
    Nearly 1,000 South Africans die from AIDS-related illnesses every day, health advocates say, but the response of South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, has been sluggish and inconsistent. In a meeting this December, South Africa's ruling party -- the African National Congress (ANC) -- is expected to consider its next leader. Activists will urge the ANC to make HIV treatment a national priority and denounce President Mbeki. (Web highlight from National Public Radio)

    Also Worth Noting

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the September 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Eros Stairway II," 1998; Jose Louis Cortes
    Visit the September 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Dream Home Heartache," is curated by Adam Putnam, an artist and New York City native.

    Connect With Others
    t The Body's Bulletin Boards

    A Question About
    Drug-Resistant Strains of HIV

    (A recent post from the
    "I Just Tested Positive" board)

    OK, it's been three weeks since I found out I was positive. I have made real progress with acceptance, and made some choices that I didn't want to make but felt I needed to. This week I find out what strain I have, and I guess I am a little panicked that I will have a drug resistant strain ... I'm not sure exactly what all that entails. Are there treatments for any strain? Including those that are resistant? If not, what is the life expectancy of someone who has [drug-resistant HIV]? I just want to be able to ask better questions of my doctor when he calls with the results this week. Any advice would be appreciated. You guys were great when I first found out!


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

    Get Involved
    Fight HIV Denialism on Amazon and YouTube

    Want to help save the lives of HIV-positive people by fighting denialism? Visit and offer your feedback on pro-denialism books by Peter Duesberg and others. Visit and offer your opinion on denialist videos by people like Gary Null. Remember: If the people who understand HIV don't speak up about it publicly, it makes denialism look like a movement that deserves to be taken seriously.

    Have you or someone you know been personally affected by HIV denialists? We'd like to hear from you. E-mail us at with your thoughts; we may use them for an upcoming podcast on HIV denialism!