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December 12, 2007

In This Update
  • HIV Treatment & Complications
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV in the News
  • HIV Outside the United States
  •   HIV TREATMENT & COMPLICATIONS

    Dr. Joel GallantA Closer Look at the New HIV Treatment Guidelines
    What are the most important changes to the new U.S. HIV treatment guidelines released earlier this month? TheBody.com has the answers straight from one of the doctors who created the new guidelines. Read or listen to this interview with Dr. Joel Gallant, who served on the U.S. treatment guidelines advisory panel and walked us through the critical details.

    To read the revised treatment guidelines in full, click here.


    The Latest, Greatest HIV Research at Your Fingertips: HIV JournalView
    Want to stay informed about cutting-edge developments in HIV research, but don't have the time or energy to make sense of the latest studies? Take a look at the latest issue of The Body PRO's HIV JournalView -- an ongoing series written for health care professionals, but a great read for anybody looking to learn about the most critical HIV-related studies recently published in medical journals. In our new issue, Dr. David Wohl examines the latest findings on cancer risk in HIVers, metabolic problems, Prezista (darunavir) resistance, sperm washing and more.

    Click here to browse The Body PRO's archive of past HIV JournalView issues!
    Dr. David Wohl


    Hepatitis C Treatment Today
    Hepatitis C treatment is no walk in the park, so the decision of whether to start taking hep C meds can be a tricky one. Compared to HIV meds, current hep C meds have a higher risk of nasty side effects and lower odds of successful treatment -- odds that can change depending on which strain of hep C you have. If you're living with HIV and hep C, read this overview by Dr. Gabriel Ionescu to learn more about what you can expect from hep C treatment -- and how you and your doctor can figure out if it's time to start.


    Severe Drug Resistance Is Rare in People Taking First-Line HIV Meds, Long-Term Study Finds
    Only one out of 10 HIV-positive people who start treatment with a triple-class combo of HIV meds goes on to develop resistance to all three of those HIV drug classes, a 10-year British study has found. Developing resistance to all three of the most common HIV drug classes -- NNRTIs, NRTIs and protease inhibitors -- can hurt a person's future treatment options, but the study found that, with modern treatment, such resistance appears to emerge very slowly. That's good news for HIVers in developing countries, which rarely have access to second-line meds or drugs in new classes (including fusion inhibitors and CCR5 inhibitors) that can work well against drug-resistant HIV.

    To read an abstract of this study, which was published in the Dec. 8 issue of The Lancet, click here. You can also read a more in-depth summary of the study at aidsmap.com.

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      LIVING WITH HIV

    Social Security Disability Applicants Face Years of Waiting
    HIV positive and thinking about applying for Social Security disability benefits? Take note: The application process -- always long and difficult -- has become even more drawn out in the past few years. Since 2000, the average wait for an appeal hearing has nearly doubled from nine months to 17 months. Hiring more judges to hear appeals could reduce the wait, but President Bush has rejected a bill that would have allowed the government to employ 150 more judges to hear disability appeals. (Web highlight from The New York Times; free registration required)

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      HIV IN THE NEWS

    Is Republican Candidate Huckabee Still Prejudiced Against HIVers?
    They say the past always comes back to haunt you, and that's exactly what Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is learning. In 1992, Huckabee said that HIVers should be isolated from the general public and that HIV medical research was receiving too much federal funding. Now that he's running for U.S. president, he's stating his position a little differently, but he's not willing to recant his earlier statements. Huckabee's campaign tried to mask his gaffes by saying that, in 1992, he was unaware that HIV wasn't transmitted through casual contact. However, in 1992 that fact was already well established -- and then-President George H.W. Bush had already called for a law prohibiting discrimination against HIVers.

    Of course, Huckabee's refusal to retract his remarks isn't sitting well with HIV organizations across the United States. In fact, two of them -- the Human Rights Campaign and the AIDS Institute -- have formally asked him to sit down with Jeanne White-Ginder, the mother of the late Ryan White, to discuss his earlier comments and current position on HIV. To read more about the suggested meeting, click here.


    Homeland Security Provides Poor Care to HIVers at Immigration Detention Centers, Report Says
    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security fails to properly care for HIV-positive prisoners at immigration detention centers around the country, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW). The HRW investigation was prompted by the death of Victoria Arellano, a transgendered HIV-positive woman, who allegedly died as a result of being denied medical care at a San Pedro, Calif., detention center. The HRW report says that facilities in nine states fail to consistently provide complete HIV regimens, prescribe medications to prevent infections and ensure continued care when a prisoner is transferred to another facility.

    Read the full report from Human Rights Watch here.

    This is not the first we've heard of Victoria Arellano's tragic story. Click here to read an article that came out shortly after her death in August.


    HIV-Positive Catholic U.S. Navy Chaplain Sentenced to Prison for Sex Offenses
    Trials that involve HIV disclosure have had a wide range of outcomes in the United States. In the latest case, an HIV-positive U.S. Navy chaplain in Virginia pleaded guilty to numerous sexual offenses against male military service members, including forced oral sex and aggravated assault. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison -- but the sentence was reduced to two years because he agreed to reveal the names of all his sexual partners since he tested positive, so they can be contacted and urged to get an HIV test. (Web highlight from The Baltimore Sun)

    For further information about the trial and sentencing, click here to read an article from the Marine Corps Times.

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      HIV OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

    HIV Spreading Among World's Indigenous Communities, Advocates Say
    "Tribal people die because their land is invaded and taken and because they succumb to outside diseases they never knew before. Increasingly now we can add HIV/AIDS to the list of killers," says Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, a London-based organization which supports indigenous people around the world. The group just released a report detailing how social upheaval and growing contact with outsiders fuel rising HIV rates among indigenous communities. For instance, in the West Papua province of Indonesia, home to 312 different tribes, HIV rates are up to 15 times higher than in the rest of the country.

    Click here to download a PDF of the full report from Survival International, which details a number of health challenges faced by indigenous people. You can also download a shorter version.


    Uganda Plans Free National Male Circumcision Program to Curb Spread of HIV
    Ever since studies last year showed that male circumcision can reduce female-to-male HIV transmission rates by more than 60 percent, African countries have been working to implement widespread circumcision programs. Uganda is the latest to jump on the circumcision bandwagon: The country plans to introduce a free, nationwide male circumcision program. However, leaders are still working out the details of how to roll out such a massive program. "What we don't want is a situation where we promise free male circumcision and the people flood our services and find us unprepared," said one government spokesperson.


    Drugmaker Withdraws Patent Applications for Ziagen, Trizivir in India
    HIV treatment advocates in India were likely relieved last week when the maker of Ziagen (abacavir) and Trizivir (AZT/3TC/abacavir) withdrew patent applications for the two drugs in India. The decision is good news for people who rely on cheap, generic versions of HIV medications; if Ziagen and Trizivir had been patented, generic versions of them could have been outlawed. India is home to 2.5 million people with HIV, many of whom take generic HIV meds.


    HIV Crisis Silently Spreads Among Men Who Have Sex With Men in Asia-Pacific
    We know that unprotected sex between men is a high-risk activity for HIV infection, but many countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region are only just beginning to deal with that reality. Despite the fact that HIV rates among men who have sex with men in some cities are up to an incredible 32 percent, the Asia-Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health says that less than one in 10 have access to any HIV services. One of the main reasons is stigma. Another is the government: In a number of countries, including India and Malaysia, male-to-male sex is illegal and punishable by long prison sentences.

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    Also Worth Noting

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the December 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Untitled (Aparicion)," 1991; Felix Gonzalez-Torres
    Visit the December 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "You're My New Orleans," is curated by Derek Jackson, the founder and creative director of Hung Magazine.

    Join a Study!
    Women Recently Diagnosed With HIV: Give a Phone Interview and Earn $50

    Positive Internet Study
    Are you a woman with HIV? Want to help further HIV research without leaving your home?

    Researchers at the University of Minnesota are conducting a telephone-based study to understand the treatment, prevention and sexual health needs of people newly diagnosed. Currently they're looking for recently diagnosed HIV-positive women, living in the United States, to take part in one-on-one phone interviews.

    Interested? E-mail the research staff at pints@umn.edu, or call toll-free at 1-866-692-0188. You'll be asked to take a quick 5-minute survey to determine if you're eligible to participate.

    If eligible, your interview can be scheduled at your convenience on weekdays or weekends. Interviews take between 60 and 90 minutes; you'll receive $50 for your time and assistance.

    For more information on this study, click here to visit the official Web site.

    Connect With Others
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    t The Body's Bulletin Boards

    Starting Treatment Too Early?
    (A recent post from the
    "HIV Treatment" board)

    My boyfriend's CD4 count is over 1,100 and his viral load is under 400. From my own research, this appears to still be OK (considering the circumstances, of course). He said, though, that today [his doctors said] they want to start him on antiretroviral medications. Is this typical with someone who's only been diagnosed nine months ago?
    --Carrie

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