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January 16, 2008

In This Update
  • Making a Difference
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV News & Views
  • HIV Treatment
  • First Person
  • HIV & Hepatitis
  • HIV Research
  • HIV Prevention & Transmission

    Activists Caravan to S.C. to Demand HIV Leadership at U.S. Presidential Debate
    If you want a U.S. president who will make HIV a priority, now is your chance to speak up. HIV-positive people from around the United States will arrive in car caravans at the Jan. 21 Democratic presidential debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., for a "Rally to End AIDS." The rally, organized by the Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA), aims to get the candidates to prioritize fighting HIV at home and abroad. If you'd like to join the caravan or offer financial support, contact Larry Bryant at C2EA at (202) 408-0305 or

    HIV Advocates Protest HIV Travel Proposal
    When the U.S. Department of Homeland Security gave the public just 30 days to respond to its proposal to change -- but not end -- the country's ban on HIV-positive visitors, advocates worried that they wouldn't have enough time to reply. But despite the tight deadline, responses poured in from over 600 organizations and individuals. Concerned citizens, religious organizations, Congress members, international organizations and HIV advocates all submitted opinions, overwhelmingly in favor of making it easier for people with HIV to visit the United States.



    Social Support Makes a World of Difference in HIV Medication Adherence
    Sometimes an HIVer's relationship with a team of health care providers and social workers can make or break his or her success with medications. This article, written for social workers, provides tips and strategies for professionals who are providing support for medication adherence. It's also an interesting read for people taking HIV meds and looking for advice on making sure they always take their medications on time. (Web highlight from Social Work Today)



    Young Sisters Star in HIV Documentary
    How would you explain HIV to children? Two young sisters decided to find out at the 2006 International AIDS Conference in Toronto, where they made a documentary called "Please Talk to Kids About AIDS." The film follows Vineeta Hennessey and her sister Sevilla, now 7 and 5 years old, around the conference as they ask experts and activists basic questions about HIV. The film is being praised for the frank responses the girls elicited, and the way it breaks taboos about discussing sex. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is featured in the film. "To have children, in their innocence, ask those questions really exemplifies why we need to talk straight about HIV," he said. (Web highlight from Voice of America)

    Editorial: U.S. HIV Prevention Is a Failure
    "At the rate we are going, we will double the number of people with HIV over the next 10 to 12 years," writes Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, in this outspoken opinion piece. Weinstein calls HIV prevention efforts in the United States "a sorry mess," citing estimates of a 50-percent rise in HIV infections. Most of the responsibility, he writes, lies in the U.S. government's unwillingness to fund comprehensive HIV prevention and testing, and the Bush administration's promotion of abstinence-only sex education. Urging readers to action, he asks, "When the history of this period is written, how will we account for ourselves?" (Web highlight from AIDS Healthcare Foundation)

    HIV-Positive Florida Woman Didn't Seek Care for HIV-Positive Newborn, Officials Say
    Cecelia Sliker was arrested in Sarasota, Fla., this month and charged with felony-level child neglect for failing to take steps to prevent passing HIV to her son. Sliker's son, now 3 years old, is living with HIV. Police say Sliker knew she was positive, but didn't take medications during her pregnancy, even though she did so for her older son, who is HIV negative. Sliker says she didn't take steps to prevent her son from getting HIV from her because she was afraid the boy's father would discover she was positive. (Web highlight from the Herald-Tribune)

    MRSA Infection Spreading Among Men Who Have Sex With Men in Boston and San Francisco
    A highly drug-resistant strain of MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as drug-resistant staph) is appearing among men who have sex with men (MSM) in San Francisco and Boston, researchers reported this week. A study of hospitals and clinics in those cities found that a strain of MRSA resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat the infection is 13 times more common among MSM in San Francisco than in the rest of the city's population, and notably more common among people with HIV. Washing with soap and water after sex can help prevent sexual transmission of these potentially "flesh-eating" bacteria, the study's authors say.

    Click here to read the article in the February 19, 2008 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine.



    Cell Protein Literally Nips HIV in the Bud
    Researchers in California have discovered a key protein in the body's dendritic cells that can stop HIV from "budding" -- part of the virus' life cycle that is crucial to its ability to replicate and infect other cells. It's still too early to know how this research will pan out. The study is scheduled for publication in the April issue of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's FASEB Journal.

    HIV Meds Reduce Incidence of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
    With all the talk about cancer and HIV, it's nice to have some good news. According to a large study, treatment with anti-HIV medications greatly reduces the incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in people with HIV. The beneficial effect continued up to 10 years after HIV meds were initiated. There were a few things that put people not on treatment at greater risk, including being a man who has sex with men, being 35 years of age or older, or, most notably, having a low CD4-cell count at study enrollment. Among people on HIV meds, only age was significantly associated with a risk for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. (Web highlight from

    Click here to read the abstract in the Jan. 11, 2008 edition of the journal AIDS.

    Treatment With Infrared May Be Safe and Effective for Treating Pre-Cancerous Anal Lesions
    Both men and women who are HIV positive are at a greater risk for pre-cancerous anal lesions caused by a virus known as human papillomavirus (HPV). For this reason, it's recommended to get anal PAP smears regularly. What happens if your doctor finds these lesions? Treatment for HPV can be problematic, so it's encouraging that a recent small study of 16 men and two women has shown positive results with the use of infrared treatment. (Web highlight from



    Terri Wilder
    BodyBlog: An HIV Fighter Tells Her Personal Story
    "I always thought that I would be the singer of a rock 'n' roll band, or at least marry the singer of a rock 'n' roll band," muses Terri Wilder. Instead, one day in 1989, Terri came across a brochure announcing a workshop on HIV. She hasn't looked back: Although she's HIV negative and started out with no personal ties to HIV, Terri has spent the past 18 years fighting the HIV epidemic in the United States. is proud to host her new blog. This month, Terri discusses her cousins' homophobia and looks at how we have all contributed to the symbolic meanings of HIV.



    Hepatitis From A to G
    Sure, you've heard of hepatitis C, but what about hepatitis D, E, F and G? There are six types of viral hepatitis, and all of them can affect people with HIV. Click here to learn about the hepatitis viruses and how they're transmitted.

    Hep C Treatment: Deciding When to Take the Plunge
    Hepatitis C brings tricky choices. Often, the most difficult decision is whether to start hep C treatment. Official guidelines make it relatively simple for HIVers to decide whether they need to start HIV treatment, but the rules are much fuzzier when it comes to hep C treatment. This article is a useful tool for anyone who may face that choice. Here you'll learn how hep C treatment works, and get a quick outline of the pros and cons of waiting and starting.



    HIV-Positive Injection Drug Users Living Longer Thanks to Treatment, Study Says
    People with HIV are living longer, and HIV-positive injection drug users (IDUs) are no exception, according to a Spanish study. Since the introduction in the 1990s of both methadone programs to treat addiction and combination antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV, say the researchers, the survival rate of HIV-positive IDUs has increased to the point that it's now about the same as HIV-negative IDUs.

    Click here to read the abstract in the August 1, 2007 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.



    Over 90 Percent of New Yorkers at Risk for HIV Are Unaware of Their Risk, Study Finds
    Nearly one fifth of adult New Yorkers engage in behavior that puts them at risk for HIV infection, the city's Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found. The results of the study highlight the need to dispel popular misconceptions about HIV risk: Of the 18 percent of city residents who reported risky behaviors, such as injecting drugs or even sleeping with multiple partners without using condoms, 92 percent believed they were not at risk.

    Returning Vets Traumatized by War May Be at Risk for HIV, Advocates Say
    After Brian returned from his tour of duty in Iraq, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, began to drink too much and soon found himself homeless and experimenting with heroin. Experts predict that some of the 1.6 million U.S. service members that will eventually return from Afghanistan and Iraq may suffer from mental illness, addiction and homelessness, all issues which can put people at greater risk for HIV. "Common sense should tell you we're looking at a potential HIV problem down the line," says Johnny Baskerville, a director at a San Francisco agency providing services to vets.

    Also Worth Noting
    Translating HIV Research Into Practice

    Stay up to date on the latest in HIV prevention, treatment and complications! Although geared for health care professionals, the savvy HIVer can easily understand most of these presentations by some of the top U.S. HIV researchers. Read or listen online to these concise reviews. Free CME/CE credit for health professionals.

    Metabolic Complications of HIV Treatment With Christine A. Wanke, M.D., of Tufts New England Medical Center

    The Liver in HIV Disease With Mark S. Sulkowski, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

    HIV Prevention 2007: A Guide for HIV Providers With Thomas C. Quinn, M.D., M.Sc., of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

    A Review of the New DHHS HIV Guidelines With John G. Bartlett, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

    Overview of New HIV Antiretroviral Agents With Joseph J. Eron, M.D., of UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine

    Get Involved
    Got Complaints About
    Your HIV Clinic?
    Take This Survey!

    Do you receive free HIV care at a clinic? Do you receive free HIV medications? Two HIV advocacy organizations, the National Association of People With AIDS and the Campaign to End AIDS, are collecting input from HIVers around the United States to help improve HIV care. Your comments on this care are needed to ensure that it not only continues, but is improved! Fill out this survey now!

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the January 2008 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Uomo," 2002; Carmine Santaniello
    Visit the January 2008 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Re-Imagined Boundaries," is curated by the New York University Tisch High School Photography Program.

    Connect With Others
    t The Body's Bulletin Boards

    Worried About Switching to Atripla
    (A recent post from the
    "Living With HIV" board)

    "My doc convinced me to switch to Atripla. After taking Crixivan for about ten years, my triglycerides are pretty dang high (over 600). I've been taking Norvir, Crixivan and Truvada and the idea of just taking one pill a day is a dream indeed. However, I'm pretty worried about Atripla's side effects. .Do the side effects show up on everyone? How long do they last and are they THAT bad? What do they mean exactly by vivid dreams? Nightmares? I've been doing great on current meds and hopefully I will be able to manage Atripla as well. BTW my CD4 is 1024 and viral load is undetectable."

    -- mauka

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