July 2, 2008
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Anthony Fauci, M.D. 25 Years on the Front Lines: TheBody.com Interviews Anthony Fauci, M.D.
"It was a very eerie, depressing, anxiety-provoking period," recalls Anthony Fauci, M.D. "The very darkest years of my professional career." Dr. Fauci is recounting the early 1980s, when, as an infectious disease doc working for the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Maryland, he watched helplessly as people showed up at his hospital with a mysterious -- and almost always fatal -- illness. That illness, of course, was AIDS. From the very beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci has played a critical role in helping doctors and researchers better understand HIV disease. In the latest edition of our HIV Frontlines -- U.S. Edition podcast series, Dr. Fauci looks back over more than 25 years spent fighting HIV. (Article from TheBody.com)


River Huston River Huston : How HIV Beat "My Other Terminal Illness"
"For the last 17 years I have been dragging myself around ... on an empty tank. Now I am filled with premium unleaded ready for anything." With her signature humor and brutal honesty, River Huston, a poet, author and comedienne, recounts her 22-year battle with HIV and a deadly bone marrow disorder that advanced HIV disease somehow managed to "cure." Now, after two years of failed HIV med regimens, she's found one that has left her "feeling like [she] can do just about anything." (Article from Positively Aware)

Want to learn more about River Huston and her fight against HIV? Visit Huston's Web site and find out about her books and performances; you can also view video clips of her inspiring lectures.



Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the July 2008 Visual AIDS Gallery
"Free Yr Demons 2," 2002; Nancer LeMoins

Visit the July 2008 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Militancy and Mourning," is curated by Paul Sendziuk.
HIV TREATMENT

 Genetic "Snip" Could Help Make CD4 HIV-Proof, Experiment Suggests
A small percentage of people are naturally resistant to HIV. The reason: Their CD4 cells lack CCR5, one of the receptors that HIV needs to latch onto in order to infect the cell. Scientists now say they may have developed a way to spread that good fortune around: U.S. researchers report that they have developed a protein that acts like a pair of scissors, "snipping" out the gene that makes the CCR5 receptor. Scientists hope this approach could lead to a new form of HIV treatment, but first, a great deal of research lies ahead. (Article from Wired Science)

The abstract of this study is available in the journal Nature Biotechnology.


 Could Gold Be the Key to Saving a Dead HIV Medication?
We're used to seeing gold in jewelry, but how about your HIV medications? Incredibly, researchers have discovered that by adding microscopic bits of gold to a defunct HIV med, the drug suddenly began to work better. TAK-779 was tossed onto the scrap heap years ago when researchers found that its HIV-fighting ability came with nasty side effects. Gold nanoparticles appear to enhance the drug's effectiveness while avoiding those toxic pitfalls. (News release from North Carolina State University)

An abstract of the study on adding gold to TAK-779 is available in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.


 Research Halted on KP-1461, a Once-Promising HIV Med
One of the stars in the HIV drug development pipeline may have winked out: Despite promising early study results, a unique drug known as KP-1461 was shockingly found to have almost no HIV-fighting ability in its latest clinical trial. Further study of KP-1461 has been halted while researchers try to figure out how the drug, which appeared to virtually eliminate all traces of HIV in initial lab tests, had little effect when tested in HIV-positive people. (Article from Project Inform)

Last year, AIDS Treatment News talked with Stephen Becker, M.D., the lead investigator of KP-1461, about what appeared to make the drug so special. Here's what he had to say.



HEALTH ISSUES FOR HIVERS

 Strategies for Managing HIV-Related Illnesses
Unfortunately, even in this era of highly effective HIV treatment, many people with HIV (especially those with a low CD4 count) are still at risk for developing HIV-related illnesses, also known as opportunistic infections. What are opportunistic infections, how can you avoid them and how can they be treated? You can find answers to these and other questions in this comprehensive strategy guide. (Resource from Project Inform)

For a wealth of additional info on various HIV-related health problems, browse TheBody.com's collection of articles.


 Crack Cocaine Use Increases Risk of Illness, Death Among HIV-Positive Women, Study Says
It's no secret that using recreational drugs isn't good for your health, but the latest proof is pretty stunning: A large U.S. study has found that HIV-positive women who use crack cocaine at least occasionally are 60 percent more likely to develop an HIV-related illness than HIV-positive women who don't use. Even worse, women who frequently use crack-cocaine have much higher viral loads and are three times more likely to die, the study found. The findings strongly suggest that HIV disease itself is worsened because of crack use -- and not just because using drugs makes a person less likely to take their HIV meds properly. (Study summary from aidsmap.com)

The abstract of this study is available in the July 11 issue of the journal AIDS.


 More Evidence Supports Marijuana Use to Treat Neuropathy
The mountain of support for medical marijuana just got higher: A new University of California-Davis study has found that smoking a joint can relieve pain associated with neuropathy, a nerve disorder associated with HIV and some HIV meds. The study supports other findings over the past several years that suggest medical use of marijuana can actually lessen nerve pain -- and not because it leaves people feeling too high to notice they're hurting. (Article from ScienceDaily)

The abstract of this study is available in the June 2008 issue of the Journal of Pain. These findings come on the heels of research highlighted by TheBody.com last month, which found that a patch containing capsaicin (a natural chemical that makes some peppers "hot") may also have some pain-relieving effects for people with neuropathy.



Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
My Partner Doesn't Believe in HIV Treatment
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

My partner is positive and has been struggling for some time with depression and stress. He learned he was positive early in our relationship, and although it has been challenging at times, we love each other very much. I am not positive, and frequently get tested. The thing is, he does not believe in HIV meds. For a few years after his test results, he refused to seek any sort of medical treatment. I have basically begged him to talk to any medical professional, and only this year did he do so. He still does not want to take any meds, and talks about taking a strictly holistic approach. ... I'm reaching out tonight, to those who are fighting this themselves or to those who support their loved ones living with HIV. I would like to help my partner any way I can.

-- killiansdad

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

HIV TRANSMISSION

 HIV Rates Among U.S. Gay Men Are on the Rise, Report Finds
While HIV rates appear to be declining among most groups in the United States, new cases of HIV among gay and bisexual men grew more than 8 percent from 2001 to 2006, according to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report explores the surge of HIV among gay men and shines a particular spotlight on two groups of gay men who appear most at risk: youths and African Americans. In fact, diagnoses of HIV in African-American gay men aged 13 to 24 rose a staggering 93 percent from 2001 to 2006, the report found. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)

You can read the full report on HIV among U.S. gay and bisexual men in this article from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.


 Clamor Grows Over U.S. Failure to Release New HIV Infection Estimates
The official tally of people newly infected with HIV each year in the United States may be about to increase. We don't know for sure, though, because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has held off on releasing the new numbers. In this editorial, the prominent medical journal The Lancet writes that the CDC "must not fail U.S. citizens further by delaying the release" of the new estimates. Late last month, Anthony Fauci, M.D., the United States' top HIV physician, said that better methodology -- not an increase in HIV infections -- has found that annual HIV rates in the United States are closer to 52,000 per year than the often-reported 40,000. (Editorial from The Lancet)

While The Lancet has taken a critical view of the CDC's inability to officially announce its new HIV infection estimates, other organizations are downright seething. Take AIDS Healthcare Foundation, for instance: The outspoken health care organization issued this press release demanding that the CDC immediately release its new figures.



Also Worth Noting: Video Central

Prairie

At TheBody.com's Video Central, you can get to know the diverse range of people living with HIV in the United States, including Prairie (above), a 24-year-old Native American mother and HIV educator from the Northern Plains. These moving interviews are brought to you by The Positive Project, a unique collection of more than 100 first-person stories told by people infected with or affected by HIV.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE

 Veteran HIV Advocate Says the Movement Needs to Reinvent Itself
"We need to bring sexy back to AIDS," writes veteran HIV-positive advocate Jeff Berry. In this op-ed article, Berry laments a lack of leadership in the HIV community these days, along with the apathy of today's youth, who often don't seem to consider HIV prevention or activism much of a priority. He recalls the days of aggressive activist tactics to bring awareness to the realities of HIV, compares the HIV movement to Madonna in its need to continuously refresh its public image, and recognizes that the activist community is "in dire need of some fresh, new blood." (Article from Positively Aware)


 Bill Gates Pledges $23 Million for HIV in India
Just before leaving his post at Microsoft to work in charity full-time, billionaire Bill Gates announced he would give a new grant of $23 million to help control HIV in India over the next three years. The grant comes on top of a multi-million dollar HIV prevention initiative in India that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been funding since 2003. The announcement of the new grant came last Friday, after Bill Gates and India's health minister met in Seattle, Wash., to discuss India's health needs. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)

Want to get inside the head of one of the HIV world's most important benefactors? Check out this Q and A with Bill Gates to get a peek at his thoughts on humanity's biggest problems and what can be done about them.



HIV THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

 HIV-Positive Australian Man Accused of Hosting "Conversion Parties"
Are HIV "conversion parties" myth or reality? According to Australian attorneys, they're real, and Michael Neal, 49, should go to prison for hosting them. In a trial that began in June, Neal is fighting a total of 34 charges, including deliberately transmitting HIV to two people and attempting to infect a dozen others. The prosecution says people at Neal's parties were not always aware they risked HIV infection. The court has heard testimony from one of Neal's partners, who says Neal gave him HIV through unprotected sex without disclosing his status. (Article from The Age)

For more information about the ongoing trial, read this article from the Australian Associated Press.


 Unsafe Blood Transfusions Are Spreading HIV in Central Asia, World Bank Warns
In Central Asia, blood used for transfusions often contains HIV and other serious diseases, a World Bank report has found. Tests by health officials have shown that two out of every 1,000 units of blood screened in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan contain HIV. Some facilities admit that they aren't testing blood at all. Though it's virtually unheard of in countries with strong health care systems today (because blood testing is highly reliable when done right), the World Bank estimates that 5 to 10 percent of HIV-positive people throughout the world were infected with HIV through a contaminated blood transfusion. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)


 In Angola, if You're Not Straight, You're Vulnerable
"Many of those who cuss and throw stones at us on the street are the same ones who come knocking at our door at night," revealed Jane Dias, 35, who was born João Dias. Dias is part of a persecuted population of gay, bisexual and transgender people living in Angola. In the face of violence, condemnation by the press, and lack of action by the government, few people in the country risk being open about their sexual orientation. Advocates say the lack of acceptance, support or education puts people like Dias at great risk for HIV. (Article from Plus News)



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