September 10, 2008
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Also Worth Noting: From the Editor
On Sept. 3, was acquired by The HealthCentral Network, a leading online health publisher whose mission is to establish the highest quality, most complete array of health sites.

The first question that may be on your minds is: "What's going to happen to and" The short answer is: We hope that everything that you like about us will stay the same -- if not improve! You can read more about (and comment on) the acquisition by reading this article; your feedback is always welcome.

Loreen Willenberg The Birth of an HIV Activist
Loreen Willenberg has lived with HIV for 16 years now, but she's just beginning to get involved in the world of HIV work. It's been an evolution for Loreen, but the more she's learned about HIV activism, the more she's realized that it's her "natural habitat" -- and the more secure she's grown that HIV activism isn't dead after all, as some have claimed. In her latest blog post, Loreen explains how she's become more certain than ever that HIV work is her calling: She writes, "I am in good company in wanting to make an impact toward stemming the tide of this epidemic." (Blog entry from

Loreen Willenberg HIV Physician Fumes Over Lack of Attention to HIV Within U.S.
Are U.S. HIV activists and government officials too busy putting out fires in the developing world to take care of the flames that are licking at their feet? That's what David Malebranche, M.D., a noted HIV physician-researcher, contends in this interview with, which you can read or listen to online. "People [in the United States] ... will basically step over the homeless person living with AIDS right outside their organization's door so that they can get in their limo and drive to the airport to fly to Africa," Malebranche said. "[It's] a really strange dynamic to me." (Article from The Body PRO)

This interview is just one of many fascinating perspectives got from HIV doctors, activists, researchers and others at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. Visit our conference home page for a full rundown of our coverage, and check out our special Video Central page featuring select videos from the conference!

 Looking to the Future -- HIV Leaders Envision the Next Two Decades
What do you think the HIV pandemic will look like in the year 2031? At this year's International AIDS Conference, the directors of two of the world's most influential HIV agencies -- Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Peter Piot of UNAIDS -- joined treatment advocates and community activists from around the globe in responding to that question. This diverse group of leaders shared their unique perspectives on the past, present and future of the pandemic -- as well as their recommendations for how to achieve an HIV-free world within the next 23 years. (Article from


 FDA Says It Will Investigate Possible Link Between Intelence and Joint Problems
Intelence (etravirine) is being investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a possible cause of joint problems in some people with HIV. Intelence was one of 20 drugs (but the only HIV med) named in a new FDA report on medications the FDA has decided to examine further to see if they cause any previously unreported side effects. The concern about Intelence stems from a single report of an HIV-positive person who developed a condition called "hemarthrosis," an accumulation of blood in the joints (especially the knees, elbows and ankles) that can cause pain and swelling. Further FDA study will determine whether Intelence truly does raise the risk of this problem. (Article from The Associated Press)


 Transgender Health Expert Explores HIV in Transgender Communities
What's the current state of HIV prevention and care in transgender communities? Check out the many insights offered by Walter Bockting, Ph.D., a psychologist and international authority on transgender health, in this interview with Positively Aware. Dr. Bockting talks about the specific challenges faced by transgender HIVers, and gives a thorough introduction to the ins and outs of what it means to be transgender. (Article from Positively Aware)

Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Anyone Out There a Working Professional With HIV?
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

I tested positive in January of this year. Since then, I have been carrying around the shame of having caught this. I am in the mental health profession and we have to receive mandatory training every two years on HIV/AIDS. Despite my knowledge, my desire to have external validation from men now put me in this position. ... I have told very few people and feel alone. I tried a support group while I was living in New Jersey, but I just didn't feel that I could relate to these folks. They were great guys, but all with long-term battles with HIV, and none of them were working professionals. Not to devalue them based on this, not at all. ... I would like to find professionals who have this disease as well, folks who -- like me -- knew better, yet did what they did and have it now. ... Please, anyone out there in my shoes?

-- Phoenix1012

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


 How to Leave No Man (or Woman) Untested for HIV
At hospitals across the United States, doctors have been working to integrate HIV testing into their daily medical care. Their goal: Find the more than 250,000 people in the United States who have HIV and don't yet know it. Although it's been two years since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines recommending universal HIV testing, making testing part of everyday health care has been a slow, difficult process. Antonio E. Urbina, M.D., who is the head of HIV education and training at St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center in New York City, talked to The Body PRO about the challenges of making HIV testing the norm in his large urban hospital. (Article from The Body PRO)

 Scientists Identify Proteins That Make Some Sex Workers Naturally Resistant to HIV
Despite being exposed to HIV again and again for years, some female sex workers remain HIV negative. But how? Canadian and Kenyan researchers believe they have identified specific, natural proteins that may make these women resistant to HIV. Of the 3,000 sex workers in their study, the researchers identified 140 who showed natural immunity to HIV. They found that differences in vaginal fluid may explain the HIV resistance. If further studies can prove this true, then those proteins could be an exciting new option in the search for an HIV vaccine, the researchers say. (Article from

 Common Genetic Defect May Prevent Our Bodies From Fighting HIV, Scientists Say
Ordinarily, when a germ gets into the human body, the immune system starts spitting out chemicals that prevent the invader from doing too much damage. But that defense rarely works against HIV. Why? New research by scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health suggests that a specific gene in our DNA prevents our bodies from manufacturing the specific germ-fighting chemicals needed to block HIV. If their theory can be proven correct, the scientists say it could put us on the path towards an effective HIV vaccine. (Article from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

To read the abstract of this highly technical paper in the journal Science, click here.

Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the September 2008 Visual AIDS Gallery
"Gram of Picasso," 1990; Barton Lidice Benes

Visit the September 2008 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Sex, Drugs and Religion," is curated by Frank Spinelli, M.D.

 Child Brides Equals HIV Risk in Developing World
Each day throughout the world, 3,500 girls under the age of 15 (and another 21,000 under 18) become new brides -- and enter a growing group of people at risk for HIV, according to a new report by World Vision. The husbands of these girls often force them to have sex, the report says, which can cause skin and tissue damage in the girls that raises their risk of HIV transmission. In many developing countries, marriage can also all but end girls' education or job training, leaving them less able to have any power or control in their marriage, World Vision says. (Article from Reuters)

 5% of Gay Men in Beijing May Have HIV, Study Finds
As many as one out of every 20 gay men living in Beijing is HIV positive, according to a new study by Chinese health officials. That's a startlingly high number, especially considering that HIV rates are dropping among other groups, including injection drug users, newborns and people who receive blood products. He Xiong, a top Beijing health official, explained that preventing HIV in gay men is particularly difficult because gay men in China often fear discrimination and keep their sexual orientation a secret. (Article from Xinhua)

 Anti-Gay Laws in Africa Make Fighting HIV Much Harder, Activists Say
"As long as [gay men] are ignored, all efforts undertaken in the world to combat AIDS will be destined to fail," says Joel Nana of the Africa office of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Homosexuality is a punishable offense in 38 of Africa's 53 nations, forcing gay men "underground." Perhaps as a result, HIV is much more common among gay men throughout Africa than the general population. HIV prevention efforts are sometimes met with violence, making outreach much harder -- and potentially raising risks for heterosexual African women as well, since many African gay men also have sex with women, and some are married. (Article by IRIN/

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