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Women Alive Newsletter
Table of Contents, Fall 1998

Attention Women
Women infected with half the level of the HIV virus as men may be just as likely to develop AIDS. A study conducted at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health suggests that women are at risk when the level of HIV in their bloodstream reaches 5,000 copies of the virus. This is half the level at which current U.S. Guidelines suggest treatment should begin for both men and women. Researchers found that the viral load values for women were about half as much as men with the same T-cell counts. This suggests that less virus may cause more damage to women. Although further analysis of the study is warranted and more studies need to be done, the implications of these findings are serious. Perhaps women need to start prophylaxis medications to prevent Pneumocystis Pneumonia (The AIDS Pneumonia), for example, sooner or at a higher T-Cell count than 200 (?). Some things remain clear: There must be a "standard of care" specifically for women. More research is needed in women. And the "Guidelines for Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents" must be revised to reflect gender-specific treatment for HIV/AIDS. Look for more information in the next issue of Women Alive Newsletter. The study results are published in the November 6 issue of the British Medical Journal, The Lancet.

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