March 4, 2009
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HIV IN THE NEWS

 Swiss Court Overturns HIV Exposure Conviction, Saying HIV Meds Virtually Eliminated Risk
Could we have just reached a major turning point in the legal battle over HIV exposure laws? The Geneva Court of Justice in Switzerland has wiped out an 18-month prison sentence for an HIV-positive man who was convicted of exposing a woman to HIV during unprotected sex without disclosing his status. The sentence was overturned, however, after top HIV researcher Bernard Hirschel, M.D., testified that because the man was on "successful" HIV treatment, the risk of him transmitting HIV to the woman was 1 in 100,000. (Article from aidsmap.com)

Also Worth Noting: Remembrance: Martin Delaney

Martin Delaney

Activist and Project Inform founder Martin Delaney will be missed by many within the HIV community. The Eureka Valley Recreation Center in San Francisco's Castro District invites all who knew him to attend a civic memorial on March 14. Everyone is welcome to come celebrate Martin's life, beginning at 4:30 p.m. For those wishing to contribute, Martin requested donations be made to Project Inform in his honor.
HIV IN THE AGE OF OBAMA

 HIV Advocates Across the U.S. Hail Choice for New AIDS Czar
There's a new HIV sheriff in town, and U.S. HIV advocates couldn't be happier. Many advocates across the United States are applauding U.S. President Barack Obama's appointment of Jeffrey Crowley as director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, a position more commonly known as "AIDS Czar." Crowley is an openly gay man with a proven record of working effectively with communities that are most vulnerable to HIV. He previously worked as the deputy executive director of the National Association of People with AIDS. (Article from Housing Works)

In addition to Housing Works, other major HIV organizations in the U.S. were pleased to hear of Crowley's selection. "Finally the new leadership in Washington indicates support for slowing the HIV epidemic in the United States," says Marjorie Hill of Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) in New York City. The Los Angeles-based Black AIDS Institute also expressed optimism at Crowley's appointment while urging him specifically to join forces with African-American leaders and communities. "America simply cannot win the fight against AIDS unless it wins it in Black America," reads the Black AIDS Institute's statement. You can also read the official White House statement about Crowley's appointment here.


 Strange But True: HIV-Positive Man Mails His Blood to Obama
Every now and then, an HIV news story comes through the wire that just leaves your mouth hanging open. Take, for instance, the story of Saad Bedrie Hussein, an HIV-positive Ethiopian man living in the United States. In December 2008, Hussein apparently wrote letters to then U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and others asking for government help. But he went a little overboard in his enthusiasm: He allegedly used a razor to slice open his finger and bleed on the letter. Hussein is now in custody, although the criminal complaint filed against him is a little odd: It says that he "knowingly mailed" the letters containing HIV-infected blood "with the intent to kill or injure another." Whether or not that was actually his intent, it'd be an awfully futile way to attempt to transmit HIV. (Article from CNN)

Also Worth Noting: What Do You Think? Take Part in TheBody.com's Reader Survey

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HIV TRANSMISSION & TESTING

Mitchell Warren HIV Vaccine Development in 2009: Looking Back (and Forward)
In many ways, last year was a disaster for HIV vaccine research. Headline-grabbing failures led some to begin wondering if we would ever find a vaccine that works. So where are we now -- and were the failures of last year really as disastrous as some claimed? We sat down with Mitchell Warren, the top dog at the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, to talk about the current state of vaccine development. He explains why, in his opinion, hope on the vaccine front is far from lost. (Article and podcast from The Body PRO)

CROI 2009, Montréal, February 8-11Our interview with Mitchell Warren is just one of dozens from the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2009), a major HIV medical conference that took place in February. Visit our CROI 2009 home page for the latest coverage of this important meeting, including articles, podcasts and summaries of key developments in HIV. More coverage is being added daily!


 Q & A: What's Up With the New U.S. HIV Estimates?
A new U.S. government report shows that HIV diagnoses went up 15 percent between 2004 and 2007, although the number of people living with advanced HIV (or dying from it) is dropping. But where do these numbers come from, and what do they really mean? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a series of questions and detailed answers to help make sense of the latest report -- and to explain where HIV statistics come from in general. (Article from the CDC)

Click here to view the full report (in PDF format). The report begins with an account of what HIV surveillance data is and why the CDC started gathering it in the first place, as well as the ways the information is flawed.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

 Volunteer at a Summer Camp!
Great, rewarding volunteer opportunities are available at summer and weekend camps for HIV-affected children and families across the country. Browse through our extensive list of camps in the U.S. Not only are volunteers needed, but many camps have a camp supply wish list. In these difficult economic times, you can do your part to help improve the lives of kids affected by or living with HIV!


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
After Two Weeks of Uncertainty, I'm Positive -- and Scared
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

I just found out last Tuesday that I tested positive for HIV, after having to wait an additional two weeks for the results from my second test (first test was ELISA pos, Western Blot neg). I'm pretty sure it was a New Year's gift because I got flu-like symptoms about two weeks after.

In those two weeks between tests I went through all the emotions, basically everything except happiness. When I got the final results, I cried a little, but then just dealt with it. Now I'm not sure how I'm feeling.

I went to our local HIV/AIDS support center and they're setting me up with a primary care and infectious disease doc. What should I be expecting? They've already drawn blood so my CD4 and VL results will be coming back. I'm just a little confused and scared.

-- smsudude

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

HIV & CHILDREN

 HIV-Affected Children and Families Welcomed to Summer, Weekend Camps
Think your HIV-affected child might enjoy a trip to a summer camp geared specifically toward his or her needs? Spots are open now at U.S. and Canadian summer camps for kids who are HIV positive or whose lives have been otherwise impacted by HIV. In many cases, you'll have to pay little to nothing for attending and traveling to the camps! But deadlines are in April and May, so apply soon if you want to secure a spot. Check our thorough list of summer camps to find one that'd be a good fit for your child.


 U.S. Updates Guidelines on HIV Treatment for Children (PDF)
The U.S. health department has updated its treatment guidelines for HIV-positive children for the first time since July 2008. Included in the revised document is a caution against treating children with Prezista (darunavir), since the drug isn't currently available in an easy-to-take dose for kids. Also featured in the new guidelines is a revamped section on what to do when an HIV-positive child's treatment regimen stops working. (Guidelines from AIDSInfo)