October 1, 2009
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HIV TREATMENT & HEALTH ISSUES

 Higher Cancer Risk for HIVers May Be Due to Smoking, Viral Infections, Study Suggests
You've probably heard that people with HIV have an increased risk for certain non-AIDS-related cancers, such as anal and lung cancers. Scientists are still hard at work trying to figure out why. In a recently published article, researchers analyzed 18 studies conducted between 1981 and 2007. They found 4,797 non-AIDS-defining cancers in people with HIV. They concluded that HIVers do have an increased risk for developing some non-AIDS-related cancers, but that this risk appears to be mostly due to smoking or viral infections. For instance, the most common cancers seen were 847 cases of lung cancer (which is associated with cigarette smoking), 643 cases of Hodgkin's lymphoma (which is associated with Epstein-Barr virus) and 254 cases of anal cancer (which is associated with human papillomavirus). (Article from aidsmap.com)


Lisa Dunkle, M.D. New Data on Vicriviroc, the Next HIV Med Likely to Be Approved for Treatment-Experienced HIVers
There are not too many HIV/AIDS drugs in the development pipeline. However, one drug -- the nearly unpronounceable medication vicriviroc -- may be the next out of the gates. Just like Selzentry (Celsentri, maraviroc), vicriviroc is a CCR5 inhibitor. But unlike Selzentry, vicriviroc only needs to be taken once a day. In this interview, we talk with Lisa Dunkle, M.D., who recently presented a safety and efficacy study of vicriviroc in 85 HIV-positive people. (From The Body PRO's coverage of ICAAC 2009)


 New HIV/AIDS Clinic Opens Shop at the "Epicenter" of the U.S. Epidemic
A new, free clinic has opened to serve people with HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C. The clinic hopes to serve 300 to 500 people in an area that's one of the country's hardest-hit: About 3 percent of the D.C. population is estimated to be living with HIV, about the same rate as some African countries. The clinic has been named in honor of actor and HIV/AIDS activist Blair Underwood, who hopes to use his star power to draw African Americans in for testing and care. (Article from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


 Why Is Ziagen Associated With Heart Attacks in Some People? New Study Offers Possible Explanation
There's been plenty of news over the past year about how Ziagen (abacavir) appears to increase the risk for heart attacks in people who have pre-existing risk factors. But it's remained unclear how this actually happens. A new study, however, offers one possible explanation: A small group of HIV-positive people who were taking a regimen containing Ziagen were found to have impaired "endothelial function," a problem in the lining of blood vessels. Impairment of endothelial function has been associated with heart disease. (Article from aidsmap.com)


Also Worth Noting: Online Survey: Taking Vitamins & HAART? Take This Survey!

TheBody.com

Have you ever used "complementary therapy" (such as vitamins, supplements, herbal treatments or mind/body healing) to help manage your HIV? Do you wish there was more research on whether (and what types of) complementary therapies were beneficial to people with HIV? In an effort to spur researchers to delve more into these issues, long time HIV/AIDS survivor and activist Nelson Vergel is asking HIV-positive people to take this brief, anonymous survey. The results will be presented at an upcoming HIV/AIDS meeting!
LIVING WITH HIV

 New DVDs Tell Stories of HIV and Aging
Many health care providers or social workers are stymied about how to talk about HIV and aging with their clients. DVDs may help. AIDS Community Research Initiative of America has produced two DVDs which dramatize life with HIV for the over-50 set. One of the DVDs, "Engaged," features the story of a group of older adults coming together to celebrate a couple's engagement while discussing their own concerns and beliefs. The hook? What they're discussing is living with HIV (or being at risk for it). Both DVDs offer personal stories of people aging with HIV, based on interviews with real people. They also come with discussion guides and are available in English and Spanish. (Article from ACRIA and GMHC)


Doris Peltier Going Public With HIV/AIDS: Personal Stories
What's it like to go public with your HIV status? "Being diagnosed with AIDS was the moment I found my voice. It was a life-changing moment. My voice came out and it came out powerfully," says 52-year-old Doris Peltier. She's a native Canadian with the Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation. She lives in Ontario and was diagnosed with HIV in 2002. In this series of brief personal interviews, Peltier and three other Canadians offer their points of view on being so open about their HIV statuses. (Article from The Positive Side)


HIV IN THE NEWS

 HIV Medication Coverage Begins to Fail Throughout U.S. as More ADAPs Start Waiting Lists
This winter may be a bleak one for many HIVers who seek help from U.S. AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs). Although they're meant to be a safety net for low-income HIVers with limited or no health insurance, several ADAPs throughout the country are struggling to provide HIV meds to those who need them. As TheBody.com's managing editor Myles Helfand explains in his latest blog entry, waiting lists and other restrictions are ballooning in many states. As a result, a growing number of HIV-positive people are finding themselves cut off from their flow of HIV meds, with no clear way to afford the steep price tag of treatment. (Blog entry from TheBody.com)


MAKING A DIFFERENCE

 Help Build a U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy! Join a Community Discussion
The White House is hosting a series of HIV/AIDS community discussions in cities throughout the country, with the goal of involving more people in the effort to build the nation's first-ever national HIV/AIDS strategy. Tentative dates and locations for these meetings through the end of 2009 have just been released, and they're already fast approaching! Read our overview for a full listing, as well as information about how to attend and make your voice heard. (Article from TheBody.com)

HIV activists from the Prevention Justice Alliance have created a helpful tool that potential speakers at the community discussions can use to make the most of their short time at the microphone.


HIV THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

 More Than 4 Million People in Developing World Now on HIV Meds
It's just a drop in the bucket, but every drop counts: In the developing world, about 4 million lucky people were taking HIV medications at the end of 2008, according to a new report by the World Health Organization, UNAIDS and UNICEF. That's a 10-fold increase in just five years. But it also comprises less than half of the approximately 9.5 million people in developing countries who need treatment. The situation is worse for children: In 2008, 38 percent of the 730,000 children in the developing world estimated to need HIV meds had access to them. (Article from the World Health Organization)

The full report is available online.


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Just Diagnosed -- Not Sure What I'm Feeling
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

Last Friday, 9.18.09, I found out that I was HIV+. ... I work in health care, did research in HIV, and here I am -- knowing too much about this to do anything about it. ...

I have not dealt with the emotions, I have not cried, I have not felt much at all! I went straight from the doctor, back to work and back to life. I have told one friend about this, but I don't think I'm going to share it with my family -- not at this point.

I guess, too, I am scared as hell. I'm a 31-year-old male in Washington. I want to fall in love, but now I feel like I won't be wanted. I'm scared to be alone in this, partially by choice with my family, but partially because now I'm positive -- or as some would say, "not clean."

I would love to get some support from a place like this. TheBody.com is full of great articles -- I am really hooked on reading all the good articles. So guys/gals I would love to hear your words -- what did you do next? When did you feel all this? I trust I can figure out the medical options that are available, but the rest is just a mystery to me. What do I do?

-- guyinwa77

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Activist Central

  Participate in the White House's HIV/AIDS Community Discussions on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy


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 Tell Sen. Majority Leader Reid to Take Action on Syringe Exchange


 Re-Authorize the Ryan White Act -- Care for People Living With HIV/AIDS


 Action Alert: Easy Steps to Impact U.S. HIV/AIDS Policy!