October 29, 2009
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Also Worth Noting: Share Your View: Join a Discussion on HIV Criminalization

Catherine Hanssens

The TV news magazine 20/20 recently aired a segment on five Texas women who became HIV positive after they slept with Philippe Padieu, who was later imprisoned for life. HIV legal expert Catherine Hanssens feared it would be yet another sensationalized exposé. "Sad to say, I mostly got what I expected," she writes. Read her blog entry and add your comment to the lively discussion on this story!

 In Search of a Cure, Researchers Devise Ways to Turn HIV On
It sounds like a weird idea: Beat HIV by creating a drug that makes the virus more active, rather than suppressing it as much as possible. But that's exactly the strategy that some researchers are using -- and there are some who believe it may be the key to a cure. (Article from amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research)

 What Are the Consequences of HIV/AIDS Treatment Failure?
If you're on your second HIV treatment regimen, but it's unable to keep your viral load down and your CD4 count up, you and your doctor may want to be very aggressive with your next regimen. A large study of people whose first HIV treatment regimen stopped working and whose subsequent regimen also failed found that one out of four died within the next five years. The study looked at people whose second regimen failed between 1996 and 2005. (Study abstract from the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases)

 The Changing Needs of the Over-50 HIV Crowd
By 2015, almost half of the people with HIV in the U.S. will be over 50. As more and more HIVers live to 50 and beyond, HIV/AIDS organizations are increasingly focusing on the needs of older people with HIV. That means tackling medical issues such as non-AIDS cancers and inflammation, as well as social issues such as stigma and isolation. (Article from the Bay Area Reporter)

 Crestor May Top Pravachol as Lipid Buster Among HIVers on Protease Inhibitors
The use of some HIV meds, particularly protease inhibitors boosted with Norvir (ritonavir), has been linked to increases in triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Can some statins work better than others to counter these lipid increases? A study involving 83 HIVers has found that Crestor (rosuvastatin) may be a better bet than Pravachol (pravastatin), although both drugs reduced participants' lipid levels. (Study abstract from the medical journal AIDS)

 A Few Coffees a Day May Keep Hep C at Bay
Can drinking a few cups of coffee a day help prevent liver disease from progressing in people with hepatitis C? A new study suggests it might. Researchers think coffee, when drank in moderation, may reduce inflammation or cut a person's risk of developing type-2 diabetes, thus protecting the liver from further damage. (Article from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

 Could Computerized Health Records Make Everyone's Lives Better?
There may be a way to make U.S. health care not only cheaper, but better as well: Start using computers instead of paper for a person's health records. As an Obama administration official recently explained, computerized records could help doctors avoid dangerous drug interactions, as well as enable the use of automatic reminders that can help doctors provide expert treatment. (Interview from The New York Times)

Also Worth Noting: U.S. HIV/AIDS Plan: Attend a White House Talk or Testify Online
A series of HIV/AIDS community discussions is underway throughout the U.S., hosted by the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). Take a look at the list of cities, and follow the directions to prepare for the meeting of your choice. The next discussions will take place in Oakland/Berkeley, Calif., on Nov. 1, and in St. Thomas and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, on Nov. 9. You can also testify online from anywhere in the U.S. until Nov. 12.

 What Drives the African-American HIV Epidemic?
Why are African Americans so heavily impacted by HIV? The reasons go deeper than blanket assumptions such as risky behavior or the mistaken belief that black men are "secretly" having sex with men while in relationships with women, according to a senior U.S. health official. In a recent interview, he discussed these reasons and described some of the actions afoot to halt the spread of HIV among African Americans. (Article from National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service)

 Can a "Test and Treat" Strategy Stop HIV in Hard-Hit U.S. Cities?
Researchers in Washington, D.C., and the Bronx in New York are about to try implementing a "test and treat" strategy, in which they attempt to test nearly every adult in the area for HIV and start treatment for people who test positive. In theory, such a strategy could eventually stop the pandemic, but putting it into action is easier said than done. (Article from The New York Times)

 Teen HIV Awareness Campaign Features Young Models Disclosing HIV Status
Attractive models and strong messages: That's the recipe for a new HIV awareness poster campaign in southern California. The campaign, which runs on public buses, grew out of a focus group finding that area youths thought they could tell if people had HIV just by looking at them. (Article from The Desert Sun)

Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Recently Diagnosed and Teetering on the Brink
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

"I tested positive on Aug. 19. I'm sure that date will forever be burned into my memory. I remember the counselor closing the door, taking a deep breath and saying, 'Your result is positive.' Then I remember feeling like I was falling. I could barely hear the questions he was asking me, much less find a way to sift through the racing thoughts in my mind to coordinate responses. ...

"In spite of my efforts to stay positive (no pun intended) I have many moments when I feel like I'm barely holding on to reality. I go to work and am sometimes hardly able to focus on the task at hand. ... There are times when I want to burst into tears and scream until I pass out because I feel like I will forever be alone. I've tried spending more time with friends, but I fear being rejected if I told them I was positive. I tell myself that friends I'm keeping a secret from are better than no friends at all. ... The point of my post is to reach out to you all -- my new community -- to see if there is someone in a similar situation (newly diagnosed, scared, and teetering on the brink of insanity) I could talk to." --espoirnyc
Click here to join this discussion, or to start your own!

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 Britain Considers Removing Ban on Gay Men Donating Blood
Great Britain is considering the removal of a longstanding ban that has prevented gay and bisexual men from donating blood. The move was sparked by an expected blood donor shortfall due to the H1N1 pandemic, and is being lauded by gay rights advocates. (Article from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection)

Meanwhile, countries such as the U.S. and Canada continue to ban blood donations from men who have sex with men. For more on blood donations, HIV and gay rights, browse TheBody.com's collection of articles.

 Advocates Call on HIV Drug Companies to Pool Their Patents
A chief argument that HIV drug companies make against allowing generic versions of their drugs is that doing so will end up costing them too much money. The global humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders says there's a way to make everybody happy: Create a "patent pool" that allows generics to be made and also pays out royalties to the original patent holders. (Press release from Doctors Without Borders)

Activist Central

 Action Alert: Tell Congress to Cut Abstinence-Only Funding!

 Can't Make It to a White House HIV/AIDS Community Discussion? Provide Your Testimony Online for the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy!

 Urge President Obama to Lift the Ban on Federal Funding for Syringe Exchange Programs

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