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HIV/AIDS News Digest: May 26, 2011

May 27, 2011

Here is a quick look at a few HIV/AIDS stories recently reported in the media:

LGBT Bullying, Suicide and the HIV Connection (From ScienceDaily)

The findings for the first-ever study to look at the connection between bullying and the overall health outcomes of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth have been released. By analyzing data from the Family Acceptance Project's young adult survey, researchers found that LGBT young adults who were victimized in school because of their LGBT identity reported much higher health and adjustment problems, while students with low levels of school victimization had higher self-esteem and life satisfaction as young adults.

The Gay Men's Health Crisis' Sean Cahill commented on this study as it relates to sexual health. He told ScienceDaily:

"The Family Acceptance Project is helping us understand the social parameters of risk for LGBT youth by expanding on their work with families to show that school experiences also contribute to sexual health risk and risk for HIV among LGBT young adults. As the HIV epidemic continues to escalate among young gay and bisexual men and transgender women, and especially black gay youth, this study provides important evidence of the public health need for structural interventions and targeted anti-discrimination policies in our nation's schools to prevent HIV and other serious health problems."

U.S. Mulls Implications of Early Use of HIV Drugs to Stop AIDS Spread (From NPR)

A few weeks ago, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases released the results of a big clinical study that showed that if people living with HIV are put on treatment early, their chance of passing the virus to someone else is dramatically reduced -- in some cases to 0 percent.

And while many media outlets hailed this as a huge victory for the HIV community, the reality is that putting everyone on treatment isn't as easy as it seems. And getting people living with HIV to be undetectable isn't as easy as it sounds. A few months ago, a study found that only 19 percent of Americans who are living with HIV are undetectable.

Members of Obama's administration, especially Eric Goobsy, the Global AIDS Coordinator, have been wading through all of this and are asking some hard questions about cost, the ethics of who receives treatment first and the ramifications of having people on treatment for a lifetime. NPR wrote:

Putting the new study's results into practice would involve treating almost nine times more people. That would be costly and logistically daunting.

But, Goosby says, ethical issues loom just as large. "How do we deal with ... prioritizing who gets on antiretroviral drugs first?" he asks. "Should it still remain patients with late-stage disease, pregnant women, patients with pulmonary TB, children diagnosed at birth? Or should anybody, regardless of the stage of disease, get treated?"

He also sees a conflict between medicine and public health. "As a physician your responsibility is to the patient in front of you," Goosby says. "That patient has to believe ... that you as a physician, always and every time, do what is in the patient's best interest."

Only time will tell.

Report: Vitamin D Levels Important for People Living With HIV (From

For a while now, researchers have been looking at the connection between vitamin D and disease progression in people living with HIV. A new, U.S.-based study has found that low levels of vitamin D were associated with lower CD4 cell counts after starting antiretroviral therapy, higher rates of inflammation and a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

"Many of the emerging complications related to chronic HIV infection represent disease processes where vitamin D is known to play an important role," the researchers wrote.

Earlier research has already shown that vitamin D deficiency is common in patients with HIV. In addition, studies conducted in the general population have shown that low levels of this vitamin are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Other HIV/AIDS Articles in the Media

Transgender Confab Looks at Health Services (From Windy City Times)

What the UN Can Learn From Gay Activism (From Bay Area Reporter)

NICE to Appraise Hep C Drugs Victrelis and Telaprevir (From InPharm)

Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for and

Copyright © 2011 The HealthCentral Network, Inc. All rights reserved.

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