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Jan. 7, 2004
In This Update:
  • From the Editor
  • HIV Treatment & Side Effects
  • Mental Health & Life With HIV
  • HIV Prevention & Infection Trends
  • HIV Policy & Funding
  • HIV Outside the U.S.
  • Web Highlights
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    Federal Marijuana Ban Illegal Where Medically Allowed, Court Says
    The U.S. government's ban on marijuana doesn't extend to states that have specifically permitted its use for medical reasons, provided it's being used under a physician's advice, according to a ruling of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

    Clinical Trials of T-1249 Halted
    Swiss drug maker Roche and U.S. biotechnology company Trimeris announced on Jan. 5 that they have halted clinical trials of their experimental fusion inhibitor T-1249. The companies said that trials of T-1249, which the FDA had agreed to "fast-track" after later trials were completed, were stopped because of problems in the drug's formulation.

    Ritonavir-Boosted Invirase Approved by FDA
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of saquinavir hard-gel capsules (Invirase) boosted with ritonavir (Norvir), according to drug maker Roche. Roche found that 1,000 mg of Invirase used in combination with 100 mg of ritonavir boosted the level of Invirase in a patient's bloodstream, compared with using Invirase alone.

    Abbott Responds to Furor Over Ritonavir Price Increase (PDF)
    In response to widespread protests over its 500 percent price increase of ritonavir (Norvir), a drug necessary to the success of virtually all protease inhibitor combinations, Abbott Pharmaceuticals has sent this letter to HIV physicians.

    Researchers Seek Ways to Put HIV to Bed
    A group of Belgian researchers is studying a novel family of compounds called pyridine oxide derivatives, which they say might have the ability to make HIV "fall asleep" inside the body.

    Joining a Clinical Trial: What You Need to Know
    Whether you have run out of treatment options or are just beginning treatment, there may be a clinical trial for you. How can you join? Sarah Biel-Cunningham answers some of the most frequently asked questions about clinical trials in an article from AIDS Survival News.

    Once you've read about how to become part of a clinical trial, fill out The Body's online clinical trial application to learn more about upcoming trials you may be a good match for!


    The Body's Women & HIV Forum Welcomes Its Newest Expert
    The Body's Women and HIV "Ask the Experts" forum -- where HIV-positive women can turn for professional advice on anything from women-specific health problems to having a baby when you're HIV positive -- has added a new member to its family of experts! Dr. Sharon Lee joins the forum from a deep background in the medical care of HIV-positive women. Stop by the forum today and share what's on your mind!

    HIV Is Not a Judgement From God
    Too many of us believe that AIDS could be a punishment handed down from God in judgement of our sins. In an article from PositiveWords, Reverend Christine Y. Wiley explains why this is absolutely false.

    Could Shyness Increase Your Viral Load?
    Shy men who have sex with men (MSM) tend to have higher viral loads and show a poorer response to HAART than other MSM, according to a small U.S. study. The researchers found evidence that certain brain activity found in introverts can have a large impact on their immune response to HIV.

    More New York Women Newly Diagnosed With HIV
    In what appears to be a slight gender-based shift in U.S. HIV cases, a study released last week shows that women accounted for more than a third of new HIV diagnoses in New York City in 2001.

    Penile Piercing Might Increase HIV Risk
    Oral sex can indeed be a route of HIV transmission -- and penile peircings may increase this risk, according to the results of detailed interviews with 75 gay men with acute HIV infection.

    Soap and Water as an HIV Prevention Tool
    Plain old soap and water can do all sorts of wonderful things, but can it prevent HIV? Recent research suggests that it can, but experts are quick to point out that it's no replacement for proven safe-sex methods like condom use.

    Low Grades for Minnesota's Abstinence-Only Program
    An independent study commissioned by the Minnesota Department of Health found that the state's $5 million abstinence-only sex education program is not working. Of the 413 junior high-school students surveyed at three schools with the ENABL (Education Now And Babies Later) program, the rate of sexual activity increased from 5.8 percent to 12.4 percent in 2001-2002.

    Better U.S. Insurance Coverage Could Save Lives
    Expanding the health coverage of HIV-positive people on public insurance in the U.S. could cut AIDS-related deaths by as much as 66 percent, according to a new study. The study also found that public insurance is 20 percent less effective than private insurance in preventing AIDS-related deaths.

    Atlanta AIDS Group Reaches Out to Low-Income Families
    Atlanta-based ANIZ, Inc., hopes to curb the rising tide of HIV infections among African Americans in the Southern U.S. by reaching out to those at risk -- and, just as importantly, by offering support and assistance to low-income families with HIV, and children in particular.

    Global HIV/AIDS Funding Isn't Nearly High Enough
    The U.S. is the "largest single donor" of funds to combat HIV/AIDS in developing countries, but the amount that the U.S. and other countries together are spending to fight the disease "falls far short of what is needed," according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.


    NNRTI Therapy Associated With Better Sexual Satisfaction
    In the wake of studies that have found a link between sexual dysfunction and protease inhibitors, a new Italian study has found that many people taking NNRTI-based regimens actually report a small improvement in their sex lives.
    Article from, January 6, 2004

    Price of AIDS Drug Soars Fivefold
    More on the aftermath of Abbott Laboratories' decision last month to quintuple the price of ritonavir (Norvir).
    Article from The Seattle Times, January 5, 2004 (free registration required)

    Stable Partnership and Progression to AIDS or Death in HIV Infected Patients Receiving Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy: Swiss HIV Cohort Study
    The presence of a stable partnership is associated with a slower rate of disease progression in HIV-positive people who receive HAART, but the reasons for this are unknown.
    Abstract from British Medical Journal, January 3, 2004

    Warning Over Immigrant HIV Tests
    British officials are considering a law that would require all new immigrants to be tested for HIV, but some experts warn that doing so could create more health problems than it solves.
    Article from BBC News World Edition, January 2, 2004

    Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome and the Risk of Stroke
    A U.S. study finds that the likelihood of a stroke is greatly increased among people with AIDS.
    Abstract from Stroke, December 18, 2003

    Prevalence and Risk Factors for Infection With Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1 and -2 Among Lesbians
    Almost 10 percent of lesbians are infected with herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2), and most have no idea they are infected, U.S. researchers say. HSV-2, the virus most responsible for genital herpes, can be transmitted through female-female sex.
    Abstract from Sexually Transmitted Diseases, December 2003


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