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January 14, 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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    Doctor-Patient Communication Is Key to Effective Treatment
    Why is it so important for people with HIV to communicate with their doctors -- and to make sure their doctors communicate with them? Because the more a person understands about her treatment situation, the more likely she is to stay healthy. Check out the article above for more on why a good provider-patient relationship is pivotal, or read through our library of materials on choosing the perfect physician for you.

    How Do You Make Sense of Your Blood Tests?
    The results of your latest blood test are back, and you're staring at a piece of paper filled with confusing numbers: cholesterol levels, DHEA, glucose, hematocrit, the list goes on and on. How can you tell if your lab values are within the normal range? This detailed chart from New Mexico AIDS Infonet has the answers.

    HAART Less Successful in Crystal Meth Abusers -- Unless They Quit
    HIV-positive people on HAART who abuse crystal meth have higher viral loads than people who don't currently use the drug, this study finds. Since HAART can be just as successful in former meth users as in people with no history of drug abuse, healthcare providers need to redouble their efforts to get meth abusers into substance abuse treatment programs, the researchers conclude.


    Could Snails Help Ease Your Pain?
    Ziconotide, a synthetic form of sea snail venom, can ease pain in patients with AIDS or cancer for whom other painkillers, such as morphine, have not been beneficial, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    Teen Sex Down, Contraceptive Use Up Since 1990s
    Although parents are arguably more concerned than ever about the sex lives of their teenage children, teens are actually having less sex and using condoms more often now than at any other point in the past decade. Read this article for a rundown of the latest statistics regarding teens and sex.

    Catholic Seminary to Require HIV Tests for Prospective Priests
    The Grand Seminaire de Montreal, a Catholic seminary, will begin this fall to require an HIV test for all men who apply to study to become priests, the Montreal Gazette reports. A positive HIV test, they say, will "sound an alarm bell" that an applicant could be a man who has sex with men.

    Criticism Grows on Deportation Policy for HIV-Positive Foreigners
    The U.S. should reverse its policy of deporting HIV-positive immigrants and should allow HIV-positive individuals to visit the country, columnist Jonathan Rauch writes in his National Journal column. According to Rauch, the international committee of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS favors lifting the ban and will seek full council approval for opposing the policy in March.

    Interested in Joining the Push for ADAP Funding?
    The AIDS Treatment Activist Coalition is planning for HIV-positive people and AIDS organization staffers to converge on Washington, D.C. late next month. They intend to pressure Congress for emergency funding of the U.S.'s troubled AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs). This article has all the details, including information on how you can receive funding to cover your travel costs.

    Asian Continent Swiftly Nears an HIV Crisis
    Asia stands on a precipice as its window for averting an HIV catastrophe rapidly closes. This excerpted report from UNAIDS details the brewing HIV/AIDS crisis in China, India and other countries throughout the region, where more than two million young people are already living with the virus, and nearly half a million people are estimated to have died from AIDS in 2001.

    AIDS Cure Myth May Spur Child Rapes in Africa
    Between January and June 2003, more than 400 cases of child rape were recorded in Zambia, up from 238 cases during the same period last year. Some AIDS advocates say that the surge of such rapes in this and other parts of Africa is caused by the tragically mistaken belief that a person can cure AIDS by having sex with a minor or with their own child.

    HIV-Positive Mothers Advised to Wean Abruptly After Six Months
    If African women practice "exclusive breastfeeding and abrupt weaning," they can reduce their babies' risk of contracting HIV or other diseases, African researchers suggest. The method involves giving an infant nothing but breastmilk for the first six months followed by abrupt weaning.


    Improvement in Lipoatrophy Associated With Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Patients Switched From Stavudine to Abacavir or Zidovudine: The Results of the TARHEEL Study
    When people who had developed lipoatrophy while taking d4T (stavudine, Zerit) switched to abacavir (Ziagen) or AZT (zidovudine, Retrovir), their condition improved.
    Abstract from Clinical Infectious Diseases, January 15, 2004

    O Brave New World
    When he walked into the classroom to teach his new "Plagues and Politics" college course, Michael Bronski was shocked to find that as far as his students knew, the 20 years of devastation wrought by AIDS on the gay community in the U.S. never occurred.
    Article from The Boston Phoenix, January 9, 2004

    Injecting Drug Users More Likely to Progress to AIDS Even if Taking HAART
    HIV-positive injecting drug users are 45 percent more likely to develop an AIDS-defining illness and are less likely to have or maintain a viral load below 400 than HIV-positive people who don't inject drugs, even if they're taking HAART, U.S. researchers find.
    Article from, January 8, 2004

    It's All Back to Front
    This columnist asks: Why is all the talk about microbicides restricted to their use for women? What about gay men?
    Article from Positive Nation, December 2003/January 2004

    Transgenders Thwart AIDS Education
    In most of the world, people consider gender to be an either/or option; either you're male or you're female. In Native American and other indigenous societies, however, the issue is not so clear.
    Article from The Arizona Republic, December 29, 2003

    Safer-Sex Methods
    A comprehensive look at HIV prevention and the risks of various sexual activities.
    Chapter from HIV InSite Knowledge Base, December 2003

    Image from the December/January Visual AIDS Web Gallery

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