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February 4, 2004
In This Update:
  • From the Editor
  • HIV Treatment & Research
  • Life With HIV
  • U.S. HIV Policy & Drug Pricing
  • HIV Risk, Prevention & Outreach
  • HIV Outside the U.S.
  • Web Highlights
  •   FROM THE EDITOR

    Are you on treatment but concerned that your HIV is becoming resistant to your meds, or that your viral load is sneaking above 50? Our newest expert, Dr. Renslow Sherer of the University of Chicago Hospitals, is now available to answer your questions about resistance to HIV medications and the battle to get your viral load below detectable levels. Take advantage of this amazing resource and ask your question at our "Ask the Experts" forum on Drug Resistance & Staying Undetectable!

    Be sure, too, to browse through The Body's upcoming coverage of the 11th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infection (CROI 2004), the largest U.S. AIDS conference of the year. Beginning Tuesday, our staff of 13 HIV physicians will provide next-day coverage throughout the week, and our next e-mail update will include important conference highlights in addition to our standard fare.

    As always, we welcome your feedback! Please send us an e-mail if you have any questions or concerns.

    - Bonnie Goldman, Editorial Director, The Body


      HIV TREATMENT & RESEARCH

    New Clarifications on Liver Dangers of Nevirapine (PDF)
    Side effects of any drug can vary from individual to individual and from one gender to another. In a recent letter to healthcare providers, nevirapine (Viramune) producer Boehringer Ingelheim notes that the risk of severe liver damage is much higher for women, including pregnant women already receiving treatment for their HIV infection, whose CD4 counts are over 250. As with all medication-related issues, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about any concerns you may have about using nevirapine
    .


    New Treatment May Help Body Fight HIV on Its Own
    Imagine if your body could be its very own T-20 factory. Scientists are making progress on a gene that, once injected into people with HIV, could program uninfected blood cells to manufacture a protective weapon with the same HIV fusion-blocking properties as T-20 (enfuvirtide, Fuzeon), allowing cells to fight off the virus without daily drug injections.


    Recruitment Still Open for Clinical Trial on Starting Therapy
    If you're HIV positive but have never been on treatment before and are interested in becoming part of a clincal trial, you can now enroll at The Body for the opportunity to participate in important HIV treatment research. Interested? Click on the link above for more information. (If you already enrolled last week, you don't need to do so again.)


    PowerPoint Slides: Too Slick for Prime Time?
    PowerPoint slides are an integral part of conferences like next week's CROI 2004: Researchers use them to present information as simply and quickly as possible. But is there a risk in trying to make complicated study results look more cut-and-dry than they often are?


    Examining a Piece of the HIV Puzzle: How HIV Attaches to Cells
    Wondering how HIV actually attaches itself to your T cells in order to infect them? This overview from Project Inform will fill you in: It explains the role of "co-receptors," or proteins found on T cells that HIV uses to gain access to your immune system.

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      LIFE WITH HIV

    When Your Support Group Isn't Right for You
    Feeling uncomfortable with your HIV support group? Not all support groups are a perfect fit; the question is, what should you do about it? Read this Body Positive article for professional advice from New York psychologist Dr. J. Buzz von Ornsteiner.


    Depression Can Be an Unexpected Side Effect of Your Meds
    It may sound manageable when your doctor warns you that depression may be a side effect of your treatment, but often depression is more difficult to endure then most people expect. Here are some tips from Positive Words for dealing with the depression that sometimes accompanies taking hepatitis C drug interferon. These tips are also handy for anyone dealing with depression.

    Browse through The Body's collection of materials on depression for additional advice.
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      U.S. HIV POLICY & DRUG PRICING

    Nonprofit Requests Government Intervention in Ritonavir Price Increase
    The nonprofit company Essential Innovations, Inc., has filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission alleging that Abbott Laboratories intentionally raised the cost of ritonavir (Norvir) last month in an effort to increase the market share of its combination drug Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir), the price of which has not changed. Essential Innovations also asked the government to grant a license for the production of a generic version of ritonavir in the U.S.


    Number of People With HIV on ADAP Waiting Lists Rises to 791
    As of January, 15 U.S. states now have waiting lists or other access restrictions on their AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs), leaving a total of 791 HIV-positive people unable to enroll in the programs nationwide, according to the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors.

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      HIV RISK, PREVENTION & OUTREACH

    Inner-City HIV Study Finds HAART Rare, Substance Abuse Common
    In many inner city areas, the HIV prevention and treatment situation is as bad as you can imagine. In a large study, researchers evaluated the hospitalization of 1,562 HIV-infected patients at a Chicago hospital servicing low-income and uninsured inner-city residents. The authors found that, between 1999 and 2002, the overwhelming majority of the patients studied were active substance abusers and were not taking HAART, despite having low CD4 cell counts. They also found that women in particular were less likely to receive HAART.


    Curbing HIV Infections Among Asian-American Immigrants
    New York City has a large number of immigrant communities, many of which are at risk for HIV. In the Asian immigrant community, experts believe that much of that risk can be attributed to stigma -- and with the HIV epidemic threatening to explode in Asia, researchers are exploring new ways to keep the same thing from happening among Asian immigrants in America.

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      HIV OUTSIDE THE U.S.

    "Marriage Doesn't Protect Against HIV"
    British actress Emma Thompson, UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot and former Irish President Mary Robinson have launched the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS to raise awareness and increase HIV/AIDS education among women in developing countries.

    These two press releases -- one on the launch of the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, the other providing an overview of the epidemic among women throughout the world -- were issued by UNAIDS this week in conjunction with this new initiative.


    Malaria and HIV: Deadly Partners
    Drug resistance is one of the most frustrating obstacles to treating disease, especially in the developing world, where growing resistance to malaria treatment threatens to make an already dire HIV epidemic even worse. A recent study in Malawi found that malaria is the most common secondary infection among people with HIV.

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      WEB HIGHLIGHTS

    Abject Lessons: Public Schools Accused of Skimping on HIV Education
    A recent report has brought to light glaring shortfalls in the quality and quantity of sex education being provided in New York City's public schools.
    From The Village Voice, February 4, 2004


    Clinical Efficacy of Antiretroviral Combination Therapy Based on Protease Inhibitors or Non-Nucleoside Analogue Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors: Indirect Comparison of Controlled Trials
    A review of several large studies finds indirect evidence that, in people with AIDS who have taken NRTIs before, three-drug regimens containing a protease inhibitor more effectively suppress HIV than three-drug regimens containing the NNRTIs nevirapine or delavirdine.
    From the British Medical Journal, January 31, 2004

    HIV May Trigger Events That Lead to Severe Heart Attack
    A new study suggests that HIV infection and the development of coronary artery disease could have a much closer cause-and-effect relationship than has generally been reported to date.
    From the American Heart Journal, January 2004

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    •  VISUAL AIDS
    Image from the February Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    •  THANKS TO OUR SPONSOR

    GlaxoSmithKline logo

    An unrestricted educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline, producer of the online HIV resource TreatHIV.com, has helped make this week's e-mail update possible.