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February 25, 2004
In This Update:
  • From the Editor
  • HIV Tracking & Prevention
  • Health Problems for HIVers
  • New at The Body
  • HIV Treatment
  • U.S. AIDS Policy & Activism
  • HIV Outside the U.S.
  • Web Highlights

    Be sure to visit our special section on the 11th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2004), which ended on Feb. 11. Among the latest articles posted are a review of recent research on neuropathy and an examination of a unique new HIV treatment strategy that may help doctors pinpoint the best HAART regimens for their patients. Our searchable conference coverage is also sorted by topic, so you can head straight to the research that interests you the most!

    As always, please write if you have any thoughts or questions. Regards,

    - Bonnie Goldman, Editorial Director, The Body


    One of Every Three HIV Infections Occurs Through Heterosexual Sex
    More than a third of all new HIV infections reported in the U.S. from 1999 to 2002 were transmitted through heterosexual sex, and most of those heterosexual infections occurred among African Americans (74%) and women (64%), according to new figures from the Centers for Disease Control.

    Health Officials Begin Using the Web as an HIV Prevention Tool
    The Internet presents new challenges and opportunities for curbing the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). With so many people using the Internet to meet sex partners, can public health departments also use the Internet to prevent and control STDs? The outcomes of some initial attempts bode well.

    Young People Make Up 50% of STD-Infected Population in U.S.
    Americans between the ages of 15 and 24 account for half of all people infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the U.S., according to a pair of U.S. studies. Advocates of comprehensive sex education point to the findings as a sign that teaching abstinence just isn't enough to prevent the spread of HIV and other STDs.



    HAART Can Prevent, Lessen Impact of Peripheral Neuropathy
    Peripheral neuropathy remains one of the most painful disorders for people living with HIV. Fortunately, the use of HAART has been associated with both protection from and reversal of neuropathy, reports Dr. Keith Henry from CROI 2004.

    Watch Your Cholesterol, for Your Heart's Sake
    Your blood cholesterol level has a lot to do with your chances of getting heart disease -- whether you have HIV or not -- so it's important to keep an eye on it. Here's a simple, thorough explanation of which cholesterols are good and which can lead to trouble. This article includes surveys that both men and women can use to calculate your risk of having a heart attack.



    Tools You Can Use: Our New Home for Interactive HIV-Related Resources
    All of The Body's interactive resources now live in one place: our newly launched Tools You Can Use Page. Among many other useful items, this page features a handy AIDS organization search, our unique HIV risk assessment quiz and the debut of our monthly online poll!



    Update on Immune-Based HIV Therapies
    Although research into immune-based therapies (IBTs) for HIV has been going on as long as antiretroviral research, there is still not one IBT on the market. What gives? In this update, Richard Jeffreys explains why IBTs are taking so long, and examines some therapies currently in development.

    HIV Drug Interactions: A Detailed Review
    Looking for in-depth information about interactions between HIV medications? This detailed clinical reference from HEPP Report provides an overview of the key drug-drug interactions associated with HIV antiretrovirals.

    Also take a look at The Body's library of articles on drug-drug interactions. It includes explanations, overviews and some of the latest research on the subject.

    How to Find the Right Complementary HIV Therapist
    How can you determine whether the alternative medicine specialist you're going to is legit or a quack? What can you do to ensure the highest quality of complementary health care? This list of frequently asked questions from National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine can help you find the answers.

    Unique Strategy Tries to Turn Failing HAART Into Better HAART
    Stopping just one drug in a failing HAART regimen may help doctors identify specific combinations of drugs that are still effective against HIV, even in people who have already tried many different HAART combinations. Gerald Pierone Jr., M.D., reports on this small but interesting study presented at CROI 2004.



    Give Yourself a Voice on HIV Treatment Research: Join a CAB!
    Finding meaningful volunteer work is always a challenge. One excellent opportunity that often gets overlooked is a volunteer position on a Community Advisory Board (CAB). David Mariner explains what it means to be on a CAB.



    Bush Administration Announces Details of Global AIDS Plan
    Nine months after signing the bill into law, the Bush Administration has released the details of its five-year, $15 billion plan to fight AIDS in the developing world. Randall L. Tobias, the appointed coordinator of the U.S.'s global AIDS efforts, talked with the media about the plan at a press conference earlier this week.

    Want the full details of the U.S. global AIDS initiative? The government's full 99-page report on the plan (PDF, 1.9MB) provides all the facts.

    The newly released details of President Bush's five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative have received a less-than-warm reception from AIDS advocates. This article from the Inter Press Service has more details on activists' reaction to the plan.

    Among the first grants doled out in President Bush's global AIDS initiative is $107 million for Harvard's School of Public Health, which the school plans to use to provide antiretrovirals to an additional 75,000 people in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Botswana, the Boston Globe reports.



    AIDS Epidemic Threatens Western Europe, Warns UN

    With Eastern Europe and Central Asia home to some of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world, the countries of the European Union are emplored to take action.
    Article from the Independent, February 24, 2004

    HIV and Hepatitis Coinfection
    Two new studies suggest that the most effective treatment for people infected with both HIV and hepatitis C is a regimen consisting of peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys) and ribavirin, according to this analysis.
    CROI 2004 coverage from HIV InSite, February 23, 2004

    HIVers Over 50 at Increased Risk of Cognitive Impairment, Even With HAART
    People with HIV who are over the age of 50 are more likely to experience diminishing brain function than HIV-positive people under 40, whether or not they are taking HAART, according to a recent U.S. study.
    Article from, February 19, 2004

    Adherence and HIV Drug Resistance
    "Near-perfect" adherence to a powerful HAART regimen appears to be the best way to avoid developing drug-resistant HIV, this research review concludes.
    Article from The Hopkins HIV Report, January 2004

    Image from the February Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "The Experiment," 1989;
    Sean Earley