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March 24, 2004
In This Update:
  • HIV Treatment & Maintaining Your Health
  • HIV Outside the U.S.
  • U.S. AIDS Funding & Drug Pricing
  • HIV/STD Prevention
  • Web Highlights
  •   HIV TREATMENT & MAINTAINING YOUR HEALTH

    Keeping Your Mouth Healthy When You Have HIV
    Although HAART has helped reduce the number of oral health problems in HIVers (thrush, for instance), these problems can still occur. There are also several conditions that HAART itself may bring about, such as tooth decay caused by dry mouth. This overview describes some of these oral health conditions and provides options for how they can be treated.


    Questions and Answers About Fosamprenavir
    Have lingering questions about how fosamprenavir (908, Lexiva) works and how doctors hope to use it in the treatment of HIV? Find the answers in this interview with one of the lead investigators of a major study on the new drug.


    A Brief Update on Antiretrovirals in the Works
    Want a quick rundown of new HIV treatments in the development pipeline? David Scondras of Search for a Cure provides this review.

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      HIV OUTSIDE THE U.S.

    The Impact of Evangelism on the Global War Against AIDS
    Through the last three Presidential administrations, the U.S. response to the global AIDS crisis had been almost non-existent. Then, midway through his tenure, President Bush and the U.S. Congress suddenly showed interest. Why the shift? Many Evangelical Christian leaders have wrapped themselves in the cause -- with results that have been both helpful and harmful to the worldwide battle against HIV.


    In Developing World, People With HIV Grill Pharmas on Drug Pricing
    For the first time ever, a group of HIV-positive people in the developing world talked directly with pharmaceutical reps about drug pricing in their countries. Read on for transcripts of some of their conversations.


    HIV Rate in Tijuana Hospital Far Exceeds Earlier Estimates
    The HIV infection rate among women in labor at Tijuana General Hospital is 1.26%, which is 14 times higher than the rate previously reported by CONASIDA, the Mexican organization that tracks AIDS cases, according to University of California-San Diego researchers. The researchers found that, although nearly all of the pregnant women surveyed were willing to undergo rapid HIV testing and counseling, Tijuana General Hospital did not routinely perform HIV testing on them.

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      U.S. AIDS FUNDING & DRUG PRICING

    Alabama's ADAP Waiting List, Already U.S.'s Longest, May Grow Longer
    More than 300 HIV-positive people are currently on Alabama's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) waiting list, making it the longest ADAP waiting list in the country. Estimates suggest that number could rise to more than 500 patients by the end of the fiscal year, particularly when considering that the Alabama state legislature recently cut its ADAP budget from $2.9 million to $1.76 million. Alabama's HIV Commission says $5 billion is needed to close the growing treatment gap.


    New Lawsuit Accuses Abbott of False Advertising on Ritonavir Price Hike
    As a boycott by 250 healthcare professionals continues, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has filed suit against Abbott Laboratories, accusing the company of falsely advertising that U.S. state Medicaid programs would be unaffected by the company's 400% price increase for ritonavir (Norvir) in December 2003. Abbott officials claim the suit, one of two filed against the company by AHF this year, is frivolous and has "no respect for the facts."

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      HIV/STD PREVENTION

    Got Questions About Crystal Meth?
    How can you tell if someone is using crystal meth? Why is there a link between crystal meth use and HIV? San Francisco AIDS Foundation answers these and other frequently asked questions about one of the most commonly used party drugs in the U.S.


    Catholic Church Contemplating Thumbs-Up on Condoms
    Individuals within the Vatican are debating whether to condone condom use to prevent HIV transmission, but they are "far from resolution" and there is no official Vatican policy on the issue, according to several top church leaders and theologians.


    New Initiative Will Support Needle-Exchange Programs in U.S.
    An alliance of nonprofit foundations have announced the formation of the Syringe Access Fund, which will support syringe-exchange programs and state-level public education efforts in five U.S. States -- California, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Texas -- and the District of Columbia. "This initiative is especially important because it has been proven that syringe-exchange programs save lives and are cost effective, yet there is an inadequate amount of public and private resources targeting access to clean syringes," said Stuart Burden, U.S. program director of the Levi Strauss Foundation.


    Stigmatization of Black Men on the "Down Low" May Be Spurring Spread of HIV
    The "sexual duality" of many black men who secretly have sex with men "fans the flames of the AIDS wildfire" and may account for a recent study showing an increase in the number of HIV cases among black male college students, columnist DeWayne Wickham writes in a recent USA Today column.


    New Study Findings May Affect Treatment Options for Pregnant Women
    Recent studies on HIV in pregnant women have led to two important new findings: One, women with AZT resistance are more likely to pass HIV on to their babies than women who have not developed resistance to AZT. Two, post-pregnancy use of efavirenz (Sustiva)-based HAART regimens appears to work well in women who were already treated with nevirapine (Viramune) shortly before giving birth.

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      WEB HIGHLIGHTS

    Rising Rate of HIV Infection Renews Bathhouse Debate

    Despite concerns over potential civil rights violations, Los Angeles County officials are considering a crackdown on gay bathhouses and sex clubs, with tougher enforcement of existing laws requiring the use of condoms by bathhouse patrons.
    Article from the Los Angeles Times (free registration required), March 23, 2004


    Taking Prevention of AIDS Beyond ABC
    The European Union will promote the development of microbicides by providing nearly US$14 million to an international mix of universities, research institutes and biotechnology companies.
    Article from The Guardian, March 22, 2004


    T-Cell Finding Promises New Hope
    Scientists hope to revolutionize the treatment of the human immune system by growing their own legions of T cells that can fight off invading diseases.
    Article from the Toronto Star, March 22, 2004


    Bushmeat Seeds New Virus
    An HIV-like virus has been discovered in the bloodstreams of many African hunters and butchers, possibly due to their interaction with blood and other fluids from the primates they kill. Though the new virus appears harmless at the moment, researchers are concerned that it may evolve, since a similar scenario is believed to be the method by which HIV made its entrance into the world.
    Article from Nature, March 19, 2004


    HIV Children Battle Back to School in India
    People in India look at them with hatred, GeeVarghese John says of his grandchildren. "But it's not their fault -- their father made the mistake ... We didn't know he had HIV," John says. "When [our daughter] Mary got married, she went to live with him in Bombay. She was surprised to see his shelves full of medicines, but every time she questioned him, he would beat her up." Since their daughter and her husband died, John and his wife have been the primary caretakers for the children.
    Article from BBC News, March 15, 2004

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    ART FROM HIV-POSITIVE ARTISTS
    Image from the November 2002 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Summer Flowers," 1997;
    Fran Lewis
    Visit Visual AIDS at The Body to view this month's Web Gallery, or to browse through Web Galleries from the past five years!
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