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March 31, 2004
In This Update:
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Problems
  • U.S. AIDS Policy & Funding
  • HIV Prevention & Infection Trends
  • Web Highlights
  •   HIV TREATMENT

    Top 25 Health Tips for the Newly Diagnosed
    The most important decision you can make if you are HIV positive is to choose a doctor experienced in treating HIV/AIDS. The more experienced, the better. Want to know what else is important? Take a look at The Center for AIDS: Hope and Remembrance Project's top 25 things you should know if you are HIV positive.


    HAART Can Help Women -- No Matter How Advanced the HIV
    According to a new U.S. study of 1,132 HIV-infected women, women with advanced-stage HIV can benefit greatly from HIV treatment. "Prior to this study, it was believed that many patients with advanced-stage HIV would not do very well with HAART," noted principal investigator Dr. Kathryn Anastos. She found, however, that a woman's CD4 count and viral load had no bearing on the success of HAART -- all that mattered was that a woman's numbers improved after treatment started.


    How HIV Treatment Evolved in 2003: The Top Ten New Developments
    What were the pivotal advances in HIV treatment in 2003? Dr. David Wohl provides a compelling analysis in this exclusive report from The Body.


    Nutritional Supplement Unexpectedly Increases CD4 Counts
    In a small 12-week trial, a nutritional supplement containing 33 vitamins, minerals and antioxidants was found to significantly increase the CD4 counts of people taking HAART who had peripheral neuropathy. The results must be confirmed separately, however, since the trial was not designed to test the supplement's ability to increase CD4 counts, but rather to test its ability to treat neuropathy, which it failed to do.


    What Happened to the Most Promising New Drugs of Last Year?
    Many of the HIV medications that were the all-stars of last year's development pipeline, such as T-1249 and SCH-C, have since completely fizzled, but 2004 brings the promise of a new crop of drugs. Rob Camp of Treatment Action Group takes a closer look.

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      HIV/HAART-RELATED HEALTH PROBLEMS

    U.S. Close to Approving New Facial Wasting Treatment
    The facial wasting treatment poly-L-lactic acid, an injectable medication also known widely as New-Fill, is one step closer to being officially approved for use in the U.S.: An advisory panel for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given it a green light, which usually opens the door for final FDA approval.


    Blood-Sugar Abnormalities in People With HIV
    Many people with HIV -- particularly those who are coinfected with hepatitis C or who take protease inhibitors -- are at a higher-than-average risk for developing blood-sugar problems like insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes if left untreated. Read this in-depth article to learn more about the basics of blood-sugar abnormalities and what you can do if you've been diagnosed with one.


    Beware of Interactions Between TB Treatment and HIV Meds
    Potentially dangerous drug interactions can occur between rifamycins, which are used to treat tuberculosis (TB), and some HIV medications. This chart from the HEPP Report outlines the recommended guidelines for the use of these drugs by people taking HAART.


    Update on Treating HIV/Hepatitis B Coinfection
    Hepatitis B (HBV) is transmitted the same way as HIV: by direct contact with blood or body fluids. People who are infected with both viruses are at risk for severe liver damage if the HBV is left untreated. Though there is no cure for HBV, there are thankfully a growing number of treatments available -- although doctors and patients need to make sure that HBV drugs and HIV drugs don't interfere with one another.

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      U.S. AIDS POLICY & FUNDING

    Even in the "Land of Opportunity," Many Go Without HIV Treatment
    The developing world isn't the only place where people with HIV are dying because they lack access to treatment; it happens all too often in the U.S. as well. "While HIV/AIDS morbidity and mortality have been greatly reduced in wealthy nations, people in these countries, most often the poor and medically indigent, continue to die of HIV disease," writes José Zuniga, president of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care.


    Invitations Being Sought for Upcoming Summit on Rising Healthcare Costs
    The International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care will host a one-day summit on April 6 in Washington, D.C., in which U.S. officials, healthcare professionals and other interested parties will discuss issues related to HIV treatment access and the costs of HIV medications in the U.S. Interested in attending? Read this article for more information.

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      HIV PREVENTION & INFECTION TRENDS

    New Rapid HIV Test Needs Only Saliva
    Now you can get HIV test results in 20 minutes either from a pinprick of blood or a swab of your gums. On March 26, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first oral rapid HIV diagnostic test kit, which provides screening results with over 99% accuracy in as little as 20 minutes. Until now, all rapid HIV tests required the use of blood in order to get such fast results.


    Circumcision as Protection Against HIV? It Might Actually Help
    Circumcised men in India are less likely to be HIV positive than men who are not circumcised, according to one research study -- and the reason is biological, not behavioral, researchers say. "Male circumcision protects against HIV-1 infection primarily due to removal of the foreskin, which contains a high density of HIV-1-specific cellular targets," the researchers write.


    The U.S. South: HIV's Regional Epicenter
    The number of HIV-positive people is rising faster in the South than in any other region of the U.S., according to a study presented on March 28 at the 16th National HIV/AIDS Update Conference. The study found that people in the South represented 40% of the people living with AIDS and 46% of newly diagnosed AIDS cases in 2002 nationwide.

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      WEB HIGHLIGHTS

    French Study Shows HAART Has No Benefit Against HPV or Pre-Cancerous Anal Lesions
    HAART can help treat or prevent many HIV-related illnesses, but this study finds that, unfortunately, human papillomavirus (HPV) and anal lesions are not among them.
    Article from aidsmap.com, March 30, 2004


    amfAR's 16th National HIV/AIDS Update Conference
    Read transcripts, watch speeches and get the latest news from this annual conference, which took place recently in Miami, Fla. The conference covers new developments in HIV prevention, treatment and care.
    HealthCast from kaisernetwork.org, March 27-30, 2004


    A Positive Spin-Off From the AIDS Crisis?
    It's hard to say that anything good can come from AIDS, but in hard-hit Swaziland, the HIV epidemic appears to have had at least one positive effect: People are quitting smoking in record numbers.
    Article from Inter Press Service, March 29, 2004


    Bush Plan Mocks Research
    "The Bush administration's proposed plan to place a warning on condom packaging flies in the face of science and, sadly, poses a powerful threat to the nation's health. Moreover, its logic is absurd," writes Dr. Mervyn Silverman, chair of the 2004 National HIV/AIDS Update Conference, which recently concluded in Miami, Fla.
    Op-ed article from the Sun-Sentinel, March 29, 2004


    For Africa's Deaf and Blind, AIDS Is an Unknown Language
    On a continent where HIV stigma and lack of AIDS education still prevail, people with disabilities may be the worst off of all.
    Article from The New York Times (free registration required), March 28, 2004


    Women and HIV in the U.S.: An Overview
    What are the specific HIV risks, infection rates and HIV prevention/treatment issues that pertain specifically to U.S. women? Find out in this detailed review.
    Knowledge Base Chapter from HIV InSite, March 2004

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    THE WOMEN OF VISUAL AIDS

    "Applause Itself as a Continuation
    of the Play," 1998;
    Rebecca Guberman
    Rebecca Guberman is one of a dozen remarkable, courageous, HIV-positive women whose artworks The Body has highlighted in this special feature on The Women of Visual AIDS.
    HIV POSITIVE?
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