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April 21, 2004
In This Update:
  • HIV Treatment & Health Insurance
  • Quality of Life
  • U.S. AIDS Activism & Drug Pricing
  • HIV-Related Illnesses & Coinfections
  • HIV Infection & Prevention News
  • Web Highlights

    Pumping Up the Immune System
    Immune-based therapy, the long-neglected second cousin in the HIV treatment family, is finally gaining attention as a way to improve HAART's success. Read the transcript or listen to the audio of this one-on-one interview with Dr. Franco Lori, one of the researchers at the forefront of efforts to improve the immune system's ability to fight off HIV.

    New York Pharmacies Lure HIVers With Freebies
    Some independent pharmacies in New York City have begun offering incentives, such as free cell phones, pagers or fax machines, to people with HIV who fill antiretroviral prescriptions at their facilities. The freebies are an attempt to pull revenue from HIV medication sales away from the city's major pharmacy chains.

    Health Insurance Primer for Washington State Residents
    Living with HIV in Washington State and struggling to make sense of its alphabet soup of health insurance options? This quick reference from the Seattle Treatment Education Project can help you set things straight.

    Not in Washington? Learn More About Getting Help Paying for Meds
    HIV-positive, living in the U.S. and looking for more financial help for obtaining your HIV medications? Browse through The Body's archive of information on financial assistance for HIV treatment.



    Coping With an HIV Diagnosis as a New Mom
    Paula Peterson discovered she was HIV positive right after her son was born. Luckily, both her son and husband turned out to be negative. She and her husband talk about what it's been like to cope with a new baby and an HIV diagnosis in this excerpt from Roslyn Banish's new book Focus on Living: Portraits of Americans With HIV and AIDS.

    Why People With HIV Still Die -- And Why They Don't Have To
    Although HAART has been responsible for saving thousands upon thousands of lives, it's important to remember that it's no silver bullet. There are many people who have full access to the latest and greatest antiretrovirals, but who die anyway -- and not from treatment side effects. Mark Mascolini explains why in this fascinating article.

    Take an Active Role in Maintaining Your Health!
    Keeping yourself healthy when you're HIV positive involves a lot more than just visiting your doctor. Developing a strategy for good general health will provide a strong foundation for dealing with HIV disease. Project Inform provides some guidance.



    Why AIDS Organizations Rule: It's All About the People
    It's easy to love working for an AIDS organization, Laura Jones says: After all, every HIV-positive person she meets is a hero. "I work with people who don't take their lives or their health for granted, and are able to make black-humored jokes about chronic conditions and ailments that would send most others back to bed in two minutes -- all while going about their business, same as anyone else," she writes. "Pretty damn inspiring, when you think about it."

    U.S. AIDS Activists Call for Greater Involvement as Election Draws Closer
    When George W. Bush became president, many people in the AIDS community had no idea how much worse things were about to get for people with HIV in the U.S. In this call to action, Project Inform explains why getting involved with AIDS activism is as essential now as it's ever been before.

    Abbott May Face Class-Action Lawsuit Over Ritonavir Price Hike
    This week, two people with HIV filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories, claiming that the pharmaceutical company acted illegally when it "jack[ed] up the price" of ritonavir (Norvir) by 400%. The company has dismissed the lawsuit as "completely without merit."



    Heart Disease and HIV: Managing Risk
    Heart disease is not only a risk for people on HIV medications; recent research shows that having HIV alone can increase your risk. What can people with HIV do to lessen their chances of having heart problems? Exactly how much more likely is it that an HIV-positive person will develop heart disease? Edwin Bernard provides some answers in this article from Positive Aware.

    HIV Medications Can Act as a Hepatitis B Treatment
    In people coinfected with HIV and hepatitis B (HBV), HIV medications alone may help fight off HBV coinfection, according to new results from a very small British study.



    U.S. Porn Industry Partially Shuts Down as Two Actors Are Diagnosed
    Could it be that the porn industry still does not have a mandatory condom policy? Unbelievable, but true. On April 16 about 12 companies began a 60-day production moratorium after two actors tested positive for HIV. At least 14 actresses may have been exposed to the virus through onscreen sex with actor Darren James, who tested positive April 13. Lara Roxx, who worked with James recently, also tested positive.

    STD Basics: Get to Know the Diseases That Want to Get to Know You
    Despite the fact that 15 million Americans contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) every year, most of us know shamefully little about the damage they can cause or the fact that having one puts you at a much higher risk for contracting another, including HIV. SIECUS tells you what you need to know in this detailed fact sheet on eight of the most common STDs in the U.S.

    For even more information on STDs, including how they can be prevented and treated, browse through The Body's large archive of articles.



    HIV Link to Dementia "Explained"
    HIV itself creates proteins that kill brain cells, potentially leading to AIDS-related dementia, researchers have found. Many scientists had assumed until now that HIV did not play such a direct role in brain-cell death.
    Article from BBC News, April 20, 2004

    The Normalizing Heart: How AIDS Plays Have Changed Since Larry Kramer Raged
    Richard Goldstein takes a fascinating look at how plays about AIDS have evolved since the beginning of the epidemic.
    Article from The Village Voice, April 20, 2004

    Canadian Company Reports Promising Lipodystrophy Treatment
    An experimental treatment called ThGRF has been found to reduce abdominal fat in HIV-positive people with lipodystrophy, without hurting a person's blood-sugar levels the way human growth hormone treatments can.
    Article from, April 19, 2004

    Syphilis Relapse: Cases Soar in New York City
    Syphilis was nearly eradicated in the U.S. just six years ago, but its resurgence in New York City may be the harbinger of something even more frightening: a new HIV epidemic, particularly among gay men.
    Article from The Village Voice, April 16, 2004

    HIV and Cardiovascular Disease: Responding to the Risk
    An in-depth review of research on the increasingly complicated topic of cardiovascular disease in people with HIV.
    Report from The PRN Notebook, April 2004

    Complications of Antiretroviral Therapies and HIV
    An examination of diabetes, kidney disease, bone problems and hypertension research from the February Retrovirus conference.
    Article from The Hopkins HIV Report, March 2004

    When McGann Loves a Woman
    British actor Mark McGann talks about his recent public disclosure that his wife is HIV positive.
    Article from Positive Nation, March 2004

    Image from the April 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Colostomy," 1998; Chuck Nanny

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