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May 12, 2004
In This Update:
  • HIV Treatment
  • Nutrition & Quality of Life
  • Educating Yourself About HIV
  • HIV & Hepatitis Coinfection
  • U.S. HIV/AIDS Activism
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the U.S.
  • HIV/STD Transmission News
  • Web Highlights

    Five People, Five Treatment Interruptions, Five Outcomes
    We can read research about experimental HIV treatment strategies until our eyes glaze over, but sometimes it's more interesting -- and more educational -- to hear a doctor talk about some of the patients who have actually taken part in them. Dr. Gerald Pierone brings us in for a closer look at five people who took doctor-guided HIV structured treatment interruptions under a variety of circumstances.

    Immune Therapies: Little Attention, Big Promise
    With HIV treatment focusing so heavily on antiretrovirals, it's easy to forget there's another treatment option being explored: immune-based therapy, an experimental strategy that attempts to strengthen the body's own defenses against HIV.

    Did the Government Screw Up When It Banned Hydroxyurea?
    Although the U.S. government's HIV treatment guidelines recommend that hydroxyurea not be used by HIV-positive people, several studies have shown that the drug has at least some benefit. So what's the deal? New York City physician Dr. Paul C. Bellman, one of the first doctors to treat people with HIV, smelled a rat, and launched his own investigation into the questionable reasons behind the health department's decision.

    Fast Initial Drop in Pre-Treatment Viral Load Reduces Risk of AIDS Progression
    The quicker an HIV-positive person's viral load drops after the period of acute infection -- when viral load can briefly shoot as high as one million -- the less likely that person is to eventually progress to AIDS, according to the results of a small study conducted by a team of U.S. researchers. The researchers say their findings confirm a theory that a strong immune response during the earliest phase of HIV infection can help HIV-positive people avoid developing AIDS. Eventually, studies like these could help doctors to more accurately pinpoint the best time for people with HIV to begin treatment.



    How Exercise Can Help Prevent HAART Side Effects
    Staying in good physical condition is important for anybody, but doubly so for people with HIV. As this overview from dietician Ellen Steinberg testifies, a small amount of exercise every week can stave off a host of HIV and HAART-related symptoms, including fatigue, depression, bone loss and even diarrhea.



    JournalView: A New Way to Keep Up With the Latest in HIV Medicine
    The Body Pro, The Body's sister site for HIV healthcare professionals, has launched JournalView, a new, monthly analysis of HIV research authored by an HIV physician. Every month, JournalView will scour top medical journals and other publications, selecting key findings and providing expert commentary on their importance to the world of HIV medicine. Click on the link above to read JournalView's inaugural issue!

    Is the Medical Information You're Reading Worth Its Salt?
    There's plenty of medical information on the Web today, but how can you know whether the site you're visiting is reliable? The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine provides this list of 10 things you should know about evaluating medical resources on the Web.

    Tools of the Trade: How HIV Medical Writers Stay Up-to-Date
    HIV-positive medical writer Tim Horn lives and breathes the World Wide Web, especially when it comes to staying on top of the latest developments in HIV. In this article, he reveals some of the tools he uses to keep himself current.

    Learn the Basics About HIV ... at The Body!
    Not to toot our own horn, but The Body's huge online library contains a wide array of articles to keep you informed on everything you need to know about HIV. Whether you're looking for a basic review of how HIV works or a detailed, intricate look at how HIV disease progresses -- and how HAART can stop it -- The Body's "HIV/AIDS Basics" page is the place to start. (OK, maybe we were tooting just a little.)



    Preparing for Hepatitis C Treatment: A Personal Story
    Coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C? You're not alone -- as many as three out of ten people with HIV in the U.S. have both viruses. George E. Burgess is one such person; in this article, he talks about the physical and emotional preparation he undergoes to get ready for his hepatitis C treatment, which involves a combination of injections and oral pills.



    Getting the U.S. Media to Pay Attention to U.S. AIDS
    The U.S. news media have become largely transfixed on the global AIDS epidemic -- at the expense of the worsening HIV situation here at home. Want to get their attention? Rob Nixon of the activist group AIDS Survival Project tells you how.



    HIV May Cause 23% of Zimbabwe's Population to Vanish by 2010
    The size of Zimbabwe's population may decrease by nearly a quarter between 1992 and 2010 due to the country's HIV epidemic, according to a new national report. The most heavily impacted age group will initially be newborns, the report says: The number of people under the age of four is expected to drop by 40%. In addition, the report estimates that, by the end of the decade, 20% to 30% of Zimbabwean children under the age of 15 will be AIDS orphans.

    Canada Pledge Doubles Funding for WHO AIDS Program, but More Is Needed
    Canada has pledged US$72 million to the World Health Organization (WHO)'s 3 by 5 Initiative, doubling the total amount of money pledged so far for the program. The 3 by 5 Initiative aims to provide antiretroviral drugs to three million HIV-positive people worldwide by 2005, though it does not actually provide the drugs or subsidize their cost. Even with Canada's contribution, funding for the initiative remains $70 million short of what is needed to fulfill the goals of the program by the end of next year.

    Libya Gives Death Sentence to International Health Workers for Infecting Children
    A Libyan court sentenced to death by firing squad six Bulgarian healthcare workers and a Palestinian doctor accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV through contaminated blood products. Some European governments and human rights groups have protested the decision, claiming that Libya itself, not the healthcare workers, are to blame for the inadequate blood-screening practices that led to the infections.



    Minnesota Sees Significant Rise in Many STDs
    The rates at which people are becoming infected with chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in Minnesota increased in 2003, the state health department reports, with particularly high rates of infection found among youths and minorities. A total of 14,111 new cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis were recorded in the state last year, up 6% from 2002. Half of Minnesotan men who have sex with men (MSM) who were diagnosed with syphilis were also infected with HIV, indicating that a large number of HIV-positive MSM may be having unprotected sex.

    California Bill Could Clear Way for More Needle Exchange Programs
    California cities and counties would no longer have to declare an emergency before starting a needle exchange, and those with exchanges would no longer have to review the programs every 14 days under a bill approved Monday by the California Assembly. Pending approval by the Senate and a sign-off from the governor, the bill would let local jurisdictions that run needle exchanges decide how to monitor their programs.



    HIV and Reproduction
    For couples in which the man is infected with HIV and the woman is not, the ability to have a baby is often a dramatic issue. Only one clinic in the U.S. and some clinics in Milan, Italy and London, England will currently help these couples to safely get pregnant. According to this study, these clinics have successfully used semen washing, reproductive technology, antiretroviral therapy and good obstetrical care to allow safe reproduction in couples infected with HIV.
    Study abstract from Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology, June 2004

    After Career in Sex Films, Doctor Aims to Protect
    Sharon Mitchell went from porn star to Ph.D., and now runs the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, which every month tests about 1,200 sex-video performers for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
    Article from The New York Times, May 10, 2004 (free registration required)

    10 POZ Treatment Stories That Shook Our World
    From its inception a decade ago, POZ magazine has been right on target when it comes to covering HIV. Here's the mag's listing of its top 10 stories of the past 10 years.
    Article from POZ, May 2004

    Allow Imported HIV/AIDS Drugs
    "The main reason we don’t have cheaper, generic drugs in this country is simple: greed," writes Mubarak Dahir, editor of the Express Gay News in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
    Op-ed article from the Washington Blade, April 23, 2004

    Presidentís Plan Would Limit Access to Effective, Low-Cost Generic AIDS Drugs in Developing Countries
    Two major associations of HIV healthcare professionals urge the Bush administration to drop its objections to allowing the World Health Organization to approve the use of generic HIV meds in the developing world.
    News release from the Infectious Diseases Society of America, April 19, 2004

    HIV-Positive U.S. Military Personnel Accidentally Vaccinated Against Smallpox
    A study finds that, although 10 military personnel tested HIV positive after their smallpox vaccination, none experienced any negative effects from the shot.
    News release from Clinical Infectious Diseases, April 15, 2004



    Image of a painting by Becky Trotter, one of the women of Visual AIDS
    "Support Group," 1999;
    Becky Trotter
    This painting by Becky Trotter is part of The Body's special feature on the women of Visual AIDS. Becky, who tested positive during her freshman year in college, was infected with HIV at the age of 14 when she was sexually abused by a relative's friend. "It's possible to survive and to live," Becky asserts. "It's important to get involved, and it's important to reach out to other people."
    Poster image for the 2004 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial

    On Sunday, May 16, thousands of people, in more than 93 different countries, will participate in the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, the world's largest and oldest annual grassroots HIV/AIDS event. The memorial is designed to honor the memory of those lost to AIDS, show support for those living with HIV, raise HIV/AIDS awareness and mobilize community involvement in the fight against HIV. Use this page to find an event near you.


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