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May 19, 2004
In This Update:
  • HIV Treatment & Side Effects
  • Quality of Life
  • HIV/AIDS Basics
  • U.S. HIV/AIDS Policy & Activism
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the U.S.
  • HIV/STD Transmission & Testing News
  • Web Highlights

    New Two-Drug Combo Pill Could Be Approved Late This Summer
    It's been more than three years since the last HIV combination pill, Trizivir (AZT/3TC/abacavir), was approved in the United States. But that may be about to change: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it will speed up its review of a fixed-dose drug combination pill consisting of emtricitabine (FTC, Emtriva) and tenofovir (Viread). The FDA's decision on whether to approve the emtricitabine/tenofovir pill is now expected within the next four months.

    Researchers Intrigued by Signs That a Supplement May Ease Side Effects
    One HIV-positive person experiencing several side effects of NRTI meds reportedly improved after taking a supplement containing uridine, a chemical that studies have shown eases some side effects of chemotherapy. Although this is just a single case report -- making it far from a reliable study -- its results have intrigued some researchers.

    Global Guidelines Released for the Use of T-20
    A panel of international experts has released guidelines for treating HIV-positive people with T-20 (enfuvirtide, Fuzeon), the first in a new class of drugs that can be a lifeline for people who develop resistance to other HIV meds. The guidelines say that T-20 is most likely to work when used as part of a third- or fourth-line HAART regimen in a person whose CD4 count is still over 100 and whose viral load is below 105. The drug also works best when a person is still responsive to at least two other HIV meds, the guidelines note.

    Recap of Recent HIV Treatment Research
    Still looking for the ideal wrap-up of research from this year's Retrovirus conference? Look no further than this captivating analysis from the talented Mark Mascolini, who guides us through a full range of conference highlights, including new developments on the drug resistance front and a look at some simplified HAART regimens that fell short in clinical trials.

    Full Retrovirus Coverage, Including Detailed Overviews, at The Body
    For more overviews and recaps of specific studies from the 2004 Retrovirus conference, look no further than The Body's outstanding coverage. In addition to dozens of analyses on individual studies, our experts have provided comprehensive overviews of key subjects in HIV research, including a new review of HIV drugs in development from Dr. David Wohl.



    The Long Wait for a New Liver
    It's been a long four years since George Martinez's doctor told him he needed a liver transplant to survive. George, who has had hepatitis B since 1969 and HIV since 1987, can now do little more than wait and hope. In this article, he describes his story and explains why he started a support group for other people in his situation.

    Deadlines Approaching: Summer Camps for HIV-Affected Kids
    Think your HIV-affected child might enjoy a trip to a summer camp geared specifically toward his or her needs? Spots are still open at some U.S. and Canadian summer camps for kids who are HIV positive or whose lives have been otherwise impacted by HIV. In many cases, there are little to no costs for attending and traveling to the camps!



    How HIV Impacts the Over-50 Crowd
    Although HIV research tends to focus on younger and middle-aged people, more and more people over the age of 50 in the United States are becoming infected with HIV, or are living well past 50 thanks to HAART. What do we know about HIV in older people? This fact sheet takes a closer look.

    An HIV-Positive Doc Learns the Ropes on Treatment
    "As a person living with AIDS for more than a decade and a healthcare professional, I learned early on that knowledge is power," writes Dr. Octavio Vallejo. He uses a range of resources -- on the Web, in print and in person -- to keep himself in the loop on new HIV developments.

    Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About HIV
    Know someone who needs to learn the basics about HIV and AIDS? Check out The Body's FAQ page, a collection of articles that address some of the most commonly asked questions about how HIV works, how HIV is transmitted and what it means to have AIDS.



    As ADAPs Suffer, Programs Need Your Help to Turn the Tide
    Across the country, AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) are running out of money, rationing care, or simply turning away people who need assistance. The situation is worsening as the number of people with HIV/AIDS continues to grow but public resources for programs to help them do not. This article explains how this came to be and what you can do to help change the situation.

    California ADAP Receives Temporary Reprieve
    Though many ADAPs are in dire straits, in California, at least, the situation won't get any worse -- for now. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's revised budget proposal for the next fiscal year increases funding for HIV-related programs, including a 13% increase in state ADAP funding that will allow the program to avoid capping enrollment and creating a waiting list. The governor's original budget would have cut funding for HIV prevention and treatment programs by 2%, capped ADAP enrollment at its current level and reduced the benefits for existing enrollees.

    Expert Panel Recommends HIV Care for All Low-Income Americans
    The U.S. government should subsidize HIV/AIDS care for all low-income residents, according to a report by the National Academies' Institute of Medicine. "Failing to provide these cost-effective, life-saving drugs to all Americans who need them, including individuals who lack insurance or cannot afford them, is indefensible," said Lauren LeRoy, the head of the panel that released the report. "Current programs are characterized by limited state budgets, limited services and a confusing array of eligibility requirements -- all of which undermine the nation's goals for preventing and treating HIV/AIDS."

    Docs, Nurses Take to Washington to Push for Better U.S. AIDS Funding
    The first annual "White Coat Day" took place on May 11 in Washington, D.C., as more than 20 HIV nurses and doctors traveled to the nation's capital to draw attention to the increasingly critical HIV/AIDS funding situation in the United States. The health professionals met with congressmembers to discuss issues such as the need for greater Medicaid and Ryan White funding for people with HIV.



    U.S. Begins "Fast-Track" Approval Program for Generic HIV Meds
    The U.S. government will launch a new program designed to greatly speed up its process of approving generic HIV meds for use in the developing world, according to a recent announcement. The United States formerly required a new set of clinical trials to prove a drug's safety and effectiveness, a process that can take years. But under the new program drug makers can instead use data from already-completed studies, which could potentially reduce the approval time to several weeks.

    Russian Poll Reveals Severe Lack of Public Knowledge About HIV
    Russia has a serious HIV education problem. Among the findings of a recent Focus-Media poll of 1,200 Moscow residents: * Fewer than 25% think an HIV-positive teacher should be allowed to teach. * Only 10% would continue shopping at a grocery store whose owner was infected. * More than half believe HIV can be caught by sharing a glass of water with an infected person or by dining at a restaurant with an HIV-positive server.

    Audio Interview With an Expert on the Global HIV Epidemic
    Turn up your speakers for this interview with Dr. Kevin DeCock, head of the Kenya office of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this one-on-one talk, Dr. DeCock sounds off on the grim -- and generally worsening -- state of the HIV epidemic throughout Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.



    U.S. Doctors Often Miss Golden Opportunities to Test for HIV
    Missed opportunities for detecting HIV when undiagnosed patients seek care remain unacceptably high, according to a recent study from the Boston University School of Medicine. The study found that even though many people who go to hospitals for medical help have "triggers," or characteristics that put them at some risk for HIV, doctors only thought to offer HIV tests to those people 27% of the time.

    Chlamydia Is an Epidemic Among U.S. Young Adults, Study Finds
    Four percent of young adults in the United States are infected with chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to infertility if left untreated, according to a huge nationwide study.
    When broken down by race, chlamydia infection rates were by far highest among African Americans, with 11.1% of black men and 14% of black women infected.

    Prison Fails to Notify Man of Hepatitis C Infection for Ten Years
    A prisoner is suing the New Jersey Department of Corrections and its medical contractor for waiting until 2002 to notify him that he had tested positive for hepatitis C ten years earlier. The inmate, who has been in prison since 1983, finally learned of his status thanks to a new state program that included the mass notification and treatment of inmates with hepatitis C. Though he's now receiving treatment, it has not been successful.



    Empowering Women Is the Way Forward in Saving Africa From AIDS Devastation
    "Across the [African] continent, women are driving the campaign against AIDS," writes Jeremy Laurance, the health editor of this British newspaper. "But their low status and economic powerlessness makes them most vulnerable to it. ... If the help were focused on women, it would be more likely to be taken up and, through them, have the greatest chance of impacting on men. Women have the incentive to change that men lack."
    Article from The Independent, May 17, 2004

    Living With AIDS in South Africa
    South Africa is celebrating its third free and fair election since the end of apartheid, but the country's future is threatened by the continuing AIDS crisis -- a tragedy that rarely makes headlines anymore in the developed world.
    Correspondence from BBC News, May 15, 2004

    HAART Has Led to a Dramatic Reduction in KS Incidence in Europe
    Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) -- a disfiguring skin illness that was commonly seen in people with AIDS, particularly men, during the first decade of the epidemic -- has become far more rare since HAART came into widespread use. The number of HIV-positive people who get KS has dropped 39% per year since 1994, a new European study has found. Although about 6% of people diagnosed with AIDS still get KS, the odds are reduced to only 1% in people on HAART.
    Article from, May 13, 2004

    Gene Therapy May Block HIV Spread
    A new study of an experimental treatment has shown some success in re-engineering a person's T cells to more effectively kill HIV.
    Article from BBC News, May 12, 2004

    Non-Antiretroviral Medication-Related Adverse Events During Treatment of HIV-Related Infections and Complications
    HAART meds aren't the only drugs HIV-positive people take that can have side effects. Many of the drugs used to treat opportunistic infections of HIV, such as PCP (a type of pneumonia), cytomegalovirus, herpes and some cancers also bring their own unpleasant side effects. This overview of those problems is provided by HIV InSite's Knowledge Base, a comprehensive online textbook from the University of California-San Francisco that covers every aspect of HIV disease.
    Content from HIV InSite, May 2004

    mental health AIDS: Spring 2004 (PDF)
    This newsletter, geared toward medical professionals, features "Methamphetamine on the Brain (Part 1)," which offers a medical and psychiatric overview of crystal meth use and the sexual risks those who use it often take; and "Out of Africa: Addressing HIV in Sub-Saharan Immigrant Populations," a compilation of studies from three continents.
    Newsletter from the AIDS Education and Training National Resource Center, March 22, 2004

    Image from the December 2003/January 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Praise," 2002; Kenneth Mitchell
    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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