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May 26, 2004
In This Update:
  • HIV Treatment
  • Quality of Life
  • U.S. HIV/AIDS Policy & Activism
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the U.S.
  • Web Highlights

    New Antiretroviral Review From One of The Body's Experts
    What's new in the antiretroviral world? The Body's own Dr. David Wohl provides this excellent, exclusive recap of the latest research on HIV meds in development. (Healthcare professionals: You can earn free CME/CE credit by reading this article at The Body Pro, The Body's sister site for healthcare workers!)

    Have questions for Dr. Wohl about this article or other issues related to HIV medications? Visit him at The Body's "Ask the Experts" forum on starting HIV treatment and ask away!

    Researchers See Potential in On-Again, Off-Again Regimens
    A once-a-day HAART regimen taken in pre-planned, seven-day-on, seven-day-off cycles could potentially work well for HIV-positive people, provided they adhere strictly to the schedule, U.S. researchers have found. The strategy could be especially useful in the developing world, where access to even generic HIV medicines is extremely limited.

    Adherence Tips for HIVers on the Go
    "Adherence": It's one of the most important words in HIV treatment. All it means is that if you are on medications, you take each med on time, all the time. Doing so takes both commitment and hard work. This basic Q+A offers tips for those of you trying to figure out how to best fit your meds into a busy lifestyle.



    "Emotional Writing" May Help HIVers Increase CD4 Counts
    You've probably heard people say that talking about your feelings out loud or on paper can make you feel better. New research shows that it might do more than that -- it could even increase your CD4 count! In a recent study, HIV-positive people who wrote about their deepest emotions in four daily sessions were found six months later to have less stress and better immune responses than a group of people who didn't participate in the writing sessions.

    Gastrointestinal Problems: A Detailed Review
    Concerned about gastrointestinal problems -- stomach pain, difficulty swallowing, ulcers, diarrhea, rectal discomfort, weight loss -- that are known to occur in people with HIV? This detailed overview from Dr. Joseph Bick, although aimed at the healthcare community, is a very informative resource for anyone looking to learn more about the causes of and treatments for these problems.



    New Report Finds Huge Differences in ADAP Coverage by State
    U.S. AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) last year served 136,000 people living with HIV. But people receive widely varied coverage depending on where they live, and some people who qualify don't receive treatment at all, according to the eighth annual National ADAP Monitoring Project Report. For instance, the number of medicines covered by ADAPs range from 18 in Colorado to 474 in New York. Eleven states have closed enrollment to new clients, and nine of these states reported 1,263 people on waiting lists for HIV medications.

    U.S. Government Begins Doling Out "Prevention for Positives" Money
    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded $49 million in grants to 142 community-based organizations with programs that focus on preventing HIV-positive people from spreading the virus, shifting some funds away from programs that target people who are at high risk of contracting HIV. Some AIDS groups have blamed politics for the shift in federal funds, as one of the groups that will lose funding uses HIV prevention methods that are criticized by some Republican congressmembers.

    How I Fell in Love With AIDS Activism: One Woman's Story
    "I had never done or thought about doing advocacy of any kind and the idea of it seemed very intimidating," writes a woman who is now a staunch activist for AIDS-related causes. In this essay, she explains how she went from being terrified of AIDS activism to falling in love with it.

    Government Holds Hearing on Ritonavir Price Increase
    The U.S. National Institutes of Health heard "sharply differing views" at a hearing over a request to produce a generic version of ritonavir (Norvir), the price of which was increased 400% late last year. The request, filed last month by Essential Innovations, a not-for-profit organization run by consumer advocates, asked for a license to produce a generic version of ritonavir while it is still under patent. Even if Essential Innovations' request is approved, it could be years before a generic version of ritonavir reaches the U.S. market.



    Ethiopia's HIV Epidemic Threatens to Spiral Out of Control
    Approximately 1,000 people in Ethiopia contract HIV each day, and the country is facing "alarming growth" in its HIV/AIDS epidemic, a government official said last week. Up to 2.2 million of the country's 70 million people are HIV positive, but the government has yet to roll out an antiretroviral distribution program.

    South Africa Running Out of Space to Bury Those Who Have Died From AIDS
    A skyrocketing death rate has caused a dearth of burial space in the world's most HIV-afflicted nation. The city of Durban's cemetery department this week said the amount of land it needs each year has doubled in the last decade to more than 12 hectares, a graveyard boom "caused by the scourge of HIV/AIDS in our society." Eighty percent of the people being buried are between 18 and 30 years old, department officials said.



    Database of Antiretroviral Drug Interactions
    Wondering whether your HIV meds interact with other prescription drugs you might be taking? Use this extensive, searchable database -- and talk with your doctor!
    Resource from HIV InSite, regularly updated

    HIV Infections Surging in U.S. Latino Community
    New findings issued by the Latino Commission on AIDS reveal that HIV infections have increased in the Latino community by nearly 30% in 2004. In this audio interview, Dennis DeLeon, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS, and acclaimed actress Lupe Ontiveros talk about how to more effectively educate the community on combating the spread of HIV.
    Audio from The Tavis Smiley Show, May 25, 2004

    Travel Advice for HIV-Infected Individuals
    What can you do to protect yourself from dangerous diseases when travelling to developing countries? This report discusses ways to prevent and treat malaria, diarrhea and other travel-related illnesses.
    Article from The Hopkins HIV Report, May 2004

    HIV Superinfection: Can Patients Be Infected Twice?
    Researchers are still debating this hot-button issue, but evidence increasingly supports the existence of various ways that HIV-positive people can become infected with a second strain of the virus, which could make their infection much harder to treat.
    Article from The Hopkins HIV Report, May 2004

    AIDS Documentary "A Closer Walk" Debuts on GMability
    View a 30-minute clip of "A Closer Walk," Robert Bilheimer's gripping documentary film about the impact of HIV/AIDS on the lives of people in Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States.
    Video from A Closer Walk, April 1, 2004

    While Robert Bilheimer was working on "A Closer Walk," he wrote moving letters from the front lines of the global battle against HIV. You can read them all at the home for "A Closer Walk" at The Body.

    Image from the Spring 2004 Visual AIDS Newsletter
    Read the latest issue of Visual AIDS' Art+ Newsletter, a seasonal update on AIDS awareness projects that involve various works of art by HIV-positive artists. Also included is information for artists regarding available grants, upcoming shows and other Visual AIDS events.