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Live Chat at The Body: Wednesday, June 16 at 9 p.m., talk live with a nurse and a patient about T-20 (Fuzeon).
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June 16, 2004
In This Update:
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV, Women & Pregnancy
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Problems
  • Mental Health & Quality of Life
  • Financial Assistance for People With HIV
  • HIV Testing News
  • U.S. HIV/AIDS Policy & Activism
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the U.S.
  •   HIV TREATMENT

    Tonight at 9 p.m. EST: Live Chat on Fuzeon at The Body!
    Join us at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST) tonight -- that's Wednesday, June 16 -- for a live, interactive chat on the HIV medication Fuzeon (T-20, enfuvirtide) sponsored by Roche/Trimeris, the makers of Fuzeon. This hourlong question-and-answer session will feature: Don Kurtyka, a nurse practitioner experienced with Fuzeon, and Rob, who is currently taking Fuzeon as part of his HAART regimen.


    Prominent Medical Group Calls for Full Disclosure on Drug Studies
    A national registry proposed by the American Medical Association would aim to prevent pharmaceutical companies in the United States from hiding negative results of clinical trials on the drugs they’re developing. Currently, U.S. drug makers are not required to disclose the results of all their clinical studies. (Web highlight from The Boston Globe)


    Drug Pipeline Update: The Cream of the Crop
    The antiretroviral farm has a pretty robust crop this year; dozens of drugs are in various stages of development. Treatment Action Group examines several of the most noteworthy.


    Resistant to Many HIV Meds? Consider a TMC-125 Trial
    A clinical trial of TMC-125, an experimental NNRTI, is seeking multi-drug resistant HIV-positive volunteers throughout the U.S. Interested? Read this article for more information on how to enroll.

    For an update on the results that TMC-125 has achieved on its way through clinical trials, read through this research review from IAPAC Monthly.

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      HIV, WOMEN & PREGNANCY

    HIV Medication Safety Chart for Pregnant Women With HIV
    A, B, C, D and X: No, they’re not bra sizes. They are the classes into which HIV meds are placed based on the risks they may pose to pregnant women. For a class-by-class rundown of the level of risk each HIV medication holds for pregnant women, read this important overview and chart from PositiveWords, and if you’re HIV positive and pregnant, make sure you talk with your doctor.


    Earlier Treatment Linked to Better Outcomes for HIV-Positive Newborns
    A recent study has found that starting HIV-positive newborns on treatment less than three months after their birth makes them twice as likely to have low viral loads when they are four years old than newborns who started treatment after they were three months old. Though the findings are preliminary, they appear to provide some support for a "hit early" approach to treatment in babies with HIV.


    HIV-Positive Women Are From Venus
    HIV positive and female? This pairing of characteristics often puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to getting the best care. How can you be an advocate for yourself? Social worker Mary Lynn Hemphill offers some tips.

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      HIV/HAART-RELATED HEALTH PROBLEMS

    Meet the Hepatitis Virus Family
    They’re three diseases known by the same name: “hepatitis.” They all cause damage to your liver and they all pose greater risks for people with HIV. But hepatitis A, B and C are actually three different viruses. In this superb online brochure, AIDS Community Research Initiative of America explains how each type of hepatitis works, the impact each can have on people with HIV and how each can be prevented and treated.


    Diarrhea Diagnosis Flowchart
    How do doctors decide how to go about diagnosing diarrhea in people with HIV? Guidelines such as those outlined in this flowchart by Dr. Joseph Bick can help them determine what's causing a person's diarrhea.

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      MENTAL HEALTH & QUALITY OF LIFE

    How to Clean the Air at Home Without Cleaning Out Your Wallet
    It's allergy season -- also known as "Hell on Earth" for people who suffer from sinus problems, hay fever or the like. Air filters can go a long way toward alleviating all that sneezing and improving your quality of life, but most air filters carry hefty price tags. There's an inexpensive alternative, though: It involves just a little ingenuity and a quick trip to the hardware store.


    Depression Is Considerably More Common Among HIVers Than Rest of U.S.
    Nearly 58% of all people with HIV in the United States -- and 70% of people with both HIV and hepatitis C -- suffer from depression, according to University of North Carolina researchers. Both rates are far higher than for the general U.S. population; an estimated 5-10% of all Americans are depressed. The study also found that psychiatric disorders were twice as likely to be found among people with both HIV and hepatitis C than people with HIV alone.

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     FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR PEOPLE WITH HIV

    Medicare Drug Discount Cards: What People With HIV Need to Know
    Are those new Medicare-approved drug discount cards a smart thing to sign up for if you're HIV positive, on Medicare and living in the United States? John James of AIDS Treatment News examines the pros and cons and offers some advice on how to choose from the dizzying array of available discount cards.

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      HIV TESTING NEWS

    Experimental HIV Test Detects Viral Loads as Low as 2 Copies/ml
    A new HIV test in development appears to be 25 times more sensitive than current HIV tests, according to a recent study by U.S. researchers. The study found that the Real-Time Immuno-PCR test, which identifies tiny concentrations of an HIV protein known as p24, can detect a viral load level as low as 2 copies/ml. Standard viral load tests cannot detect a level of less than 50.

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      U.S. HIV/AIDS POLICY & ACTIVISM

    Drugs Given Away by U.S. HIVers Prolong Lives Worldwide
    Think that donating your unused HIV meds would be a waste of time and effort? Think again: "It's easy to give away pills you aren't using," says one donor. "But for the person getting them, it's really life or death." (Web highlight from the Associated Press)

    Want to donate your antiretrovirals for use by HIV-positive people who would otherwise be unable to receive treatment? Read through The Body's collection of articles on organizations that accept donated meds.


    Ritonavir Marketing Materials Are Misleading, FDA Says
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has described as "false and misleading" various marketing materials produced by Abbott Laboratories for ritonavir (Norvir) since the company raised the price of the drug by more than 400% last December. Among the FDA's findings: Abbott was wrong to state that ritonavir is still the lowest-cost protease inhibitor, since the advertised "lowest-cost" dose is actually far smaller than what is needed for the drug to be effective on its own.


    Abstinence-Only Sex Education Still Alive and Well in U.S.
    In the United States’ current political climate, funding and support for abstinence-only sex education seems only to be growing stronger. Columnist David Salyer takes a new swipe at abstinence-only education in his latest article -- and analyzes some of the programs on which our tax money has been spent.


    Activists Launch New Campaign to Save AIDS Drug Assistance
    The AIDS Treatment Activist Coalition and others launched a summer grassroots action campaign on June 14 with a barrage of phone calls to U.S. Congressmen imploring them to support emergency funding for the country’s struggling AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs). Want to get involved? Read this article for the details.


    U.S. Spurs New Initiative on Vaccine Development -- But Some Critics Are Worried
    The global AIDS epidemic garnered new attention this week as leaders of the world's most powerful countries agreed on a plan to accelerate worldwide HIV vaccine research. U.S. President George W. Bush led the way, pledging $15 million towards launching an international "Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise," which would spur closer collaboration between research laboratories around the globe. Not everyone, however, is enthusiastic about the new project, as Bradford Plumer reports in this news analysis. (Web highlight from MotherJones.com)

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      HIV/AIDS OUTSIDE THE U.S.

    In Cuba, Storm Clouds Gather Over AIDS Programs
    From the outside, it appears as though Cuba is making great strides to control and treat HIV among its citizens. But as Richard Stern, an advocate on Latin American AIDS issues, found when he traveled to the island country, things are not always as they seem. "Cuba's AIDS program is described as 'excellent' and it may well be 'excellent,'" he writes. "But if it isn't, or if there are any defects, you won't find out about it unless you are in Cuba."


    The Fidelity Fix: Another Way to Prevent the Spread of AIDS in Africa
    In this in-depth examination, Helen Epstein investigates why HIV is spreading so quickly in southern Africa. She finds that concurrent sexual partnerships -- relationships with several people at the same time -- are common in the region. Sexually active people are actually part of a giant network, she explains; they are linked "not only to one another but also to the partners of their partners' partners -- and to the partners of those partners, and so on -- via a web of sexual relationships that can extend across huge regions. If one member contracts HIV, then everyone else in the web may, too." (Web highlight from The New York Times Magazine; free registration required)


    Antiretrovirals for the World: Needs and Challenges
    The World Health Organization's "3 by 5 Initiative" aims to provide HIV medications to three million people in the developing world by next year. But how can it hope to achieve such a momentous goal? Dr. Alice Pau, a pharmacist with the U.S. National Institutes of Health who has spent part of the last year working in South Africa, explains the strategies behind the campaign. (Web highlight from The PRN Notebook; free registration required)

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    ART FROM HIV-POSITIVE ARTISTS
    Image from the June 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Removing Make-Up," 1992;
    Hunter Reynolds

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