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June 23, 2004
In This Update:
  • From the Editor
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Problems
  • Living With HIV: First-Person Stories
  • HIV Transmission
  • U.S. HIV/AIDS Policy & Activism
  • XV International AIDS Conference
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the U.S.

    This Sunday, June 27, is National HIV Testing Day in the United States. It's estimated that anywhere between 180,000 and 280,000 Americans are infected with HIV but don't know it, putting both themselves and their partners at risk. At the same time, HIV testing has become quicker and easier than ever before, with free, anonymous testing available across the United States and new rapid HIV tests that provide reliable results in as little as 20 minutes.

    By providing people with testing and information, National HIV Testing Day aims to reach millions of Americans at risk for becoming infected with HIV or at risk of unknowingly infecting others. This year's theme is "It's Better to Know."

    Looking for resources? You can:

    Have a healthy summer (or winter, if you live south of the Equator)! A happy Gay Pride Weekend to all, and if you don't know your HIV status, get yourself tested!

    - Bonnie Goldman, Editorial Director, The Body


    Full Transcript of The Body's Live Chat on Fuzeon (T-20)
    Did you miss The Body's live chat on Fuzeon last week? Fret not: We've got the transcript. Our two speakers answered more than two dozen questions during the hourlong chat, including inquiries about Fuzeon injections, side effects, treatment access and the use of Fuzeon by pregnant women. The complete transcript of this informative online discussion is now available! This chat was sponsored by Roche/Trimeris, the makers of Fuzeon.

    When HAART Regimens Stop Working
    Why do HIV treatment regimens "fail," and what should you do if it looks like your regimen is no longer working? Read this fact sheet from the U.S. HIV/AIDS Treatment Information Service for some basic rules of the road.

    Newly Updated HIV Treatment Guidelines for Pregnant Women
    Updated U.S. guidelines on the use of HIV medications in pregnant women are now available. Revisions to these guidelines include new information on each antiretroviral drug's safety for pregnant women and their babies. An updated chart specifically identifies a drug as "recommended," "alternative," "not recommended" or having "insufficient information" available to make a judgement. (Web highlight from AIDSinfo)

    Make Sure Your Vitamins and Other Treatments Don't Interact With HAART
    Wondering if one of your herbal supplements or anti-depression medications is interacting with your HIV medications? There are several resources online where you can check. AIDS Treatment News has compiled a helpful list.

    To stay on top of the latest news, research and specific warnings regarding drug-drug interactions in people with HIV, including information on the use of party drugs with HIV meds, be sure to bookmark The Body’s collection of articles on the subject.

    Drug Resistance Workshop Reviews Latest Research
    The 2nd European HIV Drug Resistance Workshop, which took place from March 11-13 in Rome, Italy, featured the latest news and research on HIV drug resistance. Visit this site to browse through a complete list of study abstracts. (Web highlight from

    You can also download this PDF to read a summary of the conference's highlights.



    Vitamins and Exercise May Help HIV-Related Metabolic Disorders
    Exercise and the use of vitamin supplements, particularly vitamin E, may help treat lipodystrophy in HIV-positive people on HAART, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. (Web highlight from The Advocate)

    Pregnancy: Severe Liver Toxicity in Nevirapine-Based HAART
    HIV-positive pregnant women with CD4 counts over 250 may be at risk for potentially severe, even fatal, liver problems if they use nevirapine (Viramune) as part of their HAART regimen, according to a newly published study. The findings back up similar warnings made public earlier this year. The researchers who conducted this study had two important caveats, however: Their findings had no bearing on the use of single-dose nevirapine to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, which is still recommended; and if women are currently taking nevirapine as part of their HAART regimen with no adverse effects on their liver, there is no need for them to switch meds. (Web highlight from

    At the Beach This Summer, Watch What You Swallow
    Headed to the pool or beach this summer? We hate to be a wet blanket -- we really do hope you have a wonderful time -- but you should be extra careful not to swallow any water. A microscopic parasite known as crypto (short for Cryptosporidium parvum) can wreak havoc on people with HIV and low CD4 counts. It can be found in contaminated water supplies or wherever someone is likely to come into contact with raw sewage or animal feces.

    A Simple Vaccination Can Protect You From Hepatitis A, B
    Hepatitis A and B pose an added risk to people with HIV, but both diseases are highly preventable. In fact, several doses of a single vaccine given over the course of one year can protect you against these two viruses for life.



    The Fear of Losing a Loved One
    "It's one thing to grieve for all the many loved ones you've lost to AIDS. It's another thing entirely to start mourning for someone who isn't even dead yet." In this emotional essay, Eric Watts writes about the hopes and fears that haunt him as his relationship with an HIV-positive man enters its second wonderful decade.

    Periods, Bras and T Cells: A Father-Daughter Talk
    In this touching, beautifully crafted story, Michael Kearns writes about how he finally told his nine-year-old adopted daughter that he has HIV. (Web highlight from LA Weekly)

    Visit The Body's "Inspiring Stories" area to read through dozens of other stories of strength, courage and perseverance from HIV-positive people.



    Latinos and HIV: A New York Story
    Which U.S. city has more Latinos living with AIDS: Los Angeles, New York City, Miami or San Juan? It may not surprise you that the answer is New York City, but what will surprise you is that New York is home to more Latinos with AIDS than the other three cities combined. Body Positive takes us for a closer look at the impact HIV has had on New York's Latino community, including personal interviews with HIV-positive people and profiles of local organizations serving Latinos with HIV.

    HIV Infections Among Older Americans More Common in South Florida
    South Florida may well be the epicenter of the HIV epidemic among older Americans, according to new statistics from the National Institutes on Aging. Florida's Broward County has 1,956 reported AIDS cases among people over 50, 13% of the total number of reported AIDS cases in the county. About 11% of all people with AIDS in the United States are over 50, health officials say.

    As Porn Industry Drags Feet on Condoms, Activists Step Up Pressure
    AIDS advocates recently held a rally at porn industry mogul Larry Flynt's adult film and magazine production company, calling on him to "set a good example" by requiring condom use in his pornographic films. This spring, five adult film actors tested HIV positive, leading to a temporary shutdown of most of California's heterosexual porn industry. Even after this outbreak, however, only 23% of performers are now reportedly using condoms.



    President Bush Announces New Funding for U.S. HIV Treatment Efforts
    U.S. President George W. Bush has announced $20 million in new funds to immediately "deliver life-saving drugs to the men and women in the United States living with HIV/AIDS who are waiting today for HIV-related medication," according to a June 23 White House press release. More than 1,600 HIV-positive Americans are currently on waiting lists for enrollment in one of the country's AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, which were capped due to a lack of available funding.

    AIDS in the Reagan Era: A Look Back
    The date: Oct. 15, 1982. The place: The White House Briefing Room. The occasion: The first-ever public discussion about AIDS in the Reagan administration. Here's how it began:

    Larry, does the President have any reaction to the announcement -- [from] the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, that AIDS is now an epidemic and have over 600 cases?

    What's AIDS?



    July's International AIDS Conference Could Be Largest Ever
    The XV International AIDS Conference, which will take place in Bangkok, Thailand, from July 11-16, may be the largest AIDS-related conference in human history. Fifteen thousand delegates from 150 countries are expected to attend, although ironically, due to Bush administration funding cuts, far fewer Americans are likely to attend this year than attended the last International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain.

    Far Away From Bangkok? The Body's Got You Covered
    As always, The Body will provide extensive coverage of the International AIDS Conference, including next-day reports of major research, as well as audio and video feeds straight from Bangkok! Be sure to check out our AIDS 2004 home page before the conference to read through introductory materials, and visit often throughout the conference for the latest developments.

    Thai Hotel Accused of HIV Discrimination as AIDS Conference Draws Near
    As preparations continue for the Bangkok conference, at least one situation has already called attention to the severe lack of AIDS awareness in the very city where the conference is taking place: The four-star Prince Palace hotel reportedly moved its HIV-positive guests to an isolated floor and segregated its dining area by HIV status. (Web highlight from Agence France-Presse)



    New HIV Infections Continue Upward Trend in Ireland
    The number of new HIV infections in Ireland has tripled since 1999, according to figures released by the country's National Disease Surveillance Centre. There are now approximately 3,500 HIV-positive people living in Ireland, including 399 newly reported HIV cases in 2003. Women accounted for 52% of the new cases, and about 60% of all new infections occurred among heterosexuals.

    South Africa: Youths See Anal Sex as Safe Alternative
    A survey of teenage schoolchildren in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province found that 15% think anal sex is less likely to result in HIV infection than vaginal sex. (Web highlight from PlusNews)

    Risky Behavior, Misconceptions About HIV Threaten to Decimate Nigerian Navy
    The greatest threat to Nigeria's armed forces? AIDS. It is the single largest killer of Nigerian naval soldiers, researchers say, and all signs indicate the trend will continue: A new survey has found that almost 33% of soldiers in the Nigerian navy say they have had sex with a commercial sex worker, and 41% of those who did so didn't use a condom. About half of all surveyed soldiers mistakenly thought a cure for AIDS was already available. (Web highlight from BBC News)

    Image from the June 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Hair," 1998; Barton Lidice Benes