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October 6, 2004

In This Update:
  • Life With HIV
  • U.S. AIDS Policy & Election 2004
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Problems
  • HIV Transmission
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the United States

    Fertility Clinics Should Stop Turning Away Mixed-Status Couples, Doctor Says
    "There is enough evidence to show that HIV-positive parents can conceive a child without infecting each other or their offspring," says Dr. James Martin, a Canadian doctor who assists HIV-positive couples with conception. Although many fertility clinics still turn away couples in which one or both partners are HIV positive, "it's just a matter of time" before Canadian courts outlaw such discrimination, some legal experts say.

    Brutal Conditions, Discrimination Common for HIV-Positive Inmates
    The fight against HIV stigma has been a long, hard battle in the United States. But the struggle may have been even more dramatic in America’s prison system, where discrimination and segregation based on HIV status were once commonplace, even from other inmates. HIV-positive Colorado inmate Danny Meyers reflects back on those difficult times.

    The Art of Sex: Visual AIDS' October 2004 Web Gallery
    Sex is the theme of the October 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery, our newest compelling collection of artwork created by HIV-positive artists. This month's curator has selected 20 works that focus on two aspects of sexual intimacy: longing and touch.



    On Oct. 13, Join Us for a Fuzeon Chat!

    Got questions about Fuzeon (enfuvirtide, T-20)? Wondering who should use it, how to inject it and what its side effects are? Both a nurse and an HIV-positive person who takes a regimen containing Fuzeon will talk with you live at The Body on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (6 p.m. Pacific). To increase the odds that your question will be answered, submit it now by visiting our chat page!

    This chat is sponsored by Trimeris and Roche, the makers of Fuzeon.


    Vice-Presidential Candidates Avoid Discussion of HIV in the United States
    When asked what steps the U.S. government should take to slow the spread of HIV among African-American women, Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. John Edwards changed the subject. At the Oct. 6 vice-presidential debate, Cheney said he had no idea there was a severe HIV problem among African-American women, and instead talked about the efforts the Bush administration has made to fight HIV globally. Edwards avoided the topic entirely, deciding to talk instead about the healthcare situation for all American adults.

    That having been said, the Kerry-Edwards campaign is the only one of the two that offers an HIV/AIDS plan on its Web site; the Bush-Cheney campaign site only offers the text of a speech on AIDS that Bush gave in Philadelphia earlier this summer. (For what it's worth, Ralph Nader's campaign site doesn't even mention HIV at all.)

    HIV and the U.S. 2004 Presidential Election: The Issues Up Close
    Although both presidential candidates have done an impressive job avoiding much public discussion about one of the world's most dangerous diseases, HIV is an important issue in next month's election, and George W. Bush and John Kerry differ on several key issues that directly impact Americans with HIV. Keep yourself informed: Stop in at The Body's collection of articles and resources on this year's presidential election!



    The Co-Receptor Inhibitor: The Next Big Thing in Treatment?
    They may be the next major type of HIV medication to hit the market: co-receptor inhibitors, which are similar to fusion inhibitors like T-20 (enfuvirtide, Fuzeon) in that they try to prevent HIV from getting inside a person’s CD4 cells. This summer saw plenty of new research on how this experimental type of drug works; this review by GMHC's Bob Huff takes a closer look.

    For a rundown of specific co-receptor inhibitors currently in the development pipeline, be sure to read this research update as well.

    Learn About HIV Research at the NYC "Clinical Trials Fair," Nov. 20
    Living in New York City and interested in becoming a part of the cutting edge of HIV research? Search for a Cure is hosting a "Clinical Trials Fair" in Manhattan on Nov. 20, featuring info provided by HIV healthcare workers who are involved with the latest clinical trials. Free food, music and prizes will be available!

    The Twisted Tale of Hydroxyurea, the On-Again, Off-Again HIV Med
    POZ’s Austin Bunn takes a closer look at the schizophrenic history of hydroxyurea, a drug used to help people with cancer -- and which HIV researchers were investigating as well, until the U.S. government suddenly banned it in 2003. (Web highlight from POZ Magazine)

    Changing Antiretroviral Therapy: Why, When, and How
    What are the different reasons that someone on HAART might need to switch regimens, and what's the best way to do so? A team of physicians from Cornell University's Weill Medical College provide the answers in this detailed chapter of HIV InSite's online textbook on HIV. (Web highlight from HIV InSite)

    HIV-Positive Moms Should Continue AZT Prophylaxis After Childbirth, Study Says
    When HIV-positive women stop taking AZT (zidovudine, Retrovir) after using the drug to prevent their babies from getting HIV during childbirth, there’s a brief jump in the amount of HIV in their breast milk, researchers have found. They recommend that mothers should continue to take AZT prophylaxis as long as they breastfeed. (Web highlight from

    New Research Methods Seek to Make Drug Development More Efficient
    Researchers are increasingly using modern medical technology to more quickly determine which experimental drugs are worth developing further and which should be cast into oblivion.



    Marijuana Use for Pain Relief: Europe Takes Charge
    British and French pharmaceutical companies are racing ahead of their U.S. counterparts to develop new marijuana-containing drugs that can relieve pain and treat a wide range of illnesses. (Web highlight from Reuters Health)



    Most Pos Gay Men Don't Have Unsafe Sex With HIV-Negative Men
    In the latest research to show that the vast majority of gay men with HIV are not recklessly spreading the virus to others, a large nationwide U.S. study has found that most HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) take concrete steps to avoid transmitting the virus to their partners. Among MSM who said they'd had insertive anal sex in their last encounter, 75% reported using a condom -- but the proportion increased to 86% if their partner was HIV negative. Also worth noting is that only 40% of the MSM who reported having sex within the past year actually had insertive anal sex during their last encounter; 30% reported oral sex only.



    Pope Calls HIV a Disease "of the Spirit"
    In a written message for the Church's World Day of the Sick, Pope John Paul II described HIV as "a pathology of the spirit" as well as a physical disease. Sexually transmitted cases of HIV "are best avoided above all through responsible conduct and the observance of the virtue of chastity," the pope said.

    HIV-Positive Women Play Russian Roulette With Each Pregnancy
    It's a tragedy that continues to unfold throughout South Africa: Despite the country's thousands of AIDS orphans desperate for new parents, many HIV-positive women with little hope of receiving treatment are still having babies, often because they're afraid to tell their husbands they have HIV or yearn to leave behind some sort of legacy before they die. (Web highlight from Business Day, Johannesburg)

    Will Britain's New Discrimination Laws Help HIVers?
    The United Kingdom just expanded its disability discrimination laws to apply to every single employer in the commonwealth. What sort of impact will this have on the 50,000 HIV-positive people living in the UK? It can only be a good one, says BBC News -- although much remains to be done to eliminate HIV-related discrimination both inside and outside the workplace. (Web highlight from BBC News)

    Image from the October 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    Untitled (Map), 1990;
    David Wojnarowicz
    Visit the October 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's new collection of art by HIV-positive artists.