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October 13, 2004

In This Update:
  • HIV & the 2004 U.S. Election
  • Fuzeon Chat Rescheduled
  • Life With HIV
  • HIV Treatment Access & AIDS Activism
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Problems
  • HIV Awareness & Prevention
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the United States
  •   HIV & THE 2004 U.S. ELECTION

    Healthcare and HIV: Where Do Bush and Kerry Stand?
    Where do Bush and Kerry stand on U.S. healthcare policy and AIDS funding? Last month, Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) released a detailed report laying out the positions of both U.S. presidential candidates on a range of important healthcare issues. This excerpt from that lengthy report compares the two on some of the most pivotal topics: support for Medicare, AIDS Drug Assistance Program, expanded health insurance coverage and reducing the costs of health care.

    If you'd like to read the full GMHC report, click here to download the PDF.

    Final U.S. Presidential Debate Is Tonight; Will HIV Be a Focus?
    The final debate between George W. Bush and John Kerry is tonight, Oct. 13, at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), and with the focus on domestic issues, perhaps this'll be the moment that the two finally go head-to-head on the topic of HIV in the United States. Last week, Vice-President Dick Cheney and VP nominee John Edwards chagrined many in the U.S. AIDS community by almost completely avoiding the topic; AIDS Action even sent these letters to both candidates critiquing their comments. Hopefully the presidential candidates will do better if they're asked a similar question this evening.

    Where the U.S. Election and HIV Meet, The Body Is There
    Still wondering who you should vote for? The Body's collection of articles and links on the 2004 election is an excellent starting point for your research on HIV-related issues in this heated campaign season.



    New Date and Time: Monday, Oct. 25, 9 p.m. EST

    Due to the scheduled final U.S. presidential debate this Wednesday, The Body's upcoming chat on Fuzeon (T-20, enfuvirtide) has been postponed until Monday, Oct. 25, at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). The chat was originally scheduled for tonight, Oct. 13, at 9 p.m. EST.

    We apologize for the short notice on the postponement; we hope you'll still be able to take part in the chat later this month! To read more about the chat or submit your questions early, please visit our chat home page.

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


    Man Mistakenly Told He Had HIV Speaks Out About Experience
    "I haven't felt this good in 30 years, but that doesn't mean I'm not still mad as hell," said Jim Malone, the California man who was mistakenly diagnosed with HIV seven and a half years ago. His story offers a poignant glimpse into the impact an HIV diagnosis has on a person's life -- and on the brutal role HIV stigma still plays in the United States today. (Web highlight from The New York Times Magazine; free registration required)

    HIV Fiction: The Disclosure
    Mike's second date with Alby went swimmingly, but Alby seemed like he was playing hard-to-get. Mike had no idea why, until, as that beautiful day drew to a close, Alby leaned his face toward Mike's and said, "I'm HIV positive." Will Mike drop anchor or jump ship? The story plays out in the rest of Gary McClain's fictional piece, "Hydraphobia."



    ADAP Waiting Lists Top 1,300 People Nationwide
    The number of HIV-positive people on waiting lists nationwide for enrollment in AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) currently totals 1,307 in 11 states, according to the latest "ADAP Watch" released by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors. Although President Bush in June ordered the immediate release of $20 million to purchase AIDS-related drugs for states with ADAP waiting lists, only the 10 states that had waiting lists at the time of the order will benefit.

    ACT UP Oral History Project Brings Activists' Words to Your Ears
    The ACT UP Oral History Project is an online collection of more than two dozen (and growing) interviews with many of the people who were at the forefront of the original AIDS activist movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The interviews provide an up-close and personal look at many of the men and women whose extraordinary efforts helped make many of our current advances against HIV possible. Both video and PDF transcripts of each interview are available. (Web highlight from the ACT UP Oral History Project)



    High-Fiber Diet Could Help Prevent Lipodystrophy
    If you have HIV, increasing the amount of fiber in your diet could help you avoid lipodystrophy and other cardiovascular problems, researchers suggest. In this article from PositiveWords, nutritionist Theresa Kinsella explains, and offers a sample meal plan as well.

    Other Important Tests for HIVers (In Addition to CD4 Count and Viral Load)
    As most people with HIV know, CD4 counts and viral loads aren't the only types of tests that help you keep tabs on your health. Medication side effects (and HIV itself) make it important to also monitor the functioning of organs such as your kidneys and liver, as well as the amount of glucose, lactic acid and other chemicals in your body. Liz Highleyman provides a brief explanation of each of these potentially vital tests.

    HIV-Positive Men With Syphilis Have Higher Viral Loads, Lower CD4 Counts
    HIV-positive men with syphilis have higher viral loads and lower CD4 counts than HIV-positive men who don't have syphilis, according to a study of 52 San Francisco men. The findings imply that syphilis infection makes HIV-positive men not only more likely to become sick, but also more likely to transmit HIV to others, which would make syphilis prevention an extremely important component of HIV prevention efforts aimed at men.
    (Web highlight from

    Breath Test May Provide Pain-Free Alternative to Liver Biopsy
    Australian researchers say they've developed a new breath test that helps detect liver damage, including scarring and cirrhosis. The test involves a person drinking carbon-tagged caffeine; by measuring the amount of the carbon tag present in the person's breath after one hour, the researchers say they can gauge how impaired that person's liver metabolism has become.

    New York to HIV Doctors: Help HIVers Quit Smoking
    HIV-positive people are far more likely to smoke than HIV-negative people, even though smoking increases the risk of developing many illnesses related to HIV and HAART. Realizing that many HIVers who smoke are also interested in quitting, the New York State Department of Health has released these new guidelines for HIV doctors recommending that they actively help HIVers kick the cigarette habit. (Web highlight from the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute)



    Persistent HIV Hot Spots Suggest Need for Tailored Prevention Efforts
    HIV infection rates are still high in the rural Florida community where, 18 years ago, researchers first discovered that heterosexual sex was a primary transmission method for HIV. The new findings, researchers say, point to the need for HIV prevention efforts that are better tailored to each specific community, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. (Web highlight from Reuters Health)

    "Personalized" HIV Vaccine to Begin Safety Trial
    Argos Therapeutics and the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam are about to begin a safety trial of what Argos calls a "personalized" HIV vaccine, which uses HIV extracted from an HIV-positive person's own blood. The company believes that this personalized approach will prevent HIV from mutating and becoming resistant to the vaccine.



    Cheaper Alternatives to CD4, Viral Load Tests
    Tracking a person's CD4 count and viral load is one of the most important, reliable ways we can determine the health of an HIV-positive person's immune system. But the tests also cost a lot more money than many areas -- particularly developing countries -- can afford. What can healthcare workers in these areas do to monitor an HIVer's health? New research presented this summer may have some answers. Bob Huff of Gay Men's Health Crisis explains.

    Ottawa Expands Needle-Exchange Program to Offer Drug Paraphernalia
    Ottawa, Canada's needle-exchange program has expanded to offer drug paraphernalia, including crack pipes, tourniquets and aluminum caps, Dr. Robert Cushman, the city's chief medical officer, said in a recent report to the City Council health and social services committee.

    Climbing HIV Rates in Ukraine Threaten All of Europe, Experts Say
    Ukraine -- where the monthly rate of new HIV infections is among the highest in Europe -- faces a crisis that demands worldwide attention, according to two members of the USAID HIV/AIDS Research Project in Russia and Ukraine. The USAID officials say that global commitment is needed to stem the tide of HIV in Ukraine and protect the entire region's stability.

    Germany Reports Strong Rise in New Syphilis Cases
    Germany saw a 20% increase in new syphilis cases last year, the Berlin-based Robert Koch Institute reports. In 2003, 2,932 people were diagnosed with syphilis, up from 2,275 people in 2002. The report said the rise is probably related to the fact that the newly diagnosed people reported more sexual partners than newly diagnosed people in the past. The report expressed concern that HIV rates could soon rise as well.

    Friday, Oct. 15, 2004
    National Latino AIDS Awareness Day poster
    The HIV/AIDS community is gearing up for the 2nd annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day -- Friday, Oct. 15. With an HIV rate far higher than that of whites, it's more important than ever to spread HIV education and prevention to Hispanic Americans. Click here to download posters and more info.
    Image from the October 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Threesome," 1996;
    Luna Luis Ortiz
    Visit the October 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's new collection of art by HIV-positive artists.