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October 20, 2004

In This Update:
  • HIV Treatment
  • Life With HIV
  • AIDS Activism & Politics in the U.S.
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Problems
  • HIV Awareness & Prevention
  • AIDS Conferences Past & Present
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the U.S.

    New Insight Into HIV Drug Resistance
    What does it mean to have drug-resistant HIV? What does the most recent research reveal? In this talk, summarized by The PRN Notebook, Dr. Daniel R. Kuritzkes discusses the most important findings. (Web highlight from The PRN Notebook)

    Assessing New HIV Combo Drugs
    With the approval of Epzicom (abacavir/3TC) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) this summer, the number of HIV combination pills in the United States has doubled. But just how much benefit do these new combo meds really provide? Rob Camp reports on what we currently know about the benefits and risks of both medications.

    CD4 Gain Lower Among Older People Starting HAART Than Younger People
    CD4 counts rise more slowly in older HIV-positive people starting HAART than younger HIV-positive people starting HAART, according to the results of a new, large French study. The study also found that people over 50 were much more likely to progress to AIDS after starting HAART than younger HIVers, even though older people were more likely to reach an undetectable viral load. (Web highlight from

    Beware of AIDS Cures via E-mail Spam
    Need a cure for AIDS? Cancer? For just $49, a once-a-year dose of crocodile proteins can be your savior -- that is, if you're willing to believe the spam flooding your inbox. It's just the latest method being used by quacks and shills to take advantage of people with illnesses that have no easy cures. (Web highlight from The Washington Blade)



    Ask Your Questions About Fuzeon Monday, Oct. 25, 9 p.m. EST
    Join us next Monday night for an interactive, online talk with an HIV-positive person taking Fuzeon (T-20, enfuvirtide) and a Fuzeon-experienced nurse! Visit our chat page now to sign up for a reminder the day of the chat, or to presubmit your questions to help increase the chances they'll be answered.

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


    An HIV-Positive Comic Book Hero?
    The never-ending battle against bloodthirsty aliens and devious crooks has long been the focus of comic books such as the Green Arrow series, but Green Arrow's latest issue features an entirely new enemy: HIV. It sure has taken long enough, but for the first time in the history of the AIDS pandemic, a major comic book deals directly with HIV: The title character's sidekick, Mia, discovers that her past as a sex worker has led to an HIV diagnosis.

    The Dangers of Crystal Meth Use for HIVers
    Crystal methamphetamine use can be dangerous for anybody, but particularly for people with HIV. We already know that this drug can cause long-term health problems -- hallucinations, psychotic episodes, fatigue and depression -- and that overdoses can be deadly. But meth can also sometimes dangerously interact with HIV meds. And because it reduces people’s inhibitions, meth can also be responsible for HIVers passing the virus on to others -- or contracting a second strain of HIV themselves. Chicago physician Dr. Ross Slotten has more.

    Gay Marriage, Health Care and Human Rights
    What does HIV have to do with the roiling debate over gay marriage in the United States? It's not just about human rights, writes Greg Smith for Survival News; it’s also about getting better access to health care for gay men and women with HIV.



    Hundreds of U.S. AIDS Groups Demand Freeze on AIDS Drug Prices
    Led by the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC), 200 AIDS organizations have signed a letter to seven major pharmaceutical companies demanding that they immediately and permanently freeze prices on all of their AIDS-related medications. This press release from ATAC offers more details; the letter itself appears below the release. (Web highlight from AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition)

    New Book Explores Money, Medicine and Corruption
    "The time has come to ask whether all of the money floating around medicine has created a pattern of corruption," writes former New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) editor Jerome P. Kassirer in his new book, On the Take. This article reviews the book, the second one published this summer by a former NEJM editor deeply critical of the influence of pharmaceutical industry money on medicine. (Web highlight from The Boston Globe)

    Pennsylvanians Exposed to Incorrect Info About Voting Rights
    Contrary to what some Pennsylvania media reports have said recently, you can vote in the state if you've previously served time in prison for a felony, but you cannot vote there unless you're a U.S. citizen. The mixed messages about voter eligibility, though, show how important it is that you take steps to educate yourself -- and others -- to make sure that everybody who can vote does.

    Need info about registration requirements and eligibility rules in your state? Visit the Web site for Project Vote Smart and select your state from the list provided.



    Hepatitis Testing Important for HIVers Before Taking Kaletra
    Testing for hepatitis B or C before starting Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) is extremely important, researchers say, because Kaletra can seriously damage the liver of someone coinfected with HIV and hepatitis. A recent study found that HIVers coinfected with hepatitis who took Kaletra were at significantly higher risk of developing elevated liver enzyme levels. (Web highlight from

    Update on Hepatitis C Treatment Options
    The U.S. government recently approved two new, generic versions of ribavirin (also available under the brand names Copegus, Rebetol and Virazole), which should help reduce the cost of hepatitis C treatment. Studies show that ribavirin is most effective when taken in combination with pegylated interferon (Pegasys, PEG-Intron), the newest generation of hepatitis C meds.

    For a closer look at the studies that have been conducted on this new generation of hepatitis C meds, read this detailed review from the monthly newsletter of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care.

    Progress Continues Toward a Human Papillomavirus Vaccine
    Research trials underway in 14 countries have shown promising results in the search for a vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV). The vaccine targets HPV types 16 and 18, which cause more than 70% of cervical cancers.



    How to Use a Condom: The Long, Hard Facts
    Looking for an explicit, step-by-step guide to using condoms? This guide by the British publication will fit the bill, so to speak. (Web highlight from



    Beginning Oct. 31: Next-Day ICAAC Coverage From The Body
    Almost every season has its major AIDS conference: Last winter brought CROI, this summer brought the International AIDS Conference and, later this month, The Body will provide next-day coverage of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), a massive gathering of healthcare professionals sharing the latest in research on HIV and other diseases. As always, our expert team of HIV physicians will provide in-depth analyses of some of the most important findings presented at the conference. Stop by our ICAAC home page beginning Oct. 31 for our coverage!

    Still Hungry for Info From the International AIDS Conference?
    In this outstanding recap, Marc Mascolini paints a complete picture of the most important research presented at this summer's International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2004) in Bangkok, Thailand. Contrary to popular opinion, he notes, there actually was some intriguing new information presented.

    Of course, don't forget The Body's own wide-ranging coverage of AIDS 2004. In addition to in-depth news and research analyses from the conference (now available as a single, 8.6MB PDF you can download by clicking here), our AIDS 2004 area includes a collection of speech transcripts and interviews with prominent figures in the global AIDS community; Webcasts and multimedia from conference events; and our own AIDS 2004 photo journal featuring dozens of images of the people, places and protests that comprised this busy week in Bangkok.



    Russia: Protestors in Kaliningrad Say Government Has Failed People With AIDS
    Thirteen AIDS advocates chained themselves to the main entrance of Kaliningrad's City Hall in Russia for about an hour, accusing the government of failing to act against the AIDS epidemic in the city. The advocates were then arrested. Kaliningrad officials claim that people with AIDS are guaranteed medical treatment at no cost under the country's constitution, but the advocates say that "only a few people" currently receive treatment, while "thousands of others are left to the mercy of fate."

    Image from the October 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Lust for Charles," 1997;
    Edwardo Mirales
    Visit the October 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's new collection of art by HIV-positive artists.