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October 27, 2004

In This Update:
  • The 2004 U.S. Election
  • Life With HIV
  • HIV Treatment News
  • HIV Treatment Access in the U.S.
  • HIV Prevention & Transmission News
  • Protecting Yourself From HIV
  •   THE 2004 U.S. ELECTION

    The U.S. Election Is Almost Here: Inform Yourself and VOTE!
    Bush or Kerry, Kerry or Bush; still haven't made up your mind? Did you decide a long time ago, but are looking for ammo to support your candidate's position on AIDS policy at home and abroad? Either way, The Body's listing of resources and news is an excellent starting point to educate yourself on the issues that matter for people with HIV. Read, think, deliberate -- and, most importantly, get out and vote on Nov. 2!


    Comparing Bush and Kerry on AIDS Policy: A Closer Look
    The Kaiser Family Foundation, a prominent, nonprofit healthcare advocacy group, has compiled this overview of the key HIV-related issues at stake in this election, as well as a side-by-side comparison of where Bush and Kerry stand on each.


    Ohio AIDS Advocates Warn of Voting Problems for Disabled People
    Unusually high scrutiny of voters' eligibility could make it harder for many disabled people in Ohio to vote on Nov. 2, according to U.S. AIDS advocates. Ohio, one of the states analysts say will be pivotal in next week's U.S. presidential election, is expected to have a large number of "challengers" at polling places -- people whose job it is to question the validity of a voter's registration. All of those challenges, AIDS advocates worry, could result in extremely long voting lines, which may take a toll on disabled voters.

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      LIFE WITH HIV

    A Mother's Honesty About Her Status Wins Her Daughters' Respect
    At first, Deneen R. Fountain told herself there was no way she could possibly tell her two daughters, ages 5 and 6, that she'd been diagnosed with HIV. She was convinced they'd never accept it. She was wrong. "I believe my daughters have learned how important it is to be honest," she writes. "Their acceptance of me has framed my entire life with HIV."

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      HIV TREATMENT NEWS

    Breaking Research Coverage From ICAAC 2004 Begins This Weekend!
    Starting at the end of the month, The Body and its superb team of HIV experts will provide on-location coverage of the 44th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC 2004), one of the largest medical conferences of the year for HIV-related research. Bookmark our ICAAC 2004 home page and visit often to read about the latest breaking research!


    Treatment Interruption May Work for People With High Pre-HAART CD4 Counts
    The see-saw discussion over whether structured HIV treatment interruptions (STIs) are safe may have just tilted again. A new study of 107 HIVers in Dallas has found that, if their CD4 count was over 250 when they began HAART, they were much more likely to do well for at least a year after stopping treatment. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)


    Protect Yourself Against HIV Treatment Fraud
    Healthcare scams come in all shapes and sizes, and the more dangerous the disease, the more dangerous it is to fall victim to fraud. How can you figure out if the HIV treatment you've just heard about is legit? This guide from Project Inform offers some useful advice.


    The 2004 Review of Experimental Antiretrovirals
    The number of HIV medications in the United States increased to 26 this year, and more may be on the way soon. In this talk, summarized by Tim Horn for The PRN Notebook, noted HIV researcher Dr. Joseph Eron recaps what we know (and don't know) about some of our newest HIV meds, and reviews some of the most promising candidates in the pipeline. (Web highlight from The PRN Notebook; free registration required)


    This Little Medication Goes to Market, But This Little Med Stays Home ...
    How does a new HIV medication get approved in the United States? How long does the approval process take, and what factors can make or break a prospective drug? Tim Horn of ACRIA Update offers this in-depth explanation of the many steps that must be taken before a prescription drug can be sold in the United States.

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      HIV TREATMENT ACCESS IN THE UNITED STATES

    Trouble Getting Your HIV Meds? Consider a Patient Assistance Program
    Even if traditional healthcare coverage -- such as insurance, Medicaid and ADAP -- can't secure you access to HIV meds, there's another option that many people don't know about: Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs). Almost every drug company has PAPs, and they're specifically geared toward people who have run out of other options. Read this article to learn more about how PAPs work and how you can participate in one.

    For a list of PAP contact numbers, check out this directory from the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America.


    Drug Pricing: How to Stop the Madness
    Is there any way we can reverse the seemingly unstoppable rise in drug prices in the United States? There are several ideas out there, from giving the government control over pricing to legalizing the import of drugs from other countries. Project Inform takes a closer look at these ideas, and tries to answer the question: Will anything work?

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      HIV PREVENTION & TRANSMISSION NEWS

    Transmission of Syphilis by Oral Sex Is Increasing
    Syphilis is increasingly being transmitted through oral sex -- in fact, one out of every five Chicago men who have sex with men now get syphilis that way, according to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Mistaken in the belief that oral sex is safe sex, many people are unaware they can readily catch or transmit syphilis (and other sexually transmitted diseases, like gonorrhea) in this manner. Moreover, syphilitic sores in the mouth can increase the risk of HIV infection.


    Microbicides: Experimental Drug Offers Promising Advance
    High doses of an experimental drug called PSC-RANTES, when applied to the vaginas of rhesus monkeys, completely blocked the transmission of the simian version of HIV, according to the results of a recent clinical trial. The findings raise hopes that the drug might also prove to be an effective microbicide in humans.


    How Needle Exchange Programs Fight the AIDS Epidemic
    "The debate in America has been driven not by science or public health concerns but by an ideology that sees syringe exchange programs as inherently 'evil,'" writes editorial observer Brent Staples in this New York Times opinion piece. In turn, the never-ending war on drugs is forcing drug users further underground -- and putting them at greater risk for contracting HIV via dirty needles. (Web highlight from The New York Times; free registration required)


    U.S. Hetero Porn Industry Tries to Remain a No-Condom Zone
    The U.S. heterosexual porn industry continues to fight efforts to require the use of condoms in its films, despite an HIV outbreak that made headlines earlier this year and briefly shut down production companies in California. Meanwhile, Laura Roxx -- one of three women infected with HIV by a male actor -- struggles to cope with her diagnosis and figure out her next steps. (Web highlight from AlterNet)


    HIV Vaccine Research Hits a Wall
    Disappointment clouded the annual AIDS Vaccine conference this year, as new study results suggest that current approaches to vaccine development aren't panning out as researchers had hoped. This doesn't mean the door is closing on vaccine research; what it does mean, though, is that for research to advance, it might need to move in new, innovative directions.

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      PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM HIV

    Talking About Condoms: Tricks of the Trade
    Guys have plenty of lines they use to avoid putting on a condom: "Condoms are uncomfortable." "Sex is better without one." "What, you don't trust me?" As hard as it might be, persuading your partner to use a condom is essential. This article from PositiveWords dishes out some tricks of the trade on how to talk about condom use -- and how to make your partner more comfortable with slipping on that raincoat. Although the article is aimed at women, most of its advice applies to men who have sex with men as well.


    African-American Women Must Give Their Partners "The HIV Quiz"
    "You need to ask your partner about his or her HIV status," writes Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell. "Although activists, healthcare providers and others have been beating the drum about the alarming HIV/AIDS infection rate among African Americans, particularly African-American women, many of us are still not asking the question that could save our lives." (Web highlight from the Chicago Sun-Times)

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    DEMAND MORE FROM OUR PRESIDENT ON HIV LEADERSHIP
    (Whoever He May Be)

    The Body's HIV Leadership Awards logo

    The nonpartisan advocacy group AIDSVote has created the flier above to encourage voters to closely consider which U.S. presidential candidate can best lead the country not in the war in Iraq, but in the war on AIDS.

    This is just one of many fliers created by AIDSVote (in both English and Spanish) for use by anyone who wants to help get the word out about the desperate need for U.S. leadership on HIV. Click here to see the rest!
    ART FROM HIV-POSITIVE ARTISTS
    Image from the October 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Francisco & Albert at the Beach, FL," 1995; Jorge Veras
    Visit the October 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's new collection of art by HIV-positive artists.