LATEST HIV TREATMENT RESEARCH FROM CROI 2005
HIV Infection: An Ideal Time for Treatment?
One of the biggest questions for people recently infected with HIV
is whether it is wise to begin treatment during this early period
of infection. Some studies say yes, others no. Brian Conway, M.D.,
reviews some new studies on this topic that were presented at the
12th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI
2005). His conclusion? "Acute HIV infection only comes around
once, and it may well be a unique opportunity to intervene."
Update: Promising Drug for People With Resistance
As the protease inhibitor tipranavir nears U.S. approval, new studies
continue to show the drug's potential in HIVers with multi-drug
resistance. Gerald Pierone Jr., M.D., reports from CROI 2005.
CROI 2005 at The Body for More Expert Analyses of Breaking Research
Looking for more reviews of the latest HIV research to come out
of CROI 2005? The Body is the place to find it: Browse through highlights,
Webcasts and exclusive summaries of key studies from this important
HIV medical conference. Our coverage continues to roll in!
HIV TREATMENT NEWS
Often Still a Wise Choice for Women
If there are so many different cases in which women shouldn't use
nevirapine (Viramune), why should any woman ever take the drug?
Two reasons: One, it can save your life, and two, it can save your
baby's life, writes Cara Emery of AIDS Survival Project. "Yes, liver
failure may be fatal," she says. "But so is HIV, especially if it
Support for Treatment Holidays in Some HIVers
The Body has highlighted many articles in this newsletter over the
past year examining the potential benefits (and risks) of structured
treatment interruptions. The latest study to come through the pipe
continues the trend of research finding that people who were in
pretty good health when they started treatment (a CD4 count that
never dropped below 250) -- and remain in pretty good health now
(a CD4 count above 500) -- may be able to safely take a treatment
holiday for a year or longer. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)
For more info on the pros and cons of taking a structured treatment
interruption, browse through The
Body's collection of articles.
Nutrition: Often Overlooked, But Awfully Important
It's National Nutrition Month in the United States -- what better
time to point out how important good nutrition is for people living
with HIV? The Body's comprehensive collection of articles provides
advice, nutrition tips and information on healthy living for HIVers.
for Ensuring a Smooth Doctor/Patient Relationship
Are you afraid your doctor may be missing an illness or a medication
side effect that you're certain you have? What's the best way to
say so without offending your doctor -- or, worse, without your
doc waving off your concerns as misinformed paranoia? David Elfstrom
provides some tips on how to keep your next doctor's appointment
from turning into a pitched battle over symptoms and diagnoses.
Spiritual Side of HIV Treatment
"Body, mind and spirit are interconnected and essentially
determine who we are as human beings," says Guy Pujol of AIDS
Survival Project. "Caring for our spiritual selves, therefore,
is just as important as monitoring CD4 counts and viral load."
In this article, Guy explains his theories on the body-soul connection
Bottom Line on Facial Wasting
Facial wasting (a.k.a. lipoatrophy) is one of the most challenging
side effects facing people with HIV who are on treatment. What are
the main risk factors for this disfiguring problem? What treatments
are available to people with facial fat loss, besides the widely
known poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra, New-Fill)? Project Inform answers
these questions and more in this informative overview.
U.S. Transplant Study Seeks Volunteers
It used to be that people with HIV who needed a liver or kidney
transplant had virtually no chance of getting one. Now there is
a large, multi-city U.S. study on kidney and liver transplants in
HIVers that is looking for enrollees. You don't need to actually be in imminent
need of a transplant to join the study, which will try to assess
the risks and outcomes of organ transplants in people with HIV.
PREVENTION NEWS (U.S.)
Churches Mobilize to Spread HIV Awareness
This week is the 16th Annual Black Church Week of Prayer for the
Healing of AIDS, in which thousands of black churches throughout
the United States, Africa and the Caribbean join in an effort to
help prevent the spread of HIV. This yearly tradition is an extremely
important effort by churches to preach HIV education from the pulpit
as well as from the streets. The need for these kinds of efforts
only continues to grow: African-Americans accounted for 54% of new
HIV/AIDS cases in 2002, and the disease is the leading cause of
death among African-American men ages 35 to 44.
State Takes Step Toward Banning Abstinence-Only Education
Washington state's House of Representatives has passed a bill that
would prevent high schools from offering abstinence-only education.
Schools that choose to teach sex education -- a subject not required
in Washington -- would have to discuss contraception as well as
abstinence. The bill must still pass the state Senate and receive
the governor's signature in order to become law.
HIV/STD Prevention Program Makes Headway in U.S. South
With the number of U.S. women with HIV/AIDS almost tripling between
1993-2002, there's more reason than ever to find new ways to help
HIV-positive women live safer, healthier lives. A project called
WiLLOW is one result. The WiLLOW program, in which small groups
of HIV-positive women sit down with a female health educator and
an HIV-positive female peer educator, was tested in Alabama and
Georgia. The study found that women in the program developed fewer
bacterial sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and understood more
about HIV than women who weren't in the program.
Global Support for Needle Exchange Programs to Prevent HIV
Some congressional Republicans have been working to prevent U.S.
federal funding from going to groups that advocate needle-exchange
programs to reduce the spread of HIV among injection drug users.
In fact, USAID policy already prohibits federal funding from going
to needle-exchange efforts. However, as a major international conference
on narcotic drugs geared up, more than 300 scientists, policy analysts,
human rights proponents and AIDS advocates from 56 countries signed
an open letter urging the conference to resist U.S. pressure to
withdraw from needle-exchange programs. Here's a look at what some
are saying in support of the use of needle exchange as an HIV prevention
POLICY & ACTIVISM (U.S.)
ADAP Funding Doesn't Benefit Everyone
Last summer, President Bush funneled $20 million in emergency funding
into many of the United States' AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs),
in order to provide HIV meds to people stuck on waiting lists. As
with any government initiative, though, the eligibility rules for
these emergency funds can be confusing. This fact sheet provides
Advocacy Regroups for Second Bush Term; Nationwide Events Planned
What does it mean to be an AIDS advocate in the United States today,
and how can HIVers be sure that AIDS advocates are fighting for
their best interests? AIDS activism has done a good bit of soul-searching
lately -- especially since the re-election of George W. Bush last
fall. The result of that soul-searching is a renewed push for huge,
headline-grabbing events that everyone can get involved in, explains
Jeff Graham, the executive director of Atlanta's AIDS Survival Project.
Discrimination Suit Against American Airlines Gets New Life
In 1998 and 1999, three men received job offers from American Airlines,
contingent on the results of medical examinations and background
checks. After blood tests showed that the men were HIV positive,
American Airlines withdrew the job offers on the basis that the
men failed to disclose accurate information in their medical history
questionnaires. The men sued for discrimination. The case was dismissed
in 2003, but a Federal Court reinstated the lawsuit last week.
OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
HIV Scenarios for Africa, None of Them Good
The HIV pandemic in Africa can take three different paths over the
next 20 years, a new United Nations report says. Depressingly, the report's
best-case scenario would still mean that 67
million Africans will have been killed by the virus by 2025 -- and
that's even with an optimistic 70% of the continent's HIVers on
treatment. A US$200 billion investment would be needed just
to achieve that level of success, the report says. The worst-case
scenario: 83 million AIDS-related deaths, with 89 million new infections
between 2003 and 2025.
"African Potatoes": The Anti-Cure?
Olive oil, onions, garlic, a little lemon and an herb called Hypoxis
hemerocallidea (better known as "African potato,"
though it's not at all related to an actual potato). No, it's not
this year's answer to the Atkins diet; it's the prescription that
South Africa's top health official (who is, by the way, much despised
by South African AIDS activists) says people with HIV should use
to boost their immune system. There's only one problem: It might
actually do more harm than good. Garlic supplements are known to
interfere with some HIV medications, and a new study has found that
those "African potatoes" might do the same. (Web highlight
from the Sunday Independent, South Africa)
Where the Fish Go, You'll Also Find HIV
Many of us might not know that HIV was first discovered in epidemic
form in central African fishing villages. In fact, fishing communities
throughout the developing world tend to have higher HIV rates and
worse access to HIV care than the general population. What is it
that puts these fisherfolk at risk? Their mobility; their access
to a daily source of cash in a society struck by poverty and vulnerability;
the availability of commercial sex in fishing ports; and a subculture
of risk taking. (Web highlight from This Day, Nigeria)
A Second Look at Botswana's HIV Beauty Pageant
Last week, we highlighted a story on Botswana's third "Miss
HIV Stigma Free 2005" beauty pageant, a momentous event in
a country (and a region) where people with HIV often avoid disclosing
their status in public because of widespread discrimination. This
BBC News article on the pageant offers a little more on this story,
along with some photos of the contestants. (Web highlight from
Connect With Others at
The Body's Bulletin Boards
Tales Did Not Come True!"
"I feel like the last year has been a nightmare and I keep waking each day and hoping that my life will be what it used to be before I contracted this virus. But each day I awake and it is the same outcome. I had, as many others do and did, such plans for my life and my life with my now husband.
"Much of the plans were fairytale based and I guess right now I am going through the dark valley of the souls. ... I want to know so badly what happened to my dreams? Where have they gone? What has happened to me? Why have I changed so much over the last year because of a disease?
"I have always considered myself a strong willed person BUT this virus is BREAKING me down. It is ruining my marriage, has stolen my dreams, hurt my loved ones and friends that know and completely altered everything that I have worked so hard for in my life and worked towards having.
"I just needed to vent cause I feel like I am dying inside ... little by little my soul is being eaten up and my heart is broken, which I wonder if I will ever get back my feelings of 'being normal/feeling normal' again?????"
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