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The Body Covers: CROI 2005, Feb. 22-25, 2004
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April 27, 2005

In This Update:
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Problems
  • HIV Transmission & Prevention
  • HIV, Politics & Scandals (U.S.)
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the U.S.
  •   LIVING WITH HIV

    After an HIV Diagnosis, Finding Strength in Spirituality
    "The times in my life when I have been most afraid, I've been able to draw upon an inner strength, a voice within myself, to help guide me through the darkness," writes Jeff Berry, the new editor of Test Positive Aware Network's Positively Aware. In this heartfelt essay, Jeff explains how he struggled to accept his HIV diagnosis, and talks about the role that religion and spirituality played in his healing process.


    HIV-Affected Teens Pour Their Hearts Out in a Nationwide Bus Tour
    For the kids of Camp Heartland, a 3,500-mile bus tour across the United States is a journey in more ways than one. All of the 21 children on the tour -- the youngest of whom is only 11 -- are HIV positive, or have been closely impacted by HIV. All of them have taken the courageous step of speaking about HIV in front of students at schools throughout the country, many of whom are ignorant about HIV, and some of whom are downright rude. (Web highlight from The Denver Post)

    Camp Heartland is one of many camps in the United States specifically set up for children who are infected with, or affected by, HIV. To learn more about them, browse through our directory.


    Tennessee to Strengthen HIV Privacy Rules in Public Schools
    Tennessee has taken an important, if long-overdue, step toward reducing HIV stigma with its announcement that public school students living with the disease can participate in school sports. The policy also requires Tennessee's 136 school systems to have a policy protecting the privacy of infected students and staff. While privacy rules make it impossible to know how many Tennessee students and staff are HIV positive, national statistics show there have been at least 54 AIDS cases in children under age 13 statewide.

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      HIV TREATMENT

    Annual ADAP Report Offers Mixed Reviews; Many Programs Still at Risk
    A total of 136,000 HIVers in the United States receive treatment through AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs), but 627 people in 11 states were on ADAP waiting lists as of March 2005, and another 10 states have limited their drug coverage or implemented other cost-cutting measures, according to an annual ADAP report released this month. The report found that, overall, ADAP budgets rose 11% in fiscal year 2004, which allowed 38 states to expand their treatment offerings. However, nearly all of the funding increase came from state budget adjustments and drug company rebates, not from federal assistance.

    To read the full report, a 94-page PDF, click here.


    Black Women Least Likely Among All Palm Beach HIVers to Seek Treatment
    HIV-infected black women are the least likely among all HIV-positive people living in Palm Beach County, Fla., to seek medical care and treatment, mostly because of socioeconomic factors, fear, stigma and misconceptions about the disease, according to the results of a federally funded 18-month study.

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      HIV/HAART-RELATED HEALTH PROBLEMS

    Delayed Hepatitis C Treatment Recommended for HIVers With Acute Hepatitis C
    HIV-positive people who are diagnosed with acute hepatitis C (HCV) infection -- the stage of infection that immediately follows transmission -- shouldn't be treated for HCV for about 12 weeks, according to British researchers. The researchers noted that HIVers who are newly infected with HCV have a much higher HCV viral load than people infected with HCV alone, making coinfected people less likely to respond to HCV treatment. At the same time, many HIVers appeared to spontaneously clear HCV (effectively becoming HCV negative) within the first few weeks, which strengthened the researchers' argument for delayed HCV therapy. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)


    International Expert Panel Issues Recommendations on Treatment of HIV/Hepatitis C Coinfection
    An expert panel of the First European Consensus Conference on Treatment of HBV and HCV in HIV-coinfected Patients has issued a "short statement" outlining recommendations for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of HIV/hepatitis C coinfection. The statement includes guidelines on which HIV-positive people should be screened for hepatitis C (everyone), which HIV antiretrovirals to watch out for in coinfected people (e.g., nevirapine [Viramune]), and when hepatitis C treatment should be started and stopped. (Web highlight from HIVandHepatitis.com)

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      HIV TRANSMISSION & PREVENTION

    Undetectable Viral Load May Make Vaginal Delivery Safe for HIV-Positive Women, Study Says
    A small study by British researchers has found that a planned vaginal delivery may be safe for HIV-positive pregnant women with an undetectable viral load. The study only included 24 HIV-positive women, and all signs during pregnancy indicated that each woman's viral load would remain undetectable and that there were no potential problems to an on-time, vaginal birth. Still, none of the 32 babies born in the study were infected with HIV during delivery -- although five of the babies still had to be delivered via cesarean section due to complications during labor, and several babies were born prematurely. All of the women started taking HAART no later than their 24th week of pregnancy. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)


    California Educates Migrant Farm Workers About Risky Behaviors and HIV
    Research shows that high-risk behavior is relatively common among California's estimated 1.3 million migrant farm workers, even though the actual number of HIV infections remains low. However, recent trends suggest that the spread of HIV among migrant workers may be on the rise. To prevent that increase from turning into an epidemic, University of California researchers are working with healthcare clinics and the governments of California and Mexico to educate migrants about the spread of HIV. Success is a must, the researchers say; the alternative is that "we could face a marked increase in HIV transmission, and we will all pay for it later," says George Lemp, director of the program. (Web highlight from the Associated Press)

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      HIV, POLITICS & SCANDALS (U.S.)

    Funding for Minnesota AIDS Project Threatened by Conservative Politicians
    A Minnesota House committee has approved an amendment to the House version of the state Department of Health budget bill that would eliminate all state funding for the largest HIV prevention program in the state, the nonprofit Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP). The amendment was introduced by a Republican state representative who said he was "shocked and disgusted" by explicit language on the MAP-sponsored Pride Alive Web site, which provides health-related information for men who have sex with men.


    Investigation Launched Into Use of N.Y. Foster Children for HIV Treatment Studies
    The New York City Administration for Children's Services announced it has launched an independent investigation into research it conducted between 1988 and 2001 involving about 465 HIV-positive foster children. Several New York City officials have called for an investigation into the research after reading reports that 50 HIV-positive foster children from Manhattan's Incarnation Children's Center were involved in 13 clinical trials that were funded by federal grants and pharmaceutical companies, some of which involved combination antiretroviral therapy.

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      HIV/AIDS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

    A Long, Long Way to Go Improve the Lives of Women in the Developing World
    "All my adult life I have accepted the feminist analysis of male power and authority," says Stephen Lewis, the United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. "But perhaps because of an acute naiveté, I never imagined that the analysis would be overwhelmed by the objective historical realities. Of course the women's movement has had great successes, but the contemporary global struggle to secure women’s health seems to me to be a challenge of almost insuperable dimension. I see the evidence month after month, week after week, day after day, in the unremitting carnage of women and AIDS." In this recent speech, Lewis passionately describes the scale of the problem, and proposes several important steps the world can take to solve it.


    Understanding the Interplay Between Malaria and HIV
    The deadly combination of HIV and malaria infection is common throughout sub-Saharan Africa and many other developing countries. An estimated 38 million Africans are infected with HIV, and between 300 and 500 million people are living with malaria. Both diseases are extremely dangerous in their own right, but researchers believe that each disease could actually be exacerbated by the other. In this chapter from HIV InSite's comprehensive, online textbook of HIV disease, Dr. James Whitworth reviews the association between malaria and HIV, and explains what we know to date about treatment and public health issues related to the two diseases. (Web highlight from HIV InSite)


    Brazil to Help Treat People With HIV in Caribbean
    Access to antiretroviral therapy is extremely limited in the Caribbean islands. There are a variety of programs attempting to help, including the William J. Clinton Foundation. Now there's another helping hand. The Caribbean Community announced that Brazil has pledged to give antiretrovirals to a total of 500 people with AIDS in nine eastern Caribbean nations: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In the Caribbean, 2.4% of the population, or some 500,000 people, have HIV, a rate surpassed only by sub-Saharan Africa.


    In Zimbabwe, Which is Worse: AIDS or the President?
    The HIV epidemic in Zimbabwe "is having a more devastating impact on the country" than President Robert Mugabe's "increasingly despotic habits," according to a report in Toronto's Globe and Mail. At least 25% of Zimbabwe's adult population has HIV, and about 2,800 people in the country die of AIDS-related causes each week. However, unlike many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Zimbabwe does not have a national antiretroviral treatment program and the country receives only $4 in donor aid for each HIV-positive person, largely because of a reluctance to provide funding to Mugabe's government.


    In Rural Zimbabwe, AIDS Still Means Death
    "Little is easy these days for Gladys Mataruse. Walking tires her. Talking hurts. And in long, sleepless nights of coughing fits, she lacks even the comfort of her husband, who has declared her 'useless' and moved away. But nothing, she explained in a hoarse whisper, is more painful than her fear that she will soon die of a mysterious disease, effectively orphaning her two school-age daughters. ... Mataruse could not live in a worse place. Zhulube is a remote region in southern Zimbabwe, a country whose public health system has been decimated by economic collapse and international isolation. In southern Africa, the epicenter of the global pandemic, no country is as far behind in treating AIDS, according to World Health Organization statistics." (Web highlight from The Washington Post)


    South African Firm Reaches Agreement to Produce Generic Tenofovir, Truvada
    South Africa-based drug maker Aspen Pharmacare announced that it has entered into a nonexclusive agreement with Gilead Sciences, Inc., to produce the HIV meds tenofovir (Viread) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), which will be sold in 95 developing countries at a cost of about 80 U.S. cents per patient per day, the same price charged by Gilead's own global treatment access program.

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    Connect With Others at
    The Body's Bulletin Boards

    "Just Found Out My
    B/F Has HIV"

    (A recent post from the
    "My Partner Has HIV" board)

    "I just found out my boyfriend has HIV. ... I found out by overhearing him tell his mom. So he doesn't know I know, on top of that he just found out himself today. He has cheated on me with one girl. So he doesn't know if it was from me or her. I'm pretty sure it was her, or hope it was her at least. ... I love him with all my heart, and would do any and everything for him. I love him more than I love myself. ... What am I to do?"
    -- HeartRacer

    Click here to join this discussion thread, or to start your own!

    "Starting Meds for the First Time"
    (A recent post from the
    "HIV Treatment" board)

    "I was diagnosed on March first of this year. I just got my lab results back and people think I should start meds. It seems to them the virus is newly acquired, but it also looks like my immune system was low to start out with. ... I have accepted the fact that I'm poz, but I think the hardest part is having to go on meds so soon. I am just afraid of messing it up and becoming resistant I think. Does anyone have any advice?"
    -- glowstixboyoh

    Click here to join this discussion thread, or to start your own!

    Art From HIV-Positive Artists
    Image from the April 2005 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Business Man," 1984; John Lesnick
    Visit the April 2005 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's new collection of art by HIV-positive artists!

    Clinical Trials Now Enrolling for Kaposi's Sarcoma Treatment

    HIV positive and diagnosed with Kaposi Sarcoma (KS)? If you live in Los Angeles, there are two open clinical trials on experimental KS treatments that may interest you. One study will investigate the use of oral valproic acid; the other will examine the potential benefits of halofuginone ointment. Both studies will last for 24 weeks.

    Interested? Fill out our clinical trial application form. If you qualify for either of these studies, or for another clinical trial that may be of interest to you, you'll be contacted with more information!