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The Body Covers: CROI 2005, Feb. 22-25, 2004
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May 5, 2005

In This Update:
  • HIV Treatment
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Problems
  • U.S. HIV Funding: Services at Risk
  • HIV Transmission & Prevention
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the U.S.
  •   HIV TREATMENT

    The Latest HIV Research: HIV JournalView Brings You the Best
    What does the latest research have to say about facial wasting treatments, like poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra, New-Fill)? How about interactions between HIV meds and natural health products, like garlic and milk thistle? Dr. Mark Holodniy has the answers in the April 2005 issue of HIV JournalView, The Body Pro's incisive, monthly review of critical, newly published studies on HIV.


    FDA Approves Once-a-Day Kaletra
    HIV-positive people in the United States who are just beginning treatment can now take Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) as six pills once a day, rather than three pills twice a day. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the once-a-day dosing for treatment-naive people only -- HIV-positive people who are treatment experienced should still take the twice-a-day dose, the FDA says. Once-a-day Kaletra should also not be taken with the following HIV meds: amprenavir (Agenerase), efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin), nelfinavir (Viracept) and nevirapine (Viramune).


    Antacids and HIV Meds: Not Always a Good Mix
    Got a little heartburn? If you're taking HIV meds, you may have to think twice before taking an antacid. Over-the-counter antacids like Mylanta, Rolaids and Tums can decrease the levels of some HIV meds in your body if both types of drugs are taken at the same time. That's one reason why it's so important to read the label on your HIV meds and make sure they can be taken with food. Guy Pujol of AIDS Survival Project explains.

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      LIVING WITH HIV

    Coping With HIV: You Donít Need to Pretend Everything's Perfect
    "HIV is still scary," David Salyer says -- and it's OK to freak out when an HIV test comes back positive. Nobody should feel obligated to treat HIV like it's just another bump in the road. He writes: "No matter how chronic but manageable all those folks who don't have the virus keep telling us it is, HIV is the same hateful, killer virus it's always been, and we're not doing anyone any favors by pretending it's not."


    In 2006, What Will Happen to Your Medicare/Medicaid Coverage?
    In just under eight months, Medicare will introduce its prescription drug coverage plan, and … then what? How will medical care change for HIVers on Medicare or Medicaid? How will it change for so-called "dual eligibles" -- i.e., those who are currently receiving benefits under both programs? Social worker Sarah Biel-Cunningham takes a closer look at what's in store.


    Art to Stir the Imagination and Excite the Soul: The Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    Striking. Suggestive. Captivating. Whatever you choose to call it, just be sure to visit it: The newly launched Visual AIDS Web Gallery for May highlights 20 thought-provoking works of art created by HIV-positive artists!

    Also be sure to check out the thoughtful introduction to this online exhibit written by this month's curator, James Wagner.

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      HIV/HAART-RELATED HEALTH PROBLEMS

    Smoking Cessation Spurs Strongest Reduction of a Measure of Heart Disease Risk
    Cardiovascular disease is one of the most frightening of all health problems associated with having HIV or taking HAART. Exactly how this risk can be minimized is still being researched, but new discoveries are continually being made. In a recent French study of 233 patients, researchers tried three different methods for lowering the heart risk of HIVers: switching off a protease inhibitor regimen, taking lipid-lowering drugs and quitting smoking. The winner? People who stopped smoking were the only one of the three who saw a meaningful drop in "intima-media thickness," a sign of hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart disease. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)


    Current CD4 Count Is Best Indicator of Lymphoma Risk
    Researchers have found that when it comes to lymphoma risk, your current CD4 count is what really matters -- not your age, sex, ethnicity, viral load level or lowest-ever CD4 count. It's the latest evidence that -- surprise -- HAART is a good thing, and that even people who start treatment with a very low CD4 count can rebuild their immune system enough that lymphoma becomes much less of a risk. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)


    Online Abstracts From British AIDS Conference
    One of the more exciting things the Internet age has brought the AIDS community is greater access to breaking medical information, which was formerly available only to medical professionals who attended elite medical conferences. Now, though, this research is increasingly being posted online. The latest major HIV conference, for instance, was the 11th Annual Conference of the British HIV Association, which took place from April 20-23 in Dublin. All of the conference's abstracts -- including the tidbit above about lymphoma risk and CD4 count -- are now available online for browsing. (Web highlight from the British HIV Association)

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      U.S. HIV FUNDING: SERVICES AT RISK

    Kansas City, Mo., to Lose HIV Services Due to Ryan White Funding Cuts
    The Kansas City, Mo., metropolitan region this year will receive $454,000 less than last year in federal Ryan White CARE Act funding, which it uses to provide services to the poorest HIV-positive people in the area. As a result, the Kansas City region's HIV planning council decided to cut funding for transportation services, treatment-adherence programs, community outreach and payment assistance for utilities or rent.


    Idaho ADAP: One-Time Federal Grant Almost Exhausted, 49 on Waiting List
    Idaho's AIDS Drug Assistance Program had 49 HIV-positive people on its waiting list at the end of March, and the state's share of a one-time, $20 million federal initiative used to buy HIV meds for those people is expected to run out in September, according to Idaho Department of Health & Welfare STD/AIDS Program Manager Anne Williamson.


    New Hampshire ADAP May Face Additional Cuts
    The New Hampshire AIDS Drug Assistance Program's (ADAP's) 331 clients received letters last fall stating that they would continue to receive AIDS drugs, but that expensive medications to fight side effects and other complications would no longer be covered. Last year, the federal government cut the state's ADAP grant by 5%, while drug costs leapt by 47%, to some $9,300 per patient annually. By December, New Hampshire's ADAP will be nearly $1.8 million in the red. As it is, the state's ADAP can only afford to provide T-20 (enfuvirtide, Fuzeon), the most expensive HIV medication at about $20,000 per year, to two people.

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      HIV TRANSMISSION & PREVENTION

    Most HIV-Positive Gay, Bisexual Men in U.S. Believed They Were Low Risk
    A six-city U.S. survey of about 5,600 gay and bisexual men ages 15 to 29 found that 77% of those testing positive for HIV were unaware they were infected. In fact, before testing, a majority of the infected men believed they were at low risk for HIV, even though half reported having unprotected sex with another man in the previous six months.


    Could Long-Term HIV Nonprogressors Be the Key to an HIV Vaccine?
    Where is the key to developing an effective HIV vaccine? Some researchers are looking to humans for inspiration -- long-term HIV nonprogressors, to be exact. These people have variously been defined as HIVers whose immune system remains healthy for 10 years without taking HIV meds, or as HIVers who have an undetectable viral load despite never being on treatment. The New York Times recently took a look at this intriguing issue.


    San Francisco Chronicle Examines "Down Low" Among African Americans
    The "down low" phenomenon is neither new nor exclusive to any one ethnicity or race, yet most of what you read about it still refers to it as something only impacting the African-American community. The San Francisco Chronicle, in fact, recently wrote a series of articles about the down low among African Americans, which includes a profile of a down-low man, as well as of a woman whose husband -- a minister -- unwittingly gave her HIV after secretly sleeping with men on the side.


    It's News to Them: Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Rare in U.S.
    Approximately 6,000 to 7,000 HIV-positive women give birth every year in the United States. When proper HIV treatment is provided, the risk of those babies being positive is less than 1%. Heard this all before? You may have, but much of the United States still has not; mainstream media often fails to cover just how dramatically the epidemic in this country has changed in the past decade. This recent article from TIME magazine is one example of a publication that's giving long-needed attention to an old story. (Web highlight from TIME)

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      HIV/AIDS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

    Vietnam Announces New Anti-Stigma, HIV Prevention Initiatives
    Many countries in Southeast Asia are finally beginning to take strides to address HIV. In Vietnam, for instance, the government recently announced that it has passed a decree to allow the punishment of people who discriminate against HIV-positive individuals in the country. Specifically, the decree says the government can fine anyone who publicizes test results, names, addresses or photographs of HIV-positive people without their consent, as well as employers who fire HIV-positive employees or school employees that dismiss HIV-positive students.

    Vietnam also announced it will begin a five-year, US$38.5 million HIV prevention program aimed at keeping the rate of HIV infection in the country below 0.3%. The project will get most of its funding from a US$35 million grant from the World Bank.


    To Prevent HIV, Diagnose and Treat Early, Ugandan Study Suggests
    People in the global AIDS community often debate what the best way is to prevent HIV infections: stronger prevention methods or better access to HIV treatment. But many argue that the two go hand in hand -- and a new study out of Uganda supports that view. The study has found that people with HIV are most likely to pass the virus to others when they're in the earliest stage of HIV infection, when the person's viral load may be spiking and they have no idea they even have HIV. If people can be diagnosed and -- if necessary -- treated for HIV early enough, it may help reduce the spread of HIV, the study suggests.


    To Stop HIV in Africa, First Improve the Lives of Women
    The AIDS pandemic in Africa is increasingly taking on a woman's face, but few places on the continent have taken the difficult, but necessary, steps that can truly begin to reverse that trend. Dr. Chinua Akukwe, an adjunct professor of public health at George Washington University, describes 10 key choices that African leaders must make to improve the treatment of women if they want to slow the spread of the virus.


    Canada's New Generic Drug Exportation Law Has Benefited Nobody
    Nearly a year after Canada amended its patent laws to allow drug makers to manufacture and export less-expensive, generic versions of patented drugs -- including antiretrovirals -- to developing countries, no drugs have been exported. The simple reason: Regulations under the law have yet to be published, and government officials say the legislation has been stalled by technicalities.


    United Kingdom Bought HIV Meds Illegally Diverted From Poorer Countries
    The United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) has purchased HIV medications illegally diverted from developing countries around the world, according to a BBC report. The country's Department of Health said it has guidelines to ensure diverted medicines do not end up being used by NHS. However, a British-based company that holds major NHS contracts is being investigated over allegations it obtained supplies of antiretrovirals that originally were destined for Kenya but were diverted back to the United Kingdom.

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    Meet the Winners of TheBody.com's 2005 HIV Leadership Awards!
    Todd Murray, winner of TheBody.com's HIV Leadership Award
    Meet Todd Murray, one of 10 inspiring HIV-positive people who have won a 2005 HIV Leadership Award from TheBody.com. Since he was diagnosed four years ago, Todd, now only 24, has co-founded two nonprofit organizations focused on providing HIV support and spreading HIV education to young people throughout the United States.

    Want to meet all 73 winners of TheBody.com's 2005 HIV Leadership Awards? Click here!

    Connect With Others at
    The Body's Bulletin Boards

    "He Tells Me ...
    After Six Months"

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

    "I have been dating a 29-year-old man (I am 28) for the past six months, and two days ago he told me that he tested positive a year and a half ago. ...

    I never actually thought that my boyfriend was the kind of person who would or could do something like this to someone. While I am able to understand the fear of rejection and the possibility that telling the wrong person could mean everyone knowing, I cannot understand why he would put me at risk. I moved in with my boyfriend two weeks ago, and I cannot help but feel that he purposely waited -- until he knew I loved him, after I moved in with him, and after six months of having sex with me -- before telling me. ... I guess it angers me because had he have been honest in the beginning I know that I wouldn't have left him.

    So, now I have to make a very critical decision -- a decision that has loomed overhead for the past two days. Should I stay or should I go?"
    -- Cristo

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

    Art From HIV-Positive Artists
    Image from the May 2005 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "I Dream of Jeannie (Stephen)," 1983-1985; Mark Morrisroe
    Visit the newly launched May 2005 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's 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!

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