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June 29, 2005

In This Update:
  • The Body Is Getting a New Design!
  • HIV Transmission & Prevention
  • HIV News & Views
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Issues
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the U.S.
  •   THE BODY IS GETTING A NEW DESIGN!

    In celebration of The Body's 10th anniversary, we're about to undergo our first major face lift -- a complete redesign of our entire site! Within the next several days, our site will begin to look dramatically different than it has for the past decade. These changes are only the latest, and most visible, example of our ongoing effort to bring you the most up-to-date, reliable HIV information within a friendly, easy-to-use Web site. We hope you like it!

    If you have any questions or comments, we'd love to hear from you!

    Best regards,

    Bonnie Goldman
    Editorial Director, The Body

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      HIV TRANSMISSION & PREVENTION

    Black MSM More Likely to Have HIV, Less Likely to Know About It
    Black men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States are more than twice as likely to be HIV positive as white and Latino MSM, according to a newly published study of 1,767 MSM in five U.S. cities. Another key finding of the study may help explain that disparity: Nearly half of the HIV-positive MSM were unaware they had HIV, and of them, two thirds were black.


    E-Mail Service Lets People Discreetly Tell Partners About STDs
    Have HIV or another sexually transmitted disease (STD), but can't find the words to tell your last partner? InSPOT.org is an e-mail service that provides gay and bisexual men with an easy, anonymous way to warn former partners that they may have been exposed to an STD. Thousands of people have used the San Francisco-based service to notify their partners using one of six available e-cards with slogans such as, "It's not what you brought to the party, it's what you left with."


    BET Takes Cable Positive's "Network of the Year" Award
    The cable network BET received the "Network of the Year" honor at the Fourth Annual Cable Positive POP (Positively Outstanding Programming) Awards for its original HIV-related programming. BET also received the honor for "Outstanding Public Service Announcement" for its "Rap-It-Up" campaign, which since 1998 has sought to educate and inform black youths about HIV and other sexual health issues.


    New York Testing Guidelines Choosing Speed Over Thoroughness
    In hopes of getting more people to get tested (and diagnosed) for HIV as early as possible, the New York state health department recently issued new guidelines calling for the use of the rapid oral HIV test, which delivers results in 20 minutes after a mouth swab. Sounds great, right? The problem is that New York's testing program, which had been much admired, previously required that people receive half an hour of counseling before getting an HIV test. The new guidelines skip the counseling; they require only that people receive a pamphlet explaining HIV testing and transmission, and that results are provided within 30 minutes.


    The Brits Fight Back on Needle Exchange
    The United Kingdom has often been loyal to the United States, but when it comes to the widely proven harm-reduction strategy of needle-exchange programs for injection drug users, the island nation is breaking rank. Britain is one of many nations fighting U.S. pressure to end United Nations funding for needle-exchange programs. It's thought that 80% of the people with HIV in eastern Europe and central Asia were infected through unsafe injection drug use. (Web highlight from The Guardian)

    Of course, it isn't only foreign countries that are deeply critical of the U.S. government's unscientific stance on needle exchange: Plenty of Americans also resent the federal government's lack of support for needle-exchange programs. A recent editorial in The New York Times, for instance, chastises the government for "us[ing] its muscle to extinguish necessary and successful programs it finds politically objectionable and to carry out ineffective ideological crusades."

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      HIV NEWS & VIEWS

    Their Unexpected Adolescence: HIV-Positive U.S. Children Begin to Grow Up
    For those who were born with HIV in the United States in the late 1980s and early 1990s, just surviving to the age of six was considered a miracle. Thanks to HAART, though, the past decade has given these HIV-positive kids a new lease on life -- and a whole new set of challenges to face. Coping with their HIV status may be the hardest of those challenges, as these children, who are now in their teens and 20s, struggle to make sense of their lives at the same time they're struggling to make sense of the virus with which they live. (Web highlight from The New York Times; free registration required)


    Women and HIV: What Does the Research Show?
    Women are more likely to get HIV through heterosexual sex than men, and the growing proportion of HIV infections among women worldwide has many public health officials concerned about the future. Meanwhile, researchers are becoming increasingly aware of important differences between men and women when it comes to HIV disease progression, response to therapy and other health concerns, such as gynecological care. HIV researcher Dr. Judith A. Aberg explained some of the latest research on this front in a talk she recently gave to HIV physicians. (Web highlight from PRN Notebook)

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      HIV/HAART-RELATED HEALTH ISSUES

    New HIV JournalView Reviews the Latest on HIV-Related Complications
    Each month, The Body Pro's HIV JournalView provides expert analysis of important new research in HIV. In our latest issue, Dr. Margaret Hoffman-Terry examines recent studies on a range of HIV-related health problems, including bone and joint problems, the long-term health risks of tenofovir (Viread), the neurological effects of efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin) and new insight into the treatment of people who are coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C.


    A Little-Known STD Makes Its Way Through Europe, United States
    The once-rare sexually transmitted disease lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV), a type of chlamydia, is spreading rapidly through Europe, and has been diagnosed in several U.S. cities. Outbreaks have been reported in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. British health officials recently confirmed 67 LGV cases, the majority among HIV-positive people. At least 92 LGV cases have been reported in the Netherlands. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)

    The disease may soon become a worrisome problem in the United States as well: As The Body reported in February 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially confirmed six LGV cases in the United States -- one in Atlanta, two in New York City and three in San Francisco. Another six cases were officially confirmed in Massachusetts late last month. The actual number of U.S. LGV cases, however, is certainly higher than the small number that have been confirmed. Most of the confirmed cases were in HIV-positive men.

    Although a challenge to diagnose, the most commonly reported symptoms of LGV infection are rectal pain and discharge, bloody stools, general malaise, fever and muscular pain. If untreated, LGV can cause permanent damage to the bowels and disfigurement of the genitals (elephantiasis). A three-week course of antibiotics is the recommended treatment and is usually successful if the disease is caught early. In HIV-uninfected men, infection with LGV is thought to increase HIV risk. A Dutch study recently published in the journal AIDS found that hepatitis C, which is rarely transmitted sexually, was more likely to be transmitted sexually to someone with recent LGV infection.


    Statin Drug Found Effective for Treating PI-Related Lipid Problems
    In last week's e-mail update, we highlighted an Italian study that suggested lipid-lowering drugs known as statins worked better than HIV treatment switching in people who had high triglycerides and cholesterol while taking protease inhibitors (PIs). Now, another small, Italian study has found that rosuvastatin, better known by the brand name Crestor, can significantly reduce lipid levels in people taking PIs after just 24 weeks -- and that the drug's side effects were minor at worst. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)


    What's the Best Hepatitis C Treatment for HIV/Hepatitis C-Coinfected People?
    Several recent studies have shown that, in people who have both HIV and hepatitis C, it's more effective to treat the hepatitis C using pegylated interferon (e.g., peginterferon alfa-2a [Pegasys] and peginterferon alfa-2b [PEG-Intron]) and ribavirin than conventional therapy, which consists of regular interferon (e.g., interferon alfa-2a [Roferon-A] and interferon alfa-2b [Intron A]) and ribavirin. However, researchers disagree on how to interpret the results of these studies -- and on how to use the findings in their clinical practice. Dr. Francesca J. Torriani discusses this ongoing debate in a talk she recently gave to her fellow clinicians. (Web highlight from PRN Notebook)

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      HIV/AIDS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

    Could Protease Inhibitors Treat Malaria?
    Experts have been saying for years that the fight against HIV in the developing world must also be a fight against two other devastating diseases: malaria and tuberculosis, both of which are more common, and more deadly, among HIV-positive people. Now, researchers have announced the first evidence that some HIV meds -- specifically the protease inhibitors Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and saquinavir (Invirase) + ritonavir (Norvir) -- may work against malaria as well, even though malaria is a parasitic infection, not a virus. (Web highlight from BBC News)


    HIV's Tendrils Continue to Crawl Through Asia
    Throughout Asia, HIV's toehold is quickly threatening to become a stranglehold. "If nothing is done, some 10 million people in China could be infected by 2010," says Takashi Sawada, a Japanese physician working to prevent HIV infections in Thailand and Cambodia. In India, experts say the number of HIV cases could quadruple by 2010, and that AIDS-related illnesses could become the leading cause of death. Even Japan could face a serious HIV/AIDS epidemic within 10 years. As it is through much of the world, Asia's HIV situation is exacerbated by the stigma surrounding the virus and politicians' reluctance to talk about the disease.


    Brazil to Abbott: In 10 Days, We're Breaking Your Patent
    Brazilian Health Minister Humberto Costa informed Abbott Laboratories on June 24 that it will break the company's patent on the antiretroviral Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) within 10 days unless the company lowers the price of the drug by 42%, to US$1.17 per pill. Brazil has often threatened to break HIV drug patents, but has yet to follow through on its threats -- in fact, no government in the world has ever broken a patent on an antiretroviral.

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    Meet the Winners of TheBody.com's 2005 HIV Leadership Awards!
    Barbara R. Lewis, winner of a TheBody.com 2005 HIV Leadership Award
    Meet Barbara R. Lewis from Washington, D.C., one of 10 outstanding HIV physician assistants and nurse practitioners who have won a 2005 HIV Leadership Award from TheBody.com!

    Barbara co-founded the first lesbian health program at a clinic established by and for the gay/lesbian/bisexual/
    transgendered community in the United States' capital city. During her many years of practice, she has seen her caseload of HIV-positive people, and the treatment of the virus itself, change radically.

    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

    "Questions About Risks for New Beau?"
    (A recent post from the
    "Living With HIV" board)

    "I am an HIV-positive woman who recently met a GREAT HIV-negative guy. I disclosed my status to him and he vows to stay by my side and do whatever he can do so that we can share in a full relationship together. Just knowing this makes me want to cry because I feel very accepted and loved. ... Now, we can have sex with a condom and it's still considered a potential risk, but is there any way we can minimize that risk even further? Also, he has a problem with gingivitis and is worried about kissing and oral sex. ... Will his bleeding gums be a problem for either of us?"
    -- CulinaryGirl

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

    "Stopped Taking Meds/Not Disclosing Status"
    (A recent post from the
    "Gay Men With HIV" board)

    "I was diagnosed [with HIV in] December 2003. I had an insane viral load of over a million. My initial CD4 [count] was 280. I began taking medication and ... [I] became healthier than I've ever been before. I took my medication for a year and did very well. ... [Then] I decided to stop taking my medication because I wanted to try to fight the virus by healthy and natural means. I have been medication-free for six months and I am feeling just great. ... Taking the medication is a constant reminder of the virus in my body. ... I have a very difficult time disclosing my status to partners, so I have chosen to go the dishonorable route. I have protected anal sex with any and all partners, but I still fear of infecting someone. I don't think I can mentally or emotionally take rejection again because of my status. Can anyone relate to my issues?"
    -- Anonymous

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