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July 6, 2005

In This Update:
  • The Body's Got a Brand New Look!
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV Transmission & Prevention
  • HIV Testing in the U.S.
  • HIV/AIDS Policy & Funding in the U.S.
  • Drug Abuse Treatment
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the U.S.

    Our weekly "What's New" e-mail updates may look the same, but our site sure doesn't! We've just completed the first major redesign of The Body in its 10-year history. It's just one of many steps we're taking every day to ensure that The Body remains the most comprehensive, useful, easy-to-understand source of HIV information on the Web.

    Please stop by our new home page and take a look around! We'd love to hear your thoughts.

    Kind regards,

    Bonnie Goldman
    Editorial Director, The Body



    Why Serosorting Isn't for Me: One HIV-Positive Gay Man's Choice
    "Should I pursue only positive partners?" Justin Jones asks. Justin -- a gay HIV prevention worker living with HIV -- says no, even though he realizes that by pursuing HIV-negative guys he opens himself up to rejection and heartbreak. Justin's decision is largely a practical one: "I simply believe that limiting myself to a minority of a minority too severely curtails the possibility of finding someone with whom I want to spend an extended amount of time," he explains.



    FDA Approves Tipranavir, a New Protease Inhibitor
    Tipranavir (Aptivus) has become the newest HIV medication -- and the ninth protease inhibitor -- approved in the United States. Based on data from two studies showing a statistically greater treatment response for people taking a regimen containing ritonavir (Norvir)-boosted tipranavir versus those taking a regimen without tipranavir, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval for tipranavir on June 22. Tipranavir must be taken with 200 mg of ritonavir. It will be part of regimens used for HIV-positive adults who are either highly treatment-experienced or who are resistant to multiple protease inhibitors.

    Clinical Studies of Capravirine Discontinued
    Studies of capravirine, an NNRTI which had advanced to phase 2 clinical trials, will be discontinued because the drug was not effective enough, according to a press release from Pfizer Inc., which was developing the drug. In the release, Pfizer noted that it would continue to develop maraviroc (UK-427,857), a type of entry inhibitor known as a CCR5 co-receptor inhibitor. Maraviroc is now in late-stage clinical trials, and is being studied as a treatment option for HIVers with multi-drug resistance.

    Study Finds Interaction Between Statins and Efavirenz
    Taking statins and efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin)? A recent study in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes noted that efavirenz may decrease statin levels in the blood. The interaction didn't appear to affect the anti-HIV properties of efavirenz, but the findings of the small study -- which was conducted using HIV-negative volunteers -- suggest that doctors may want to increase the dose of the lipid-lowering statin if a person is taking efavirenz at the same time. (Web highlight from

    HIV Treatment Benefits Men and Women Similarly, Study Finds
    The beneficial effects of antiretroviral therapy do not differ between the sexes, according to a large analysis of previously conducted studies. Amsterdam researchers, after reviewing available literature on the potential effects of gender on the course of HIV infection, found "little evidence" that rates of HIV disease progression were different for men and women in the pre-HAART vs. the HAART era. But this doesn't close the book on gender and HIV treatment, the researchers noted: As new HIV-related drugs are developed, it's important to examine how they might work differently in men and women, they said.

    Safety and Toxicity of HIV Medications During Pregnancy
    The safety profile of an HIV medication is important for anyone with HIV, but it's especially important for a pregnant woman, who has more than her own health to think about. Which HIV medications can be safely taken when you're pregnant, and which should be avoided? Talk to your HIV doctor for guidance, and use this fact sheet from the U.S. health department resource AIDSInfo as a reference.



    Circumcision May Reduce Female-Male HIV Transmission Risk by 70%, Study Says
    Male circumcision can reduce a man's risk of contracting HIV through sexual intercourse with women by about 70%, according to a recent study. A group of more than 3,000 HIV-negative, uncircumcised men living in a South African township were divided randomly into two groups: half received circumcisions, the other half did not. Although the researchers had planned to continue the study for 21 months, the study's oversight board said the findings so obviously supported circumcision that it stopped the trial nine months early, and provided circumcisions to all of the men in the study.

    Crystal Meth Use Fuels Rise in HIV Among White MSM; "Down Low" Should Apply to All Races, Studies Say
    Almost one out of every three men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States who tested HIV positive in 2004 said they had used crystal methamphetamine -- nearly triple the rate found just three years earlier, according to a new study. On a slightly related front, another new study points out that the term "on the down low" -- which typically describes men who have sex with both male and female partners, but who don't tell their female partners they have sex with men -- should be applied to all races, not just to black men. Researchers surveyed 328 MSM in 12 cities and found that 43% of black men, 26% of Hispanic men and 7% of white men reported being on the down low.

    The Link Between Some STDs and HIV: Genital Ulcers
    It's well known that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can increase a person's risk of contracting or transmitting HIV. But not all STDs carry the same risk. In fact, four STDs -- genital herpes, syphilis, chancroid and lymphogranuloma venereum (the last is a normally rare disease that's recently grown more common in Europe and some U.S. cities) -- may be riskier than others, because they cause genital ulcers, or breaks in the skin on a person's genitals. In this detailed (and graphic!) review, Dr. Susan Blank explains to her physician colleagues how these four STDs are diagnosed and treated. (Web highlight from The PRN Notebook; free registration required)

    Protests Might Slow Trials Testing Tenofovir as HIV Preventive
    Protests from AIDS advocates over international trials aimed at determining if tenofovir (Viread) is effective at preventing HIV infection could delay what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says is "one of the most important new prevention approaches being investigated today." At issue is whether researchers should provide lifelong antiretroviral treatment -- not just a referral for care -- to people who become HIV infected while participating in the trials.



    Quick Results Raise Number of Americans Getting HIV Test
    The number of people testing for HIV at AID Atlanta, a large AIDS service organization in Georgia, has more than doubled since it began offering the OraQuick rapid oral HIV test last October. The oral swab test gives results in 20 minutes, compared to the older HIV blood test method that takes up to two weeks for results. OraQuick's convenience, portability and low-tech application make it more suitable for testing at health fairs, college campuses and churches, as well as for testing the homeless, according to Raphael Holloway, prevention programs manager at AID Atlanta.

    HIV Testing During Pregnancy: What's the Law?
    Although HIV testing is recommended for all pregnant women in the United States, it's not required by law -- nor is it always required that a woman's baby be tested after it's born. As this question-and-answer sheet from the U.S. health department explains, states have different laws when it comes to how pregnant women and their babies are tested for HIV.



    10 State ADAPs Have Waiting Lists; 11 Anticipate New/Additional Restrictions
    Nineteen state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) have implemented waiting lists or other cost-containment measures, according to the latest "ADAP Watch" released on June 8 by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). Ten states currently have waiting lists: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina and West Virginia. Eleven states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Utah -- have implemented other cost-containment strategies. "Without additional funding, waiting lists will quickly grow and people may be forced off their medication regimens, which could result in harmful viral resistance to the treatments," NASTAD Executive Director Julie Scofield said.

    Internal Review Says NIH's AIDS Division "A Troubled Organization"
    An internal, nonpublic U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that was written in August 2004 but was only recently unearthed said that the NIH's Division of AIDS is "a troubled organization" and that its managers "spend incredible amounts of time feuding" and engaging in other behavior detrimental to the U.S. fight against HIV.



    Buprenorphine: The New Kid on the Block for Drug Abuse Treatment
    For heroin users who would like to overcome their addiction, methadone isn't the only option. Buprenorphine, which has been used widely in France and other countries, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002 to treat opioid addiction. Read this quick overview of buprenorphine from AIDS Community Research Initiative of America; it includes an explanation of how the drug is used and what side effects it may cause.



    Moscow: HIV Rates Far Higher Among Sex Workers, Street Children
    The spread of HIV is a tragic story however you tell it, but a particularly sad chapter is unfolding in the poorer parts of Moscow, where HIV rates among commercial sex workers and street children are 30 to 120 times higher than among the general Russian population. The study that discovered these numbers was published in the July 2 issue of the journal Lancet. The researchers write, "The high prevalent sexual risk behaviors, sexually transmitted infections, injecting drug use, and the overlap between sex work and use of injected drugs ... are alarming and could facilitate further explosive growth of the epidemics" nationwide. The researchers conclude that Moscow should launch awareness and treatment programs for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, with a focus on at-risk women and youth.

    Tsunami Compounds Sri Lanka's AIDS Worries, UN Says
    Sri Lanka's leaders should "break the silence to encourage people to learn how to protect themselves" from sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, for which many are at an increased risk in the aftermath of the region's December tsunami, according to a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report. Although Sri Lanka has a low prevalence of HIV, the government's reluctance to publicly discuss AIDS (until recently, television ads for condoms were banned), as well as the country's high incidence of sexually transmitted diseases and infrequent condom use, compound the nation's risk of mounting HIV infections, the UNDP report says. The report said that Sri Lankans traveling abroad for work, women employed in garment factories and military personnel were particularly at risk for HIV.

    HIV Testing Tents Come to South African Townships
    A voluntary HIV testing and counseling service called New Start, which operates from blue tents decorated with sunshine posters, began visiting poor areas on the outskirts of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town in February. So far, New Start has tested 3,326 people, of whom 21% were found to have HIV. "We are trying to appeal to the population which does not go to the health centers because they are not sick, even though they have been at risk and need to know their status," Program Director Miriam Mhavo said. Although men are the targets of the campaign, about 60% of clients testing at the tents in one South African province were women.

    Meet the Winners of's 2005 HIV Leadership Awards!
    Rachel Tate, winner of a 2005 HIV Leadership Award
    Meet Rachel Tate from Los Angeles, Calif., one of 10 outstanding HIV prevention educators who have won a 2005 HIV Leadership Award from!

    Rachel brings creativity, innovation and a personal touch to her Salvation Army HIV education programs. They fuse HIV prevention with substance abuse treatment in order to reach some of Los Angeles' most high-risk people: drug users, former inmates and the mentally ill.

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

    Connect With Others at
    The Body's Bulletin Boards

    "Wanting Kids"
    (A recent post from the
    "I Just Tested Positive" board)

    "I was diagnosed almost a year [ago] now (July 8). I'm a straight man, broke up with my girl at that time and had unprotected sex with a woman. It was fine until I went in for my routine checkup before I went on vacation. I got home, my doctor left messages that I should call him immediately. I was so scared ... [I] went to see him that same afternoon. He told me and I started crying because of disbelief. ... I wanted kids, that actually [was] the reason why I broke up with my girl -- she doesn't want kids. I know I can be a great father, I have so much to offer. ... I don't know now if I can be with an HIV-negative female or even go on dates anymore without feeling rejected because of my status. Is it possible to find true love ever with this disease?"
    -- John-John

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

    Art From HIV-Positive Artists
    Image from the July 2005 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    Untitled, 2004; Max Greenberg
    Visit the July 2005 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's collection of art by HIV-positive artists! The July 2005 gallery is entitled "The Male Gaze."