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July 13, 2005

In This Update:
  • In Two Weeks: The Body Covers IAS 2005
  • HIV/AIDS Policy & Funding in the U.S.
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Issues
  • HIV Prevention
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the U.S.
  •   IN TWO WEEKS: THE BODY COVERS IAS 2005

    Once every two years, HIV researchers from around the world gather for the International AIDS Society (IAS) conference, where they share the latest findings in HIV treatment, prevention and the management of HIV- and HAART-related illnesses.

    As it has since the first IAS conference in 2001, The Body's expert team of HIV clinicians will be on hand to cover major developments from this year's conference, which takes place from July 24-27 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Be sure to stop by The Body's IAS 2005 home page later this month for highlights, in-depth research recaps, Webcast links and more!

    Kind regards,

    Bonnie Goldman
    Editorial Director, The Body

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      HIV/AIDS POLICY & FUNDING IN THE UNITED STATES

    George W. Bush vs. Brazil: How Ideology Threatens the Fight Against HIV
    "Would it absolutely kill W and his disturbingly smug, misanthropic cabal of flying monkeys in Congress to admit, just occasionally, that some other country on the planet might be doing something worthwhile ... might even be more successful than us at addressing HIV?" asks a flustered David Salyer. In this case, he's talking about Brazil, where a highly progressive approach to HIV prevention and treatment is working minor miracles -- and is driving the Bush administration batty, because openness and understanding toward the sex industry is a key part of Brazil's anti-HIV strategy.


    Media Criticizes U.S. Senator's Push for Condom Warning Labels
    A conservative senator from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn, is determined to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put "cigarette-style warnings" on condom packages, which would say that condoms only protect against some sexually transmitted diseases -- even though this is contrary to prevailing research on condom efficacy. Coburn has placed a hold on acting FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford's nomination to head the agency, saying the hold will remain in place until the FDA issues condom labels that clarify the limitations of condoms' effectiveness in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. This editorial in the Contra Costa Times criticizes Sen. Coburn's actions.


    Senate Subcommittee Approves $10M Increase in Ryan White Funding for FY 2006
    A Senate subcommittee approved a spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2006 that would include a $10 million boost in Ryan White CARE Act funding levels compared to last year. Although many AIDS advocates are encouraged by this step, they are pushing for an amendment to be introduced on the Senate floor that would further increase spending for Ryan White programs. The spending bill itself is far from carved in stone; it must still be approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.

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      HIV TREATMENT

    An Update on the HIV Drug Pipeline
    The past three years have brought a massive sea change in the world of HIV treatment. Our understanding of side effects and drug resistance has deepened, allowing researchers to develop new HIV meds that work better, and appear to cause fewer health problems, than ever before. Where do we go from here? San Francisco AIDS Foundation takes a look at the past and current state of the HIV medication pipeline. [Editor's note: This article includes a paragraph on capravirine, whose development was discontinued shortly after the article was published.]

    For more info on new HIV meds in development, browse through our comprehensive library of overviews, news and research!


    Practical Tips for Sticking With Your HAART Regimen (PDF)
    Having trouble taking all of your HIV meds on time? You're not alone: Near-perfect adherence may be essential, but that doesn't make it easy. Luckily, there's plenty of advice out there, and special tools you can use to help ensure you take all your meds when you need to. This colorful booklet from the Terrence Higgins Trust offers some great tips. (Web highlight from the Terrence Higgins Trust)

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      HIV/HAART-RELATED HEALTH ISSUES

    Addressing the Mystery: The Complex Causes of Lipodystrophy
    Hundreds, if not thousands, of pages have been published in medical journals about the causes of lipodystrophy. But we still don't completely understand these changes in an HIVer's body, in which fat accumulates or vanishes in the face, arms, legs, buttocks and other areas. And, unfortunately, no treatments have been developed that effectively cure these problems. This interview with Australian lipodystrophy expert Dr. David Nolan provides a close-up look at what researchers have learned about why lipodystrophy happens and how it can be stopped or reversed.


    New Research Examines HIV-Related Issues for Women
    After years of inattention, women are finally becoming the focus of a growing amount of HIV research. Recent studies have examined important issues such as the incidence of breast and uterine cancer among HIV-positive women; the dangers of human papillomavirus, cervical cancer and anal cancer; and the tendency of women to stop using HAART after several years. Kristen Jill Kresge of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation recaps these recent findings.


    Cancer and HIV: Better Treatments, Longer Lives
    If you have HIV and cancer, take heart: You have a better chance of surviving now than ever before, thanks to improvements in both cancer care and HIV care. In this review of recently published studies, the British HIV resource aidsmap.com takes a look at this critical subject. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)

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      HIV PREVENTION

    Italy Announces Progress on Early-State HIV Vaccine
    Attempts to develop an HIV vaccine continue throughout the world, despite several setbacks over recent years. Earlier this month, for instance, researchers in Italy said that recently completed phase 1 trials of a new, experimental vaccine found the drug was safe and capable of stimulating the immune systems of the people tested. The vaccine attempts to shut down a protein that allows HIV to multiply once it infects someone.

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      HIV/AIDS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

    Brazil Gets What It Wants: A Lower Price for Kaletra
    Abbott Laboratories has agreed to lower the price of Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) in Brazil, leading the Brazilian government to drop its threat to break Abbott's patent on the drug and begin producing a low-cost, generic version. The agreement states that, for the next six years, Brazil will shell out the same total amount of cash for Kaletra that it does now -- even though the number of Brazilians receiving Kaletra is expected to triple over that period.


    Stigma Raises HIV Death Toll in Many Islamic Countries
    The stigma of HIV is so profound in Muslim cultures that in parts of Iran, nearly 60% of those infected with HIV kill themselves within a year of diagnosis, say Laura M. Kelley and Nicholas Eberstadt in this op-ed column. HIV is steadily making its way through many predominantly Muslim countries -- even those that do not acknowledge they have HIV in their midst. Approximately 61,000 people are infected with HIV in Iran; 180,000 in Indonesia; and 150,000 in Pakistan. The numbers are far higher in the Islamic countries of Africa: Mali alone has 420,000 infected people. (Web highlight from the Los Angeles Times; free registration required)


    Asia: Where Homosexuality Is Barely Acknowledged, How Do You Prevent HIV?
    How do you prevent HIV from spreading among men who have sex with men (MSM) in countries that are reluctant to even acknowledge the existence of MSM? This was one of the perplexing issues that experts struggled with at the recent 7th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific. Most HIV-prevention programs in Asia focus only on heterosexuals. The government of Vietnam does not even formally recognize that MSM exist, and government officials see homosexuality as a "social evil," said Le Cao Dung of the Ho Chi Minh City provincial AIDS committee. Similar problems exist in China and Japan.


    HIV Rates Growing by Leaps and Bounds Among Chinese Women
    Women now make up 28% of all Chinese people with HIV, up from 19% just four years ago, China's Health Minister Gao Qiang said at a recent AIDS conference in Beijing. The rising numbers reflect women's lack of knowledge about HIV, Gao said, especially women in poor rural areas: Fewer than 40% of women in these areas know how to prevent HIV.


    Throughout Asia, Lack of Empowerment and HIV Strike Double Blow to Women
    The low status of women in Asia's male-dominated cultures has made them much more vulnerable to HIV, said experts at the 7th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific. Since 2003, the number of Asian women infected with HIV has climbed 20% to 2.3 million, compared with a 17% increase for the region as a whole. In India, women comprise 2 million of the country's 5.1 million HIV cases.

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    Meet the Winners of TheBody.com's 2005 HIV Leadership Awards!
    Sheri Kaplan, winner of a TheBody.com 2005 HIV Leadership Award
    Meet Sheri Kaplan from Miami, Fla., one of 10 inspiring people with HIV who have won a 2005 HIV Leadership Award from TheBody.com!

    Sheri is a self-described "nice Jewish girl" who refuses to let her HIV diagnosis socially isolate her. The founder of a large AIDS organization in Miami, Sheri receives regular media attention and recognition for her efforts to help HIV-positive heterosexuals move beyond social isolation and feelings of shame.

    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

    "Terrified, Emotional, Alone"
    (A recent post from the
    "I Just Tested Positive" board)

    "I was diagnosed in April of this year and I'm a scared out of my wits. ... I moved to a big city and just lost control of my senses. Now, God has punished me. ... My first results were CD4 [count] of 316 and viral load of 13,000. My doctor says I'm in the gray area for beginning meds, which scares me because I've heard that meds give telltale signs like darkened complexion and fingernails, hair loss, nausea and headaches. ... My family is a praying family and I believe that it works, but I can't ask them for prayer since I cannot tell them that I've failed them, especially my parents ... it would kill them. I will ask of anyone here who does pray to pray for me ... and everyone else like me."
    -- Pratt

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

    "POZ Chasers"
    (A recent post from the
    "Living With HIV" board)

    "I have read a lot recently of ... bug hunters ... who actively seek to get infected with the virus. I know for a fact here in the [United Kingdom] organized parties are arranged for people to go and get infected. I have heard people refuse to take medications [in order to] have a high viral load. ... Is this the same in the USA? If so, how can we or the government prevent it?"
    -- Richie UK

    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, 2002; JD Talasek
    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."