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July 21, 2005

In This Update:
  • Tell Us What You Think!
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV/AIDS Activism
  • HIV Prevention & Testing
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the U.S.

    An awful lot has changed at The Body since the last time we did a visitor survey two years ago: For starters, we held a nationwide search for some of the most inspiring people in the HIV community, and provided awards to 73 amazing winners; we began printing educational booklets on key topics in HIV, like starting treatment and avoiding drug resistance; and most recently, we completed The Body's first major redesign in 10 years!

    Yep, much has changed at The Body, but our mission remains the same: To be your most complete, reliable source of information on HIV. That's why our visitor survey is so important! It gives us a chance to hear, from each of you, exactly what we're doing right -- as well as what we need to do better.

    No matter who you are, where you're from or what your background is, your thoughts are vitally important to us. We hope you'll spend several minutes filling out our new survey and sharing those thoughts!

    In health,

    Bonnie Goldman
    Editorial Director, The Body



    HIV Treatment Guidelines Update: Once-Daily Kaletra, and a Regimen to Avoid
    The U.S. health department recently issued a one-page update to its lengthy HIV treatment guidelines -- an unusual step, considering the entire guidelines are revised almost twice a year. The update contains two new recommendations: First, people who are just beginning HIV treatment should avoid the combination of ddI (didanosine, Videx) + tenofovir (Viread) + an NNRTI (like efavirenz [Sustiva, Stocrin] or nevirapine [Viramune]). And second, people who are starting HIV treatment may, in most situations, be able to take a once-a-day dose of Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir), as opposed to the normal twice-daily dose of the drug.

    U.S. HIV Treatment Guidelines Panel Seeks Member of HIV Community
    Want to have a say in the development of HIV treatment guidelines in the United States? The U.S. Panel on Clinical Practices for Treatment of HIV Infection is seeking nominations for a community representative to serve a three-year term on its Adult Guidelines Panel. The ideal individual, according to this release, should have "knowledge and involvement in issues related to HIV treatment education/advocacy, or clinical/public policy initiatives related to HIV treatment." Find out more about serving on this important panel! (Web highlight from AIDSInfo)

    Injection Drug Users No More Likely to Develop Resistance to HIV Meds, Study Says
    Many HIV specialists fear that prescribing HIV medications to people with a history of injection drug use may be a wasted effort, because it's assumed that drug users will develop resistance to their HIV meds because of poor adherence. However, a Canadian study disputes this notion. The researchers found that, during the first 30 months of HIV treatment, people with a history of injection drug use developed resistance at similar rates to people with no history of injection drug use. (Web highlight from the journal AIDS)

    The Nuts and Bolts of Clinical Trials
    Curious about HIV-related clinical trials, but not sure what you’d be getting yourself into if you joined one? Check out this overview from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. In it, you’ll get a much better idea for how clinical trials work -- and for the pros and cons you should consider when pondering whether to volunteer.

    Enrolling HIV-Related Trials in the United States
    If you feel a clinical trial might be a good fit for you, browse this sampling of nationwide studies and talk things over with your HIV doctor! At any given time, dozens of HIV-related clinical trials are getting underway in the United States. Many of these focus on new antiretrovirals, but HIV-related health issues, HIV medication side effects and HIV prevention are just a few of the other types of studies seeking volunteers.

    For much more on clinical trials in your state and throughout the United States, visit The Body’s library of articles and resources.

    Next Week: On-Location Coverage of IAS 2005
    Next week's e-mail newsletter will include highlights from the largest international AIDS conference of the year: The 3rd International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment (IAS 2005). Six of The Body's HIV medical experts will be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to bring you analyses of breaking research, and Webcasts from will put you front-and-center for some of the conference's most important discussions!

    The Body's IAS 2005 home page is the place to visit for the latest highlights from this conference, which begins on Sunday, July 24 and runs through Wednesday, July 27. We hope you find our coverage useful and informative!



    Fighting AIDS With a Beaded Cell-Phone Cover?
    Who'd have thunk it: A way to show off your fashion sense, and to help HIV-positive women in South Africa at the same time? A program called Mothers Creations lets you do just that: In an effort the Wall Street Journal says is "being catapulted into the international fashion scene," HIV-positive women receive proceeds from the sales of beaded accessories they make by hand -- like a cell phone cover, which takes three days to make and goes for about US$20. The women making the beaded accessories are enrolled in a mother-to-child HIV transmission prevention program in South Africa.

    AIDS Activists Cry Foul as Drug Companies Push Prices to Record Levels
    Think HIV meds are getting expensive? You're not the only one. Activists from the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC) have accused U.S. drugmakers of artificially inflating the market at the expense of people living with HIV. This release explains ATAC's position.

    Thousands Put Their Feet (and Shoes) Down, and a Nationwide AIDS Activism Movement Begins
    Thousands of AIDS activists personally delivered 8,500 pairs of shoes to Washington, D.C., on May 5 -- one pair for each person who dies from AIDS every day. This marked the first major event of the Campaign to End AIDS, a nationwide push to get the federal government to more fully fund HIV prevention and treatment efforts not only in the United States, but throughout the world as well.



    Using Viral Load Testing for Early HIV Diagnosis?
    Forget about HIV antibody testing; if you want to diagnose people early and save more lives, viral load testing is the way to go. At least, that’s the contention of Antonio Urbina, director of clinical HIV/AIDS education at Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers in New York City, and Timothy Law Snyder, a math and computer science professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut. In an op-ed piece, they argue in favor of diagnosing people with viral load testing, which can yield positive results within a week or two if a person has been infected. Many researchers believe it's during this time that people are most likely to pass the virus to others.

    NIAID Signals Renewed Commitment to HIV Vaccine Development
    Have you stopped believing in an HIV vaccine? Feel like HIV vaccine development is just spinning its wheels? A new U.S. initiative, the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology, will seek to break the stalemate on HIV vaccine research. The center will attempt to figure out the key roadblocks to vaccine development and design new vaccines with better chances for success.

    Cutting Your Hair -- And Your HIV Risk
    HIV prevention efforts aimed at local communities are critical to reaching people at risk. In New Mexico, for instance, a pilot program is trying to spread HIV education in community barbershops. The South Valley Male Involvement Project in Albuquerque is working with local barbershops to improve educational and clinical services for men, reduce risky behavior and prevent violence, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.



    Stigma and Female Disempowerment: HIV's Allies in Africa
    HIV stigma is all too real in the developing world, and its impact on women is devastating. This tragic fact highlights one of the most daunting aspects of fighting the HIV epidemic: Prevention and treatment may not be enough. To beat the virus, this essay suggests, entire cultures may have to change. (Web highlight from PLoS Medicine, a free medical journal)

    Russia: Report Details Deep HIV Discrimination Against HIV-Positive Women, Children
    In Russia, to have HIV is to face discrimination. But heartrendingly, the situation seems particularly dire if that person is a woman or a child. This new report from Human Rights Watch outlines the terrible details: One out of five children born to HIV-positive parents is abandoned or deposited in a "warehouse." Many healthcare providers refuse to take care of HIV-positive women, and segregate them and their children into separate hospital wards. Many schools refuse to enroll children with HIV. It's an all-too-familiar story to those of us who experienced the epidemic's early years in the United States -- and now it's playing out in Russia, too, with the same terrible results.

    To the read the full, brutal Human Rights Watch report, click here.

    Slaying the Two-Headed Monster: HIV Treatment in the Developing World
    In the developing world, getting HIV treatment to those who need it is a two-part problem, some say. There’s no argument that HIVers in poor nations need better access to effective meds now. But at the same time, healthcare systems in the developing world desperately need to be strengthened so that they can support themselves without relying on the aid -- and the political whims -- of outside countries like the United States. Despite this two-pronged problem, laments Gregg Gonsalves in this op-ed, precious few resources are being put toward addressing both the short-term and long-term needs surrounding HIV treatment in the developing world.

    Meet the Winners of's 2005 HIV Leadership Awards!
    Nancy Cataldi, winner of a 2005 HIV Leadership Award
    Meet Nancy Cataldi from New York City, one of 10 HIV case managers who have won a 2005 HIV Leadership Award from!

    Nancy brings empathy and a healthy dose of optimism to her job supporting some of the most deeply stigmatized people living in the United States today: HIV-positive substance abusers. At Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, she handles the challenges of her work with a great sense of humor, a social support network of friends and the courage exhibited by her HIV-positive clients.

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

    Connect With Others at
    The Body's Bulletin Boards

    "Get Connected"
    (A recent post from the
    "HIV in the Military" board)

    "I'm looking to connect with other [HIV-positive people in the] military. I kinda feel segregated having to keep my status a secret."
    -- Anonymous

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

    "Let's Talk About Medicaid"
    (A recent post from the
    "Living With HIV" board)

    "We're dealing with a healthcare crisis here in Missouri. ... Over 90,000 people here lost their Medicaid benefits effective July 1st. ... Since I qualify for Medicaid, even though I can't afford the premiums, I am not eligible for ADAP. ... Ryan White assistance is severely limited, but will hopefully be of a tiny bit of help. ...

    "I've written scathing letters (and nice ones too) to my legislatures [sic], senators and even the governor ... no one seems to care. They want to push the poor, disabled and elderly out of the state, or kill them by taking away their healthcare, and still, no public outcry. What's next, euthanasia?

    "I'm feeling so much anger, frustration, stress and downright shock over this whole situation. ... Sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel ... but of course I can't. ... I'll be writing and calling every elected official telling my story; I refuse to give up!

    "So what's going on where you live, and what are you doing about it?
    -- MissouriMammal

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

    Art From HIV-Positive Artists
    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."