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August 10, 2005

In This Update:
  • HIV Prevention
  • HIV Treatment:
    Drugs in Development
    Misc. HIV Treatment Issues
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Problems
  • U.S. HIV News & Views
  • Take The Body's Visitor Survey!
  • HIV Outside the U.S.
  •   HIV PREVENTION

    I Love HIV Vaccines! Just Don't Sign Me Up for a Study
    Although most U.S. adults are confident that an HIV vaccine will be found and that a vaccine is the most effective way to combat HIV, they would nonetheless be reluctant to support a friend or family member's participation in an HIV vaccine trial, according to the results of a new federal survey.

    To read the news release from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on this survey, click here.


    NIAID Announces It Will Help Develop Vaginal Microbicides
    The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has thrown its support behind the global effort to develop microbicides. Last week, NIAID announced it would share knowledge and expertise with International Partnership for Microbicides in an effort to spur the development of microbicides, topical creams that much of the global HIV community hopes will usher in a new era of HIV prevention. Interestingly, NIAID made it a point to note that its support applied specifically to vaginal microbicides, not anal ones.

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      HIV TREATMENT

    Drugs in Development

    TMC114 Powers Through Latest Clinical Trial
    The experimental protease inhibitor TMC114 continues to impress in clinical trials. A phase 2B study presented at IAS 2005 found that at its ideal dose, TMC114 + ritonavir (Norvir) significantly outperforms many other protease inhibitors in treatment-experienced people whose virus has at least one mutation associated with protease inhibitor resistance. TMC114 even appears to work well without the help of T-20 (enfuvirtide, Fuzeon). Dr. Mark Wainberg reports.


    D-D4FC Active Against NRTI-Resistant Virus; Caution Against Use With ddI, 3TC
    An NRTI in development known as D-D4FC (Reverset) has shown potency in people who have already developed resistance to some NRTIs, according to the results of a phase 2B study presented at IAS 2005. The drug also appears to cause only mild side effects. However, it looks like D-D4FC and ddI (didanosine, Videx) will not make a safe combination, and D-D4FC may also not work as well when taken with 3TC (lamivudine, Epivir). Dr. Mark Wainberg reports for The Body.


    Early Study Shows Promise for GW695634, a Next-Generation NNRTI
    GW695634 is a next-generation NNRTI in the early stages of clinical development, and signs so far appear promising. A seven-day monotherapy study showed that the drug had a strong anti-HIV response in people who had already developed resistance to existing NNRTIs. Dr. Mark Wainberg reports for The Body from IAS 2005.


    Miscellaneous HIV Treatment Issues

    Truvada Found More Convenient, Less Toxic Than Combivir
    In terms of side effects and convenience, the NRTI combination of tenofovir (Viread) + FTC (emtricitabine, Emtriva) -- which is available as a single pill called Truvada -- appeared to beat out the fixed-dose pill Combivir (AZT/3TC) in a head-to-head, international study presented at IAS 2005. However, both tenofovir + FTC and Combivir worked extremely well; when either combination was taken with efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin), a vanishingly low percentage of people developed virologic failure. Still, the findings may help sway doctors who were on the fence about prescribing one combo or the other as part of an HIVer's first treatment regimen. Dr. Brian Conway reports for The Body.


    Tipranavir Is a Critical Protease Inhibitor, Studies Attest
    The newly approved protease inhibitor tipranavir (Aptivus) is a critical addition to our HIV treatment arsenal, The Body's Dr. Brian Conway reports. Several studies presented at IAS 2005 showed that the drug worked well in people with multi-drug resistance, a high viral load or a low CD4 count. The drug worked even better when it was taken with T-20 (enfuvirtide, Fuzeon).


    HIV Drug Interactions: What to Watch Out For
    As the number of available HIV medications continues to grow, HIVers have more chances than ever before to find a treatment that works for them. However, it also means there's a lot more to learn -- and to remember -- when it comes to issues like drug interactions. How do these interactions happen, and which HIV meds can be safely taken with one another, or with other prescription medications? Liz Highleyman provides this detailed overview.

    In addition, click here to take a look at The Body's extensive list of additional resources on HIV drug interactions!

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      HIV/HAART-RELATED HEALTH PROBLEMS

    An African-American Man's Struggle With HIV Treatment Side Effects
    As just about anyone who's ever been on HIV treatment knows, taking HIV meds brings its own set of challenges. For this anonymous, African-American HIVer, those challenges were a parade of side effects: weight loss, facial wasting, an oversized belly and breasts, and neuropathy. As he explains, it's not just the side effects themselves that are hard to deal with -- it's his worry that people will figure out what they mean. "I'm a Catholic, a strong Catholic, and when we do the sign of peace in church, I'm so afraid of people knowing my status. I don't want them to shy away from me or feel sorry for me. I just want them to keep treating me like they've been treating me," he says.


    A Psychological Look at Lipodystrophy
    It's taken many health providers a long time to understand that the body shape changes known as lipodystrophy are much more than just a physical problem. Part of what makes lipodystrophy so difficult is its emotional impact; many HIVers with lipodystrophy may develop problems with self-confidence or concerns about stigma and disclosure. These problems, in turn, can hurt a person's physical health as well. In this review, psychiatrist Kristina Jones and social worker Chuck Finlon review the psychological effects of lipodystrophy in HIV-positive people.


    Invasive Streptococcus Pneumoniae Infections Are on the Decline
    Historically one of the most common opportunistic infections associated with AIDS, cases of invasive pneumococcal disease in the United States have dropped dramatically since combination HIV treatment (HAART) was introduced in the mid-1990s. Researchers found that annual incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease among people with AIDS declined by more than half in just five years, from 1.09% in 1995-1996 to .47% in 1999-2000. The researchers noted, however, that this lower rate is still 35 times higher than among HIV-negative people. "Despite these gains, persons with AIDS remain at high risk for invasive pneumococcal disease," they wrote.

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      U.S. HIV NEWS & VIEWS

    One Woman's Odyssey of Drugs, Sex and HIV Leads to a New Life
    Not long ago, Merle Soden was pimping women in Harlem, selling and smoking crack, and robbing other hustlers. Now Merle -- who adopted the name Conscious after she found out she had HIV and went sober -- lives in South Beach, Fla., and travels the country telling her story to students and other groups. "I have learned how to be strong. That makes all the difference," she says. She wears two watches, one just to make sure she takes her HIV medicine on time.


    Transgendered Honduran With HIV Can Stay in U.S., Judge Says
    A U.S. federal judge has ruled that an HIV-positive transgendered woman from Honduras can stay in the United States as long as she wants. The judge determined that the woman would face physical abuse and be unable to receive HIV treatment if she were returned to her native country. (Web highlight from the Associated Press)

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     TAKE THE BODY'S 2005 VISITOR SURVEY!

    Do you wish there was some way you could tell us what you think about our Web site, and to help make it an even better source of HIV/AIDS information than it already is? Hey, what a coincidence -- we've got a new visitor survey that will let you do just that!

    It's been a long time -- nearly three years! -- since our last visitor survey, but we still consider them to be vitally important opportunities for us to hear your thoughts, no matter who you are or why you use our site. We hope you'll take a few minutes to answer our survey and make your voice heard!

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      HIV OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

    Saudi Arabia Treats Foreign HIVers Like Prisoners, Report Says
    To be an HIV-positive foreigner in Saudi Arabia is to be a prisoner, according to one Saudi doctor. Although Saudi Arabia provides HIV treatment to its HIV-positive citizens, it does not do so for HIV-positive foreigners, according to a recent report in Toronto's Globe and Mail. Instead, foreigners are confined in caged hospital rooms until they are deported or die. HIV testing is mandatory for all people who receive treatment at Saudi Arabian hospitals.


    Heterosexual Women Rapidly Becoming Epicenter of Canada's HIV Epidemic
    In Canada, where health care is free for all citizens, HIV-positive women nonetheless often don't find out they have HIV until they're near death. A recent report by Health Canada's Center for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control also found that heterosexual women in Canada are contracting HIV at a higher rate than gay men.


    Scotland on Track to Exceed Highest Annual Number of New HIV Cases
    Between January and June this year, 196 new cases of HIV have been reported in Scotland, making it likely that more new cases will be reported in 2005 than any other year since the country began offering HIV testing. Of the 89 cases among heterosexuals, 55 people -- most of whom were new immigrants to the United Kingdom -- said they contracted the virus as a result of a sexual experience in sub-Saharan Africa.

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    Browse The Body's
    Coverage of IAS 2005!
    Click here for complete coverage of IAS 2005
    This e-mail newsletter contains many exclusive analyses of key research studies presented at the 3rd International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment (IAS 2005). But that's only part of the story!

    Click here to visit The Body's main page for IAS 2005 -- your starting point for extensive coverage of conference highlights not only from The Body's own team of medical experts, but from throughout the Web as well!
    Meet the Winners of TheBody.com's 2005 HIV Leadership Awards!
    Awilda Gonzalez-Vega, winner of a TheBody.com 2005 HIV Leadership Award
    In 1984, Awilda Gonzalez-Vega was sentenced to 15 years to life under New York's draconian Rockefeller-era drug possession laws. She ended up serving 10 years -- and put that time to very good use, conducting HIV prevention and education work in her correctional facility. Today, she works full-time in Stone Mountain, Ga., as an advocate for prisoners and other people affected by and infected with HIV.

    Awilda is one of 10 outstanding HIV case managers and social workers who have won a 2005 HIV Leadership Award from TheBody.com. To meet all 73 winners of TheBody.com's 2005 HIV Leadership Awards, click here!

    Connect With Others at
    The Body's Bulletin Boards

    "Dating"
    (A recent post from the
    "Women & HIV" board)

    "I have a question. I have been pos for almost 2 years. I was infected by my boyfriend. I thought that I might be ready to start dating again, but the whole idea of telling someone I am pos -- not the actual disease, but when to tell them -- really freaks me out and makes me think that maybe I am not ready to date. I am scared of being rejected and think it might be easier just to not go down the path of relationship. ... When is the right time to start dating, and then when is the right time to tell? ... [I want] to hear inspiring stories of how other people got back on the saddle and ventured back out into the world of dating after their diagnosis, and how they are doing with it now."
    -- sage

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

    Art From HIV-Positive Artists
    Image from the August 2005 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Maria Callas" (detail), 1994;
    Wilmer Velez
    Visit the August 2005 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's collection of art by HIV-positive artists! The August 2005 gallery is entitled "Body-ography."