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June 21, 2006

In This Update:
  • New Lipoatrophy Resource Center
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV-Related Complications
  • HIV Testing
  • News & Views
  • HIV Outside the U.S.

    In-Depth Lipoatrophy Info, Treatment Tips, Podcasts, Interviews and More
    Of all the tongue-twisting medical terms that have entered HIVers' vocabulary, few have caused more grief than "lipoatrophy," the loss of fat from specific areas of the body and face. Although there's no cure for lipoatrophy, experts are learning more every day -- and The Body's new Lipoatrophy Resource Center is the most comprehensive source on the Web to turn to for the latest information!

    Visit The Body's Lipoatrophy Resource Center to read -- and to download podcasts of -- interviews with top physicians and HIVers who have dealt with lipoatrophy. Also browse through a trove of useful information about this difficult side effect, including the latest news, research updates, overviews, comparisons of facial fillers, tips on how to get insurance coverage for lipoatrophy surgery and compelling accounts of what it's like to live with lipoatrophy.



    AIDS at 25: Long-Term Survivor Mary Fisher Looks Back With Regret
    Fifteen years after she was diagnosed with HIV, outspoken AIDS advocate Mary Fisher laments that the activism of her day may have helped revolutionize HIV treatment in the United States, but appears to have done precious little to help HIV prevention efforts and treatment access. "Had we known we would live, we might have organized a better struggle for justice," she writes. "Headlines have moved on. Celebrities have taken up more glitzy causes. Communities of color, of women, of immigrants lack the resources (knowledge, power, money) the gay community had. ... Those who cannot access [antiretroviral therapies] will die; those of us who have access live in daily guilt for the very act of living."

    Is Your HIV-Affected Child Looking for Summer Fun? Camp Season Is Here!
    Think your HIV-affected child might enjoy a trip to a specialized summer camp? Spots may still be open at some U.S. and Canadian summer camps for kids who are HIV positive or whose lives have been otherwise impacted by HIV. In many cases, there is little to no cost for attending and traveling to the camps! Visit this page to see a lengthy list of available camps.

    Girl With HIV Is Leaving New York City School After Harassment
    Unfortunately, for every sympathetic person and special summer camp available to make life easier for HIV-affected kids, HIV stigma remains alive and well in the United States -- even in supposedly progressive areas like New York City. Sixteen-year-old Raven Lopez, who was born with HIV, is transferring out of her high school this fall after being repeatedly harassed by her fellow students -- and after reportedly getting the cold shoulder when she complained to administrators. "Every school I go to I have a problem and I get tired," Raven said. A small group of supporters protested outside the high school last week. (Web highlight from Newsday)

    The Body profiled Raven and her mother, Michelle, in our African-American HIV/AIDS Resource Center earlier this year. To read our interview with Raven, click here; to read our interview with Michelle, click here.



    Treatment Interruptions: Reviewing What We've Learned so Far
    Are there any situations in which it's wise for an HIVer to take a supervised break from treatment? A flurry of research over the past year has turned this question into one of the hotter topics in HIV medicine -- but seemingly conflicting results have made it hard to take a step back and examine exactly what we've learned about the value of HIV treatment interruptions. In this detailed overview, Dr. Kaleo Staszkow, an HIV primary care specialist in Chicago, Ill., brings us up to date, and explains the current role that treatment interruptions can still play.

    Study of Tipranavir for First-Line Treatment Ends Early
    Tipranavir (Aptivus) may be an excellent drug for HIVers with multidrug resistance, but newly released results from an industry-sponsored study make it doubtful that tipranavir will ever be used as first-line therapy. The study compared tipranavir + ritonavir (Norvir) to Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) as part of the first-line treatment regimens of 558 HIVers throughout the world. The trial was stopped early, however, after researchers found that the risks of taking tipranavir + ritonavir instead of Kaletra outweighed the potential benefits, at least when it came to first-line treatment -- a time when HIVers usually have many more options to choose from than they would if they had multidrug resistance. The main problem with the standard dose of tipranavir + ritonavir appeared to be a higher risk of liver problems; when a lower dose of ritonavir was given with tipranavir, the liver risk decreased, but the drugs were less successful at keeping a person's viral load undetectable over the long term. This press release explains the details of the study findings.

    Co-Receptor Conundrum: The Challenges of Turning Theory Into Reality
    At the moment, there are many more questions than answers about a class of HIV meds in development known as co-receptor inhibitors. Although one drug in this class -- maraviroc -- remains on the path to U.S. approval, several other drugs have fallen out of the development pipeline in recent months, leading some to wonder what the future holds in store for this unique breed of antiretrovirals. In this overview, Richard Jefferys examines co-receptor inhibitors' rocky road to development.

    The Basics on "Salvage Therapy" (Treatment for Drug-Resistant HIVers)
    Doctors use the term "salvage therapy" to describe the treatment they prescribe for HIV-positive people who have already tried, and become resistant to, several regimens of HIV meds. It's a crude phrase, but it's also accurate, since doctors try to "salvage" HIV medications they think will still work and cobble them together into a new regimen that can hopefully keep a person's viral load down and CD4 count up. This fact sheet, from AIDS InfoNet explains how salvage therapy works, when it's time for an HIVer to consider salvage therapy, and what treatment strategies are available to someone who's in a "salvage" situation.



    More Treatment, Fewer Cigarettes Greatly Reduce Pneumonia Risk for Women With HIV
    Bacterial pneumonia remains a major health risk for HIV-positive women, especially those with a CD4 count below 200 -- but HIV medications, pneumonia prevention drugs and a cigarette-free lifestyle can go a long way toward eliminating the danger, according to a study by U.S. researchers. The study confirmed earlier research finding that bacterial pneumonia rates were high among HIV-positive women in the years before combination HIV treatment. In the modern treatment era, researchers found that the risk of getting bacterial pneumonia dropped by 3 percent for each month women took a pneumonia-prevention drug, and by another 8 percent for each month they were on potent HIV treatment. The study also noted that HIV-positive women who smoked cigarettes were more than twice as likely to get bacterial pneumonia than HIV-positive women who didn't smoke. Bacterial pneumonia was once a major cause of illness and death in HIVers; although it's less common today (at least in wealthy countries), it is still dangerous, and it occurs more frequently among HIV-positive people than HIV-negative people. (Web highlight from

    To read the abstract of this study, which was published in the July 1 issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, click here.

    New Research on Hepatitis C Drugs in Development
    Although hepatitis C and HIV were both discovered in the 1980s, we have far fewer medications to treat hepatitis C than HIV. Unfortunately, although we do have some relatively effective hep C meds, the drugs can also cause some nasty side effects, and they're generally not as good at suppressing hep C as today's potent HIV treatment regimens are at suppressing HIV. Thankfully, there are a number of hep C meds in the pipeline that may hold the promise of more effective treatment. In this article for the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America Update, Daniel Raymond provides a research update on some of the more promising candidates.



    MSM Usually Don't Get Tested for HIV Even if They Feel Symptoms, Survey Finds
    Within a month of HIV infection, most people feel flulike symptoms, such as fever, chills and nausea. However, a recent survey of 150 HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM) at a clinic in Seattle, Wash., found that the majority don't know that these are potential symptoms of HIV. The survey also noted that even if MSM are aware of the possible symptoms of HIV, when they actually begin to experience them, they usually don't get tested for HIV. Researchers said that the findings show how critical it is that health officials better educate MSM about the symptoms of HIV and the importance of routine HIV testing. (Web highlight from

    To read the abstract of this study, which appears in the May 2006 issue of the Journal of AIDS, click here.

    Database of HIV Testing Sites in the United States
    The sobering results of the Seattle study we highlighted above show just how important HIV testing and education remains in the United States. June 27 is U.S. National HIV Testing Day, when organizations, activists and clinics throughout the country redouble their efforts to ensure that everybody -- whether they think they might be at risk or not -- gets tested for HIV. If you or someone you know needs to be tested (and everybody does!), check out this great database of testing sites to find the location nearest you. (Web highlight from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

    Top 10 Tips to a Successful National HIV Testing Day Campaign
    National HIV Testing Day in the United States takes place on June 27, and you can help spread the word! Whether you'd like to design a poster, organize an event or offer special services at your school or clinic, there are some simple, but pivotal, tips to keep in mind. Read this advice from the National Association of People With AIDS, and help ensure success for whatever you have planned for June 27!


      NEWS & VIEWS

    HIVers in U.S. South Are Often Victims of Abuse
    A history of sexual or physical abuse is common among HIVers in the southern United States -- regardless of their gender or sexual preference -- which may help explain why HIV continues to spread through the region so quickly, researchers say. In a study of HIV-positive people being treated for HIV in five southern states, the researchers found that at least 50 percent reported experiencing sexual abuse or severe physical abuse at some point in their lives -- and that about one in four people (men and women alike) had been sexually abused before their 13th birthday. Experts believe that a history of abuse makes people more likely to develop behaviors that may put them at risk for HIV, and may make HIV-positive people less likely to adhere to their HIV meds. By paying more attention to the role of abuse, the researchers say, health care providers and officials can create more effective HIV prevention campaigns and HIV treatment services.



    One on One With Bono, Rock Star-Turned AIDS Activist
    Some say that he's the man who was responsible for getting U.S. President George W. Bush to care about HIV (at least outside the United States) and for persuading the ultraconservative former U.S. Senator Jesse Helms to stop passing judgement on HIV-positive people. Whatever the reality is, there is no doubt that Bono, lead singer of the Irish rock band U2, is one of the world's most prominent public figures pushing for ever-greater efforts to fight HIV, poverty and inequality in the developing world. The U.S. news program Frontline recently sat down with Bono for a one-on-one interview; click here to read the transcript. (Web highlight from Frontline)

    Also Worth Noting

    Get Involved
    Spread the Word: June 27 is
    National HIV Testing Day!

    National HIV Testing Day poster
    Want to be a part of U.S.-wide efforts on June 27 urging all Americans to get tested for HIV? You can start by printing out, posting and distributing these English and Spanish posters (PDF). They're part of the National Association of People With AIDS' special campaign kit for National HIV Testing Day.
    Upcoming Event
    AAHIVM to Announce
    Resistance Survey Results
    AAHIVM logo

    Save the date! In Manhattan on Tuesday, July 18, the American Academy of HIV Medicine will announce findings from a national survey of HIV-positive adults and HIV doctors on the topic of HIV drug resistance. A panel of prominent AIDS experts, including Dr. Howard Grossman and Dr. Martin Markowitz, will speak at the event, and will be available to answer questions from people who attend.

    Want to attend? Call Lauren Graham of the GCI Group at 212.537.8037, or e-mail her at The event will take place at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and a light lunch will be served.

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the June 2006 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Insight," 2003; Clifford Smith
    (made with dyed egg shells
    on Arches paper)
    Visit the June 2006 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery is entitled "Magick Eyes"; it's curated by Malik Gaines, an independent critic and curator, and Alex Segade, a film and video director.