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October 25, 2006

In This Update:
  • HIV-Related Health Problems
  • HIV Treatment
  • Substance Use
  • HIV Transmission
  • HIV in the News
  • HIV Outside the U.S.
  •   HIV-RELATED HEALTH PROBLEMS

    Anal Sex or No, Anal HPV Is Extremely Common in HIV-Positive Women
    Think women who don't have anal sex aren't at risk for anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection? A new study of HIV-positive women has found that HPV -- an extremely common sexually transmitted disease that can sometimes cause cancer -- is actually found more frequently in the anus than the cervix. An amazing 92 percent of the 122 women in the study had anal HPV, compared to 86 percent who had cervical HPV. And anal sex was not linked to anal HPV risk; HPV appeared instead to migrate over time from the genital region. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)


    Older People Diagnosed With More Advanced HIV Disease
    When people who are 50 or older are diagnosed with HIV, it tends to be at a more advanced stage of disease, researchers have found. Although they're not certain why this is the case, a new study of HIVers in Spain shows that it doesn't appear to impact the success of HIV treatment: People over 50 still responded well to therapy. Still, the study emphasizes how important it is that people of all ages be considered at risk for HIV -- and get tested regularly, especially if they're sexually active. The Body's Eric Daar, M.D., reports from ICAAC 2006.


    Drug Combo May Help Offset Abdominal Fat Gain in Some HIVers
    There's no magic bullet that can "cure" all HIV-related fat loss (lipoatrophy) or fat gain (lipohypertrophy). However, a few drugs may be used to offset specific symptoms: For instance, new research shows how a combination of two drugs -- recombinant human growth hormone and rosiglitazone -- may be able to reduce "visceral fat," or fat in the abdomen. The Body's Eric Daar, M.D., reports from ICAAC 2006.


    Treatments for Low Testosterone in People With HIV
    One of the possible side effects of HIV is an unusually low testosterone level, which can cause loss of muscle mass, sexual dysfunction (in men), low energy and depression. About 30 percent of HIV-positive men, and many HIV-positive women, have low levels of testosterone. In this slide presentation with audio commentary (meant for healthcare professionals, but interesting nonetheless), Dr. Donald Abrams reviews studies of anabolic steroid use, discusses how HIV can cause low testosterone, details how testosterone works in the body, and outlines options for testosterone replacement therapy and its potential risks. (Web highlight from HIV InSite)

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      HIV TREATMENT

    New 300 mg Atazanavir Capsule Allows for One-Pill, Once-Daily Dosing
    If your HIV treatment regimen includes a 300 mg daily dose of atazanavir (Reyataz), you may be happy to hear that you'll soon only need to take one atazanavir pill per day instead of two. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new 300 mg dose of the pill, which can be used to replace the pair of 150 mg atazanavir capsules that many HIVers currently take.


    Liver Issues on Tipranavir Are Common, but Resolve Over Time
    Although a regimen containing tipranavir (Aptivus) + ritonavir (Norvir) generally works well in people who are resistant to other protease inhibitors, one of the concerns with this HIV med combo has been its potential to cause liver damage. However, a new study by some of the world's top researchers in this area has found reason for cautious optimism. Yes, tipranavir + ritonavir can, and often does, increase liver enzyme levels, the researchers found. However, less than 1 percent of people taking tipranavir + ritonavir develop severe liver problems related to those high levels, and most people who develop very high liver enzyme levels tend to see them decrease over time. The Body's Margaret Hoffman-Terry, M.D., reports from ICAAC 2006.


    Fosamprenavir Efficacy, Safety Hold Up in First-Line Study
    The latest version of the U.S. HIV treatment guidelines recommend fosamprenavir (Lexiva, Telzir) as one of several drugs to consider using as part of a first-line HIV treatment regimen. A growing number of studies support fosamprenavir's first-line use: In a study presented at ICAAC 2006, the combination of fosamprenavir + ritonavir was found to rival the efficacy and safety of another potent combo, atazanavir (Reyataz) + ritonavir (Norvir), in treatment-naive HIVers. Meanwhile, another study showed that men and women both benefit from using fosamprenavir. The Body's Mark Wainberg, Ph.D., reports.


    Once-a-Day Epzicom as Safe, Effective as Its Twice-a-Day Components
    Ever since the HIV meds 3TC (lamivudine, Epivir) and abacavir (Ziagen) became available as a single, once-daily pill (known as Epzicom or Kivexa), doctors have been concerned that the potent pill could pose side effect risks, especially for a potentially dangerous condition known as abacavir hypersensitivity. However, a large study of treatment-naive HIVers appears to put these concerns to rest: The study found that Epzicom was just as safe and effective as a twice-daily dose of 3TC + abacavir taken separately. The Body's Mark Wainberg, Ph.D., reports from ICAAC 2006.

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      SUBSTANCE USE

    A Drug User's Guide to Preventing (and Surviving) Overdoses
    The dangers of substance use are obvious, but plenty of people won't -- or can't -- stop doing drugs, even if drug use is the reason they were infected with HIV. Even if you continue using drugs, however, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from dangers such as overdoses. This guide from the Harm Reduction Coalition provides some potentially lifesaving tips on how to prevent, or survive, accidental drug overdoses.

    For more information on harm reduction for drug users, click here to visit The Body's collection of overviews, resources and research articles.

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      HIV TRANSMISSION

    Experimental U.S. Program Seeks to Increase Safer Sex Among Former Prisoners
    A group of 522 young men scheduled for release from U.S. prisons became the first group to encounter Project START, a new federal program that aims to help released prisoners practice safer sex when they re-enter society. "These men are part of our communities, and efforts to safeguard their health benefit the health of the entire community," the researchers said -- and their program appears to be somewhat successful. Twenty-four weeks after the study began, men who took part in START were much less likely than other ex-prisoners to report unprotected vaginal or anal sex with their last partner.

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      HIV IN THE NEWS

    In Australia, Judge Allows Denialists to "Put HIV on Trial"
    In a trial that could make HIV history, a South Australian Supreme Court judge is allowing Andre Chad Parenzee's lawyers to use a most unusual argument in his defense. Parenzee, an HIV-positive man convicted of endangering the lives of three women by having unprotected sex with them without disclosing his HIV status, is attempting to overturn his conviction (and what could be a lengthy prison sentence) by denying the existence of HIV. This week, two self-styled researchers came to his defense, arguing that HIV does not cause AIDS, is not transmitted sexually and may not exist at all. Needless to say, prosecutors have prepared several expert witnesses to detail two decades of global HIV research proving exactly the opposite. (Web highlight from The Australian)

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      HIV OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

    HIV Destroying Children's Lives, Families by the Millions, UNICEF Says
    One out of every eight people who gets HIV is a child under 15. Fifteen million children have already lost one or both parents to AIDS. The numbers are mind-numblingly devastating -- and they're only part of a bleak picture painted by the latest comprehensive report from UNICEF entitled "The State of the World's Children 2006."

    To read a press release outlining some of the main findings of the UNICEF report, click here. You can also read the report in its entirety by clicking here.


    China Says Its HIV Epidemic Is "Now Like Africa"
    China's Ministry of Health has begun comparing its HIV epidemic to that of Africa, as a report has shown that HIV has spread beyond traditional "high-risk" groups (such as gay men, sex workers and injection-drug users) to the general population. Almost half of new HIV infections in China now occur sexually. To combat this "new" mode of transmission, the Chinese government has passed a law that makes it mandatory for all entertainment venues to provide condoms.

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    Also Worth Noting

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the October 2006 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "First Timer" series (Edmo), 2002;
    Derek Jackson
    Visit the October 2006 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery is entitled "Stardust: A Two-Part Show"; it's curated by Leah Oates, an artist and independent curator living in New York.

    Connect With Others
    A
    t The Body's Bulletin Boards

    Anyone Out There Coinfected With HIV & Hepatitis C?
    (A recent post from the
    "Living With HIV" board)

    "I'm new to this site, and I would like to talk to anyone who may be coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C: anyone who has gone through treatment for hepatitis C [and] can answer some questions that I have, to help me weigh all of my considerations for treatment."

    -- AMERIBOI2003

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

    Recently Diagnosed Gay Man Trying to Stay Upbeat
    (A recent post from the
    "I Justed Tested Positive" board)

    "I'm 46-year-old single professional (gay white male). ... Found out I was positive. Felt like someone put a concrete block on my chest. He [the doctor] handled it the best he could and had already arranged an appointment with an infectious disease specialist and additional tests for blood counts. Hoping I'm still in the good range but don’t know. ... Spent Friday and yesterday in a zombie state. ... I have one good friend in town and I really struggled with whether to call him. It turns out he's been positive since 1987 and on meds since 1997. If I hadn't reached out, I would not have known this. ... I set up an appointment with an intake counselor next week, and they also have group sessions. I read the information on the site and try and stay focused on the positive. ... I've avoided intimacy for so long, and this is probably one reason I ended up with HIV. I hope that an outcome of this is to meet someone to share life with. I know it sounds perverted to think that HIV might actually find me some happiness. Anyway, just thought I'd share."

    -- RBW60

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