• WORLD AIDS DAY 2006
Things to Do, Know and See on Friday, Dec. 1
What are you doing to mark World AIDS Day? Dec. 1 gives HIV-negative and HIV-positive people alike a special opportunity to call attention to the massive amount of work we still must do -- in the
United States and everywhere -- to win the fight against HIV. Whether it's sending an e-card, encouraging people to get tested, educating people to reduce HIV stigma, or pushing for greater funding
at home and abroad, there's plenty that each of us can do to make a difference. Visit The Body's World AIDS Day 2006 home page for ideas, events, information and more!
• HIV TREATMENT & SIDE EFFECTS
Waist Size No Different in HIV-Positive Men on Meds Than in HIV-Negative Men
Could lipodystrophy sometimes be an illusion? The more we learn about body fat changes in HIVers, the more complicated the picture gets. New results from a large, ongoing U.S. study suggest
that when it comes to waist fat, what some HIV-positive men may think is fat gain actually is not. Researchers used tape measurements to keep track of men's hip and waist size over a four-year
period. They found that HIV-positive men on treatment were no more likely to have large waists than HIV-negative men. However, the researchers did find that HIV-positive men on treatment seemed
to gain hip fat more slowly than HIV-negative men, making it appear as though their waists were larger. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)
The 411 on MK-0518
Feel like you're in the dark about the experimental integrase inhibitor MK-0518? This easy-to-read guide from AIDS Survival Project will shed some light on this HIV drug in development. It covers
basic information, such as how integrase inhibitors work, and offers findings from the latest clinical trials. There's also a detailed section on the Expanded Access Program by Merck & Co.,
which opened on Sept. 11 in the United States. To qualify for a free supply of MK-0518, you must be at least 16 years of age and have resistance to each of the three major classes of HIV medications.
• HIV POLICY IN THE UNITED STATES
U.S. AIDS Policy May Shift Now That Democrats Control Congress
Beginning next year, Democrats will control both chambers of the U.S. Congress for the first time since 1994. What will that mean for U.S. AIDS policy? Only time will tell, but the power shift
could have an impact on some key policy areas. For instance, the reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act, which funds U.S. HIV programs, has already been stalled for more than a year by Democratic
leaders, who oppose Republican-proposed revisions that would shift funding from urban states to rural areas. Meanwhile, the President's Emergency Plan for
AIDS Relief, which allotted $15 billion to helping fight HIV overseas, needs to be renewed in 2007. Democrats favor increased funding and oppose requiring countries to devote one-third of U.S.
funding to abstinence-only programs. Convincing conservatives to change the abstinence-only requirement may be tough, but come January, Democrats will have a real chance to assert themselves.
Philadelphia Settles With HIVer in Ambulance Discrimination Lawsuit
In 2001, Philadelphian John Gill Smith began to suffer from chest pain and called 911. When two Philadelphia paramedics arrived and Smith's partner explained that Smith had AIDS, one of the paramedics
walked out of the house, and the other demanded that Smith cover his face. Smith's partner and a friend had to carry him into the ambulance. Smith sued, and this week the city agreed to pay Smith $50,000
in damages and to provide regular training to city paramedics and emergency medical personnel. The city still denies violating any laws, but the settlement feels like a victory to Smith. "This was
never about money," says Ronda Goldfein, executive director of the AIDS Law Project. "That was about a very scary thing that happened to [Smith] that [Smith] didn't want to happen to anybody else."
• HIV BASICS
The Monkey Business of HIV
For years, scientists have believed that the first HIVers were infected through exposure to an HIV-like virus in chimpanzees. However, according to new research, gorillas, not chimps, could
be the missing link through which HIV made the transition to humans. A virus has been found among wild gorillas in Cameroon that is more similar to HIV than any virus previously discovered in apes.
The researchers still aren't sure how HIV "jumped" species from primate to human, but they plan to conduct further studies in hopes of finding out.
• MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Not Everyone Is Happy With Product RED and "I Am African"
While many have hailed Product RED and the "I Am African" campaign -- two of the world's largest mainstream efforts to raise money and awareness about HIV -- both have also endured plenty
of criticism. The "I Am African" campaign uses celebrities in face paint to help raise awareness and funding to support HIV-affected children in Africa, while Product RED donates a portion of the
profits from a range of specially branded products (including iPod Nanos and Gap clothes) to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. But the media, bloggers and even the fashion industry
have raised questions about the initiatives. Critics wonder who benefits more from the splashy "I Am African" advertisements: HIVers or celebrities. Some have also asked why
Product RED companies aren't donating a full 100 percent of the proceeds from their designated products.
• HIV TRANSMISSION
Are Microbicides the Future of HIV Prevention?
The HIV prevention world has been buzzing lately with talk of microbicides. If a viable microbicide could be created, millions of women (and, hopefully, gay men) might gain the power to protect themselves
from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. But how realistic are our expectations? In this letter, Lori Heise, the director of the Global Campaign for Microbicides, gives a down-to-earth analysis.
On one hand, she says, the excitement of the media and advocates can be used to keep the spotlight (and money) on the researchers who are trying to develop microbicides. However, Heise stresses, realism
is also important: Drug development and approval is complex and time-consuming, and even after a microbicide has been approved, its cost may keep it out of the hands of the people who need it most.
HIV Testing Is Common Among Men Who Have Sex With Men -- But So Is Risky Behavior
Although HIV awareness is high among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States, so are behaviors that can put them at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, according
to a new survey released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The good news is that more than 90 percent of the 10,030 MSM surveyed had been tested for HIV, with 77 percent saying they'd
been tested within the last year. The not-so-good news is that risky sex appeared to be very common: 58 percent said they'd had unprotected anal intercourse with their significant other, and 34 percent
with a casual sex partner. In addition, almost half of the MSM surveyed said they used non-injection recreational drugs.
Online Hookups Put Young Black Men at Risk, Counselor Warns
Maurice Bell, a counselor at the AIDS Survival Project in Atlanta, Ga., wants to know why so many young, African-American men are testing positive at the HIV clinic where he works. Bell decided to take
a closer look; what's going on, he concluded, is a lot of risky sex, particularly among black men who have sex with men. Bell places much of the blame on online dating sites: The sites, he says, make it
easy for people to lie about their HIV status and set up meetings for anonymous sex. "Online daters, beware," Bell warns.
• HIV OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
Global AIDS Report Provides Grim Numbers, but Reasons
UNAIDS has issued its 2006 report on the global AIDS pandemic, and once again the numbers are grim:
- In the past 12 months, 2.9 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses and 4.3 million were newly
infected with HIV.
- Nearly 40 million people are currently living with HIV worldwide -- and despite efforts to increase global awareness of HIV, the
disease hasn't declined in a single region.
- HIV continues to devastate Sub-Saharan Africa, despite recent gains in a few countries.
- While HIV has stabilized in Latin America and the Caribbean,
it's on the verge of exploding in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Still, in the midst of its pages of depressing statistics, the report offers a few glimmers of hope. For instance, wide-scale access to HIV treatment in low-
and middle-income countries has saved thousands of lives. Also, the report points out that behavior change can halt HIV in its tracks: In several African countries, the prevalence of HIV
among young pregnant women is falling, at least in part because young people are having sex later, hooking up with fewer partners and using condoms more frequently. The future of the pandemic,
the report concludes, depends most on the choices that young people around the world make every day.
Five Key Years in the Global HIV Pandemic: 1999-2004
At the turn of the century, the global implications of the HIV pandemic started to hit home. In the fourth of a series of articles on the history of HIV, activist Jeff Graham recounts
some of the heartaches and triumphs in the global
fight against HIV from 1999 to 2004. He recalls some of the milestones, such as when AIDS activists brought then-Vice President Al Gore's presidential candidacy announcement to a halt
by standing up and demanding a more serious U.S. response to the growing international pandemic. Graham also looks back on the creation
of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, recalling it as a beacon of hope for international relief efforts -- but one that would quickly become weakened by conflicting
Fight Against AIDS Offers Lessons for Global Epidemic, Other Diseases
What makes the fight against HIV in the United States so different from the struggles against other diseases? How can the lessons learned in the United States be applied to the global
epidemic? This essay from Project Inform tackles these tough questions, citing a number of factors that have made the fight against HIV in the United States a relative success -- including
unprecedented patient activism and targeted funding for research.
Report Outlines Difficulties HIVers Have Accessing Sexual Health Care
A couple wants to have a baby, but their doctor discourages them simply because the would-be mother has HIV. An HIV-positive sex worker stops getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases
because the nurses at his clinic say they are afraid of catching HIV from him. These are just a couple of the challenges that people with HIV around the globe face as they seek out sexual
health care. This policy brief from the Guttmacher Institute examines the causes of, and solutions for, this difficult problem that can seriously harm the health of HIVers around the
Click here to access the full policy brief.
Postcards From the Edge:
Dec. 2-3, 2006
|Every fall in New York City, Visual AIDS holds its hugely popular "Postcards
From the Edge" benefit, and this year's event is fast approaching! On Saturday, Dec. 2 and Sunday, Dec. 3, people who come to Sikkema Jenkins & Co. in Manhattan can view
and purchase any of more than 1,500 original, postcard-sized works donated by many talented artists -- some of whom are widely known! Each postcard costs $75; all benefits go to
To learn more about the 2006 "Postcards From the Edge" benefit, including info on how you can get a sneak preview of this year's postcards, click
At The Body's Bulletin Boards
| "Is My HIV-Negative Fiancé Destined to Leave Me?"
(A recent post from the
"Living With HIV" board)
"I am about to marry a negative man who is in love with me. I am concerned that maybe he is just looking at the present time and
not the future. I fear he may reject and abandon me in the future when I start getting sick. Right now I am as fit as a fiddle. Though I have had one lady talk to me about her
21-year marriage to her negative husband, I think everyone is not the same. Anyone out there with a serodiscordant relationship? If yes, what are the daily hardships? I may have
to call the Christmas wedding off."
Click here to join this discussion thread, or to start your own!