• LIVING WITH HIV
Disclosing Your HIV Status: Should It Be Law?
Should men and women who don't tell their partners they are HIV positive go to jail? If you look at U.S. law, you'll find that the answer to this question varies across the country: 34 states
make it a crime to transmit HIV, or even to expose someone to HIV. In some states, HIVers can be prosecuted even if they used a condom during sex. But should HIV-positive people be
treated roughly the same way as gun-wielding maniacs? Will Doig of Nerve.com investigates. (Web highlight from Nerve.com)
Tips on Keeping Your Mouth (and Your Immune System) Healthy
The mouth is a vulnerable place: It's wet, warm and teeming with bacteria. For people with HIV, the mouth is a spot that is particularly susceptible to infection. HIV-related illnesses like
thrush and hairy leukoplakia often appear in the mouth, and cavities can act as fungal reservoirs in HIVers. To avoid these complications, follow these simple but often-overlooked dental
hygiene techniques: Brush thoroughly. See your dentist regularly. Floss! Also, check out this list of additional tips on how to keep your mouth fresh and healthy.
• HIV TREATMENT
HIV Drug Guide Gives the Lowdown on Current Meds
If you're starting or switching therapy, keeping up-to-date on the growing list of HIV medications can be overwhelming. This easy-to-use HIV drug guide lists each drug by class and includes
information on dosing, side effects and food restrictions. From the main page, click on the drug names for comprehensive information such as pricing, tips for taking the drug, and brief summaries
from activists and doctors.
To browse The Body's comprehensive library of info on HIV meds and drugs in development, click here.
Should I Join a Clinical Trial?
Every medicine you have ever taken -- from Advil to antiretrovirals -- is available because people volunteered to test them in a clinical trial. You may be interested in joining a trial to
gain early access to a new drug, or simply because you want to help further medical science. Whatever the reason, choosing whether or not to participate can be intimidating. You may have
a lot of questions: Will there be risks? How will I be treated by the researchers? What kinds of trials can I join? In this article, Dolores Holman, Clinical Trials Manager at AIDS Community
Research Initiative of America, answers these and other questions in hopes of helping you make an informed choice.
Click here to learn more about open HIV-related clinical trials near you.
Selenium May Help Reduce Viral Load, Increase CD4 Count, Study Says
Could taking selenium -- a simple, inexpensive mineral supplement -- help reduce your viral load and increase your CD4 count? A small study appears to show that taking selenium supplements
can have a modest anti-HIV effect. The study found that 50 HIVers who took selenium pills for nine months had a 12 percent drop in viral load and a CD4 increase of 30 cells. That's a negligible
benefit for people who are already on a successful regimen of HIV meds, but the findings are still intriguing, and support earlier studies that found HIV progression to be more likely among
HIVers with low selenium levels.
A Guide to Health Coverage in New York State
In New York, you don't need private health insurance to get expert medical care and access to medications. In fact, there are a number of ways for New Yorkers with HIV to get coverage for
their health care. If you don't know where to begin, you can talk to a local AIDS service organization, ask your case manager, or use this handy guide to New York State health coverage. This
overview provides information on eligibility requirements, expense, services offered and phone numbers you can use to contact programs directly.
• HIV IN THE NEWS
Federal Agents Raid Medical Marijuana Stores in Los Angeles
Using medical marijuana is legal in California, but federal agents nonetheless raided 11 medical marijuana outlets in Los Angeles County last week. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officers
detained more than 20 people for questioning and seized several thousand pounds of processed marijuana, hundreds of marijuana plants, guns and cash. The raids are a symptom of the ongoing
tension between California state law, which permits medicinal use of marijuana, and federal law, which considers marijuana possession illegal under any circumstances. (Web highlight from
the Los Angeles Times)
AIDS Healthcare Foundation Sues Maker of Viagra
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has filed a lawsuit against Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company responsible for the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. The suit claims that advertisements for
Viagra have promoted recreational use of the drug, turning it into "a safe, sexy, lifestyle ... drug to be frequently used regardless of the degree, or even existence of," erectile
dysfunction. AHF notes that studies have shown that the use of Viagra as a "party drug" might counter the erection-inhibiting effects of alcohol or drugs such as crystal meth and
ecstasy, and as a result could increase HIV rates. If AHF wins this fight, Pfizer may have to forfeit profits gained from the targeted ads and repay AHF the costs of treating cases of HIV
and other sexually transmitted diseases that have been linked to the use of Viagra.
• HIV TRANSMISSION
Epstein-Barr Virus Is Sexually Transmitted, Study Says
A new study adds to the list of reasons why HIVers should still use protection when having sex with another HIVer: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which can increase an HIV-positive person's risk
of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, has now been identified as a sexually transmitted disease. Although doctors have long known that EBV can be transmitted through kissing, a study of more
than 2,000 students at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom revealed that students who were sexually active -- especially those who had had multiple partners or didn't use condoms
-- were more likely to have the virus. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)
Crystal and Craigslist: A Recipe for HIV?
Nearly one out of every two people who tested HIV positive at a popular New York City HIV testing center admitted that crystal meth or alcohol played a role in their exposure to HIV. It can
be very easy to get access to drugs like crystal meth, as well as to find willing sex partners on the Internet -- and health officials are worried that the combination will spur an increase
in the number of new HIV cases. Meth users are four times more likely than non-users to have unsafe sex and at least three times as likely to be HIV positive.
Washington State Ponders the Right to Safe Sex Behind Bars
Despite overwhelming evidence that prisoners are having sex while they are incarcerated and are almost five times more likely than the general public to have HIV, the majority of U.S. inmates
still have no access to condoms. In Washington state, however, some lawmakers are trying to change that. They're recommending that condoms be freely distributed to inmates -- and they're
already facing criticism from the health services director of the state's Department of Corrections, who seems to suggest that saving face is more important than saving lives: "We're
trying to send the message that sex in prison is not OK, [and] we're afraid that issuing condoms sends a mixed message," the director said.
• HIV OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
China Unlikely to Launch Male Circumcision Campaign
Although studies in Africa have indicated that circumcision could reduce a man's HIV infection risk by about 50 percent, health officials in China aren't convinced. Only a few months ago,
Chinese health officials were likening their country's HIV epidemic to that of sub-Saharan Africa, but China's reluctance to endorse circumcision could set it on a different path. Worried
about encountering resistance from China's non-Muslim majority and the huge costs of a circumcision campaign in a country of 1.3 billion people, Chinese officials say, "We should exercise
caution. ... It's much more reasonable to get people to use condoms."
From U.S. to Developing World, HIV Pediatrician Hopes to Save Young Lives
In the United States and many other wealthy nations, there are few children born with HIV today, thanks to effective treatments for HIV-positive moms.
In developing countries, however, HIV continues to take a devastating toll on children. Dr. Mark Kline, president of the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative, has seen both of these
trends unfold firsthand: After spending years treating HIV-positive kids in the United States, he now works in Africa, Latin America and Romania, where the future for children with HIV is
pretty bleak. In this National Public Radio podcast, he's explains how he's trying to do his part to transform these children's futures. (Web highlight from National Public Radio)
Caribbean Remains Ignorant About HIV Epidemic, Officials
The Caribbean has the second-highest rate of HIV infection in the world, and HIV is the leading cause of death among Caribbeans aged 15 to 44. However, many say that widespread ignorance
and discrimination are hurting the region's ability to control the disease. HIV is still viewed as a "gay disease," health officials say, adding that discrimination is so bad that
HIVers often delay treatment so they can hide their status. Both problems make transmitting HIV to an unprotected partner that much more likely. The co-chair of the U.S. Congressional Caribbean
Caucus says he doesn't even think people understand the seriousness of the situation: "I haven't seen this overall realization, like 'Houston, we have a problem.'"
HIV Health Professionals:
Get the Credit You Deserve!
The Body PRO, The Body's sister site for health professionals, offers a large selection of free,
informative CME/CE activities for U.S. physicians, nurses and pharmacists. Earn credit now for each of these activities, as well as many more!
Overcoming Treatment Challenges in the Treatment-Experienced Patient With HIV, by
Daniel S. Berger, M.D., Valery Hughes, R.N., M.S., C.-F.N.P., and Kathleen E. Squires, M.D.
NNRTIs: The Next Generation Approaches, by Brian A. Boyle, M.D., J.D., and Calvin J. Cohen,
Challenging Cases in HIV: Implications of Anemia, by Douglas T. Dieterich, M.D., and
David H. Henry, M.D.
Update on Management of the HIV/Hepatitis B- or HIV/Hepatitis C-Coinfected Patient, by
Maurizio Bonacini, M.D.
Not a member of The Body PRO? Registration is quick, easy and completely free. Sign up now!
At The Body's Bulletin Boards
| Important Notice: Free Registration Now Required to Post
Over the past few months, The Body's Bulletin Boards have been increasingly overrun by spammers and other people who regularly break
our usage rules by repeatedly posting irrelevant, and sometimes even harmful, materials on our boards. Something had to be done to ensure that HIV-positive people, HIV-affected
people and anyone else who's concerned about HIV can share their thoughts openly and freely on our boards.
So, after plenty of debate and soul-searching, we decided to require free registration before a person can post to any of The Body's Bulletin Boards. You won't have to register
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have to pay to use our bulletin boards. We simply feel that requiring registration is the best decision we can make to curb the number of spam posts. Thank you for your understanding!
If you have any thoughts or comments, we'd love to hear from you.
| Scared of HIV Meds' Side Effects
(A recent post from the
"Living With HIV" board)
"I have been positive for nearly five years, and up to this point, I have not needed to take
any meds. I hope that this is the case for many more years, as I know that they are making huge advancements all the time. However, I have thought a lot recently about the time
when I will have to take meds. I am scared of the side effects, even though I realize that without [the meds], I am going to die. I was wondering how others have dealt with meds.
Have you experienced many side effects?"
Click here to join this discussion thread, or to start your own!