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January 31, 2007

In This Update:
  • New at The Body: Monthly
        Podcasts on Critical HIV News
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV in the News
  • HIV Transmission
  • HIV Outside the U.S.

    We're thrilled to announce the launch of an exciting new feature at The Body: "This Month in HIV," a monthly podcast series reporting on critical news in HIV. Each month, we'll interview people about the issues that matter most in HIV treatment, prevention and activism. You'll be able to listen to these podcasts using our own special online player, download MP3s or read full transcripts!

    In The Body's inaugural "This Month in HIV" podcast, we shine a spotlight on the top HIV medical stories of 2006. To provide a rundown, we talked with Dr. David Wohl, a researcher and clinician at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and an expert at The Body's "Ask the Experts" forums.

    We've provided an assortment of options for you to listen to or read this inaugural podcast. You can listen to the podcast online using our player. If you'd like to listen to the podcast later or put it on your digital music player, you can download the entire 62-minute podcast in a single file or download it in three parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

    Not in the mood to listen to a podcast? No worries; you can read a summary of the interview or plow through the full transcript.



    HIVers Over 50: Treatment Success as Likely, but Complications May Be More Common
    HIV-positive people over the age of 50 are just as likely as their younger counterparts to reach a high CD4 count and low viral load after starting HIV medications, according to the results of a new Italian study. However, older HIVers are also more likely to experience certain complications after starting treatment, according to the study. Older people were at greater risk for increased blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides. They were also more likely than younger patients to develop heart disease or diabetes after taking HIV medications. At the moment, though, these findings are just a point of curiosity: There's a lot of research yet to be done before scientists begin to understand how age and HIV medications may interact. (Web highlight from

    Integrase Inhibitors and You: A Clinical Overview
    A new class of HIV meds is on the horizon: The United States is likely to approve the first HIV integrase inhibitor in 2007, and another may get the green light next year. As the arrival of integrase inhibitors nears, curiosity grows about how these new meds will work, what makes them different from existing HIV meds, and how they might change the way that HIV is treated. This detailed, clinical overview provides an in-depth look at each of these issues. (Web highlight from PRN Notebook; free registration required)



    U.S. Health Workers Still Discriminate Against HIVers, Study Finds
    Ever gotten the feeling that its been harder to find an obstetrician or cosmetic surgeon in the United States since you were diagnosed with HIV? Unfortunately, you're not imagining things: A new study has demonstrated that HIV discrimination is still alive and well, even in the health care community. The California study found that 56 percent of skilled nursing facilities, 47 percent of obstetricians and 26 percent of plastic and cosmetic surgeons in Los Angeles County refused to accept HIV-positive patients, even for commonly offered services. "[S]trengthening current laws prohibiting HIV discrimination may not be enough," said the study's research director in this press release. (Web highlight from the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy)

    Feud Over AIDS Memorial Quilt Raises Questions Over Its Importance
    It'd be nice to think that a symbol as powerful and indelible as the AIDS Memorial Quilt wouldn't get bogged down in petty politics. But an ongoing feud between the man who created the quilt and the organization that now manages it has left many advocates wondering, "What's the point?" During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the quilt helped bring desperately needed national attention to the number of people who were dying from AIDS and the urgency of developing new treatments. But the bickering over who has rights to the quilt has led many people to question just how relevant it still is.



    African Americans Comprise Majority of People Who Get HIV Through Heterosexual Sex
    There are a lot of people out there who mistakenly think that because they are heterosexual they don't have to worry about HIV. However, HIV doesn't discriminate, and it's growing much more common among heterosexual African Americans and women. A new U.S. study found that between 1999 and 2004, more than 50,000 people in 29 states were diagnosed with heterosexually acquired HIV. Sixty-four percent of these new diagnoses were among women, and 73 percent were among African Americans.

    Anal Gonorrhea, Chlamydia Infections Possible Without Unprotected Anal Sex
    Think you're not at risk for anal infections unless you have unprotected anal sex? Think again: Anal infection with gonorrhea or chlamydia is possible even if a penis isn't involved, according to an Australian study. The study of 1,427 HIV-negative men in Sydney found that more than a third of men who were diagnosed with anal gonorrhea or chlamydia did not report having unprotected anal sex. Other sexual practices, such as rimming, fingering, fisting and the use of sex toys, appeared to account for those other transmissions. The results highlight just how important safer sex methods can be for men who have sex with men, even when anal penetration doesn't occur. (Web highlight from

    Condoms and Subway Maps: A Match Made in New York City
    Need a condom? How about a subway map? Soon you may be able to get both in one neat little package thanks to New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. As a part of the mayor's strategy to reduce the transmission rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, New York City is creating its own brand of condoms -- and one proposed idea is a subway theme, with maps and colors of the different lines printed on the wrappers. The city currently gives out 18 million free condoms every year; officials believe that creating an NYC brand will help in the fight against HIV: "Brands work, and people use branded items more than they use non-branded items," according to the city health commissioner. "Brands add value and they increase use."

    "Hot Sex Without Crystal? Hell Yes!" New Ad Proclaims
    The Stonewall Project in San Francisco has tapped gay adult-film stars to appear in "Hot Sex Without Crystal? Hell Yes!" -- a new social marketing campaign that hopes to break a common association that exists in the gay community between sexual fulfillment and crystal meth use. 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. Even though recent data show that meth use and HIV infection have decreased in San Francisco, the director of Stonewall knows that this campaign is an important one: "Meth has been a huge issue in the gay community for decades," he says. "One of the biggest issues for so many guys is that their sexuality gets hijacked by crystal meth."

    For more on the intersection between crystal meth and HIV, click here.

    One Potential Microbicide Gets the Axe, but Many More Candidates Remain
    Helping women around the world protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases is one of the main reasons that microbicides are being developed. The good news is that many different microbicides are in development, some of which appear quite promising. The bad news is that one of these microbicides -- a cellulose sulfate gel called Ushercell -- just got yanked from the development pipeline. A review board monitoring a study of Userhcell noticed that women using it were actually more likely to get HIV than women using a placebo gel. The study had been paid for by the United States Agency for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (Web highlight from Associated Press)

    Report Examines the History of HIV Vaccine Development
    "The reason we need an AIDS vaccine," says Rose Mahira, who helps recruit volunteers for vaccine trials in Kenya, "is because in Kangemi, where we are doing the project ... people are dying ... and they are losing their loved ones. So, imagine a world without HIV. It would be a lovely world where you could live freely and plan for the future." Although vaccine research results have been disappointing so far, an effective vaccine to prevent HIV infection remains the great hope. "Imagining a World Without AIDS" is a new report by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, a global not-for-profit organization devoted to developing a vaccine to prevent HIV infection; it recounts the history of HIV vaccine development and takes a look at the future of HIV vaccine research.



    Violence Leads to HIV for Women Worldwide
    It's a distressing fact that, however much progress we think we've made, women around the world are still frequently subjected to violence -- and that this violence is a gateway for the spread of HIV. Advocates at the recent World Social Forum in Kenya spoke out about this overlooked aspect in many HIV prevention and education efforts: "Violence is ... a cause of HIV infection among many women; violence in the homes and in the streets, violence everywhere," said Ludfine Anyango, the national HIV/AIDS coordinator at Action Kenya-International. "Many cannot ask their husbands to use a condom ... the woman then has no choice but to continue having unprotected sex." To change the course in the fight against HIV, more than just the protection and empowerment of women is needed; as one participant noted, "As long as our men are not part of the war, then we should forget about ending HIV/AIDS infection and the violence that comes with it."

    British Women Think HIV Isn't Their Problem, Survey Finds
    Seven out of 10 young women in the United Kingdom believe they are at no risk of being infected with HIV, a new survey shows. The poll, commissioned by The Body Shop and MTV UK, shows that young women in the United Kingdom also think that carrying condoms is embarrassing and undesirable. Two thirds of the 1,064 women who answered the survey thought carrying a condom would spoil their chances of having sex. While only a minority of the women polled thought that carrying a condom is a "man's responsibility," even fewer -- less than 10 percent -- thought that it was important to bring condoms when going out "for a night on the town."

    Canada Upholds Ban on Sperm Donations From Gay Men
    Because HIV and hepatitis rates are higher among gay men than heterosexual men, sperm from gay men will continue to be banned in Canada's sperm banks, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled this month. One Toronto lesbian argued that the 30-year-old ban violates gays' and lesbians' equality rights under Canada's constitution. But a three-judge panel decided that the ban is "rational and health-based" because gay men are more likely to have infections that could be passed to women and their unborn children.

    Also Worth Noting

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the January 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "San Francisco, California," 1979;
    Tseng Kwong Chi
    Visit the January 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! The first gallery of the new year is entitled "Energy"; it's curated by the Tisch Summer High School Photography Program at New York University.

    Connect With Others
    t The Body's Bulletin Boards

    Looking for Friends in Orlando, Fla.
    (A recent post from the
    "Living With HIV" board)

    "I'm a 31-year-old mom to three kids, married, poz for 10 years. I'm looking for friends to connect with. I don't know anyone else who's positive, and I really want to meet others and have someone to talk to and hang out with. Male, female, gay, straight, doesn't matter. Can't wait to meet new friends!"

    -- mama6965

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

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