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June 30, 2009

Menopause does not affect response to HIV treatment

"Menopausal status does not affect responses to HIV treatment, US investigators report in the August 1st edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. In the largest ever study into the impact of menopause on the effectiveness of HIV treatment, the researchers found that CD4 cell counts and viral loads were comparable in pre- and post-menopausal women two years after initiating potent HIV therapy.

“Women respond equally well to antiretroviral therapy in the short and long term regardless of menopausal status,” comment the investigators."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 30, 2009.

Adherence to HIV treatment in US gay men differs by race and ethnicity

"Levels of adherence to HIV treatment differ significantly between racial groups, US investigators report in the online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. They also found that the factors affecting adherence differed between racial groups. Furthermore, different levels of adherence were seen within racial groups according to ethnicity."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 30, 2009.

WHO HIV boss warns against two-tier global system of treatment

"The world cannot allow a permanently two tiered system of global AIDS treatment with late initiation of outmoded drugs reserved for the South. Nor can we hide behind lack of knowledge or the attitude of 'let's wait and see', he told the meeting in a plenary address."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 30, 2009.

Patients returning after interrupting HIV care have a high risk of short-term illness and death

"HIV-positive patients who return to care after being lost to follow-up are five times more likely to die in the short term than patients who remain in HIV care, French investigators report in the online edition of AIDS.

'Increased efforts are needed to reduce loss to follow-up and encourage those patients who no longer attend clinic to return to care,' recommend the authors."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 29, 2009.

June 28, 2009

Low-Abundance HIV Drug-Resistant Viral Variants in Treatment-Experienced Persons Correlate with Historical Antiretroviral Use

"Low-abundance HIV drug-resistant mutations in antiretroviral-experienced subjects at time of virologic failure can increase a subject's overall burden of resistance, yet commonly go unrecognized by conventional genotyping. The majority of unrecognized resistant mutations correlate with historical antiretroviral use. Ultra-deep sequencing can provide important historical resistance information for clinicians when planning subsequent antiretroviral regimens for highly treatment-experienced patients, particularly when their prior treatment histories and longitudinal genotypes are not available."

Read more in PLoS One, June 29, 2009.

International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care Partners With Healthy Interactions(R) to Advance HIV/AIDS Education Across Diverse Cultures, Pati

"The International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC) today announced that it is entering into a partnership with global patient education innovator Healthy Interactions. The partnership will address the rising incidence of HIV/AIDS in both developed and developing world nations via culturally relevant education programs that speak to diverse patient populations and enhance global HIV literacy.

'The collaboration will leverage Healthy Interactions' Conversation Map(R) education tools to enhance the quality of care, treatment, and support provided to people living with HIV and related co-infectious diseases. The Conversation Map tools utilize the power of small group dialogue and collaborative learning to improve health by providing groups of patients a method for engaging in a discussion about a disease or subject that enables them to recognize how their beliefs or attitudes affect their perceptions and discover ways they can change behavior and improve their personal health management. First introduced in 2005, the Conversation Map tools now have a presence in over 50 countries and are being used to help people living with diabetes. "

Read more in Aegis, June 24, 2009.

June 27, 2009

National HIV Testing Day - A message from President Obama

"Today, in recognition of National HIV Testing Day, President Obama released a special video message about the importance of HIV testing and his own experiences getting an HIV test in Kenya."

Read more in, June 27, 2009.

Anatomy of health effects of Mediterranean diet: Greek EPIC prospective cohort study

"Conclusion: The dominant components of the Mediterranean diet score as a predictor of lower mortality are moderate consumption of ethanol, low consumption of meat and meat products, and high consumption of vegetables, fruits and nuts, olive oil, and legumes. Minimal contributions were found for cereals and dairy products, possibly because they are heterogeneous categories of foods with differential health effects, and for fish and seafood, the intake of which is low in this population."

Read more in British Medical Journal, June 23, 2009.

Comment: Though not HIV-related, this study may be worth noting re healthy diets. Obviously many other factors can affect the pros and cons of moderate alcohol use (which in this case was generally wine with meals).

June 26, 2009

Very high level of late diagnosis in US: 38% develop AIDS within one year

"A substantial proportion of HIV-positive individuals in the US are diagnosed late, according to an article in the June 26th edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. An analysis of data from 34 US states revealed that 38% of patients progressed to AIDS within a year of their HIV diagnosis.

"The report was published ahead of the US National HIV Testing Day on June 27th. 'To reduce late testing for HIV infection, health-care providers should fully implement both routine and risk-based HIV testing', comment the investigators."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 26, 2009.

Excess Pounds, but Not Too Many, May Lead to Longer Life

"Being overweight won’t kill you — it may even help you live longer. That’s the latest from a study that analyzed data on 11,326 Canadian adults, ages 25 and older, who were followed over a 12-year period."

Read more in New York Times, June 25, 2009.

Note: This study looked at people without HIV.

HIV testing technology in US needs to change or risk missing acute infections

"A fourth generation HIV testing assay detected almost two-thirds of individuals with acute HIV infection, investigators report in an article published in the online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. The researchers believe that their results show the ARCHITECT HIV Ag/AB Combo Assay to have significant advantages, including the time needed to obtain a result compared to the current pooled HIV RNA testing strategy used to diagnose acute HIV infection. Such assays are already routinely used in the United Kingdom.

"A separate US study published in the August 1st edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases has found that using only HIV antibody tests will mean that a significant number of recent HIV infections in gay men will be missed."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 26, 2009.

Atlas highlights HIV/AIDS burden in Southeast

"The Southeast is among the areas of the United States with the highest concentration of cases of HIV and AIDS, according to a new online tool called the National HIV/AIDS Atlas.

AIDS experts in the region say that access to health care, especially when it comes to screening, is a major problem in rural communities."

Read more in CNNhealth, June 26, 2009.

Authorities Pose No Obstacle to Shady AIDS Charity’s Aggressive Fundraising

"In late March, we published an investigation [1] of the Center for AIDS Prevention [2], a Beverly Hills, Calif., charity that wages high-profile fundraising campaigns, spreads inaccurate health information and dodges questions about how it spends donations. Three months later, the group is still at it -- despite the fact that authorities are aware of its activities. The case is a window into the fractured and often ineffective oversight of nonprofits.

"The center's 18-month advertising campaign has made it to the Web pages of the New York Times [3], Chicago Tribune [4] (PDF), Los Angeles Times [5] (PDF) and USA Today [6], and the print edition of the Wall Street Journal [7] (PDF), urging viewers to "Donate Now." The most recent series of ads appeared on the Web site of the LA Times [5] (PDF) between May 28 and June 9.

"While the center invested heavily in soliciting the public's money, its services appear to include little more than a Web site that long featured inaccurate information, such as the suggestion that birth control pills prevent the spread of HIV [8] (PDF), a claim that has since been revised. Until March, it promoted ineffective herbal remedies [9] (PDF) marketed by a now-defunct for-profit company with ties to the center's director, Steve Neely."

Read more in ProPublica, June 24, 2009.

A Misguided 'War on Drugs'

"Anything goes in the “war on drugs,” or so it seems. Governments around the world have used it as an excuse for unchecked human rights abuse and irrational policies based on knee-jerk reactions rather than scientific evidence. This has caused tremendous human suffering. It also undermines drug control efforts."

Read more in New York Times, June 25, 2009.

June 25, 2009

New Ideas About Reaching HIV Sanctuaries in the Body

"A joint U.S. and Canadian team of researchers say they have confirmed how specific immune cells serve as a protected reservoir of HIV, despite potent antiretroviral (ARV) therapy. They also offer ideas for eradicating that sanctuary of cells—and the virus along with it—in a study published online June 21 in Nature Medicine."

Read more in POZ, June 22, 2009.

June 24, 2009

Negotiating a Fair Price for the Norvir Tablet

"Abbott is gearing up to release its long-awaited Norvir (ritonavir) tablet. The company states that it will negotiate the price—which has not yet been announced—in good faith. Nonetheless, the Fair Pricing Coalition is already engaged in a vigilant campaign to ensure affordable access to all."

Read more in POZ, June 23, 2009.

(Un)deniable Evidence

"Seth Kalichman, PhD, a social psychology professor at the University of Connecticut, wrote Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy ($25, Copernicus Books), which examines AIDS denialism’s origin, agendas and potentially damaging influence on HIV prevention and treatment.

"Kalichman believes that the scientific community’s decision to stay quiet over the years has only fueled the denialists’ power."

Read more in POZ, June 2009.

June 23, 2009

National Testing Day (statement by Fauci)

"The importance of National HIV Testing Day becomes clear when one recognizes that an estimated one-fifth of all Americans infected with HIV do not know they are infected. Among Americans who have been tested for the virus, more than one-third of those who learned they are infected became aware of their status less than a year before being diagnosed with AIDS—long after the optimal time to begin antiretroviral therapy.

"Not knowing one’s HIV status endangers one’s health and the health of one’s sexual partners. By getting tested for the virus and learning one’s HIV status soon after infection, treatment can begin early, substantially delaying the development of HIV-related illness and prolonging life."

Read more in U.S. NIAID, dated June 27, 2009 (National Testing Day).

Similar rises in gay men’s HIV diagnoses seen in Western Europe, North America and Australia since 2000

"A comparative analysis of HIV diagnoses in gay men in eight industrialised countries has found that while they decreased between 1996 and 2000, diagnoses went up by 3% a year from 2000 to 2005, researchers report in the June 2009 issue of the Annals of Epidemiology. ...

"For the six countries with data from 1996 to 2000, the numbers of annual HIV diagnoses decreased by an estimated 5.2% per year.

"However, for the eight countries with data from 2000 to 20005, annual diagnoses increased by 3.3% each year. The greatest annual rises were seen in four European countries (Germany 12%, France 11.3%, UK 9.6%, Netherlands 9.3%), whereas annual increases were below 5% in Spain, the United States, Canada and Australia."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 22, 2009.

AIDS: Discrimination in Visa Laws Poses Risk to Those With AIDS, Rights Group Says

"International migrant workers, foreign students and political refugees are often endangered by laws that discriminate against people with AIDS, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch reported last week."

Read more in New York Times, June 23, 2009.

Frequency of Failure to Inform Patients of Clinically Significant Outpatient Test Results

"Ordering and following up on outpatient laboratory and imaging tests consumes large amounts of physician time and is important in the diagnostic process. Diagnostic errors are the most frequent cause of malpractice claims in the United States; testing-related mistakes can lead to serious diagnostic errors. There are many steps in the testing process, which extends from ordering a test to providing appropriate follow-up; an error in any one of these steps can have lethal consequences. In this article, we focus on one step in the process: informing the patient of test results. Failures to inform patients of abnormal results and failures to document that patients have been informed are common and legally indefensible factors in malpractice claims."

Read more in Archives of Internal Medicine, June 22, 2009.

Note: This article is free, but you need to scroll down to see it.

Good survival for HIV patients diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

"Two-thirds of HIV-positive individuals with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are alive a year after its diagnosis, European investigators report in a study published in the online edition of AIDS. A low nadir CD4 cell count was associated with poorer survival. Nevertheless, the investigators found that in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy, over 50% of HIV-positive patients diagnosed with a lymphoma were alive five years later.

"'Our results thus support the notion that the gap in survival between non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients with and without HIV is closing', comment the investigators."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 22, 2009.

Should HIV Patients with Opportunistic Infections Receive Immediate ART?

"In a randomized trial, the incidence of AIDS progression or death by 48 weeks was significantly lower among patients who received antiretroviral therapy soon after their OI treatment had started than among those for whom ART was delayed."

Read more in AIDS Clinical Care - Journal Watch, June 22, 2009.

June 22, 2009

France gives Baylor Health Care System $8M to research HIV treatment

"Baylor Health Care System said Tuesday that it received $8 million from the French government to develop a therapeutic method of controlling HIV without drugs.

"The money will be used to establish an HIV research component to Baylor's Institute of Immunology Research. Baylor said it is spending money on equipment, staff and clinical trials. "

Read more in The Dallas Morning News, June 17, 2009.

June 21, 2009

Interleukin-10 Blunts HIV Infection and Disease Progression

"People who are genetically predisposed to have high levels of a protein called interleukin-10 (IL-10), which helps regulate the immune system, may have a lower risk of becoming infected with HIV, or slower disease progression if they’re already infected with the virus, according to a study published online June 17 in The Journal of Infectious Diseases."

Read more in POZ, June 18, 2009.

June 20, 2009

Anti-disease funds could be harming health systems

"On the minus side, the report finds that healthcare workers have been lured away from government hospitals by the higher salaries paid by international organisations involved in Aids and other disease programmes. In some countries, the rush to win grants from the Geneva-based Global Fund to fight Aids, TB and Malaria may have led to proposals being put forward that are inappropriate.

"The disease-specific programmes, says the report, "address issues of global importance, but whether they serve the specific needs of the countries in the best way possible is not known".

"The programmes have achieved much and must continue, it adds, but they need to include targets for strengthening the general health systems of the countries where they are working.

"On the plus side, millions of people are alive because of the roll-out of HIV drugs to more than 3 million people in developing countries. The number of children protected against malaria by insecticide-impregnated bed nets rose almost eightfold from 3% in 2001 to 23% in 2006. Disease elimination programmes, such as for polio and river blindness, are making good progress. Global immunisation has also made big strides, the report says.

"Some programmes have had a wider impact than their immediate focus. Following the big injection of funds for HIV/Aids to Botswana from mainly US donors and its own government, infant mortality dropped and life expectancy increased for the first time in decades."

Read more in The Guardian, UK, June 19, 2009.

Comment: We haven't analyzed this document, but one should keep a healthy skepticism, since there has been a big push recently to take money away from AIDS on the grounds that it could be spent more cost-effectively on other health projects.

The basic problem is that it still remains much harder to mobilize public support for health in general -- than for specific diseases, where it has been easier to show a face effectively in the newspapers. We need to work constantly to change this, so that government and other support can be better mobilized for health. But meanwhile, can we be confident that money taken from AIDS will go to other health programs? Or will it pay for more wars instead?

We do agree that a major goal and target of AIDS and other disease-specific programs should be improvement of health systems in general, to benefit people with any illness.

HIV infection alone does not increase risk of diabetes

"HIV infection itself does not increase the risk if diabetes, US investigators report in the June 19th edition of AIDS. Indeed, the results of the research showed that at the start of the study, people with HIV had a lower risk of diabetes than HIV-negative individuals.

"However, this was because of the low body mass index (BMI) of untreated HIV-positive individuals, and an improving immune status, treatment with antiretroviral drugs, and hepatitis C virus were all shown to increase diabetes risk in people with HIV.

"'We believe that the net risk of diabetes mellitus is determined by a complex interplay of individual factors, with the traditional risk factors dominating the profile leading to an overall lower risk in HIV-infected persons', comment the investigators."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 19, 2009.

June 18, 2009

Barney Frank Introduces Sweeping Reform of Federal Marijuana Laws

"With criticism of marijuana prohibition rising, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has introduced legislation to end federal criminal penalties for possession or not-for-profit transfer of small amounts of marijuana. ...

"Frank's bill would remove federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana and the not-for-profit transfer of up to 1 ounce (28.3 grams) of marijuana. It would not change marijuana's status as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act and would not change federal laws prohibiting the cultivation of marijuana, sale of marijuana for profit, or import or export of marijuana. It also would not affect any state or local marijuana laws or regulations."

Read more in Marijuana Policy Project, June 18, 2009.

HIVMA Advocates for Public Insurance Option

"HIVMA argues this will be critical to reach uninsured people living with HIV."

Read more in POZ, June 17, 2009.

Inflammation test can predict heart attacks in people with HIV

"The researchers found that having an elevated CRP level more than doubled the risk of heart attack while having HIV infection slightly less than doubled it. Not surprisingly, then, having both risk factors raised the risk more than fourfold compared with people who had neither raised CRP nor HIV infection."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 17, 2009.

Evolution of CD4+ T Cell Count in HIV-1-Infected Adults Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy with Sustained Long-Term Virological Suppression

"A lower baseline CD4 percentage was associated with both a longer time to reach the CD4 set-point and a lower CD4 count at the CD4 set-point. These findings suggest that CD4 count may continue to increase in some patients after several years of ART. Our results point to an advantage to commencing ART at higher CD4+ T cell strata. These data should be considered when estimating the optimal time to initiate ART."

Read more in AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, June 17, 2009.

Recurrent Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infections among HIV-Infected Persons: Incidence and Risk Factors

"We retrospectively evaluated HIV-infected patients seen at the Naval Medical Center San Diego from January 1, 2000 to June 30, 2007 for wound culture-proven MRSA infections defined as community-associated based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria. ... In summary, HIV-infected persons have a high incidence of CA-MRSA skin/soft tissue infections and a high rate of recurrence. HIV control may be associated with a reduced risk of recurrent skin/soft tissue infections.

Read more in AIDS Patient Care and STDs, June 16, 2009.

June 17, 2009

HIV Infection and the Risk for Carotid Atherosclerosis

"In a cross-sectional study, HIV infection was independently associated with increased carotid-artery intima–media thickness, a marker of preclinical atherosclerosis, at a magnitude similar to that of traditional cardiovascular risk factors."

Read more in JournalWATCH, June 15, 2009.

June 16, 2009

Early HIV Treatment Could Protect Against Brain Dysfunction

"Monkeys infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)—the primate version of HIV—were less likely to develop brain dysfunction if they were treated with antiretroviral (ARV) drugs soon after infection, according to a study published in the June 19 issue of AIDS."

Read more in POZ, June 15, 2009.

June 14, 2009

Vitamin D deficiency, supplementation and tenofovir

"The researchers concluded that VD3/calcium supplements increased serum 25(OH)D and decreased PTH and are a safe and effective treatment for HAART-associated hyperparathyroidism."

Read more in HIV i-Base, May/June 2009.

New Strategy Proposed for Designing Antibody-Based HIV Vaccine

"These studies demonstrate that, contrary to widespread belief, it is not uncommon for people infected with HIV to naturally make antibodies that can neutralize a variety of HIV strains. These antibodies do not protect people from the virus because they arise years after HIV infection is established. However, if a vaccine could prime the body to make these broadly neutralizing antibodies before exposure to HIV, they could potentially prevent infection or hold the virus at bay until an army of immune cells assembles to limit viral replication."

Read more in NIAID, June 14, 2009.

GLOBAL: Earlier ARV treatment saves lives

"Last week, an independent data and safety monitoring board recommended immediately ending a trial being carried out by the Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi's Sarcoma and Immune Deficiency Disorders (GHESKIO) Centers, because the evidence in favour of earlier treatment was so overwhelming."

Read more in IRIN (UN), June 10, 2009.

Enzyme Related to Heart Disease No Higher in HIV-Positive Women

"Good news for HIV-positive women: They are no more likely than HIV-negative women to have elevated levels of plasma homocysteine (HCY), an enzyme associated with coronary heart disease, clogged arteries and strokes, according to a study published in the June issue of The Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. The study also found that current use of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy does not appear to increase HCY levels either."

Read more in POZ, June 12, 2009.

Hepatitis C increases risk of cardiovascular disease

"Hepatitis C virus increases the risk of coronary artery disease, a large American study published in the 15th July edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases (now online) has found. The study involved over 160,000 individuals, approximately half of whom were infected with hepatitis C. Despite having fewer risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the hepatitis C-infected individuals were more likely to have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 12, 2009.

International AIDS Conference in 2012 will be held in the US if travel ban finally removed

"An international HIV conference will be held in the US in 2012 – but only if the US removes its travel ban on HIV-positive travelers."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 12, 2009.

New hepatitis C drug may halve the length of treatment, but ribavirin still needed

"The new hepatitis C protease inhibitor drug telaprevir, when added to the standard treatment of pegylated interferon and ribavirin (IFN/RBV), achieved superior results to standard treatment, according to studies published recently in the New England Medical Journal. Furthermore it did so in 24 weeks, half the time needed for the standard regimen."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 12, 2009.

New drug for MDR-TB does well in trial

"TMC207 is a safe and effective drug for the treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), the results of a randomised, placebo-controlled trial published in the June 4th edition of the New England Journal of Medicine have shown. Patients who received the drug were significantly more likely to have a negative culture result after eight weeks than patients who received standard second-line TB treatment."

Read more in Aidsmap, June 9, 2009 [restored].

Ongoing viral replication during HIV treatment associated with lymphoma risk

Ongoing HIV replication when a person is receiving antiretroviral treatment increases the risk of AIDS-related lymphomas developing, German investigators report in the July 1st edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases. The researchers found that the longer a patient had a detectable viral load, the greater the risk of lymphoma.

Read more in Aidsmap, June 9, 2009 [restored].

AIDS Treatment News Daily Alerts restarted

Note: On June 12 we accidentally deleted this news blog and were unable to restore the many news snippets posted here (most of them long outdated). So we took the opportunity to start over, and redesigned this blog work better.

Nothing else was affected. The AIDS Treatment News online archives, the AIDS Treatment News Search Engine, and our list of recommended sites, were not touched and are working as before.