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April 27, 2010

New label information affecting all approved protease inhibitors for treatment of HIV

"The approved protease inhibitors for the treatment of HIV-1 infection now all include the following drug-drug interaction information..."

Read more:, April 27, 2010.

HIV+ elite controllers have low HIV-specific T-cell activation yet maintain strong, polyfunctional T-cell responses

"Elite controllers maintain high levels of HIV-specific immune responses with low levels of HIV-specific T-cell activation and do not have elevated Treg cell levels. Based on these data an ideal HIV vaccine would induce strong HIV-specific immune responses whereas minimizing HIV-specific T-cell activation."

Read more:, May 15, 2010.

April 26, 2010

Cutting AIDS funds risks "death sentence"

"A global pullback from AIDS funding may mean HIV could again become a death sentence for people in the developing world, according to a report released on Monday.

"The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) found patients are being turned away from treatment programs and AIDS drug stocks are running out because of government budget cuts and flatlined funding from major donors like the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. ...

"If this trend continues, the result will be suffering and death for millions of people around the world currently living with HIV and the millions more who will be newly infected this year and the years to come," said the report, called Rationing Funds, Risking Lives."

Read more:, April 26, 2010.

April 23, 2010

HIV's link to salmonella offers vaccine clues

"Research into a deadly link between salmonella and HIV shows that the AIDS virus damages the immune system in ways doctors did not previously understand, providing new clues for vaccine development.

Salmonella often causes fatal bloodstream infections in people with HIV, particularly in Africa. But although the risk has been known for more than 25 years, it is only now that researchers have a scientific explanation.

It is not immune system deficiency that causes the problem but an excess of antibodies. The discovery should help avoid blind alleys in producing new vaccines.

"It's quite a surprise and it suggests that what we are dealing with here is more of a consequence of an immune disregulation as opposed to an immune deficiency per se," said lead researcher Cal MacLennan of the University of Birmingham."

Read more:, April 22, 2010.

HIV/AIDS and Health Care Reform: Everything You Need to Know

"Our good friends at Treatment Access Expansion Project (TAEP) have put together two resources that will surely be useful for advocates trying to make heads or tails of the recently passed health care reform legislation ...

While the legislation has been signed into law, most of the major provisions don't go into effect until 2014 and some, like closing the infamous Medicare Part D donut hole, won't be completed for years after that. These resources from TAEP are a great way to prepare for the years of organizing and messaging around health care reform implementation that lie ahead."

Read more:, April 22, 2010.

Ecuador Grants First Compulsory Licence, For HIV/AIDS Drug

"Ecuador this month granted its first compulsory licence for a patented pharmaceutical since declaring last year that it would utilise international rules allowing it to do so.

"The move has already brought the country substantial savings due to new competition, according to the Ecuadorean intellectual property office. Other Latin American countries might be drawn to the prospect of reduced drug prices, according to advocates. The rights owner said it is disappointed with the decision.

"The compulsory licence was granted for ritonavir, an antiretroviral drug, on 14 April [2010] to Eskegroup SA, the local distributor for Cipla, an Indian generic pharmaceutical producer, according to Andrés Ycaza Mantilla, head of the Ecuadorean intellectual property office (IEPI).

"The owner of the patent is Abbott Laboratories, a US pharmaceutical manufacturer. Eskegroup will pay royalties to Abbott for using the licence under the term of the compulsory licence. The compulsory licence has been granted for the time that was left on the patent, until 30 November 2014."

Read more:, April 22, 2010.

Comment: In the U.S., Abbott became notorious for raising the price of ritonavir 400% on the night of December 3, 2003. Overnight, and entirely unexpectedly, the price for this drug became five times what it had been the day before. AIDS Treatment News learned about the increase when a patient called on December 4.

April 21, 2010

Global progress on maternal deaths slowed by HIV

"Worldwide, maternal deaths fell by around 180,000 between 1980 and 2008, from around 525,000 per year to 340,000 per year. Without HIV, maternal deaths would have been 60,000 fewer by 2008, the researchers estimate.

"The overall global decline in maternal mortality was driven largely by a decline in India and China, the world’s most populous countries. In India the rate of maternal death has declined by an average of 4% per year since 1990. Other rapidly developing nations such as Brazil, Egypt and Turkey also experienced large declines in maternal mortality."

Read more:, April 20, 2010.

April 17, 2010

Morphine May Protect Brains of People With HIV

"The painkiller morphine may help protect against HIV-associated dementia, says a new study.

"Georgetown University Medical Center researchers found that morphine protected rat neurons from HIV toxicity, a discovery that could lead to the development of new drugs to treat people with HIV-related dementia, which causes depression, anxiety and physical and mental problems.

"'We believe that morphine may be neuroprotective in a subset of people infected with HIV,' lead investigator Italo Mocchetti, a professor of neuroscience, said in a Georgetown news release.

"He and his colleagues conducted the study because they knew that some people with HIV who are heroin users never develop HIV brain dementia. Morphine is similar to heroin."

Read more:, April 16, 2010.

April 15, 2010

WHO issues updated TB treatment guidelines; experts say lack of trials in TB/HIV patients 'striking'

"Treatment regimens for tuberculosis should include an antiobiotic of the rifamycin class for the full six months of therapy, according to new World Health Organization TB treatment guidelines.

"They also recommend that treatment should be taken daily during the intensive, four-drug period of induction treatment, and that HIV-positive patients should take daily treatment for the entire duration of their tuberculosis (TB) therapy.

"Antiretroviral therapy is endorsed in the guidelines for HIV-positive patients with active TB, regardless of their CD4 cell count."

Read more:, April 15, 2010.

April 13, 2010

Early and continuous antiretroviral therapy advocated by Swiss to stop HIV transmissions in gay men

"Most new HIV infections amongst gay men in Switzerland originated in individuals with chronic HIV infection, investigators report in the online edition of AIDS.

"Transmission clusters were mapped amongst gay men recently infected with HIV in Zurich and in the Swiss HIV Cohort. Only two infections appeared to originate from individuals with very recent HIV infection. In all other cases, the source patient was an individual who had been infected with HIV for at least one year.

"'Infectiousness during chronic infection was quite high in this population', comment the investigators.

"None of the individuals transmitting HIV was taking antiretroviral therapy and had an undetectable viral load."

Read more:, April 13, 2010.

HIV Drugs Also Target Prostate Cancer and Chronic Fatigue Virus

"Four antiretrovirals (ARVs), notably Merck’s integrase inhibitor Isentress (raltegravir), can inhibit a virus linked to prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a press release from Emory University in Atlanta highlighting a paper published online earlier this month by the journal PLoS ONE.

"Discovered in 2006, xenotropic murine leukemia virus (XMRV) has been detected in some prostate cancer patients’ tumor biopsies. However, its precise role in driving prostate cancer is unclear. In addition, a research team at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Nevada has suggested that XMRV is the causative agent of chronic fatigue syndrome in a majority of patients. However, other laboratories have yet to confirm these results."

Read more:, April 12, 2010.

April 11, 2010

New Therapy Shows Potential as an Anti-HIV Medication

"Peregrine’s experimental agent works by blocking phosphatidylserine (PS), a molecule normally found on the inside of cell membranes but can become exposed on the outside of the membranes of viruses and virally infected cells. Exposed PS, researchers believe, enables viruses such as HIV to evade immune recognition and dampens the body’s normal response to infection.

"In previous experiments, researchers found that an anti-PS antibody called bavituximab had antiviral activity against a number of viruses as well as anti-cancer properties. That drug is in Phase I and II studies for HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV) and several types of cancer."

Read more:, April 9, 2010.

Highly Prevalent Vitamin D Deficiency and Insufficiency in an Urban Cohort of HIV-Infected Men Under Care

"Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency were highly prevalent in these urban men irrespective of stable viral suppression. NNRTI receipt and tobacco use may be associated with lower vitamin D levels and greater risk of deficiency, and severe deficiency, respectively."

Read more:, April 8, 2010.

HIV invades through leaky cells: study

"HIV infects women by weakening a cell barrier in the reproductive tract that normally keeps viruses out, Canadian researchers have discovered.

"HIV breaks down the tight bonds between epithelial cells, which usually form a protective layer that prevents viruses from infecting other cells.

"This disintegration of the epithelial cell barrier that lines the reproductive tract is what allows HIV to be transmitted during intercourse, the researchers reported in this week's issue of the journal PloS Pathogens.

"Until now, scientists thought HIV might enter the reproductive tract through a small tear. The new findings suggest the response of epithelial cells to the virus itself might be to blame."

Read more: April 9, 2010