New Study Encourages Earlier HIV Treatment While national guidelines recommend that patients begin antiretroviral treatment when their CD4 count drops below 350, new research supports starting treatment far earlier, The New York Times reports.
MSM Criminalization Hinders AIDS Efforts in Burundi Burundian AIDS activists and international human rights groups are concerned that a new law that criminalizes homosexuality in the central African country will inhibit their prevention efforts and promote HIV stigma, IRIN/PlusNews reports.
Study: Antibiotic Might Prevent Spread of HIV An antibiotic that can be used in a topical cream shows promise as a method to prevent HIV transmission from men to women, according to researchers at the University of Central Florida who just completed a three-year study on the antibacterial drug. The results are published in this month’s issue of PLoS Biology and reported on in the Orlando Sentinel.
Philadelphia Eateries Donate to Local ASOs On April 30, more than 200 restaurants in Philadelphia will donate up to 33 percent of their proceeds to seven local AIDS service organizations (ASOs), Philadelphia City Paper reports.
HIV a Growing Problem in Tanzania’s Prisons Almost 9.2 percent of Tanzanian prisoners are HIV positive, according to a 2008 Human Rights report prepared by the country’s Legal and Human Rights Centre and reported on by IPP Media.
Global Study Hopes to Find Minimum Effective Dose of HIV Meds Researchers will test whether lowering daily doses of antiretroviral medications decreases their effectiveness, The Age reports. The hope is that lower required doses will result in greater access to medication, particularly in developing countries.
Four Veterans Affairs Patients Test Positive for HIV According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, two people have tested HIV positive after being treated with dirty equipment at the agency’s Miami hospitals, The Associated Press reports. In total, four VA patients have tested positive, with other cases reported in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Augusta, Georgia.
HIV Cases Rise Among Youth in El Paso, Texas HIV diagnoses in El Paso, Texas, are already increasing this year, the El Paso Times reports. The city’s Department of Health shows that 22 HIV cases have been reported in the first three months of 2009 compared to 64 overall cases reported in 2008. More than half of these cases were in people younger than 35.
Illinois Program to Raise Awareness of Statewide HIV Services The Illinois Public Health Association and the St. Clair County Health Department have created a new outreach initiative to reduce the spread of HIV in Southwestern Illinois and increase awareness about the various statewide services available to HIV-positive people, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.
DC Councilman Accuses HIV Clinic of Neglecting Gays Washington, DC, City Council member David A. Catania has criticized the Whitman-Walker Clinic, an AIDS service organization, with turning its back on the city’s gay community in efforts to become a full-service health care provider, The Washington Post reports.
April 23, 2009
Harm Reduction Advocates Support Obama’s Stance on Needle Exchange Global advocates for harm reduction—an approach to drug use that favors public health and education over law enforcement—are applauding President Barack Obama’s approval of federal funding of needle and syringe exchanges to curb the spread of HIV among intravenous drug users, The Christian Science Monitor reports
NJ Lawmakers Try to Avoid Charging Low-Income People for HIV Meds
New Jersey legislators are looking for ways to avoid charging low-income residents for HIV medications. But under Democratic Governor Jon Corzine’s proposed $29.8 billion budget, the state will collect $1.36 million by implementing co-payments for those who currently receive free HIV medication through the state, NorthJersey.com reports.
April 22, 2009
German AIDS Group Endorses HIV Treatment as Prevention A premier German nongovernmental organization (NGO) is endorsing antiretroviral medication as an effective form of HIV prevention, mirroring last year’s Swiss statement on the lowered risk of transmission from positive people on treatment to their negative partners, aidsmap.com reports.
New Mexico Needle Exchange Program Fights HIV Among Drug Users
New Mexico AIDS Services is targeting intravenous drug users through its needle-exchange program, which has effectively provided clean injecting equipment to the at-risk community for the past three years, Farmington, New Mexico newspaper The Daily Times reports.
Vatican Responds to Criticism of Pope’s Anti-Condom Remarks
After AIDS activists decried Pope Benedict XVI’s criticism of condoms while on a trip to Cameroon last month—during which he said that condom distribution “aggravates the problems” of the global epidemic, the Vatican issued a statement on April 17 in his defense, The Associated Press reports.
Many Chinese Children Lack Access to HIV Care Despite a free HIV treatment program for citizens living with HIV, many of China’s positive children—especially those in rural areas—are finding it difficult to obtain the government-supplied antiretrovirals, Reuters reports.
African First Ladies Discuss Women and HIV On April 20, the first ladies from 15 African nations will meet with business leaders, health policy experts and Hollywood stars in Los Angeles to discuss their work in addressing HIV/AIDS, poverty and other concerns among women and girls in their respective countries, Reuters reports.
Thousands in South Dakota Might Have Been Exposed to HIV The Siouxland Urology Center in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, has been ordered to notify thousands of former patients who might have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis C and other blood-borne illnesses, All Headline News reports.
Minnesota’s HIV Rates Remain High for Third Straight Year According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 2008 marked the third consecutive year new cases of HIV have been higher than the norm, Star Tribune reports. On average, Minnesota had 300 new cases reported every year beginning in 2001, but about 320 cases were reported in each of the last three years, said Peter Carr, director of the STD and HIV section at the health department.
April 17, 2009
Is HIV Becoming More Virulent? People diagnosed with HIV in 2007 generally had lower CD4 counts than those diagnosed in 1985; it’s a trend, according to a report published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, that suggests the virus may be increasing in virulence, Reuters reports.
U.N. Warns That Overcrowded Prisons Worldwide Pose HIV Risk Intravenous drug use in overpopulated prisons not only fuel sthe spread of HIV but also pose a health risk to the general population when HIV-positive inmates are released, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as reported on by Reuters.
Michigan Debates Written Consent for HIV Testing A proposed legislation in Michigan would end the requirement that people must give written consent before getting tested for HIV, allowing health care workers to test patients without informed consent, The Michigan Messenger reports.
April 16, 2009
GSK, Pfizer Team for Combined HIV Drug Company Pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer announced April 16 that they will form a new drug company focused solely on the research, development and commercialization of HIV medications. Under the deal, GSK will initially own 85 percent of the yet-unnamed company while Pfizer will own 15 percent.
PEPFAR, GBC Launch Door-to-Door HIV Care in Kenya
A new global initiative aims to provide door-to-door medical care for HIV, TB and Malaria patients in Kenya, Business Daily reports. The plan, “Health at Home/Kenya,” is being rolled out by the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (GBC) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Telethon Fuels Mobile Testing Vehicles in Congo
Less than 12 percent of men and 10 percent of women in the Congo get tested for HIV, so the central African country’s National AIDS Council (CNLS) has raised $218,000 to buy and operate two mobile testing units, IRIN/PlusNews reports.
April 15, 2009
East LA Activists Target CVS Over Condom Policy
Protesters in East Los Angeles are urging a local CVS to change its policy of storing condoms in a locked display case behind the counter, the Los Angeles Times reports. They say condoms are only locked behind counters in black and Latino communities—the two minority groups hardest hit by HIV/AIDS in the United States.
U.K.: Top Needs of HIV-Positive People Linked to Mental Health The top concerns of most positive people living in the United Kingdom include anxiety, depression, self-esteem, sleep and sex, according to a recent study reported on by aidsmap.com. The study, published by Sigma Research, points out that these problems correspond to personal experiences rather than to physical issues.
Concern Over Rate of HIV/AIDS in Mozambique Prisons More needs to be done to address HIV in Mozambique’s prisons, where prevalence is twice that of the general population, said Justice Minister Benvinda Levy at the National Seminar on Prison Health in the capital city of Maputo, allAfrica.com reports.
April 14, 2009
Openly Gay Man Sues Ex-Employer Over “HIV Boy” Remarks An openly gay man fired from a global branding company—whose projects include the 2012 London Olympics—is suing his ex-employer for defamatory remarks about his sexual orientation, including calling him “HIV Boy,” the New York Daily News reports.
German Pop Star Accused of Exposing Her Partners to HIV Nadja Benaissa, a member of the all-girl German pop band No Angels, was charged with causing serious bodily harm for allegedly having unprotected sex with at least three men without disclosing that she is HIV positive, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Nevada Ends Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Program Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services eliminated its mother-to-child HIV transmission prevention program because of an expected $1.2 million funding deficit to HIV/AIDS related programs in the next year, The Associated Press reports.
April 13, 2009
Cuba’s HIV Community Asking for Respect, Not Tolerance
“Use the word respect instead of tolerance or acceptance when referring to HIV-positive people”—that was a message Cuba’s health personnel, HIV experts and people living with the virus delivered at the island’s Scientific Meeting on Integrated Care for HIV/AIDS and the Sixth National Cuban AIDS Prevention Group (GPSIDA) Scientific Event, the Inter Press Service News Agency reports.
New Jersey’s Needle Exchange Sees Success One Year Later
In an effort to reduce the spread of HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne illnesses, the North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI) launched its self-funded needle-exchange program with just 78 clients one year ago. Today, The Star-Ledger reports, the Newark program serves about 600 regular intravenous (IV) drug users, who bring in about 500 used needles a day in exchange for clean ones.
NY Bill to Make HIV Tests More Routine A proposed New York state law designed to make HIV testing a regular part of doctor visits has AIDS advocacy groups divided on whether it would benefit groups most at-risk for transmission, including minorities, the Democrat and Chronicle reports.
April 10, 2009
POZ Founder Appointed to Head Cable Positive
Sean Strub, founder of POZ Magazine and renowned activist, writer and entrepreneur, has been named president and CEO of Cable Positive, the cable and telecommunications industry’s AIDS action organization that promotes awareness and education through the media. (Watch video.)
Study: Black Men on DL Pose No Greater Risk of Spreading HIV A new study has found that African-American men who identify as being on the “down low” (DL) do not affect the high rate of HIV in the black community more than openly bisexual men who have female partners, the Philadelphia Gay News reports.
April Is National STD Awareness Month
In observance of National STD Awareness Month—recognized each April—health advocates and professionals are working to normalize testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), empower individuals to talk about sexual health with their health care providers and their partners and to raise overall awareness of the impact STIs have on the lives of Americans.
Canadian Prosecutors Consider HIV a Murder Weapon Johnson Aziga, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1996, was convicted April 4 in Toronto on two counts of first-degree murder and 10 counts of aggravated assault for transmitting HIV to two women, both of whom later died from AIDS-related illness, United Press International reports. He will be sentenced May 7.
Cleveland Adopts Online STI Notification System Beginning next week, the Cleveland Health Department will post profiles on two popular dating websites for men who have sex with men (MSM) in order to reach people who might have been exposed to HIV or syphilis, Cleveland newspaper The Plain Dealer reports.
University Athletes Promote HIV Awareness in DC Varsity athletes at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, formed an HIV prevention group called Grassroot Hoyas that teaches inner city youth about the HIV/AIDS epidemic, university newspaper The Hoya reports. To convey its messages, the group uses athletic games, such as one named HIV Attacks.
April 07, 2009
Veteran Tests HIV Positive After VA Clinic Mishap The Veterans Affairs Department is investigating whether one patient’s positive HIV test result is linked to unsterilized endoscopic equipment at VA clinics, which may have exposed thousands of veterans to infectious diseases, The Associated Press reports.
Study: PEPFAR Saved 1.2 Million Africans but Did Not Lower Infections
The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), created by President George W. Bush in 2003 to fund HIV treatment and care in developing countries, has reduced the number of AIDS-related deaths by 1.2 million in 12 African countries from 2004 to 2007, according to a Stanford University study and reported on by Bloomberg.
Man Accused of Infecting 13 Women With HIV Denied Parole After gaining national notoriety in the late 1990s for being accused of transmitting HIV to at least 13 young women in Chautauqua County, New York—including a 13-year-old—a 32-year-old man formerly known as Nushawn Williams was denied parole for a fifth time on April 6, The Buffalo News reports.
Cambodia Aims to Lower HIV Rate to 0.6% in 2010 Cambodia’s government is allocating U.S. $45 million to $50 million per year to ensure its HIV infection rate drops to 0.6 percent in 2010, the Xinhua News Agency reports. HIV prevalence has been declining among Cambodia’s general population in recent years, with a rate of 0.7 percent in 2008, down from 0.9 percent in 2006.
Desert AIDS Project Ramps Up Internet Awareness Among MSM Coinciding with the annual gay-themed White Party held Easter weekend in Palm Springs—which boasts one of the nation’s largest gay communities—the Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is launching an Internet-based HIV education and prevention program for men who have sex with men (MSM), The Desert Sun reports.
STI Cases Surged Last Year in Minnesota Cases of sexually transmitted infections (STI) increased last year in Minnesota according to data from that state’s health department and reported in The Minnesota Independent.
Canadian Bill Would Help Send Affordable HIV Meds Overseas
While a 2004 amendment to Canada's Patent Act aimed to make medications more accessible to developing nations, only one shipment of low-cost HIV meds has been shipped since then, the Ottawa Citizen reports. Lawmakers are now working to reform what it called Canada's Access to Medicine Regime (CAMR) by streamlining overseas drug distribution.
April 02, 2009
Study: Too Few African-American HIV Researchers A recent study revealed a dearth of African-American HIV/AIDS researchers and connected the shortage to historical and social factors that keep potential researchers from entering the field, Medical News Today reports.
HIV-Blocking Protein Grown in Tobacco Scientists hope that an HIV inhibitor they grew in tobacco could be used in a gel to prevent HIV transmission during sex, particularly among women in the third world, the Courier-Journal reports.
MTV Launches New STI Testing Campaign MTV, Kaiser Family Foundation and Planned Parenthood of America, along with other partners, launched their GYT: “Get Yourself Tested” campaign April 2. The goal is to raise awareness around the growing epidemic of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among the MTV generation—those younger than 25.
April 01, 2009
The Body Shop Promotes Safe Sex in U.K. The Body Shop and MTV are teaming up for a safe-sex campaign to raise HIV/AIDS awareness among young people in the United Kingdom, The Press Association reports.
Hillary Clinton Urged to Include LGBT People in Global AIDS Policy The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for more comprehensive U.S.-backed sexual and reproductive health policies that cater to the global lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, The Advocate reports.
Papua New Guinea Military Helps Distribute Condoms Because the Papua New Guinea (PG) National AIDS Council lacks the resources to distribute 43 million male and female condoms, the country’s military has decided to help bring the prophylactics to remote regions, ABC News reports.
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