MTV Networks to Air Pedro April 1 Pedro, a movie based on the life of late HIV-positive activist and former Real World cast member Pedro Zamora, will premiere 8 P.M. ET/PT Wednesday, April 1 on MTV, mtvU, Logo and MTV Tr3s, with subtitles in Spanish. Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk) wrote the biopic.
Innovative Video Captures Cell-to-Cell HIV Transfer
By creating a molecular clone of infectious HIV and inserting a special gene into its genetic code, scientists were able to film how the virus spreads directly from infected CD4 cells to uninfected ones, The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers hope that the digital video will lead to new breakthroughs in treatment and vaccine development. (Watch the video.)
HIV Questions Added to Cambodia’s Driving Tests In an effort to raise HIV awareness among professional drivers—truck drivers, in particular—Cambodia’s Public Works Ministry and the National AIDS Authority at the Ministry of Health are teaming up to add questions about the virus to its written driving test, The Phnom Penh Post reports.
Bill Would Remove Written Consent From HIV Testing in RI An amendment that would broaden HIV/AIDS testing in Rhode Island by removing written consent was met with both support and opposition from the state’s medical community at a hearing before the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, The Providence Journal reports.
HIV Rate, Late Diagnoses Among MSM in U.K. Remain High The United Kingdom’s latest HIV figures reveal that while new HIV diagnoses have decreased from 7,660 to 7,370 from 2007 to 2008, the number of HIV cases among men who have sex with men (MSM) remains high, BBC News reports.
Male Circumcision Reduces Herpes, HPV Risk With trials already showing that male circumcision reduces HIV risk in heterosexual men, new evidence reveals that the procedure also protects against other incurable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV), The Wall Street Journal reports. Both herpes and HPV increase the risk of HIV transmission.
Advocates Rebuke Questionable AIDS Charity The Beverly Hillsbased Center for AIDS Prevention has launched a nationwide fund-raising campaign—making it all the way to The New York Times’ website—but advocates are accusing the charity of spreading false information about HIV prevention and treatment, ProPublica reports.
Activists Urge S. African Leaders to Focus on HIV/AIDS The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has made little progress in reducing the region’s HIV infections, so activists are asking the group’s 4,000 parliamentarians to make HIV/AIDS a top priority, Inter Press Service News reports.
Prince George’s County Ranks 2nd in Maryland for STIs
Prince George’s County, Maryland, continues to have the second-highest rate of both sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS cases in the state, The Washington Post reports. The county trails Baltimore in both categories.
March 24, 2009
New Research Center in S. Africa to Combat HIV, TB Coinfection In anticipation of World Tuberculosis Day, March 24, researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, centered in Maryland, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, announced a $60 million project devoted to the link between HIV and tuberculosis, The Boston Globe reports.
New HIV Statistics Might Create Unnecessary Alarm in DC Washington, DC, health officials acknowledge that while a recent report
showing that 3 percent of residents are HIV positive is troubling, the
data do not suggest that the city’s HIV epidemic is worsening, The
Washington Post reports. The report found that DC has concentrations of
high-risk groups: men who have sex with men (MSM), drug users and former
prisoners. The study also suggests there is some heterosexual
transmission of HIV, mainly among African Americans and Latinos.
Kansas House Committee OKs Bill Requiring HIV Tests for Pregnant Women Kansas’s House and Human Services Committee passed a bill on March 18 requiring doctors to test pregnant women and newborn babies for HIV, the Kansas Health Institute News reports. The Senate passed the bill 37 to 3 earlier this month, and it now goes to the state’s full House of Representatives for approval.
March 20, 2009
Today Is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
The third annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day highlights the
impact of the virus on Native Americans—American Indians, Alaska
Natives and Native Hawaiians—and promotes the need for expanded testing
and additional treatment options for this group. Commemorated yearly on
March 20, this awareness day was first established by the National
Native American AIDS Prevention Center.
DC HIV Report Alarms South Carolina Health Officials After an epidemiology report from Washington, DC, showed that at least 3 percent of people in the nation’s capital are HIV positive, South Carolina health officials are concerned that they, too, could be in trouble, The Post and Courier reports.
More Women in Cambodia Requesting HIV Tests More women in Cambodia are getting tested for HIV thanks to a partnership between health organizations and the garment factories that employ about 300,000 Cambodian women, The Phnom Penh Post reports.
Miami-Dade Doctors, Medical Assistants Convicted for Medicare Fraud On March 17, a federal jury convicted two Miami-Dade County, Florida, doctors and two medical assistants of fraud and other charges for manipulating patient blood samples, falsifying medical records and writing prescriptions for obsolete HIV medications, The Miami Herald reports.
March 18, 2009
Activists Respond to Pope’s Criticism of Condoms
Activists, doctors, politicians and even officials within the Catholic Church are speaking out against a statement by Pope Benedict XVI, who said during a recent trip to Africa that using condoms in the global fight against AIDS only made the epidemic worse by encouraging sexual behavior, Reuters reports.
U.S. Campaign Slashes AIDS Rate in Guyana Guyana credits a U.S.-funded AIDS prevention program for shrinking its HIV infection rate from about 3 percent to nearly 1 percent, The Associated Press reports. The $20 million public awareness and prevention program was launched five years ago in the South American country.
Study: HIV Testing Lags Among Older MSM in Scotland Despite a slight increase in HIV testing among Scottish men who have sex with men (MSM), few of them became repeat or regular testers, according to a study published online by Sexually Transmitted Infections and reported on by aidsmap.
March 17, 2009
Number of Positive DC Residents Likely Higher Than 3% An epidemiology report released March 16 showed that 3 percent of Washington, DC, residents are HIV positive; however, city officials say the number is most likely an undercount, The Washington Post reports. In response to the study, the city plans to launch a comprehensive HIV testing initiative.
Pope: Condom Distribution “Aggravates” AIDS Epidemic
While in Cameroon, Pope Benedict XVI called the global AIDS epidemic “a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems,” The Daily Telegraph reports.
3% of DC Residents Are HIV Positive
At least 3 percent of Washington, DC, residents are living with HIV/AIDS, according to a 2008 epidemiology report by the district’s HIV/AIDS office and written about in The Washington Post. The study, released March 16, notes that even a 1 percent prevalence constitutes a “generalized and severe” HIV epidemic.
Thousands in Uganda, Kenya Misdiagnosed as Positive A new study suggests that thousands of HIV-negative Kenyans and Ugandans were incorrectly diagnosed as positive due to faulty tests at voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) centers, the Daily Nation reports.
At-Risk Jamaican MSM Afraid to Seek Health Care
Even with high levels of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and risky sexual behavior, men who have sex with men (MSM) in Jamaica are reluctant to seek medical help due to fear of discrimination and stigma, The Jamaica Gleaner reports.
U.N.: Life Expectancy to Rise in Developing Countries
According to the United Nations’ population projections, life expectancy in the world’s poorest developing countries will increase to 69 years in the next four decades if progress in battling HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases continues, The Montréal Gazette reports. The report attributes the jump in life expectancy to successful reduction in child mortality in poor countries.
New Female Condom Approved by FDA The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Female Health Co. (FHC) FC2 Female Condom to aid protection against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections including HIV, The Associated Press reports.
Stop AIDS in Prison Act Reintroduced on Capitol Hill
A bill intended to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among prisoners and reduce the risk of transmission following their release was reintroduced by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D—Calif.). She announced the news on March 11 at the Congressional Summit on the Effects of HIV and Incarceration on Communities of Color, an event sponsored by the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC).
March 11, 2009
Activists Denounce Renewed U.N. Anti-Drug Strategy As the United Nations plans to officially extend its “war on drugs” policy for another 10 years this week, critics of the organization’s anti-narcotics initiative say it feeds organized crime, boosts HIV infection rates and undermines governments, Reuters reports.
Former N.Y. Health Commissioner Tapped to Head FDA The Obama administration is eyeing New York City former health commissioner Margaret “Peggy” Hamburg, MD, and Baltimore health chief Joshua Sharfstein, MD, to fill top positions at the Food and Drug Administration, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Buffalo’s Black Churches Needed in Fight Against HIV/AIDS The Buffalo chapter of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA) is reaching out to African-American churches in the New York region in the hope of raising HIV awareness among the city’s black community, The Buffalo News reports.
March 10, 2009
Today Is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day The fourth annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day aims to call attention to HIV/AIDS-related issues that are unique to women and girls, which represent a quarter of all new HIV infections in the United States and half of the estimated 33 million people living with the virus around the globe.
AIDS Foundation of Chicago Awarded $4.2 Million Housing Grant Thanks to a renewable, two-year $4.2 million grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HIV-positive homeless people in Chicago will now be able to access permanent housing through the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s Supportive Housing for Health and Partnership (CHHP).
HIV-Positive Nigerians Urged to Wed Each Other In Bauchi, Nigeria, the state government plans to stem the spread of HIV by encouraging HIV-positive people to marry each other, The Associated Press reports. A new program will offer couples counseling and cash toward a wedding. The program—the first of its kind in Nigeria—is set to be formalized later this year.
March 09, 2009
HIV Co-Discoverer Goes to Court Over Rights to Potential Cure Nobel Prizewinning French researcher Luc Montagnier—credited as co-discovering HIV —is being accused of stealing the intellectual property rights to a revolutionary electromagnetic technique that may be used to combat HIV and other diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Minnesota Dancers Raise Money for HIV-Positive Kids A group of students from the University of Minnesota held a 12-hour dance-a-thon and raised $52,000 for children living with HIV, The Minnesota Daily reports. The event included help from former American Idol contestant Paris Bennett and actor Jonathan Bennett and was held at the Mall of America.
HIV Infections on the Rise Among Bali Sex Workers In an attempt to tackle the rising rate of HIV/AIDS among Bali’s sex workers and their clients, 36 doctors on the Indonesian island participated in a training session for public health centers and private clinics that treat sexually transmitted infections (STIs), The Jakarta Post reports.
March 06, 2009
Settlement Reached in AIDS Denialist Case
Robin Scovill, the husband of late HIV-positive AIDS denialist Christine Maggiore, has settled a lawsuit claiming that the Los Angeles County coroner’s office incorrectly determined the couple’s 3-year old daughter died of AIDS-related pneumonia, The Desert Sun reports.
U.N.: Men Should Be More Active in Home-Based HIV Care Men need to take on a greater role in caring for people living with HIV, said U.N. Deputy Secretary-General AshaRose Migiro as reported by PlusNews. At the 53rd session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, Migiro said that if men helped out more in HIV care-giving and other domestic tasks, they would have a greater role in the lives of their families.
AIDS-Related Deaths in NYC Decline Since 2002 This year’s annual progress report from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene indicates that the city has had fewer AIDS-related deaths since Mayor Michael Bloomberg and health commissioner Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, took office in 2002, The New York Times reports.
March 05, 2009
New HIV Infections Reach Record High in Hong Kong A record high of 435 new HIV infections were reported in Hong Kong in 2008, bringing the city’s total number of people who have tested positive since 1984 to 4,047, the Xinhua News Agency reports.
PEPFAR-Sponsored Video Game Promotes HIV Prevention in Kenya Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. government is working with Warner Brothers Entertainment to produce and distribute a video game to teach Kenyan youth how to protect themselves from HIV, Voice of America News reports.
Food Additive Proves Useful in HIV Research Scientists at the University of Minnesota say they have found a way to block the transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a virus closely related to HIV, in female macaque monkeys by using glycerol monolaurate (GML), a substance commonly used as a food additive, Minnesota Public Radio reports.
March 04, 2009
Doctors Failing to Diagnose HIV in Older Patients As erectile dysfunction drugs extend the sex lives of people older than 50, doctors are failing to diagnose HIV among sexually active seniors, according to a study published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and reported on by Reuters.
Mark Dybul Joins Global Business Coalition on AIDS
Former U.S. Global AIDS coordinator Mark Dybul, who helmed the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) under former president George W. Bush, is joining the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC) as a senior advisor, the organization announced today.
Texas Senate OKs Needle-Exchange Program
The Health and Human Services Committee of the Texas Senate passed a law to protect needle-exchange programs operated by local health departments, The Associated Press reports.
March 03, 2009
Vaccine Researchers Create HIV Strain to Infect Monkeys By altering a single gene in HIV, scientists have created a strain of the virus that can infect and multiply in monkeys, which may help researchers better test future vaccines in monkeys before they proceed to human trials, Reuters reports.
HIV Treatment Innovator Named Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim, MD, PhD, an official from Harvard Medical School in Boston who has brought effective medical treatment for HIV/AIDS and drug-resistant tuberculosis to the poor, has been named the next president of Dartmouth College, The New York Times reports.
MSM Chat Rooms Used for HIV Prevention HIV educators with Nashville CARES are using the popularity of online chat rooms to answer questions about HIV/AIDS and reduce the risk of exposure, infection and re-infection among men who have sex with men (MSM), Out & About reports.
March 02, 2009
Positive Ethiopian Man Mails Own Blood to Obama An HIV-positive Ethiopian immigrant with a history of mental illness is in custody after being accused of mailing a letter smeared with his blood to President Barack Obama following his election win, CNN reports.
Indian Youth Festival Invigorates Safe-Sex Talk
A recent youth festival in India raised awareness about HIV and other health issues by inviting attendees to talk openly about the pleasures of safe sex, The Washington Post reports. Talking about sex can be a difficult task in India’s traditional and patriarchal society, where open conversation about sex remains taboo.