South African President Jacob Zuma Fights AIDS Inaction, Denialism
South African President Jacob Zuma said on October 28 that his administration would make preventing and treating HIV/AIDS a top priority, Times LIVE reports. The announcement came 10 years to the date after former South African president Thabo Mbeki told the National Council of Provinces that it would be “irresponsible” for the state to give out antiretroviral drugs, deeming them toxic.
October 29, 2009
CDC Studies Debunk Black Down Low Myths In an interview with NPR’s Michel Martin, Kevin Fenton, MD, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), discussed a series of CDC studies aimed at curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS misinformation in the black community.
Bea Arthur Leaves $300,000 in Will to Shelter for Homeless LGBT Youth Late Golden Girls star Bea Arthur allotted $300,000 in her will to the Ali Forney Center, which supports LGBT youth in New York City, the New York Daily News reports. The organization provides services to more than 1,000 adolescents every year, offering food, clothing, medical and mental health therapy, vocational and educational assistance plus HIV testing, treatment and prevention services.
HIV Travel Ban Might Be Coming to an End The rule denying HIV-positive foreigners from entering the United States will soon be overturned, according to LGBT and HIV advocacy group Immigration Equality as reported by the South Florida Blade.
October 28, 2009
World’s Fastest Supercomputer Maps HIV Family Tree In November 2008, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico activated Roadrunner, the world’s fastest supercomputer. While IBM and the Department of Energy built Roadrunner to simulate nuclear explosions, Popular Science reports that the computer has been used to create the largest HIV family tree ever built.
Caribbean: HIV Education and Care Led to Decline in New Cases
Thanks to comprehensive public education programs and widespread condom use in the Caribbean, the region recorded 3,000 fewer HIV cases and AIDS-related deaths in 2008 than the previous year, according to data collected from Guyana-based Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), a unit of the Caribbean Community headquarters, reports Agence France-Presse.
Senate Health Care Reform Bill Includes Public Option On October 26, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid announced that the chamber’s health care reform bill would include a government-supported insurance plan called a public option, reports The Washington Post. The Senate legislation, however, would give individual states the right to opt out of the government plan.
Sperm—Not Just Semen—Might Play HIV Transmission Role While it has been long proved that HIV-positive men can transmit HIV to sexual partners through their semen, a new study suggests that sperm cells may actually play a role in transmission, HealthDay News reports.
Arkansas AIDS Foundation Cuts Services Due to Lack of Funding The Arkansas AIDS Foundation (AAF)—which is based in Little Rock and helps more than 500 HIV-positive clients cover their health care costs—is discontinuing and reducing services because of a funding shortfall, reports the Arkansas News Bureau.
Australian Needle Exchange Program Has Prevented 32,000 HIV Cases
Since Australia began implementing needle exchange programs in 2000, more than 32,000 HIV infections have been prevented as well as 100,000 cases of hepatitis C, according to a new study from the University of New South Wales, as reported by ABC News, a national Australian news service.
Study: Stigma a Barrier to HIV Care and Medication Adherence Stigma toward people living with HIV can prevent patients from seeking necessary care, according to research from the University of California in Los Angeles. The study is published in the October issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
October 22, 2009
Ryan White Reauthorization Bill Passes House and Senate The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation on October 21 that will reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act through 2013, The New York Times reports. The Senate has unanimously passed the bill, so the legislation now awaits the signature of President Barack Obama, who has already shown support.
Rape Victims Denied Health Coverage After Taking PEP After being sexually assaulted, Christina Turner was prescribed post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent potential HIV transmission from taking place. She did not contract the virus. But, the Huffington Post reports, the Florida resident was later denied health coverage when an insurer learned she had taken HIV medication, which raised questions about her medical history.
October 21, 2009
Obama AIDS Adviser Discusses Domestic Commitment to HIV In an Advocate.com interview, Helene Gayle, MD, chair of the Presidential Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), spotlights President Barack Obama’s pledge to put a greater emphasis on bolstering domestic HIV prevention, education and treatment.
Gates Foundation Supports Unusual Research With $100,000 Grants On October 20, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that 76 grants of $100,000 each will go to unconventional research approaches to global health issues such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia and diarrheal diseases, The Associated Press reports.
October 20, 2009
DC Officials to Investigate Misspent HIV/AIDS Funds A 10-month Washington Post investigation published this week found that Washington, DC’s HIV/AIDS Administration has given $25 million over the past few years to small nonprofit organizations that may have misspent the funding. Now, the newspaper reports, city officials will investigate those groups and how they have spent the money.
White House Supports Ryan White Reauthorization Act In a statement released October 19, the Obama Administration said it “strongly supports” Senate passage of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009, which will authorize funding for the program for the next four years.
October 19, 2009
Advocate Seth Berkley Responds to HIV Vaccine Critics The president and chief executive of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Seth Berkley, wrote an opinion piece in the October 19 New York Times in which he criticizes those who cast doubt on recent HIV vaccine successes.
Los Angeles AIDS Walk Raises $3.1 Million The 25th Annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles in West Hollywood, drew 30,000 people and raised more than $3.1 million—$100,000 shy of last year’s total, KABC-TV reports. That money will benefit AIDS service organizations in the Los Angeles area.
After Legal Settlement, Texas Surgeon Won’t Deny Positive Patients Treatment After denying knee injury surgery to an HIV-positive patient—who later complained to authorities—an Austin-based orthopedic surgeon has promised not to refuse to treat patients living with the virus, modernhealthcare.com reports. The surgeon has entered a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR).
October 16, 2009
FDA Warns of Illegal H1N1 Drugs Sold Online
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on October 15 warned consumers to avoid purchasing any products over the Internet that claim to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure the H1N1 (swine flu) virus. The FDA issued the warning after purchasing and analyzing products represented online as Tamiflu (oseltamivir), which might prove dangerous to consumers.
AIDS Activists Fear Ugandan Draft Bill Promotes HIV Stigma, Discrimination A draft bill before the Ugandan parliament proposes a seven-year jail term for anyone committing, aiding or promoting homosexual activity, IRIN PlusNews reports. If the measure is passed, AIDS activists fear it will force men who have sex with men (MSM) further underground and away from HIV prevention and education services.
October 15, 2009
Today Is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day
Since 2003, National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), recognized on October 15, draws much needed attention to HIV/AIDS among Latinos in the United States, a group that accounts for 18 percent of new HIV cases while only representing 15 percent of the general population. (Watch video.)
Former Patients Test Positive After Florida Nurse Reused Supplies
An undisclosed amount of Broward General Medical Center patients tested positive for infectious diseases following treatment by Qui Lan, a nurse who reused IV bags and tubing while administering chemical stress tests, The Miami Herald reports. Broward General is located in Fort Lauderdale.
Harvard HIV Researcher Killed in Car Accident Stephen Lagakos, PhD, professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and director of the school’s Center for Biostatistics in AIDS Research, died in a New Hampshire car accident on October 12, reports The Boston Globe.
Senate Finance Committee Passes Health Care Reform Bill
On October 13, the Senate Finance Committee approved Senator Max Baucus’s (D-Montana) $829 billion health care reform bill, according to U.S. News and World Report. More than half of the money will help low-income Americans afford health insurance.
October 13, 2009
Officials Make a Call to Action Against Fake HIV Drugs
Two African presidents—Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin and Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso—were among the dignitaries at a meeting in Cotonou, Benin, making an international call to action against counterfeit medications, Time reports.
HIV Cases Increase in the Bahamas The National AIDS Programme (NAP) in the Bahamas has had some success at lowering the number of AIDS cases, but HIV prevention efforts have not been as effective, The Tribune reports.
HIV-Positive Sailor Sentenced for Consensual, Unprotected Sex An HIV-positive U.S. Navy officer was sentenced to three months of confinement for having unprotected, consensual sex with two women who were aware of his status, The Virginian-Pilot reports. According to testimony in a court-martial at Norfolk Naval Station, neither women—one of whom is an ex-wife—contracted the virus.
HIV Testing to Be Mandatory for Pregnant Women in India All pregnant women in India will be subject to mandatory HIV testing, officials said October 9 as reported by the Indo-Asian News Service. In India, at least 2.5 million people are living with HIV and thousands of babies are born positive.
October 08, 2009
Coca-Cola CEO Elected to Co-Chair Global HIV Business Group The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC) announced October 8 that Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, will serve as cochairman of the organization’s board of directors. GBC represents more than 220 companies worldwide dedicated to fighting these epidemics.
Gay Man Challenges Canada’s Blood Donation Ban A Canadian man allegedly lied repeatedly about having sex with other men in order to donate blood to Canadian Blood Services, The Ottawa Citizen reports. The agency does not accept donations from men who have had sex with other men since 1977, deeming them at high-risk for HIV.
Study: Childbirth Deaths Higher Than Child AIDS Mortality Worldwide More than 2 million mothers and infants die worldwide each year from childbirth complications, outweighing the number of child deaths from malaria and HIV/AIDS, according to a study led by Save the Children and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as reported by The Associated Press.
Second Analysis of Vaccine Trial Casts Doubts on Result An unrevealed second analysis of the results from the initially lauded RV 144 HIV vaccine trial failed to show a statistical benefit over placebo, according to a ScienceInsider blog entry authored by longtime AIDS journalist Jon Cohen.
HIV/AIDS Rates in South African Pregnant Women Remain High The number of HIV-positive pregnant women in South Africa has settled at 29 percent while the rate of positive expecting mothers in their early 30s remains high at 40 percent, according to a 2008 government study reported on by Agence France-Presse.
October 05, 2009
Scientists Rebuild HIV Camouflage Mechanism in Vaccine Breakthrough British scientists have re-created HIV’s so-called “camouflage jacket,” which enables the virus to shape-shift and avoid detection by the human immune system, Times Online reports. This research, led by Ben Davis, PhD, at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, could turn one of the virus’s greatest strengths against itself and help create an effective HIV vaccine.
HIV Misdiagnosis Lawsuit Might Lead to Future Cases in DC
A Washington, DC, man’s HIV misdiagnosis case might open new doors for emotional distress lawsuits against doctors, reports The Washington Examiner. Terry Hedgepeth was misdiagnosed in 2001 at DC’s Whitman-Walker Clinic and later sued the facility when a second test showed that was HIV negative.
October 02, 2009
White House Issues HIV/AIDS Call to Action Today, October 2, the Obama Administration’s Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) announced an online “Call to Action: Americans Speak Out About HIV/AIDS” to urge community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, schools, businesses, researchers, institutions and other groups to hold local discussions on how the president can best live up to his promise of developing an effective national AIDS strategy for the United States and its territories.
NYC Council Supports State HIV/AIDS Bill to Cap Rent The New York City Council unanimously passed on September 30 a resolution in support of a state bill that would cap rent contributions for low-income HIV-positive people in the state, The Advocate reports. The bill would cap rent at 30 percent of their income.