New Study on Brain Disorders and HIV: What Does it Mean? Though neurological disorders are common in people with HIV—one in four has a disorder—and are associated with an increased risk of death, a history of an AIDS diagnosis appears to be the most important factor associated with these problems, a new study reports. What’s more, HIV-positive people can potentially avoid these problems by starting antiretroviral (ARV) treatment before their CD4 counts are depleted. These data, which also show signs of improvement with respect to certain neurological disorders in recent years, were published online August 24 in the journal Neurology.
September 28, 2010
Updated: Revise Social Security HIV Disability Requirements Says Institute of Medicine
A new report issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on September 13 says the criteria used by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) to gauge HIV-related disability is outdated and should be overhauled to include new qualifications based on CD4 cell counts and specific sets of medical conditions. The IOM recommendations—requested by SSA—will only apply to new Social Security disability applicants once the existing criteria are amended; current disability claimants will not be effected by the proposed changes. (Updated September 28, 2010)
Study Confirms That Early HIV Treatment Preserves Immune Function People who start antiretroviral (ARV) therapy within six months of HIV infection retain immunity to other pathogens better than people who start treatment later, according to researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The data, published online September 13 in the journal Blood, add to evidence that those living with HIV fortunate enough to be diagnosed within a few months of contracting the virus may benefit from immediate ARV treatment.
September 27, 2010
Program Offers Free HIV Drugs for ADAP Waitlisted A nonprofit group has formed a partnership with three pharmaceutical companies and a mail order pharmacy to offer free antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs to people in states that have instituted waiting lists for their AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs).
September 24, 2010
HIV Drug Isentress Could Fight All Herpes Viruses The integrase inhibitor Isentress (raltegravir) could lead to the development of an effective treatment against all herpes viruses, including strains that can cause blindness and cancer, according to an announcement by researchers from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Barcelona. The researchers’ complete findings were published online August 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Study: HIV Doesn’t Increase Bone Fracture Risk in Women HIV-positive women were no more likely to have a bone fracture than HIV-negative women, according to a study published online September 20 in AIDS. The new data run counter to a growing concern that HIV might be causing age-related problems, including bone problems, to occur at a younger age in HIV-positive people.
September 21, 2010
HIV Study Notes More Cardiovascular Disease in Long-Term Nonprogressors Long-term nonprogressors (LTNPs)—people living with HIV for several years without requiring antiretroviral (ARV) therapy—face a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared with HIV-negative people, according to a new study reported at the 50th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) on Sunday, September 12, in Boston. These findings, the authors suggest, indicate that HIV infection itself can lead to higher rates of CVD, independent of ARV treatment.
No Major Gender-Based Differences in Responses to HIV Treatment
Final data from the Tibotec Therapeuticsfunded Gender, Race and Clinical Experience (GRACE) study indicate that Norvir (ritonavir)boosted Prezista (darunavir) can be used in women and men with similar safety and efficacy outcomes. GRACE, however, also documented higher rates of study discontinuation among women, underscoring the need for further investigation into ways to better retain women in clinical trials.
September 17, 2010
Partial Hep C Treatment Response Offers Health Benefits
Even a partial response to hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy confers significant health benefits to people coinfected with both HIV and HCV, though not as much as a full response. These data were presented September 14 at the 50th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Boston.
September 16, 2010
Poor Adherence, High Viral Loads Help Explain Rilpivirine Treatment Failures
People who didn’t adhere to their antiretroviral (ARV) treatment regimen, or who started treatment with a high viral load, were more likely to experience virologic failure on a regimen containing rilpivirine (TMC278) than people on a regimen containing Sustiva (efavirenz). These data—along with information on the drug resistant HIV strains that most commonly developed in people who experienced rilpivirine treatment failure—were reported September 14 at the 50th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Boston.
September 15, 2010
Switch From Abacavir to Tenofovir Improves Cholesterol Levels People on a regimen containing abacavir saw their cholesterol drop quickly and significantly when they switched to a similar regimen containing tenofovir. What’s more, people who switched expressed greater satisfaction with their new regimen, said the authors of a study presented September 14 at the 50th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Boston.
Smoking Associated With Higher Cancer Rates in VA HIV Cohort People with HIV in a Veterans Administration (VA) cohort who quit smoking or who never smoked were at a lower risk for developing non-AIDS-related malignancies (NAM) or anal cancer than people who were active smokers. These data were reported Sunday, September 12 at the 50th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Boston.
September 14, 2010
HIV-Positive Men Need a Booster Dose of the Hep A Vaccine It took an extra “booster-dose” of the hepatitis A virus (HAV) vaccine for HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) to have an equivalent response to the vaccine as HIV-negative men. This finding was reported September 12 at the 50th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Boston.
People With X4 Virus Who Failed Selzentry Have Good Long-Term Results People who failed treatment on the entry inhibitor Selzentry had good long-term health outcomes after switching their antiretroviral (ARV) regimen, despite having an HIV-strain that has been associated with poorer health. These data were presented September 13 at the 50th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Boston.
September 13, 2010
Gilead's "Quad" HIV Medication Has Similar Efficacy to Atripla
Gilead’s four-in-one “Quad” pill has similar efficacy and safety to another all-in-one combination HIV medication called Atripla (which includes tenofovir, emtricitabine and efavirenz). These results were presented September 13 at the 50th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Boston. What’s more, a second study, also presented September 13, found that cobicistat (GS 9350)—a pharmacokinetic enhancer that is included in the Quad pill—also effectively boosts blood levels of Reyataz (atazanavir).
September 10, 2010
Study Confirms Immune Response to HIV Treatment Is Poorer in Older People While age doesn’t appear to affect a person’s likelihood of controlling HIV after starting antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, older people are less likely to see a significant CD4 cell recovery. These data, from the largest study of its kind conducted so far, were published online September 8 in AIDS.
Blood Protein in the Kidneys Predict a Higher Death Risk in HIV-Positive Women Microalbuminuria—where low levels of a protein called albumin leak from the kidneys into urine—is associated with a much higher risk of death in HIV-positive women, according to a study published in the September 1 issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Proteinuria—the presence of any protein in urine—was also associated with increased mortality among women living with HIV in the study.
September 07, 2010
HIV Medication Increases Immunity to KS Virus Starting antiretroviral (ARV) therapy significantly increases a person’s immune responses to the virus that causes Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), an AIDS-defining cancer. What’s more, these data, which were published in the September 10 issue of AIDS, show that a person’s KS antibody responses can be restored even in people who wait to start ARVs until their CD4 count is low.
September 03, 2010
AIDS Cure Research: North Carolina Scientist Study Cancer Drug
The search for an AIDS cure is about to take a new step as scientists begin human studies involving an existing but little-used cancer drug from Merck, reports Bloomberg News. David Margolis, MD, and his colleagues from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill hope the drug will take them further down the path of finally purging all HIV out of someone’s body, ultimately achieving a cure.
September 02, 2010
Lipodystrophy, PIs, Don’t Negatively Affect Cardiovascular Health Measure None of several factors sometimes associated with poorer cardiovascular health—trunk fat accumulation, limb fat loss, or modern protease inhibitor (PIs) use—diminished blood vessel function in people living with HIV, according to a study published in the August issue of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. These data suggest that body composition changes (lipodystrophy) and PI use might have less of an effect on cardiovascular health than found in some previous studies.
September 01, 2010
Poor Flu Vaccine Response in People With HIV—But Experts Still Recommend Vaccination Two studies published in the September issue of AIDS found poor influenza (flu) vaccine responses in people living with HIV, particularly in those with lower CD4 counts. Nevertheless, researchers still recommend that people with HIV get vaccinated annually to help maintain immune responses to the flu. The experts also suggest alternate dosing strategies to improve response rates.
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