Tag Archives | AIDS

Where are Freddie Mercury’s Ashes?

Freddie Mercury, flamboyant front man for the rock group Queen died from complications of AIDS on November 24, 1991. Where his remains remain (ahem) are a mystery.

Mary Austin (right) was trusted with the location of Freddie Mercury's ashes. She has said that she will never tell anyone where they are, as was his wish

Mary Austin (right) was trusted with the location of Freddie Mercury’s ashes. She has said that she will never tell anyone where they are, as was his wish

The Daily Mail tells the tale. Sorry for the rhyming.

No, I’m not. Read on, True Believers:

In the days before his death, his once lithe body now  rendered extremely frail by Aids, Freddie Mercury made one final request of the woman he described as ‘the love of my life’. That she, and she alone, should collect his ashes after his cremation and dispose of them at a private location never to be disclosed.

For more than two decades Mary Austin has abided by Mercury’s wishes and kept the whereabouts of his ashes a secret. Not even his elderly parents were told.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Capitalism-Loving Disease: Xinjiang’s hidden HIV epidemic

Raising community awareness of HIV/AIDS in China, 2006. Photo: AusAID via Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia

Raising community awareness of HIV/AIDS in China, 2006. Photo: AusAID via Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia

Casey Halter via Hopes&Fears:

Last January, one of Western China’s foremost HIV/AIDS advocates was arrested by the People’s Republic of China on charges of “endangering state security.” Human rights activists say no one has heard from—or about—him ever since.

The man who disappeared was Akbar Imin, one of the country’s 11-15 million Muslim Uyghur minorities, a Turkic-speaking ethnic population located on the fringes of secular Chinese society. Born in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China’s far Northwest, Imin had been working since 2009 for the PRC government’s Development Research Center in Beijing, tasked with gearing up drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention strategies among Uyghur migrants in the nation’s capital up until he was thrown in jail.

Official reports about Akbar Imin’s detainment didn’t even come out until two full months after his arrest, Greg Fay, project manager at the Washington D.C.-based Uyghur Human Rights Project, told Hopes&Fears.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

CDC: A Pill A Day To Keep HIV Away

Picture: Christine de la Cerna

Picture: Christine de la Cerna

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that people at high risk for infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, take a pill daily to reduce their risk:

For years the message was simple: Use condoms to prevent HIV. But if you are at high risk of contracting the virus, health experts want you to consider an additional strategy — taking a pill every day to reduce your chance of being infected.

New guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, should be taken daily by people who are at high risk for contracting HIV.

The recommendation is based on several large national and international studies, which were done in varying at-risk populations, such as gay and bisexual men, heterosexual couples where one person is HIV-positive (the other is not) and injection drug users.

The studies all showed that this drug can help reduce infection rates by more than 90% when taken daily.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Study Suggests Marijuana Could Prevent The Spread Of HIV

HIV-budding-ColorShould weed be part of AIDS prevention? Daily marijuana use by the HIV-positive could block them from infecting others, the Daily Beast reports:

The study itself was fairly simple. For 17 months, Dr. Molina and her team at Louisiana State University administered a high concentration of THC to 4-to-6-year-old male rhesus monkeys who were RIV-positive (a virus in chimps similar to HIV), twice daily. An examination of the tissue in their intestines before and after the chronic THC exposure revealed dramatic decreases in immune tissue damage in the stomach and a significant increase in the numbers of normal cells.

During HIV infection, one of the earliest effects is that the virus spreads rapidly throughout the body and kills a significant part of cells in the gut and intestine. This activity damages the gut in a way that allows the HIV to leak through the cell wall of the intestines and into the bloodstream.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Cure For Child Born With HIV Virus

No one can explain how, but the first human with the HIV virus has been cured reports the Guardian:

Doctors in the US have made medical history by effectively curing a child born with HIV, the first time such a case has been documented.

The infant, who is now two and a half, needs no medication for HIV, has a normal life expectancy and is highly unlikely to be infectious to others, doctors believe.

Though medical staff and scientists are unclear why the treatment was effective, the surprise success has raised hopes that the therapy might ultimately help doctors eradicate the virus among newborns.

Doctors did not release the name or sex of the child to protect the patient’s identity, but said the infant was born, and lived, in Mississippi state. Details of the case were unveiled on Sunday at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Government Mistrust Deters Older Adults from HIV Testing

Via ScienceDaily:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 percent of HIV-positive people between the ages of 50 and 55, and 51 percent of those 65 or older, develop full-blown AIDS within a year of their diagnosis, and these older adults account for 35 percent of all AIDS-related deaths. And since many of them are not aware that they have HIV, they could be unknowingly infecting others.Various psychological barriers may be keeping this older at-risk population from getting tested. Among them are a general mistrust of the government — for example, the belief that the government is run by a few big interests looking out for themselves — and AIDS-related conspiracy theories, including, for example, the belief that the virus is human-made and was created to kill certain groups of people.

Now, a team of UCLA-led researchers has demonstrated that government mistrust and conspiracy fears are deeply ingrained in this vulnerable group and that these concerns often — but in one surprising twist, not always — deter these individuals from getting tested for HIV.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Gambia Promises To Treat Tens of Thousands of AIDS Patients With Natural Cure

Gambia President Yahya Jammeh PortraitCould it possibly be true? One assumes that this is just another dangerous dose of snake oil giving false hope to HIV/AIDS patients, but on the other hand Big Pharma wouldn’t exactly welcome an herbal cure, would they? From Reuters:

AIDS patients would be offered an herbal cure at a 1,111-bed hospital in Gambia that the president said on Tuesday he plans to build despite medical concerns the treatment is dangerous.

President Yahya Jammeh said in 2007 he had found a remedy of boiled herbs to cure AIDS, stirring anger among Western medical experts who claimed he was giving false hope to the sick.

“With this project coming to fruition, we intend to treat 10,000 HIV/AIDS patients every six months through natural medicine,” Jammeh said in his New Year’s address, adding that he expected the 1,111-bed hospital to open in 2015.

The World Health Organisation and the United Nations have said Jammeh’s HIV/AIDS treatment is alarming mainly because patients are required to cease their anti-retroviral drugs, making them more prone to infection.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Asian Disease Likened To New AIDS

Photo: justinwdavis (CC)

The “new AIDS” is one scary headline. Marilynn Marchione reports for AP via Yahoo News:

Researchers have identified a mysterious new disease that has left scores of people in Asia and some in the United States with AIDS-like symptoms even though they are not infected with HIV.

The patients’ immune systems become damaged, leaving them unable to fend off germs as healthy people do. What triggers this isn’t known, but the disease does not seem to be contagious.

This is another kind of acquired immune deficiency that is not inherited and occurs in adults, but doesn’t spread the way AIDS does through a virus, said Dr. Sarah Browne, a scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

She helped lead the study with researchers in Thailand and Taiwan where most of the cases have been found since 2004. Their report is in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

With $666,000 in Federal Research Money, Scientists Determined Prayer Could Not Heal AIDS

PrayerTrine Tsouderos reports in the Chicago Tribune:
Thanks to a $374,000 taxpayer-funded grant, we now know that inhaling lemon and lavender scents doesn't do a lot for our ability to heal a wound. With $666,000 in federal research money, scientists examined whether distant prayer could heal AIDS. It could not. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine also helped pay scientists to study whether squirting brewed coffee into someone's intestines can help treat pancreatic cancer (a $406,000 grant) and whether massage makes people with advanced cancer feel better ($1.25 million). The coffee enemas did not help. The massage did. NCCAM also has invested in studies of various forms of energy healing, including one based on the ideas of a self-described "healer, clairvoyant and medicine woman" who says her children inspired her to learn to read auras. The cost for that was $104,000.
Continue Reading