Tag Archives | AIDS

Drugs Help ‘Reduce’ HIV Transmission

HIV-1 particles assembling at the surface of an infected macrophage.

HIV-1 particles assembling at the surface of an infected macrophage.

BBC News reports:

An HIV-positive person who takes anti-retroviral drugs after diagnosis, rather than when their health declines, can cut the risk of spreading the virus to uninfected partners by 96%, according to a study.

The United States National Institutes of Health sampled 1,763 couples in which one partner was infected by HIV.

It was abandoned four years early as the trial was so successful. The World Health Organization said it was a “crucial development”.

The study began in 2005 at 13 sites across across Africa, Asia and the Americas.

HIV-positive patients were split into two groups. In one, individuals were immediately given a course of anti-retroviral drugs. The other group only received the treatment when their white blood cell count fell.

Both were given counselling on safe sex practices, free condoms and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Among those immediately starting anti-retroviral therapy there was only one case of transmission between partners.

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Eazy E: A Straight G Killed By HIV

Dutch memorial by LJvanT

Dutch mural by LJvanT. Photo: Ljvant (CC)

Joseph Allen remembers the troubling legacy of this misogynist mack-daddy, and reviews the disturbing HIV statistics as they presently stand.  From RockStarMartyr.net:

To hear him tell it on his records, Eazy E was a ghetto-blasting geyser spewing bullets and semen in every direction. If Eazy wanted to screw in a lightbulb, he could just wrap his dick around it and let the world turn around his balls. And if some studio-gangsta criticized this method, E would pop a cap in that ass.

Eazy E succumbed to AIDS on March 26, 1995 at the age of 31, but his legacy lives on through brutal, bitch-slapping gangsta rap and various microscopic organisms. He was a set-claiming hero for alienated black youth, a jheri-curled Casanova for rap-lovin’ starfuckers, a total embarrassment to African American moral authorities, and for the suburban white community—the musical equivalent of a PCP-laced joint smoked in a highschool bathroom stall.… Read the rest

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Rwanda To Run Vasectomy Campaign To Curb Population Growth

Rwanda soilders singing anti-AIDS songs. All soilders are counseled and tested for HIV.

Photo: Rwanda soilders singing anti-AIDS songs. All soilders are counseled and tested for HIV.

An interesting tactic in controlling population growth, but how does one come up with a slogan for a campaign supporting both vasectomies and HIV prevention? Stop the spread of disease and babies? BBC News reports:

Rwanda’s government has said it wants to encourage men to have vasectomies in a bid to stem the small landlocked country’s growing population.

It would be done along with its HIV prevention campaign to encourage all men to be circumcised.

Health officials would take the opportunity to talk to men about the birth-control method at the same time.

A BBC reporter in Rwanda says vasectomies are uncommon in the country and the move may meet resistance.

[Continues at BBC News]

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The Promiscuous Life of Julian Assange

julian-assange-300x253Should we be concerned with Assange’s sex life? Is it deserving of the media attention or is it taking away from what WikiLeaks’ leaks? Via Daily Mail:

The two women who say they were sexually assaulted by the WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange would never have complained to police if he had agreed to take an HIV test, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

WikiLeaks’s Swedish co-ordinator, who worked closely with Mr Assange for months, said in an exclusive interview that he repeatedly begged his boss to have the test, both to head off the possible police investigation and for Mr Assange’s own peace of mind, given his promiscuous sex life.

‘The two women told me, that if he goes to the clinic for an HIV test, then we won’t go to the police,’ said Mr Assange’s colleague, who wishes to remain anonymous because he is a witness in the case brought by Swedish prosecutors, which led to Mr Assange spending nine days in Wandsworth Prison pending extradition.

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HIV Cured By Stem Cell Transplant

sternThe first person ever successfully cured of HIV, thanks to the miracle of stem cells? Aidsmap reports:

Doctors who carried out a stem cell transplant on an HIV-infected man with leukaemia in 2007 say they now believe the man to have been cured of HIV infection as a result of the treatment, which introduced stem cells which happened to be resistant to HIV infection.

The man received bone marrow from a donor who had natural resistance to HIV infection; this was due to a genetic profile which led to the CCR5 co-receptor being absent from his cells. The most common variety of HIV uses CCR5 as its ‘docking station’, attaching to it in order to enter and infect CD4 cells, and people with this mutation are almost completely protected against infection.

The “Berlin patient,” Timothy Ray Brown, a US citizen who lives in Berlin, was interviewed this week by German news magazine Stern.

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Daily Pill Helps Prevent HIV Infection

120px-HIV-budding-ColorWhile this pill would be an amazing achievement helping to reduce the spread of HIV, even the volunteers in the trial couldn’t remember to take it everyday. The best prevention of HIV is the knowledge of how it is transmitted and how ways to prevent it. From BBC News:

A daily pill to prevent HIV infection would be a significant development. A trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that an established treatment for HIV infection is also powerful in protecting gay men from catching the virus.

This is not, however, the answer to the nearly 30 year epidemic of HIV and AIDS. Since it is just one trial, many more studies will need to follow. But according to the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) it is “potentially very significant and could change the HIV landscape in the future”.

Some brief facts about the trial: it involved about 2,500 men at high risk of HIV infection in Peru, Ecuador, Brazil South Africa, Thailand and the United States (San Francisco and Boston).

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Pope Says Condoms Sometimes Permissible to Stop AIDS

Pope BenedictPhilip Pullella reports in Reuters:

VATICAN CITY — The use of condoms to stop the spread of AIDS may be justified in certain cases, Pope Benedict says in a new book that could herald the start of sea change in the Vatican’s attitude to condoms.

In excerpts published in the Vatican newspaper on Saturday ahead of the book’s publication next week, the pope cites the example of the use of condoms by prostitutes as “a first step toward moralization” even though condoms are “not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection.”

While some Roman Catholic leaders have spoken in the past about the limited use of condoms in specific cases to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS as a lesser of two evils, this is the first time the pope has mentioned the possibility himself in public.

The Vatican newspaper unexpectedly published significant excerpts from the book on Saturday night, days before extracts were initially due to be made public.

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Belgian Archbishop Calls AIDS ‘Inherent Justice’

What is it with Catholic clergy? These guys just don’t know when to zip it! From Reuters:

Belgium’s Roman Catholic Church, already reeling from allegations of sexual abuse, faced a new scandal Friday after its primate wrote that AIDS was “a sort of inherent justice.”

Many lawmakers condemned Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, the head of the Belgian church, for the remarks in a new book and Belgium’s center for equal opportunities received a series of complaints, including one by a lawyer who said his comments were incitement to hatred.

The Church is struggling to recover from the resignation of the Bishop of Bruges in April after he admitted sexually abusing a nephew.

In his book “Monseigneur Leonard – Conversations,” the archbishop referred to a remark by the late Pope John Paul II who said, when asked whether AIDS was a punishment from God, that it was difficult to judge God’s will.

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20% of Gay Men Are HIV-Positive

Wow - that's really high. Worse, half of them don't know it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in this report from TIME:
Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 1 in 5 sexually active gay and bisexual men in America are HIV-positive but that 44% of them don't know it. More than 8,000 self-identifying gay and bisexual men (or, as the researchers call them, MSM, for men who have sex with men) were tested by CDC workers in the 21 American cities with the highest infection rates. The gay population in Baltimore had the highest rates of HIV infection, at 38%, while Atlanta scored lowest, at 6%. The highest absolute number of infections occurred in white MSM...
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If HIV Was In Monkeys For Years, Why Didn’t We Get It?

CampbellMonkeyNeil Katz poses the question for CBS News:

The precursor to H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, may be older than you think. Way older.

According to new research, simian immunodeficiency virus (S.I.V.) has been in monkeys for millennia, potentially putting humans at risk for the last 32,000 years and possibly much longer.

And yet, for all that time, humans didn’t get sick in mass. Only in the 20th century did H.I.V. become a global scourge that has claimed 25 million lives.

Why?

According to the New York Times, for as long as monkeys have had S.I.V., humans who have butchered them have put themselves at risk of infection from a mutated form. But because the infected people in Africa were fairly isolated, the chances for an epidemic were small. That changed, some theorize, with the explosive growth of African cities and wide spread use of cheap syringes.

But the reality is, no one really knows for sure.

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