WASHINGTON — In May 2002, Jerome Mitchell, a 17-year old college freshman from rural South Carolina, learned he had contracted HIV. The news, of course, was devastating, but Mitchell believed that he had one thing going for him: On his own initiative, in anticipation of his first year in college, he had purchased his own health insurance. Shortly after his diagnosis, however, his insurance company, Fortis, revoked his policy. Mitchell was told that without further treatment his HIV would become full-blown AIDS within a year or two and he would most likely die within two years after that. So he hired an attorney — not because he wanted to sue anyone; on the contrary, the shy African-American teenager expected his insurance was canceled by mistake and would be reinstated once he set the company straight. But Fortis, now known as Assurant Health, ignored his attorney's letters, as they had earlier inquiries from a case worker at a local clinic who was helping him. So Mitchell sued.
Tag Archives | HIV
Jacquelyne Froeber writes on CNN:
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A 42-year-old HIV patient with leukemia appears to have no detectable HIV in his blood and no symptoms after a stem cell transplant from a donor carrying a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to the virus that causes AIDS, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“The patient is fine,” said Dr. Gero Hutter of Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin in Germany. “Today, two years after his transplantation, he is still without any signs of HIV disease and without antiretroviral medication.”
The case was first reported in November, and the new report is the first official publication of the case in a medical journal. Hutter and a team of medical professionals performed the stem cell transplant on the patient, an American living in Germany, to treat the man’s leukemia, not the HIV itself.
However, the team deliberately chose a compatible donor who has a naturally occurring gene mutation that confers resistance to HIV.
Potentially big news, via Reuters:
Scientists say they have solved a crucial puzzle about the AIDS virus after 20 years of research and that their findings could lead to better treatments for HIV.
British and U.S. researchers said they had grown a crystal that enabled them to see the structure of an enzyme called integrase, which is found in retroviruses like HIV and is a target for some of the newest HIV medicines.
“Despite initially painstakingly slow progress and very many failed attempts, we did not give up and our effort was finally rewarded,” said Peter Cherepanov of Imperial College London, who conducted the research with scientists from Harvard University.
The Imperial and Harvard scientists said that having the integrase structure means researchers can begin fully to understand how integrase inhibitor drugs work, how they might be improved, and how to stop HIV developing resistance to them…
[continues at Reuters]
Here’s a crazy, but none-too-surprising, story from the UK’s Times Higher Education illustrating the way that establishment academics and scientists rally to discredit and run out of town any “rogue” scientists or scholars who dare question the orthodox view of things. THE’s own language is a bit suspect concerning Peter Duesberg, but nevertheless, the point is well made:
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It has published papers on everything from ejaculation as a treatment for nasal congestion to why modern scientists are so dull, but the future of Medical Hypotheses is hanging in the balance after a host of complaints from high-profile researchers.
The irreverent publication is the only Elsevier journal not to subject its submissions to peer review. Instead, its editor decides what to publish on the basis of how interesting or radical a paper is, and how well expressed the arguments are.
But its future is in doubt after editor-in-chief Bruce Charlton, professor of theoretical medicine at the University of Buckingham, published a paper from a well-known HIV/Aids denier.
New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times carries the most disturbing personal tragedy I’ve read about in a very long time:
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An HIV-positive man injected his wife with his own blood while she slept, infecting her with the virus that causes Aids.
It is believed the man wanted to give her the disease so she would start having sex with him again. She told police he also hoped it would prevent her from finding another man and leaving him.
The man, 35, admitted infecting his wife, in the first case of its kind in New Zealand. In other cases, HIV-positive people have infected others through unprotected sex.
The man has been remanded in prison awaiting sentence for wilfully infecting another with a disease, an offence that carries a maximum 14 years’ imprisonment. The pair cannot be identified.
In court documents, the woman, 33, described how her husband twice pricked her with a sewing needle laced with his infected blood as she slept and how she once caught him handling a syringe full of his blood.
David France reports that a striking number of HIV patients are living longer but getting older faster—showing early signs of dementia and bone weakness usually seen in the elderly, in New York Magazine:
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When David Simpson was working at Mount Sinai Medical Center as a young neurologist in 1984, the neuro-AIDS program occupied a dark warren of tiny rooms in the complex’s basement. It was a place overwhelmed by plague, a final stop on a doomed journey. “People came in with seizures or paralyzed on half their body. People came in in comas. Men were screaming—I have videotapes of this,” says Simpson, the program’s director. “Bedbound, incontinent, couldn’t sleep. They could be dead in a number of days.”
Those are memories of a distant past. When the drugs arrived in 1996, they ended this kind of pitiless death and put many AIDS wards out of business. The famous St. Vincent’s seventh-floor ward now houses offices for the orthopedic department.
A very scary statistic as reported by AFP:
Almost one in three people infected with the virus that causes AIDS do not know they have the disease, increasing the risk of infection, the European Commission warned Monday.
In a document on combatting AIDS more than a quarter century after it surfaced, the EU’s executive arm said now was not the time for Europe to drop its guard, noting that the figure was up to double in some neighbour nations.
And while efficient treatments exist to slow the evolution of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), no vaccine or cure has been found.