October 2006 Archives

Large rise in HIV rates among gay men

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HIV/Aids prevention in Zurich's red-light district (stopaids) The number of new HIV infections among gay and bisexual men in Switzerland has almost doubled over the past three years.

In a report published on Monday, the Federal Health Office said it was concerned by this trend and intended to focus greater efforts on its HIV/Aids prevention programmes.

In Switzerland three out of every 1,000 people are living with HIV/Aids. Over the years better prevention has reduced infection rates among drug users and immigrants, but since 2000 new HIV infection rates among gay and bisexual men have continued to rise.

Vaccines, microbicides and HIV prevention

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Seth BerkleyWASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- How close are the scientific and medical communities to marketing a vaccine for HIV and AIDS?

Over the past 25 years a number of vaccines have been researched, but only one candidate has gone through full testing, only to be ineffective, said Seth Berkley, president and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.

Currently about 30 other trials are being conducted in 25 countries. One promising candidate, from Merck, consists of a common cold virus in which pieces of the virus have been replaced with HIV. Preliminary efficacy results are due in 2008, with final data in 2010.

blood baknkA Russian court ordered a regional blood bank Monday to pay thousands of dollars to a young woman who contracted AIDS through a transfusion, the UPI news agency reported Tuesday.

The woman, who received a transfusion at a maternity hospital, could get 10 million rubles ($373,000), the Novosti news agency reports.

The blood bank served a network of hospitals in the Voronezh region southwest of Moscow. A regular donor who was HIV-positive allegedly gave blood eight times before the virus was detected.

While blood products with HIV may have gone to 200 recipients, only one case of AIDS has been detected so far.

source

HIV Warning As Fake Condoms Found In London

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condomFake condoms that look like they are made by the country's biggest supplier are putting youngsters at risk of unwanted pregnancy and HIV infection, it was revealed today.

Worried bosses at Durex have placed adverts in the national press warning that a batch of counterfeit "extra safe" condoms has been sold in the UK.

The counterfeit condoms could put users in danger of catching Sexually Transmitted Infections, including HIV, as well as getting pregnant, a Government body warned.

retrovirus diagramResearchers at the University of Minnesota have identified a protein that enables viruses such as HIV to infect cells and spread through the body.

This discovery gives drug developers a target to discover new types of drugs to stop the virus from spreading.

The research, led by Nikunj Somia, Ph.D., assistant professor of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, will be published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and will appear in a subsequent print edition of the journal.

PNG police rapes undermine AIDS fight-report

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Papua New GuineaSYDNEY (Reuters) - Papua New Guinea has failed to stem abuse by police who beat, torture and rape children, undermining the fight against an escalating HIV-AIDS epidemic, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report on Monday.

In its second report in two years on police brutality in Papua New Guinea, the human rights group said a lack of prosecutions meant people feared the police as much as criminals in the South Pacific island nation.

"Police rapes and torture are crimes, not methods of crime control," said Zama Coursen-Neff, senior researcher for Human Rights Watch's Children's Rights Division.

Migration to increase vulnerability to HIV/AIDS

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Nepal AIDS pandemicKATHMANDU, Oct. 28: Foreign employment has been a significant contributor to the present national economy of Nepal but it could also lead to increasing HIV infection if necessary interventions were not carried out at the earliest, warned experts here yesterday.

Speaking at a seminar on HIV and Migration organised jointly by the National Institute of Development Studies (NIDS) and Fredskorpet (FK), Sweden here today, they said the degree of vulnerability to HIV/AIDS was higher among the migrant workers in the destination as well as among their families back home.

The increasing number of youths in productive age heading abroad for employment has already led to a decline in the population growth rate, making labour migration a priority issue for policy makers and planners at the moment.

UN envoy in Malawi to assess AIDS programmes

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UNLILONGWE (AFP) - The United Nations' special envoy for HIV and AIDS in Africa accused the world's wealthiest countries on Sunday of failing to deliver on promises to increase aid to the most impoverished continent.

"Where is the G8 money ? Where is the promise ... The world is running out of patience. Why has the G8 defaulted?" Stephen Lewis told reporters in Malawi.

The world's seven richest nations and Russia pledged at a summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, in July 2005 to provide universal access to treatment for AIDS sufferers in Africa until 2010.

The G8 nations had also promised to help support children orphaned by AIDS on the continent and double their donations to the Global Fund.

Responding to HIV the Pacific way

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Thursday 26 October 2006, Suva – The response to HIV and other STIs in the Pacific is equal to none other in the world, except perhaps for the region’s cousin in the Atlantic, the Caribbean. In both regions, key partners in the fight against HIV and other STIs have come together in a joint effort to plan and align their activities towards the same shared goals: to reduce the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS while embracing people infected and affected by the virus in Pacific communities.

More than 20 key people from a wide range of international and regional agencies and NGOs gathered this week in Fiji to draft the joint annual work plan for 2007 within the framework of the 2004–2008 Pacific Regional HIV/AIDS Strategy Implementation Plan (PRSIP).

South Africa begins to see the light on HIV/AIDS

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The South African Government is seeking to shake off years of international denunciation for its handling of the AIDS epidemic - including a fixation on the supposed protective powers of beets and lemons - while expanding treatment, testing and prevention programs.

Over the past six weeks, the Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, has emphasised that the Government now believes unequivocally that HIV causes AIDS, a link that the President, Thabo Mbeki, once publicly questioned. She has also said antiretroviral drugs must be the centrepiece of the Government's response while playing down the dietary recommendations long cited by the Health Minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, as central to fighting AIDS.

"The beetroot and all that lemon stuff is out the window," an adviser involved in recasting the Government's policy said. "These guys are now serious about getting it right."

DURHAM, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Argos Therapeutics today announced that it has been awarded a $21 million National Institutes of Health contract to develop novel HIV immunotherapy candidates. Argos is developing personalized, RNA-loaded dendritic cell immunotherapy products designed to train the patients immune system to recognize, target, and destroy unique features of their disease.

This substantial NIH award provides important validation of Argos pioneering approach to personalized immunotherapy, which may have strong applications not only for HIV, but also for cancer and other infectious diseases, commented Dr. Charles Nicolette, Vice President of Research and Development at Argos and Principle Investigator for the contract. Our unique technology utilizes patient-specific HIV antigens, allowing immune targeting of all private mutations that differ from patient to patient. This product candidate should induce immune responses perfectly matched to each individuals unique viral profile.

Twenty-Five Years of AIDS: Where Are We Now?

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Twenty-five years of AIDS: Where are we now? The 16th International Conference on AIDS highlighted enormous progress that has been observed since the first cases were reported 25 years ago in MMWR.

Our greatest successes in the management of HIV infection are now 10 years old. Highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, has transformed HIV infection into a chronic, manageable condition in the affluent countries in which these drugs are widely available. In contrast, over 20 million HIV-infected individuals in Africa alone will die unless they obtain access to these lifesaving medications.[1]

"Learn to Recognize Acute HIV Infection"

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A new tool is now available to help physicians and other health care providers identify patients in the earliest, highly infectious stages of HIV infection.

"Learn to Recognize Acute HIV Infection," a poster and fact sheet from the HIV Medicine Association, is designed to help clinicians identify the symptoms most strongly associated with acute HIV infection and to assess a patient's risk for HIV to determine whether diagnostic laboratory tests are warranted. 

Acute HIV infection is the period shortly following acquisition of HIV when persons experiencing HIV infection are highly infectious and often sick enough to seek medical care. As many as 90 percent of HIV patients experience symptoms of acute HIV infection within one to four weeks of exposure.

Most potent antiretroviral drugs (e.g., HIV-1 protease inhibitors) poorly penetrate the blood-brain barrier. Brain distribution can be limited by the efflux transporter, P-glycoprotein (P-gp).

The ability of a novel drug delivery system (block co-polymer P85) that inhibits P-gp, to increase the efficacy of antiretroviral drugs in brain was examined using a severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mouse model of HIV-1 encephalitis (HIVE).

S.Africa drafting revised AIDS battle plan

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CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa's cabinet on Thursday endorsed a revised version of its national blueprint to fight HIV/AIDS, which has come under increasing criticism as the epidemic cuts an ever deeper swathe through the population.

Sub-Saharan Africa's most powerful economy, South Africa faces a public health crisis as it battles to contain burgeoning HIV infection rates amid an outbreak of extreme drug-resistant tuberculosis, which could prove particularly deadly for HIV positive people.

South Africa already has an estimated 5 million people infected with HIV and 500,000 more are infected annually.

India flawed by focus on sex in campaign against AIDS

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PARIS (AFP) - India is making perilous mistakes in its fight against AIDS by assuming the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is being spread overwhelmingly by sex and especially by prostitutes, a study warns.

India is considered by many specialists to be an easy target for AIDS, despite the health authorities' insistence that they are making headway against the disease.

In May, the Geneva-based agency UNAIDS said India had 5.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS -- the highest figure in the world, ahead of South Africa where the figure stands at 5.5 million. The government says the tally is 5.2 million.

Pre-induction HIV screening introduced in Armed forces

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Kochi, Oct 26: The Indian Armed Forces have introduced pre-induction HIV/Aids screening test for those joining the services, a top official of the Forces' Medical Services Wing said today.

"From now onwards the screening test would become mandatory for those entering the Armed forces", Surgeon Vice Admiral V K Singh, Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS) said.

The Indian Armed Forces' HIV programme was considered the best in the world and the US was taking a cue from India, Singh, who is also the senior colonel commandant of the Army Medical Corps (AMC), told a press meet after inaugurating the Orthopaedic Centre of the Naval Hospital INHS Sanjivini here.

Clients give lessons on AIDS in India's brothels

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KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - Activists in eastern India battling to curb  HIV/AIDS infections in one of Asia's biggest red light districts have recruited an unusual group of people to help fight the deadly virus -- the customers of prostitutes.

Kolkata's notorious red light area, Sonagachhi, is home to about 10,000 prostitutes, who live in brothels lining the narrow lanes in the north of the city, catering for the needs of more than 25,000 clients every day.

While most customers are either unaware of AIDS or not interested in safe sex, anti-AIDS activists say they have enlisted almost 200 regular clients to Sonagachhi to teach fellow visitors about using condoms and having frequent blood tests.

KZ: Guilty of HIV cases among children must be punished

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SHYMKENT: The guilty of the HIV cases among children in South Kazakhstan must be punished. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan, has stated this during his official visit to South Kazakhstan region, the presidential press service told Kazakhstan Today.

"It is necessary to rectify the situation in the region. We should take urgent measures to make the regional healthcare system healthier. The course of investigation of the HIV cases among the children must be brought to the end. Each guilty person must be punished," - he has said.

NEW DELHI, Oct 26 (Bernama) -- In order to create awareness among people living with HIV/AIDS, the government has planned a series of ad campaigns, starting with information on providing free of cost Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) drugs in more than 95 state-run hospitals, a state-media reported.

The ART drugs is being provided for free of cost to 45,000 people.

Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted Director General of India's National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) Sujatha Rao said many people are still ignorant of this fact and NACO wants to create awareness among them.

Journal criticises Libya HIV case

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(c) AFPA prestigious British science journal has spoken out about a trial in Libya involving six foreign medical workers.

Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor are accused of deliberately injecting more than 400 children with HIV-infected blood in 1998.

Two years ago they were found guilty and sentenced to death, but that was overturned on appeal.

Now they are facing the death penalty once more. But experts say the evidence against them is hopelessly flawed.

Africa's forgotten HIV children

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HIV childrenChildren with HIV and Aids in the developing world are half as likely as adults to get life-saving drugs. This means fewer than one in 10 of over two million children infected get anti-retroviral treatment (ARVs).

The BBC's Angus Crawford met three children living with the illness in Swaziland, which has the highest rate of infection in the world.

HIV/AIDS project takes novel approach

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As an experimental project to study HIV and AIDS in the Twin Countiesenters its second year of operation, the activists involved say they're making progress.

Project GRACE was established in September 2005 as a program to explore high rates of HIV and AIDS in the Rocky Mount area using community-based participatory research – a relatively new method intended to involve the subject community in the research process.

Unlike traditional studies that bring in outside researchers, research for the project is undertaken by a consortium of community leaders and citizens directly affected by the problem.

Does HIV drug trigger leprosy?

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Antiretroviral (ARV) treatment used to treat HIV may cause leprosy in a few people. Though only a dozen cases have been documented till now, international experts fear it may trigger a leprosy epidemic in countries such as India, with many cases of leprosy and a steadily growing number of people on ARVs.

Public health experts in India and the Asia-Pacific region, however, believe that the threat of ARVs uncovering hidden leprosy infection in stray cases is not cause for concern. "ARVs have been in use globally for almost two decades and I have been using them in India since 1990. Though almost 50 per cent people with HIV have a TB infection, I have not come across even one case of leprosy in people on ARVs in India or the Asia Pacific," says Dr Chinkholal Thangsing, Asia Pacific Bureau Chief, AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

HIV girl in fine health

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FIJI - A 13-year-old girl who contracted HIV after being raped, is in fine health and likely to start school again next year, said former Ministry of Health AIDS project officer Dr Jiko Luveni.

Dr Luveni said the teenager had regained her health after initially being emaciated due to drug treatment.

She said the girl was undergoing counselling every month to help deal with the trauma.

She said authorities had so far been unable to determine when the girl contracted the disease.

by Edwin J. Bernard, Aidsmap, 24 Oct 2006

The first analysis of the impact of a pilot scheme of community-based rapid HIV antibody testing services in England has found them to be highly acceptable to users - many of whom had never previously tested - expanding choice and increasing capacity.

However, the study, presented to last week's British HIV Association (BHIVA) conference in London, also found that establishing community-based rapid testing sites is expensive; that they do not appear to diagnose people any earlier in their disease than standard sexual health clinics; and that more than one-in-eight test results were false-positives.

India to get financial help to battle HIV and AIDS

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NEW DELHI - The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged 23 million US dollars to India to help halt the spread of the virus that causes AIDS.

The money will be used to train government health workers in HIV and AIDS prevention programs and to fund groups that work with high risk segments of the population, such as prostitutes and intravenous drug users.

First hospital makes HIV test routine

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WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- Howard University Hospital Monday became the first in the nation to offer routine HIV testing for all patients, employees and students.

The Washington hospital will begin posting HIV screening liaisons in each department to administer free, voluntary HIV tests. The staff will use Food and Drug Administration-approved OraQuick Advance, a saliva-based test that determines a person`s HIV status within 20 minutes.

Union hails car companies‘ HIV/Aids programmes

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By Nwabisa Nofemele, The Herald Online, 23 Oct 2006

AUTOMOTIVE giants in the Eastern Cape have a received a thumbs-up from the National Union of Metalworkers of SA for their effective HIV/Aids wellness programmes.

However, at a strategy workshop hosted by the SA Business Coalition against HIV/Aids, most businesses conceded that there were companies which did not implement HIV/Aids wellness programmes because they did not understand the long-term negative impact of ignoring the disease.

The workshop in Port Elizabeth gave companies in the province the opportunity to exchange ideas on how to improve their health and wellness programmes.

HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa increases orphan rate

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ROME, October 23 (Itar-Tass) -- There are about 4.2 million orphans whose parents died of AIDS in Central and West Africa, says a UNICEF press release received by Itar-Tass on Sunday.

The number of HIV/AIDS orphans is growing year to year, the press release runs.

Central and West Africa has over 20 million orphans, including 4.2 million whose parents died of AIDS, said speakers at a recent conference on the assistance to HIV-infected children.

Methadone therapy, needle exchanges leading HIV battle

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China has made progress in curbing the spread of HIV by promoting methadone therapy and providing clean needles for drug addicts, experts said.

By July 1, 2006, 101 methadone clinics had been set up with 204 more due to open by the end of the year, said Wu Zunyou, director of the National Centre for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention.

Wu said a total of 15,678 people have received methadone treatment since 2004 when the first clinic was established in Gejiu, in Southwest China's Yunnan Province.

BUKAVU, 22 October (IRIN) - In 2004 the United Nation's World Health Organisation estimated there were 25,000 survivors of sexual violence in South Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern province, but those working to rebuild shattered lives consider this a fraction of the real number.

"I have no doubt that over 100,000 women have been raped in this province," said Christine Schuler-Deschryver, of the German Technical Corporation (GTZ), who remained in Bukavu, the provincial capital, during the war, and registered more than 14,000 rape survivors.

London Diary / HIV/AIDS In The UK – A Caring World

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The story of HIV/AIDS is an oft written story yet there are more and more ways of writing it. It is a living story, ever developing for good and bad. As a reward for the Thomson Foundation EU-India Media Initiative Award for excellence on reporting on HIV/AIDS issues in India, six journalists – two each from print, television and radio – were at London for a week-long study tour.

During the week, the journalist team visited different organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, in a bid to get a clearer picture of the problems, dynamics and manifestations of the most challenging health issue of our times - HIV/AIDS.

A visit to the Department of Health, a department of State, responsible for carrying out the decisions of the democratically elected members of the Parliament, provided the much-needed introduction to HIV/AIDS in the UK, particularly London.

Military targets HIV test centre

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FIJI - It will take more than a year to see the establishment of a Voluntary Counselling Confidential Testing unit for HIV/AIDS in the military become reality.

Military spokesman Major Neumi Leweni said they welcomed the idea and there was a need to educate the military on the issue.

He said this was the reason they took the initiative to try and formulate an HIV policy guideline.

China: higher HIV infection rate among gay men

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YICHANG, Hubei Province, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- The HIV infection rate among gay men in China is climbing at an alarming rate largely due to a lack of awareness about the disease, according to an expert on homosexual studies.

The HIV infection rate is nearing 1.5 percent among sexually active homosexual men, Zhang Beichuan, a professor with Qingdao University's Medical School, told an anti-AIDS forum in Yichang.

"The health authorities have to do something to curb the rising infection rate among gay men, who account for two to four percent of the sexually active adult male population," Zhang said.

Bristol wins U.S. approval for single anti-HIV pill

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said on Friday that U.S. regulators approved a single-capsule form of its Reyataz HIV drug to be taken as part of combination drug therapy.

Taken once a day, the 300 milligram Reyataz can replace two 150 mg capsules of the drug and will be available within a week, the company said.

source

Immune system discovery could aid fight against TB

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While this article is related to fighting against TB, the described method can be also used in creat anti-AIDS drugs.

The scientists believe their research will also be of interest to those developing new drugs to combat HIV, which work by inhibiting the CCR5 receptor, which plays an important role in HIV-infection. The new research suggests that such drugs could impair the ability to fight off TB in HIV-infected patients receiving CCR5 receptor antagonists. TB is a big problem for individuals with HIV, as their weakened immune system renders them highly susceptible to this disease.

Gap Inc commits half of sales of its RED-branded product line to the Global Fund, exemplifying this new business model for generating sustainable funds for addressing the AIDS pandemic.

SocialFunds.com -- The business community response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic has been largely philanthropic, or individual companies such as Coca-Cola (ticker: KO) or Ford (F) addressing the issue as it affects their own operations. Now comes the (PRODUCT) RED campaign, the brainchild of U2 singer and activist Bono and Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa Chair Bobby Shriver, which applies a strong business model to help solve HIV/AIDS with a focus on Africa. Six companies--including Gap, Motorola, Apple, and American Express - have signed on to create RED-branded products with significant portions of profits going to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Kolkata, INDIA: EVERY year, nearly a dozen thalassaemia patients are infected with the dreaded HIV virus at State-run blood banks in the city. This shocking revelation came to light following a survey conducted by the Nilratan Sarkar Medical College Hospital blood bank last year.

The study was undertaken by the Thalassaemia Children Day Care Centre attached to the NRS hospital blood bank. A total of 195 children suffering from thalassaemia, who received periodic blood transfusions at the medical college blood bank, were monitored. At the end of the year, during which the children got 909 units of blood, 12 of them — about six per cent — were found to have been infected with HIV.

FDA approves MedMira's rapid HIV test

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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- MedMira said Thursday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared its Reveal G3 rapid HIV test, which delivers results in less than three minutes.

MedMira said the Reveal G3 test is the fastest rapid test approved in the United States. Previous versions of the Reveal test were approved by the FDA in 2003 and 2004.

Botswana Has 17.1% HIV Prevalence

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HIV prevalence in Botswana is 17.1%, lower than figures previously reported by UNAIDS, Botswana President Festus Mogae said Monday, Xinhua/People's Daily reports.

"The figures that used to be used by the U.N. were based on sample surveys on expectant women, which were not adequately represented," Mogae said (Xinhua/People's Daily, 10/18). The country's Ministry of Health has said that about 38.5% of the adult population is HIV-positive, while a 2006 UNAIDS report said the country's adult HIV prevalence is about 24%.

HIV-prevention drive targets black women

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by Regina McEnery, Plain Dealer, 19 Oct 2006

On the heels of a national push to make HIV tests as routine as a physical, Cleveland rolled out a citywide campaign this week aimed at one of the groups most heavily affected by the virus -- black women.

With black women accounting for two out of every three new female cases of HIV/AIDS, billboards, buses and radio spots will promote the message: You know him. But you can't know everything. Get a free HIV test.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is financing the $750,000 campaign -- and a similar one in Philadelphia -- to cut down on the number of women contracting HIV through unprotected sex.

Seventh child dies in Kazakhstan HIV case

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ASTANA, Oct 18 (Reuters) - A seventh child has died in Kazakhstan after receiving blood suspected of containing HIV in a transfusion, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

Health officials have tested thousands of children for the virus near the southern city of Shymkent since the outbreak started earlier this year. The number of reported cases has been growing steadily over the past weeks.

Sports And HIV/Aids - Potential Impact On Children

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by Michael Addo, Ghananian Chronicle, 18 Oct 2006

OUT OF the 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the world today, 2.5 million people infected are children under the age of 15.

And most of these live in developing countries where access to anti-retroviral medication, which has been prolonging the lives of people with HIV/AIDS in the developing world, is not accessible.

Similar to malaria, HIV is preventable provided that people are empowered with the knowledge and skills about the true nature of the infection and the effective means for its prevention.

Malaysian women sues over false HIV diagnosis

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KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - A Malaysian woman who said she was ostracized after being wrongly diagnosed with HIV while she was pregnant has won permission to sue her doctor and the government, a report said.

Malaysia's Court of Appeal said 31-year-old Norizan Aspungi can proceed with a 1.0 million ringgit (272,000 dollars) suit, more than two years after the High Court dismissed the case.

HIV complicates Africa's "super TB" threat says WHO

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PRETORIA, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Highly drug-resistant tuberculosis could become a major killer in AIDS-hit parts of Africa where governments have been slow to roll out TB control programmes, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

Urgent efforts are underway to redirect donor funds to fight virulent strains of TB, known as extremely drug resistant or XDR-TB, after an outbreak in South Africa that has killed at least 74 people since January 2005.

by Edwin J. Bernard, aidsmap, 18 Oct 2006

One-in-three deaths that occurred in HIV-positive individuals in the United Kingdom between 2004 and 2005 were not directly related to HIV, according to the final results of the British HIV Association (BHIVA) mortality audit presented at BHIVA's Autumn conference, held last week in London. The audit also found that cancers related to HIV, as well as those traditionally not related to HIV, accounted for more deaths than any other cause. Other major non-"classical" AIDS-defining specific causes of death included liver disease due to hepatitis B/C co-infection and/or alcohol, and cardiovascular disease.

HIV vaccine trials get backing

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Another possible HIV vaccine gets a sponsor. However, "taking the vaccine through to licensure could cost $50 million." Why is it so expensive to get a license for vaccine? Where will this money go to? If the vaccine works, why there are so many obstacles?

TORONTO -- An HIV-AIDS vaccine under development at the University of Western Ontario appears headed for human clinical trials with the announcement yesterday a Korean company will finance the work.

HIV/AIDS and Malnutrition Locked in "Vicious Cycle"

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by Charlene Porter, Washington File, 16 Oct 2006

Washington -- In many of the world’s poor regions, where HIV/AIDS has taken the worst toll, the virus and malnutrition are locked in a “vicious cycle” that worsens the impact of both.

“Insufficient intake [of calories] can enhance the progression of the virus,” said Suneetha Kadiyala, a scientist at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) who participated in a panel on food security and HIV/AIDS at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington October 16.

HIV-treatment waiting list a ’fraction’ of those in need

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CAPE TOWN — About 31255 HIV- positive patients were on waiting lists for antiretroviral drugs treatment in government clinics at the end of June, the health department said yesterday.

In a move to pre-empt Health Minister Manto Tshabalala Msimang’s response to a parliamentary question from the Democratic Alliance, due to be tabled in Parliament today, the department emphasised that waiting-list figures were much smaller than the estimated number of people needing treatment.

Rent Hike on HIV/AIDS Housing

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by Kerry Eleveld, The New York Blade, 16 Oct 2006

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has ordered the City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) to increase the monthly housing payment it requires from some of the city’s poorest residents living with HIV/AIDS.

About 2,200 clients of the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) who receive any income other than Public Assistance—such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSD)—will soon be required to pay all but $330 of their monthly stipend toward rent.

HIV exploits competition among T-cells

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HOUSTON, Oct. 16, 2006 -- A new HIV study shows how competition among the human immune system's T cells allows the virus to escape destruction and eventually develop into full-blown AIDS. The study, which employs a computer model of simultaneous virus and immune system evolution, also suggests a new strategy for vaccinating against the virus – a strategy that the computer simulations suggest may prevent the final onset of AIDS.

The research, which is slated for publication in Physical Review Letters, is available online at http://arxiv.org/abs/q-bio.PE/0610018.

"Competition among T cells exerts a small influence for most diseases, but it's fatal for HIV," said study co-author Michael Deem, Rice University's John W. Cox Professor in Biochemical and Genetic Engineering and professor of physics and astronomy.

HIV prevalence in Kenya has declined to 5.9% this year from 6.1% last year, and HIV prevalence among women in the country is 7.7%, compared with 4% among men, according to statistics released Wednesday by Kenya's National Aids Control Council, the East African Standard/AllAfrica.com reports (Mwai, East African Standard/AllAfrica.com, 10/12)

NACC Acting Director Alloys Orago speaking Wednesday in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, attributed the decrease to several initiatives, including voluntary HIV testing and counseling and programs to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. According to Orago, 1.27 million Kenyans are HIV-positive, half of whom are women. Orago said the statistics show that the HIV prevalence of 4.5% among girls and women ages 15 to 24 is particularly high, compared with an HIV prevalence of 0.8% among boys in the same age group (Xhinua/People's Daily, 10/13).

AIDS activist Jeff Getty dies at 49

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JOSHUA TREE, Calif. - Jeff Getty, a prominent AIDS activist who in 1995 received the first bone-marrow transplant from a baboon to treat the disease, has died. He was 49.

Getty died Monday of heart failure, following treatment for cancer and a long struggle with AIDS, at the High Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree, said Ken Klueh, his partner of 26 years.

AIDS cost misjudged by SA mining

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SOUTH African and international mining analysts think mining companies operating in the country don’t fully understand the cost HIV/AIDS on their operations, according to a survey by Deloitte.

Management respondents from the local gold production industry, which is generally labour-intensive deep-level mining, are unanimous that HIV/AIDS, which is estimated to have a prevalence rate of no less than 20%, is a significant problem.

US gives Zambia 149 million dollars to fight AIDS

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LUSAKA (AFP) - The United States is to give Zambia 149 million dollars to support the free distribution of AIDS drugs following "significant progress" in Lusaka's efforts to fight the pandemic.

The funds will be channeled through the US President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a statement said Monday.

Some 70,000 people receive free anti-retroviral treatment in public hospitals in Zambia, where 16 percent of the 11 million population have HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS.

African leaders urged to test for Aids

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African leaders need to set an example and submit themselves publicly to tests for Aids if they really want to demonstrate their determination to fight the disease, according to campaigners.

Around 6 500 Africans are estimated to die every day from Aids but the stigma that continues to surround the disease means that members of the political elite are all too often reluctant to talk openly about it.

Former South African president Nelson Mandela was widely praised last year when he spoke about the death of his son Makgatho but campaigners say public figures are usually keen to keep such matters private.

Pop singer Madonna helps Malawi orphans with HIV and AIDS

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Pop singer Madonna is in Malawi in Africa to try to help orphaned children living with HIV and AIDS and she plans to launch six projects to help the underprivileged children.

According to government official Benston Kilimbe from the Malawi Social Welfare Department, Madonna is also hoping to adopt an African child.

OUAGADOUGOU (AFP) - Luc Montagnier, a French virologist who helped to first identify
HIV, said that antiretroviral drugs should be combined with a therapeutic vaccine to revive an
AIDS patient's immune system.

"Our proposal is that after a relatively short triple therapy, we add immunostimulators, antioxidants and a therapeutic vaccine to make the immune system of the sick person control the viral infection," Montagnier said.

HIV Testing in Healthcare Settings

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HIV Testing in Healthcare SettingsCDC's recommendations urge providers to include HIV testing as routine part of their patients’ Healthcare . Routine HIV testing ensures more people learn whether they are infected with HIV, allowing them to benefit from earlier access to treatment, and reduce the risk of infecting their partners.

UK Gives £20 million To Fight HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe

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 Hairdressers fight HIV in Zimbabwe.OVER a million Zimbabweans who are unaware that they’re HIV positive will be helped as part of a UK-funded campaign to help fight the country’s HIV and AIDS epidemic.

International Development Secretary Hilary Benn yesterday awarded £20 million for the NGO-run, AIDS prevention programme that aims to reduce new infections by increasing testing and encouraging safer sexual behaviour.

The funding will help Population Services International (PSI) Zimbabwe’s five year programme to distribute over 250 million condoms, including female condoms distributed through a network of 700 hair salons, provide better testing and counselling services so that 800,000 people can learn their HIV status, target villages around the country with a music and games-based local education campaign and launch a national campaign spearheaded by a HIV-positive pastor that will help break down the stigma around AIDS.

Former NBA star Magic Johnson on Thursday spoke in Washington, D.C., as part of a 10-city tour in partnership with Abbott Laboratories to raise HIV/AIDS awareness in black communities, especially among youth, the Washington Post reports. According to the Post, 40,000 people in the U.S. become HIV-positive every year, and blacks -- who account for 13% of the U.S. population -- make up about half that number.

"I'm here so that what happened to me will not happen to you," Johnson said, adding, "HIV is running through our community in a big way. And sex among teenagers is up" (Pierre, Washington Post, 10/13). Johnson discovered he was HIV-positive in 1991 after a routine blood test, according to the Associated Press (Associated Press, 10/13).

HMS Starts HIV Database

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by Shoshana S.tell, The Harvard Crimson, 13 Oct 2006

Fenway Community Health, a health clinic affiliated with Harvard Medical School, is one of seven sites now participating in a new collaborative electronic database that will be used to track therapies and outcomes for patients with HIV and AIDS.

The new initiative, which was awarded a grant from the National Institute of Health in September, has allowed for the collection of real-time clinical data, said University of Alabama Professor Michael S. Saag, who is leading the effort to organize the data on patients.

The grant was officially announced Tuesday.

Cipla launches new anti-HIV drug

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NEW DELHI: Pharma major Cipla on Thursday launched its fixed dose single pill anti-HIV drug Viraday priced at Rs 5,200 a month.

Viraday is a combination of three anti-HIV drugs -- Efavirenz 600 mg, Tenofovir 300 mg and Emtricitabine 200 mg, a company official said here.

"We are offering the drug at Rs 5,200 a month which is a fraction of the international price of approximately USD 1,100 (about Rs 52,800 a month)," he said.

While the company is introducing this drug in India for the first time, it is also looking at export opportunity, especially in Africa, the official said.

Criticism over Taiwan court ruling for removal of HIV refuge

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A Taiwanese nurse at an AIDS counseling station in Taipei, demonstrates how drug addicts can recycle their used needles in exchange for new ones.

TAIPEI (AFP) - A Taiwan district court's controversial ruling demanding the removal of a home for
HIV carriers has sparked anger, campaigners have said.

The verdict handed down Wednesday said the home must be moved out of the community in Taipei city in accordance with rules that bar residents from accommodating people with infectious diseases, local televisions said Thursday.

"The ruling is not proper. I'm afraid the judge has harboured biased concept towards HIV carriers," Lin Shu-ya, of the non-profit Taiwan Association for Human Rights, told AFP.

"They are unlikely to spread the disease as many people fear," she said.

Researchers Refocus Studies On Patients With HIV, Hepatitis

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As HIV patients live longer thanks to advanced therapies, researchers are looking for better ways to treat accompanying maladies such as hepatitis that traditionally were not emphasized.

"People are living longer with HIV now, but then we see people developing complications from liver disease due to hepatitis," said Dr. Mamta Jain, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Before we had effective HIV therapy, there was no interest in treating hepatitis C because the thought was the patient would die of AIDS. Well, they're not dying of AIDS, so we are making an effort to try to treat more patients for hepatitis C."



PARIS, 11 October (IRIN) - On paper France treats its 20,000 HIV-positive immigrants well - they are entitled to free healthcare, and even those whose residence status is still to be determined get free treatment after three months if they cannot afford to pay.

But immigrants increasingly face a cold shoulder in Europe, indicating that the spirit of the law is being interpreted more conservatively. For people like Patricia, 32, from the Central African Republic (CAR), that has meant two years of fear and uncertainty.

HIV rates surge to 10-year peak in Australia

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Microscopic view of the HIV virus next to a lymphocyte.

SYDNEY (AFP) - New cases of HIV in Australia have surged to their highest point in a decade as advances in treatment dull fear of the disease among gay men.

Australia has experienced a 41 percent increase in new cases since 2000, reversing a major drop in new diagnoses after 1996, according to the latest report from the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

Namibia: Suicide And HIV - Communities Need to Be Involved

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AIDS newsWonder Guchu, New Era, 11 Oct 2006

In a world that is slowly losing its sensibilities, the news of more than 40 people killing themselves does not mean much.

But to the suicide victims' families and those who knew them, to bury 40 people especially from the same region, the effects can be overwhelming.

Area Latinos targeted for AIDS/HIV education

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AIDS newsBy Delen Goldberg, The Post Standard, 11 Oct 2006

Local health officials say the numbers don't make sense.

Hispanics are the fastest-growing population in the nation, and HIV and AIDS are spreading rapidly among the group.

In Central New York, the Latino population also is booming but health workers aren't seeing the number of HIV and AIDS cases they expect.

Scarlett creates social awareness for HIV

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AIDS newsScarlett Johansson gets tested for HIV twice a year. The Black Dahlia actress insists she is not promiscuous but has the test because she is a responsible human being.

Scarlett, 25, revealed to Allure magazine: "I get tested for HIV twice a year. One has to be socially aware. It's part of being a decent human, to be tested for STDs. It's disgusting when people don't. It's so irresponsible.

But contrary to popular belief, I'm not promiscuous. The Scoop actress also claims that monogamy goes against nature because people "are like animals."

But despite her liberal views on sex, Scarlett - who is dating her The Black Dahlia co-star Josh Hartnett - insists she is happy being
with just one man. She added: "I do think on some basic level we are animals, and by instinct we kind of breed accordingly.

AIDS newsFREETOWN, 10 October (IRIN) - Denial and ignorance of HIV/AIDS are still major problems in post-war Sierra Leone, hindering care and support for people living with the virus.

"When I tested positive in 2002 and told my family, they'd never heard of HIV/AIDS; they didn't know it existed and they didn't want me in the house, so I had to leave," HIV-positive Ibrahim Kargbo, 41, told IRIN/PlusNews in the capital, Freetown.

WHO recommends HIV/AIDS measures for Vietnam

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AIDS news A WHO mission to Vietnam from Monday to Tuesday highlighted solutions to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS before it moves into the general population.

The measures include rapid scaling-up of harm reduction interventions; a comprehensive continuum of treatment, care and support; behavior change communication; program management; and monitoring, supervision and evaluation, according to a press release issued Tuesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the country.

AIDS newsDuke University biomedical engineers have developed a computer tool they say could lead to improvements in topical microbicides being developed for women to use to prevent infection by the virus that causes AIDS.

Providing women with improved microbicides is a pressing challenge because women now account for a growing number of new infections worldwide, the researchers said.

French Foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy speaks during the presentation of the humanitarian action campaign Unitaid in Paris, June 2006.

GENEVA (AFP) - The first beneficiaries of an international tax on air travel to help the world's poor will be 250,000 children suffering from HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said.

Douste-Blazy, who was appointed to head the agency overseeing the funds, UNITAID, said 19 countries have started taking steps to implement the levy.

Nearly 10,000 HIV positive cases in state

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AIDS newsby Dipak Mishra, 10 Oct 2006

PATNA: With the number of HIV positive cases on the rise, the disease is threatening to assume alarming proportion in Bihar.

According to the latest statistics provided by the Bihar State Aids Control Society (BSACS), the number of HIV positive cases in the state is close to 10,000. The first case of AIDS in Bihar was detected in Nawada in 1992.

Toll of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria: The African reality

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AIDS newsWITH a Doctorate degree in medicine from Tufts University, a Masters degree in International Public Health from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from Lehigh University, Dr. Akudo Anyanwu Ikemba is one of the notable Nigerian scientists committed to the cause of African development currently undermined by the devastation of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

AS the CEO of Friends Africa and a director with the Center for Global Health and Economic Development at the Earth Institute of Columbia University, as well as former Fellow of the Centre for Diseases Control (CDC) Atlanta, USA, and former lecturer at Tufts University School of Medicine, she is at the forefront of a positive effort towards altering the future of Africa in the prevention and treatment of the threat posed by HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.
In this encounter, she sheds light on... Excerpts.

AIDS news
ASTANA, October 9, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- President Nursultan Nazarbaev today instructed the governor of the Southern Kazakhstan Region, Umirzak Shukeev, to take all steps necessary to help HIV-infected children in the area.

Dozens of infants and eight adults have been infected with HIV in the area in the past few months. Six children have died of AIDS.

Health authorities believe unsterilized syringes, or transfusions of contaminated blood are responsible for the spread of HIV.

The official responsible for the investigation, Torekhan Adai, told a press briefing on October 8 that 12 criminal investigations have been launched in connection with the epidemic.

The Kazakh government is due to examine the health situation in Southern Kazakhstan Region at a cabinet meeting on October 10.

Gates discusses AIDS with Nigeria leader

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AIDS newsABUJA, Nigeria - Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates met President Olusegun Obasanjo this weekend for talks on fighting poverty and disease on the world's poorest continent, a senior official said Sunday.

Information Minister Frank Nweke said Gates arrived in Nigeria with his wife, Melinda, on Saturday and met with Obasanjo at his farm on the outskirts of the country's biggest city, Lagos.

AIDS news For most of the 1980s, a diagnosis of AIDS was a virtual death sentence. People suspected of having the incurable disease were shunned, fired from jobs or driven from homes. Many avoided getting tested for fear that their status would be revealed.

The progress since then has been remarkable. New medications keep the HIV virus in check so that patients who are diagnosed early can extend their lives by 25 years, according to a Harvard Medical School study. Public attitudes have softened.

AIDS news by Malaika Laurent, Caribbean News Net, 9 Oct 2006ROSEAU, Dominica: A campaign to limit wanton sex practices, most common during festive seasons, will take place during the World Creole Music Festival in Dominica; to protect both locals and visitors from transmission of the HIV/AIDS virus.

Statistics indicate that HIV in the Caribbean is the second highest in the world. Its prevalence rate exceeds 2% of the population in five countries, and AIDS has become the leading cause of death among adults aged 15-44 years in this region.

First liver transplant for HIV patient

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AIDS newsAN HIV patient is to receive a liver transplant for the first time in Scotland following breakthroughs in the treatment of the condition, writes Tara Womersley.

Doctors at the Scottish liver transplant unit in Edinburgh made the decision after combination drug therapy dramatically increased the life expectancy of people infected with the virus.

HIV awareness classes for teachers

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AIDS newsBANGALORE: A scheme to periodically review the syllabus and an awareness programme for teachers in aid of HIV+ children — primary and secondary education minister Basavaraj Horatti's goodie bag came loaded at the valedictory session of the seminar on ‘Karnataka's Elementary Education System' at national Institute of Advanced Sciences on Saturday.

New test may diagnose HIV virus sooner

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AIDS newsUS health officials have approved a Gen-Probe Inc test to help diagnose the HIV virus sooner, the Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday.

The test, called the Aptima HIV-1 RNA Qualitative Assay, helps detect genetic material to diagnose the HIV-1 virus before antibodies appear, the FDA said.

Roche AIDS drug shows benefits when combined

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AIDS newsZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche AG said on Thursday that up to 95 percent of patients treated with its drug Fuzeon in combination with another new kind of AIDS drug can achieve undetectable levels of HIV.


That compared with 60 to 70 percent of patients who achieved undetectable HIV after taking Merck & Co. Inc.'s experimental drug MK-0518 without Fuzeon, Roche said. The Merck drug is a so-called integrase inhibitor designed to block the reproduction of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

AIDS news"Five Myths About the HIV Epidemic in Asia," PLoS Medicine: Peter Godwin, senior adviser at the National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STDs in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and colleagues in the article discuss five "commonly held" myths regarding HIV/AIDS in Asian countries. According to researchers, the myths -- which could "seriously jeopardize" the fight against HIV/AIDS in the region -- are that Asia's HIV/AIDS epidemic will have a "development[al] impact" similar to that in sub-Saharan Africa; that the "Three Ones" strategy -- one national coordination authority, one strategic plan, and one monitoring and evaluation system -- is an "essential framework" for expanding the response to HIV/AIDS in Asia; that nongovernmental organizations have been more effective than governments in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic;

Anti-HIV drugs free at DMC: health official

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AIDS newsPHILIPPINES - A Departement of Health official said anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs for adults, or medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV, are available for free at the Davao Medical Center.

Department of Health Undersecretary Ethelyn Nieto, during the ongoing 8th Philippine National Convention on Aids at the Royal Mandaya Hotel, said ARV drugs will be released to any person depending on the patient's viral load or the concentration of a virus, such as HIV, in the blood.

Yoghurt could help fend off HIV

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AIDS news

YOGURT may soon be enlisted in the battle against AIDS. Lactobacillus, a harmless bacterium that helps turn milk into yogurt, has been engineered to make HIV-fighting microbicides. Eating yogurt containing these bacteria could provide a way for women to fend off HIV if no other means are available.

AIDS discoverer hopeful of new vaccine approach

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AIDS newsby Roxanne Khamsi, NewScientitst.com, 22 Sep 2006

The scientist who helped discover AIDS in the mid-1980s is developing a promising new vaccine approach that may protect people against many strains of HIV.

The approach involves targeting a common molecular structure, or conformation, of the HIV virus’s protein shell, explains Robert Gallo, who in 1984 identified the virus that causes AIDS with the French scientist Luc Montagnier.

AIDS newsHANOI, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam is facing two major challenges: expansion of HIV infection from vulnerable groups to the general population, and stronger need for provision of treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in the country said here Friday.

Vietnam, where most of people living with HIV/AIDS are from most at-risk populations such as injecting drug users and sex workers, is facing the risk of the disease's expansion to the general population, WHO representative Hans Troedsson said at a press briefing, noting that the country and the WHO "need to know more about men having sex with men in Vietnam."

HIV and Aids killing teachers daily - study

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AIDS newsEleven teachers die of HIV related illness daily in KwaZulu-Natal, and by 2010 one in every four teachers will be infected with HIV.

These alarming figures were revealed at a World Teachers' Day event in Durban on Wednesday, where teachers spent the day encouraging one another to get tested for HIV and to make use of a newly established teacher support programme.

The celebrations organised by the South African Democratic Teachers' Union focused on the prevention, care, treatment and an access programme, which was launched in March by teacher unions, the education department, Solidarity Centre South Africa and the Tshepang Doctors Trust.

Don't forget the killer diseases, experts urge

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A young girl visits her mother, a tuberculosis patient, at the Sanatora Do Huambo hospital in the southern Angolan city of Huambo July 2, 2006. While every human death from bird flu commands widespread attention, some experts are urging the world not to forget killer diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, which claim millions of lives each year. REUTERS'Wayne Conradie (Reuters)by Tan Ee Lyn, 4 Oct 2006

HONG KONG (Reuters) - While every human death from bird flu commands widespread attention, some experts are urging the world not to forget killer diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS, which claim millions of lives each year.

More effort must be put into preventing these diseases, and vaccines -- once they are ready -- must be made available to the poorest nations, which suffer most from these illnesses.

Experts test drugs that fight neuroAIDS

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by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer, 2 Oct 2006

WASHINGTON - It's an Achilles' heel of HIV therapy: The AIDS virus can sneak into the brain to cause dementia, despite today's best medicines. Now scientists are beginning to test drugs that may protect against the memory loss and other symptoms of so-called neuroAIDS, which afflicts at least one in five people with HIV and is becoming more common as patients live longer.

With almost 1 million Americans, and almost 40 million people worldwide, living with HIV, that's a large and underrecognized toll.

By Neville Hodgkinson, The Business Online, 10 Sep 2006

HE widespread belief that the latest drugs for fighting Aids are reducing death rates has been confounded by a huge study covering 10 years of treatment which involved more than 22,000 patients in Europe and North America.

The study, reported in The Lancet, compared groups of HIV-positive patients started on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) at different times between 1995 and 2003, and followed them for one year. Some of the major findings showed that although HAART appeared to be getting better at bringing down levels of the virus, there was no decrease in overall death rates. In fact, patients’ risk of developing or dying from Aids has actually increased in recent years.

Researchers begin testing drugs to fight HIV dementia

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BY LAURAN NEERGAARD The Associated Press, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 03 Oct 2006

WASHINGTON – It’s an Achilles’ heel of HIV therapy: The AIDS virus can sneak into the brain to cause dementia, despite today’s best medicines.
Now scientists are beginning to test drugs that may protect against the memory loss and other symptoms of so-called neuroAIDS, which afflicts at least one in five people with HIV and is becoming more common as patients live longer.

With almost 1 million Americans, and almost 40 million people worldwide, living with HIV, that’s a large and underrecognized toll.

“That means HIV is the commonest cause of cognitive dysfunction in young people worldwide,” says Dr. Justin McArthur, vice chairman of neurology at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, who treats neuroAIDS. “There’s no question it’s a major public health issue.”

Although today’s most powerful anti-HIV drugs do help by suppressing levels of the virus in blood – so that there’s less to continually bathe the brain – they can’t cure neuro-AIDS. Why? HIV seeps into the brain very soon after someone is infected, and few anti-HIV drugs can penetrate the brain to chase it down.

“Despite the best efforts of (anti-HIV) therapy, the brain is failing,” says Dr. Harris Gelbard, a neurologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He is part of a major new effort funded by the National Institutes of Health to find the first brain-protecting treatments.

South Africa’s health minister takes the heat

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By ROBYN DIXON, Jerusalem Post, 03 Oct 2006

JOHANNESBURG – The UN special envoy for AIDS has likened her to the “lunatic fringe,” while a well-known comedian derides her as the “Angel of Death.” She is South Africa’s top health official and one of the most important front-line fighters against AIDS in this country beset by an epidemic. But controversial Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has been widely criticized for questioning the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs to combat AIDS, advocating beets, lemon, garlic and sweet potatoes as treatment instead. Activists had to take legal action to force the government to provide the medication to pregnant women and prisoners.

She has been criticized in international forums and recently faced a call from dozens of international health experts to be fired. Still, South African President Thabi Mbeki has remained steadfast. Some analysts suggest it is his stubborn loyalty to a longtime political ally, others that he is satisfied by her performance because her views are similar to his own.

Over 40 percent in EU take no AIDS precautions

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More than 40 percent of people in the European Union take no precautions against AIDS during sex, an EU survey showed on Monday.

According to the poll, carried out in September and October of last year, fewer people in the 15 "old" member states said they practiced safe sex compared to the previous survey conducted in 2002.

DUBLIN (AFP) - Ireland will provide 70 million euros (89 million dollars) to help fight HIV/ AIDS in Africa under an agreement signed by Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and former US president, Bill Clinton.

The new funding agreement will make Ireland the largest single country donor to the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative.

The aid will be particularly targeted at Mozambique and Lesotho, two of the African countries worst affected by HIV/AIDS.

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