November 2006 Archives

Study: Break from medications dangerous

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aids pillsOne of the largest-ever studies of HIV treatment has found that patients who temporarily stop taking their powerful medicines more than double their risk of dying.

Many HIV patients have sought doctors' permission to periodically take a break from the tiresome regimen of AIDS-fighting drugs, which can cause incapacitating side effects. Several small studies have suggested "holidays" from medication might be OK for patients who appear to be doing well.

But the new study, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests such a strategy can be dangerous: The rate of disease progression or death was more than twice as high in patients who took medications intermittently than in those who took them every day.
wan yanhaiBEIJING (AFP) - A leading Chinese AIDS activist recently detained by police has said the number of people suffering from the disease in China could be 10 times higher than official estimates.

Veteran AIDS activist Wan Yanhai also said Thursday authorities detained him and banned a conference he organized because the government was nervous about being held responsible by sufferers over their infections from public hospitals.

China's health ministry said last week that 183,733 people were confirmed with HIV/AIDS at the end of October, a 27.5 percent rise from the end of last year.

Russia registers 363,000 HIV cases

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MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia has registered over 363,000 people living with HIV-AIDS, including 2,322 children, chief medical doctor Gennady Onishchenko said, a news agency has reported.

Just under half of the HIV-positive children, 1,059, were infected before birth by their mothers, Onishchenko was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

He also said 27,250 new cases of HIV infection had been registered since the start of the year.

"Nearly 60 percent of the infections are concentrated in 13 Russian regions, particularly Sverdlovsk, Moscow, Samara and Irkutsk, as well as the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg," Onishchenko said, ITAR-TASS reported.

AIDS kills 950 S. Africans every day

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AIDS in S.AfricaJOHANNESBURG, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- HIV/AIDS kills an average of 950 people in South Africa every day, and 71 percent of these deaths occur among people aged from 15 to 49, a new study has indicated.

About 2 million South Africans had died from AIDS-related illness since the start of the epidemic in the early 1990s.

This year, deaths due to AIDS accounted for 350,000 of the estimated 740,000 total fatalities, which was equivalent to 950 AIDS-related deaths a day, according to the study conducted by the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA), in collaboration with scientists from the Medical Research Council and the Center for Actuarial Research (CARE) at the University of Cape Town.

WHO warns of HIV epidemic in Asia

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aids ww mapMANILA, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO)warned here on Thursday that the HIV/AIDS situation in Asia will further worsen unless political leaders meet their promises to step up efforts to stop the virus from spreading.

"The number of people living with HIV continues to grow," WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Shigeru Omi said in a report issued by the international health body.

"High-risk behavior, such as injecting drug use, unprotected paid sex and unprotected sex between men, is especially evident in the HIV epidemics in some regions, including Asia," he added.

Activists hail Thai move to make generic AIDS drug

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aids generic drugs BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand, faced with ballooning costs for HIV-AIDS drugs, has issued its first compulsory license to make a cheap version of a foreign-made drug and fired a shot across the bow of big pharmaceutical companies.

The action drew a swift riposte from U.S. drug maker Merck & Co Inc, which holds the patent on Efavirenz. The firm denounced the Health Ministry decision to issue a five-year license for domestic production and imports of a generic version of the anti-retroviral drug.

But AIDS activists and health experts cheered loudly.

"This is both a brave and a progressive step by the Royal Thai Government to place the interests of people living with HIV in Thailand front and center," UNAIDS country coordinator Patrick Brenny told Reuters on Thursday.

Inadequate measures allowing HIV/AIDS to worsen

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aidsThe World Health Organization warned Tuesday that HIV/AIDS was on the rise in Indonesia because of a lack of firm action on the part of the government.

WHO HIV consultant for Drug Injecting Users David Jakka said the government should prioritize treatment for injecting drug users, who comprise more than half of those infected with HIV.

"The government's action, despite its cautiousness, is still ineffective and imprecise," said Jakka, who attended a workshop at the Health Ministry commemorating World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

New AIDS Epidemic Warning

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aidsSome 63,500 adults in Britain now have HIV - and a third of these are receiving no treatment, a report warned yesterday.

The Health Protection Agency report warned the infection is spreading fast, particularly among the gay community.

Additional threats come from infection amongst immigrants from Africa, the HPA report said.

The HPA report says there are 43,400 people alive diagnosed with HIV infection and another 20,100 who do not know they have it.

viramuneOn the occasion of World Aids Day 2006 Boehringer Ingelheim stated that its patent rights to Viramune® (nevirapine) do not prevent access to this medication in low income countries.

The company has granted out 7 voluntary licences so far for generic production of nevirapine products in developing countries. Boehringer Ingelheim remains open to further initiatives of pharmaceutical companies producing generics in developing countries.

In addition to the well-established Boehringer Ingelheim programmes, like the Viramune® Donation Program, the reduced pricing schemes for chronic Viramune® therapy in developing countries, the granting of voluntary licences and the commitment to new HIV drug development, and further philanthropic initiatives in developing countries, the company made this clear as an additional step to help provide access to life-saving therapy for patients in need in developing countries.

S.Africa seeks new start on AIDS fight

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aids in south africaCAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa will unveil a new plan aimed at fighting its HIV/AIDS crisis on Friday, seeking to calm bitter debate and revamp policies that have thus far done little to stop the epidemic.

South Africa's AIDS battle has been two-fold, with doctors and community groups struggling to help an estimated 5 million people infected with the virus and government officials fending off critics who accuse them of mishandling the disaster.

The criticism peaked at this year's world AIDS conference in Toronto, where South Africa was accused of "lunatic" negligence on HIV/AIDS by activists, doctors and even a U.N. official.
light to uniteBristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY - News) in cooperation with the National AIDS Fund today launched the third annual "Light to Unite" campaign in support of World AIDS Day. This year's "Light to Unite" program shines a light on the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in underserved communities throughout the United States. Bristol-Myers Squibb and the National AIDS Fund are encouraging people across the country to visit http://www.lighttounite.org to show their support and to educate themselves and others on emerging HIV/AIDS issues within diverse communities across the U.S.

On the "Light to Unite" Web site, visitors can light a virtual candle, share stories about how HIV/AIDS has impacted their lives, and help increase awareness of the epidemic by e-mailing a friend. For each virtual candle lit through December 31, 2006, Bristol-Myers Squibb will contribute $1 to the National AIDS Fund, up to a maximum contribution of $100,000, to benefit AIDS service organizations in underserved communities in the U.S. Web site visitors will also have the opportunity to increase the impact of the Bristol-Myers Squibb contribution to the National AIDS Fund by making an additional donation on the National AIDS Fund Web site at http://www.aidsfund.org.

AIDS impedes development efforts

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aids researchWASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- If AIDS is not tackled, it will be virtually impossible for many low-income countries to develop, a new study says.

In September 2000, 189 governments committed to achieving eight Millennium Development Goals to improve living standards worldwide. But the AIDS epidemic will stall progress toward reaching at least five of these goals, according to an analysis in PLoS Medicine by Robert Hecht and colleagues at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and EASE International.

The disease will wreak havoc with efforts to halve extreme poverty and hunger, reduce childhood deaths, achieve universal primary education, improve maternal health and tackle infectious diseases such as TB and malaria, the researchers write.

France to fight AIDS with 20-cent condoms

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20 cent condoms (courtesy AFP)PARIS (AFP) - The French government said it would make 10 million cut-priced condoms available in high schools, night clubs, cinemas and hospitals to try to combat the spread of HIV-AIDS.

Health Minister Xavier Bertrand said the campaign aimed to ensure safe-sex becomes "a reflex", with condoms to go on sale for 20 euro cents (25 US cents) in 20,000 outlets around the country from early next year.

The condoms will also be available in thousands of tobacconist shops, newsagents and pharmacies.

According to the French sanitary institute INVS, 6,700 new cases of HIV were reported in France in 2005, compared to 7,000 the previous year.

Mining co's help fund Australia's Virax African HIV trial

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viraxSYDNEY, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Australian biotech firm Virax Holdings Ltd. (<VHL.AX>) said on Monday eight big mining companies had agreed to pay for trials of its HIV vaccine in South Africa, which is battling one of the world's worst AIDS crises. Virax applied to South Africa's drugs regulator in September for approval to conduct a clinical trial of its VIR201 HIV vaccine, with global mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd./Plc. (<BHP.AX> <BHP.L>) as the main sponsor.

On Monday it said another seven mining and metals firms from Australia, Britain, Japan and South Africa had offered funding.

Details of the total funding were not disclosed, but Virax spokesman Tim Duncan said the typical cost for trials of this size was usually between $5 million and $6 million.

Study Shows Americans Ambivalent About HIV/AIDS Crisis

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AIDS surveyCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Almost two-fifths of Americans have difficulty sympathizing with HIV/AIDS victims, according to a study commissioned and released by Compassion International.

Thirty-nine percent of the people polled agreed strongly or somewhat with the statement: "You have more sympathy for people who have cancer than you do for people who have HIV or AIDS because you feel most of those with HIV/AIDS got the disease as a result of their decisions or lifestyles."

Roughly one out of seven Americans (15 percent) said they donated in 2005 to an organization specifically to address the HIV/AIDS crisis. But the survey, conducted in advance of World AIDS Day Dec. 1, also found that only 8 percent of Americans have a compassionate attitude toward HIV/AIDS victims and have donated to the cause.

Singapore forms panel to fight HIV

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singaporeSINGAPORE - Singapore has formed a national policy committee to combat the rise of HIV cases, local media reported Monday.

The announcement came with the news that 137 HIV cases had been reported from July through October, bringing the total of new cases this year to 286, Channel NewsAsia quoted the Health Ministry as saying.

"I think the biggest issue and the most important thing is testing and I think we'll be talking more about that over the next few months," said senior state minister Balaji Sadasivan, who will chair the committee. "The fight against AIDS will be a long drawn fight."

Don't reject or abandon AIDS victims, Pope says

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Pope BenedictVATICAN CITY, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Sufferers of infectious diseases such as AIDS should not be victims of prejudice, rejection and indifference by a society obsessed with personal physical beauty and health, Pope Benedict said on Friday.

The Pope, speaking to participants of a conference on the pastoral care of patients with infectious diseases, said the dignity of all sick people had to respected, regardless of which disease they had or how they may have contracted it.

"Among the prejudices that hinder or limit efficient care for victims of infectious diseases is the attitude of indifference and even exclusion or rejection which sometimes emerges in a rich society," he told the group.

"This attitude is even fostered by the image given in the media of men and women who are mostly concerned about their own physical beauty, health and biological vitality," he said.

Analysis: UN urges AIDS prevention

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UNWASHINGTON, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Huge gains have been made in making sure that HIV treatment is getting to those who need it -- but prevention efforts lack the resources they need to slow the disease's spread.

Nearly 40 million people worldwide are living with HIV or AIDS, according to United Nations data released Tuesday, and that number continues to grow.

"Countries are not moving at the same speed as their epidemics," said Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS. "We need to greatly intensify life-saving prevention efforts while we expand HIV treatment programs."

In North American and Europe, new infection rates have remained flat, while in other regions they continue to grow. In some places in Eastern Europe and Central Asia the rate has skyrocketed by more than 50 percent in the last two years.

China AIDS forum cancelled after activist's arrest

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wan yanhai (c) AFPBEIJING (AFP) - A non-government forum on AIDS and the legal rights of AIDS victims was cancelled in Beijing, days after well-known Chinese activist Wan Yanhai was taken away by police, organizers said.

The "Blood Safety, AIDS and Legal Human Rights Workshop" was cancelled after Wan was taken into custody Friday by four policemen who burst into the Beijing headquarters of the AIDS Action Project, spokeswoman Wang Lixuan told AFP.

The Sunday workshop was to be attended by about 50 people who had contracted AIDS or the HIV virus that causes AIDS from unsafe blood transfusions, often administered by local government-related medical institutions, she said.

AIDS task force to shut down

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aids The Santa Rosa Minority HIV/AIDS Task Force`s contract with the Florida Department of Health is not being renewed, and the nonprofit agency will close its doors.

"We received a letter that our contract would end Dec. 31, but no explanation was given," executive director Gail Collins said. "The $75,000 we get from the state is our only source of money."

Milton Mayor Guy Thompson has sent a letter of support for the task force to the department.

HIV / AIDS Surveillance in Europe

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aidsHIV infection remains of major public health importance in Europe, with evidence of increasing transmission of HIV in many European countries. In 2005, 77,553 newly diagnosed cases of HIV infection (104 per million population) were reported from 48 of the 52 countries in the European Region of the World Health Organization (major exceptions being Italy, Norway and Spain) and 8,346 cases of AIDS diagnosed (12/million) in 47 countries (major exceptions being the Norway, Russian Federation and Ukraine). In comparison to previous years, the number of newly diagnosed cases of HIV infection reported in 2005 has continued to increase and the number of diagnosed AIDS cases continued to decline.

Disclosing Aids ‘will not help statistics’

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aids LISTING Aids as the cause of death on public death certificates would not in any way improve the collection of statistics on HIV-related deaths, the Aids Law Project (ALP) said yesterday.

It expressed concern at the confusion and misinformation being generated in the reporting of the Health Professions Council’s (HPCSA) disciplinary action against Bloemfontein pathologist Dr Leon Wagner.

According to the media, he was charged with “recording Aids as the cause of death on a death certificate”.

The ALP pointed out that when a patient died, a doctor was required to complete a death notice which consisted of two pages.

North Colorado: Free AIDS/HIV tests on World AIDS Day

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HIV testWorld AIDS Day will be Friday, Dec. 1. Established by the World Health Organization in 1988, World AIDS Day serves to focus global attention on the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Weld County has the fastest growing HIV rate in the eight-county service region of the Northern Colorado AIDS Project. As of June 30, there were 130 people living with HIV or AIDS in Weld County.

In October the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised the recommendations for HIV testing for the general public. CDC believes that everyone should know whether or not they are infected with HIV because there are important health benefits to this knowledge. People who are HIV negative can take steps to stay that way and those who are infected with HIV can get treatment to improve health and extend life. They can also change their behaviors in order to reduce the chance of passing the virus on to others.
church Religious leaders and faith-based organizations are questioning the global political will to fight HIV and AIDS in the light of the new 2006 AIDS Epidemic Update issued by UNAIDS.

"The human toll of the epidemic is undeniable and increasing. The statistics represent the lives of our families and friends, our faith communities and our religious leaders. We all must do more," says Dr Manoj Kurian of the World Council of Churches.

The UN report released in Geneva on 21 November 2006 indicates that the number of people living with HIV increased in every region of the world from 2004 to 2006, with the greatest increases in East Asia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.

AIDS cases in Britain growing

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UKLONDON (Reuters) - The number of people in Britain living with HIV has grown to an estimated 63,500 adults as sufferers live longer and new infections continue to rise, according to a report on Wednesday.

That figure is an increase from 58,300 in 2004, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) report says, and includes both those who have been diagnosed and also around a third (20,100) who remain unaware of their infection.

The report called A Complex Picture is being launched ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1.

Dr Valerie Delpech, an HIV expert at the agency said: "We are seeing an ever increasing pool of people living with HIV and AIDS in the UK.

entrance banA provision of U.S. law that bans HIV-positive foreigners from entering the country is harming testing efforts and excluding eligible candidates for citizenship, according to members of a panel held by the Global Health Council on Nov. 15, CQ HealthBeat reports. Congress in 1993 enacted legislation that prevented HIV-positive foreigners from obtaining visas or citizenship.

According to the U.S. Department of State, if any foreigners traveling to the U.S., including people from countries not requiring visas, reveal that they have a "communicable disease of public health significance," they are prevented from entering the country. The same rules apply to green card applicants.

According to some Global Health Council panel members, the travel ban is harming public health efforts, CQ HealthBeat reports. The ban is a "violation to human rights and a threat to public health in the United States and abroad," Nancy Ordover of the Gay Men's Health Crisis said, adding that the ban discourages people from being tested and seeking treatment.

HIV/AIDS on the rise in China

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chinaBEIJING (AFP) - China is experiencing a surge in the number of new HIV/AIDS infections as the virus spreads from high-risk groups to the general public.

There were 183,733 people confirmed with HIV/AIDS at the end of October, the health ministry said on its website, with the state-run press reporting the number was 27.5 percent higher than at the end of 2005.

The ministry did not provide comparative figures, but Xinhua news agency said there were 39,644 extra confirmed cases of HIV/AIDS in China in the first 10 months of the year, compared with a total of 144,089 at the end of 2005.

U.N. says 39.5 million people have HIV

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Credit: UNAIDS/G. PirozziGENEVA - The global HIV epidemic is growing, leaving an estimated 39.5 million people worldwide infected with the deadly virus, the United Nations said Tuesday.

AIDS has claimed 2.9 million lives this year and another 4.3 million people became infected with HIV, according to the U.N.'s AIDS epidemic update report, published on Tuesday. Spread of the disease was most noticeable in East Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since the first case was reported in 1981, making it one of the most destructive illnesses in history.

Africa still hardest hit by HIV-AIDS, women in frontline

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hiv in AfricaGENEVA (AFP) - Sub-Saharan Africa is still bearing the brunt of the
AIDS epidemic, accounting for almost two-thirds of all HIV infections and 72 percent of global AIDS deaths, the UN agency leading the battle against the disease has said.

With 24.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS, sub-Saharan Africa has 63 percent of the adults and children living with the virus worldwide, UNAIDS said in its 2006 epidemic update.

A huge and disproportionate 59 percent of sub-Saharans Africans with HIV are women, the report added Tuesday.

Dutch AIDS deaths down, but infection rate up

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hiv, aidsTHE HAGUE (AFP) - The number of people dying from AIDS each year in the Netherlands has fallen considerably since the introduction of combination therapies a decade ago, but the rate of new HIV infections continues to rise, a new report warned.

The number of people diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 2006 was 950, up 329 from 1996, the HIV Monitoring foundation's annual report stated.

Homosexual sex was the leading cause of transmission, affecting 500 people in 2006. "The HIV epidemic is not under control in the male homosexual community in the Netherlands," the foundation warned. "As well as combination therapy, prevention is essential," it added.

India told to get grip on HIV in 2007

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Ashok Alexander, irector of the the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Indian HIV-prevention project (courtesy Reuters)NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India must get on top of its HIV epidemic by next year or risk seeing it spiral out of control, the man who controls the richest private anti-AIDS fund in the country and a senior United Nations official warned.

"The signs are still ominous," Ashok Alexander, the director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's $258-million Indian HIV-prevention project, told Reuters in an interview.

He said the rising prevalence of HIV in more than 100 districts in which the foundation operates showed that a decade of government efforts had not slowed the virus, which is now estimated to have infected 5.7 million Indians.

Adolescent Arrest History Influences Risk Of Acquiring HIV

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adolescent arrestAdolescents with a history of arrest are at greater risk for HIV infection than adolescents with no arrest history, according to a new study published in the November issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Researchers from the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center and Brown Medical School attribute higher rates of substance abuse, sexual risk behaviors and mental health issues to the increased risk of infection.

Study participants included adolescents ages 15 to 21 who were categorized into two groups - arrestees and non-arrestees. Researchers at sites in Rhode Island, Georgia and Florida assessed both groups of adolescents in terms of their alcohol and drug use, substance abuse during sex, unprotected sex acts, sexually transmitted infection diagnoses, attitudes about substance use and unprotected sex, suicide attempts and psychiatric hospitalizations.

Mother Accused of Not Giving Son HIV Meds Speaks Out

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prisonAn Albemarle County jury Thursday was divided over whether or not a mother withheld critical HIV medication from her teenage son. From inside the regional jail that mother speaks out with her side of the story.

Her 15-year-old son testified against her during a two day trial and she said she doesn’t know why. The trial ended in a hung jury and Thursday night, we spoke with the mom from inside the regional jail where she remains until a new trail date is set.

“I know I was giving my son his medicine, my son knows I was giving him his medicine and my kids know,” said the mother, who we are not identifying because of the sensitivity of this case and to shield her son’s identity.

Greek HIV cases leap in 2006

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(c) magellanATHENS (AFP) - Greece's HIV rate leapt by more than 25 percent for the second year running in 2006 with 485 new cases, the centre of illness control and prevention (KEELPNO) announced.

The figures up to October 31 demonstrate a "noticeable rise in infections contracted through male homosexual relations," KEELPNO said in a statement. The statistics showed 391 men and 94 women diagnosed with the immune disease.

The authorities announced a "national action plan," after the rise of 2005, which mainly concentrates on awareness.

Greek and international experts have for years decried the lack of information getting through to the general public, particularly through schools where no sex education is taught.

Condoms urged in prisons to curb AIDS in blacks

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condom in prisonWASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. prisons should make condoms available to inmates and test for HIV as part of a broader effort to curb the spread of AIDS among blacks, hit disproportionately hard by the incurable disease, experts urged on Thursday.

The National Minority AIDS Council advocacy group, backed by U.S. black lawmakers and medical leaders, issued a series of recommendations aimed at U.S. policymakers to slow the epidemic among blacks, 10 times more likely than whites to have AIDS.

"In 2006, AIDS in America is a black disease," said Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles.

Migrants to the U.K. are carriers of TB, HIV and malaria

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hiv aids ribbonLONDON: Migrants to England, Wales and Northern Ireland constitute 70 per cent of people afflicted with tuberculosis, HIV and malaria, according to a report by the Health Protection Agency of the country.

In its first report on the health of migrants, the agency, however, said there is little evidence to suggest the general population is at an increased risk because of this. It may be a disproportionate burden, the agency said, but it is a small fraction of people not born in the U.K.

According to government data, as many as 1,500 migrants arrived in the country everyday in 2005.

HIV/AIDS cases increase rapidly in Czech

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czech republic The Czech Republic reported 899 HIV/AIDS cases in 2006, nearly twice as the number in 2000, as the young generation ignore the threat of the disease and more immigrants poured into the country, a latest document released by the national reference laboratory on AIDS on Wednesday.

About 501 HIV/AIDS cases were reported in 2000, but this year the number reached 899, among whom 764 people were infected by sex, according to the laboratory.

The data also showed that the capital of Prague is the most HIV/AIDS infected area in the whole country, where the infected number amounts to 453, half of the total number.

Insuring HIV patients can be decent business for life

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hiv aids ribbonDiagnosed with HIV 23 years ago, David Patient thought he would never see the day when he could insure his life. Until the launch late last year of AllLife, an innovative insurance newcomer, the few life insurers taking on clients with HIV offered very limited cover and charged prohibitive premiums.

But AllLife is specifically targeting customers carrying the virus, offering them more affordable insurance for up to three million rand ($410,000). They are now able to protect their loved ones and get mortgages. This is changing perceptions of a disease often considered to be a death sentence.

The average probability of an Aids death in South Africa would appear to make life cover prohibitively costly for people with HIV. But extremes rather than averages apply to HIV/Aids: people who monitor their health and are treated tend to do well; most of the rest die quickly when Aids sets in. The first group's risk profile is 'no worse than diabetics', according to AllLife.

HIV testBOSTON -- Health care providers for HIV patients in Massachusetts will now be required to give their patients' names to state authorities for the purpose of more accurately monitoring the number of cases.

Department of Public Health spokeswoman Donna Rheume said the DPH board voted unanimously Tuesday to enact the new regulations after the federal Centers for Disease Control threatened to withhold about $15 million in annual funding. Rheume said the information will be stored in a databank accessible by only a limited number of state health professionals.

"Those names will be kept at the Department of Public Health and will not be released," Rheume said.

HIV infection linked with lung disease

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copdNEW HAVEN, Conn., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. medical scientists suggest patients who are HIV positive may be at an increased risk for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The researchers from Yale University School of Medicine investigated the prevalence of COPD among 1,014 HIV-positive and 713 HIV-negative men enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort 5 Site Study.

Results showed the prevalence of COPD was 10 percent in HIV-positive and 9 percent in HIV-negative patients -- as reported by clinicians, and 15 percent and 12 percent, in that order, as indicated by patient self-reporting.

CDC HIV/AIDS - Pregnancy and Childbirth

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pregnant womanPerinatal HIV Transmission

  • Accounts for nearly all pediatric AIDS cases. HIV transmission from mother to child during pregnancy, labor and delivery or by breast feeding accounted for approximately 91% of all AIDS cases reported among U.S. children between 1985 and 2004 (1).
  • Can be prevented. Data indicate that when appropriate antiretroviral medications are given during pregnancy, labor and delivery and after birth, the risk of transmission can be reduced to less than 2% (2) compared with approximately 25% when no interventions are given (3).

Rich countries undermine WTO medicines deal

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oxfamGENEVA (AFP) - Several charities have accused rich countries of undermining a World Trade Organisation agreement to improve access for the world's poorest people to cheaper drugs against diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

The rules were set up by the WTO's 149 members at Doha, Qatar in 2001 to grant poor nations threatened by serious diseases a temporary exemption from international laws protecting intellectual property rights on medicines.

The British charity Oxfam said developed countries had done "nothing or very little" to meet their obligations and had even undermined the agreement in some cases.

South Africa says AIDS drugs rollout on course

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HIV in AfricaJOHANNESBURG (AFP) - South Africa has sought to deflect criticism that it was dragging its feet on the rollout of AIDS drugs, saying some 60,000 people had been added to the programme in the past year.

The health ministry also defended controversial Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who has drawn flak for championing beetroot and garlic to combat the disease and for failing to speed up the rollout of anti-retrovirals.

"The minister of health can announce that the number of people initiated on antiretroviral therapy through the Comprehensive Plan on HIV and AIDS has increased to 235,378 by the end of September 2006," spokesman Sibani Mngadi said in a statement.

Reality show screens for HIV

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Sony Big Boss show (courtesy Times Now TV) Sony's reality show Big Boss seems to have quite caught on the imagination of urban audiences. But when the channel asked its contestants to undergo for a health check including HIV test, the question automatically rises, have Indian audiences finally grown up?

Taking cue from the international hit reality show 'Big Brother', the Indian television screen is now playing host to its version called 'Big Boss'. The show has 13 Indian celebrities, who will spend 3 months in a locked house, moreover they can only leave the house if evicted by public vote. With 13 cameras monitoring their every move, this show feeds on the voyeuristic streak of the viewers.

Cipla's low-cost HIV drug to make big waves globally

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indian researcher (c) APCipla's drug Viraday for the treatment of HIV is set to make big waves globally. Viraday is the only low cost version of three highly priced HIV drugs, reports CNBC-TV18.

However, Cipla Chairman Dr Yusuf Hamied says while Viraday will help  HIV patients, going forward, such combinations may not be available due to the patent regime.

"This is the first line new generation HIV, which is just 1 tablet a day for adults. We brought this out because all the three components are pre-'95 drugs," said Yusuf Hamied, Chairman, Cipla.

Hundreds dying in northeast from AIDS

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AIDSGuwahati, Nov 12 (IANS) A large number of people in India's northeast living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are struggling for survival. Hundreds are dying with no access to treatment.

"People are dying regularly and suffering a lot, unable to access Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) because such medicines are very expensive," said Dipak Singh, president of the Manipur Network of Positive People (MNPP).

Two MNPP members died earlier this week allegedly due to lack of medication. "Hundreds have died with no access to treatment," Singh told IANS.

Although it is not a cure, ART is a combination of medicines that helps a person living with HIV to fight off infections and live a longer life.

Green Tea Could Block Advancement Of HIV Infection

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green teaHouston, TX (AHN) - A recent study compiled by scientists at Baylor College of Medicine and University of Sheffield, U.K. revealed that consuming just two cups of green tea could block the advancement of HIV infection.

The study found that a substance in green tea, a major polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has the ability to block the HIV virus from attacking the immune system.

"For the study the researchers used nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to see what EGCG does to prevent HIV infection from progressing," Dr. Christina Nance, a Baylor pediatrics instructor, said.

The study published in the online edition of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

source - AHN 

Politics of HIV/AIDS

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hiv prevalence in indiaINDIA - The ball for the forth-coming 9th Assembly election campaign is set rolling already. The surprisingly ever busy politicians, ironically the people alleged that they have done very little in spite of their staunch self-proclaimed stand that they have been busy, are at their busiest now. Every party, big or small worth all the imaginative promises, is out to woo the votes of "our HIV/AIDS infected and affected brothers and sisters who have been unfortunately marginalized by the society".

In Manipur, the ruling as well as opposition parties suddenly seem to wake up to the HIV/AIDS reality that is writ large in the state. One party after the other is holding political advocacy programme on HIV/AIDS aggressively to woo the people living with HIV/AIDS by including their issues in the election manifestoes. Dr Khomdon Lisam, a well-known medical practitioner in the field of HIV/AIDS said in one of the political advocacy programme that political parties should take up HIV/AIDS as the most important priority. He said that maximum numbers of youths in Manipur have lost their lives not to bullets but to drug and HIV/AIDS. Truly, as pointed out by the doctor, the person who was shot dead is flashed in media the very next day but we often lack knowledge of a neighbour who died due AIDS.

More Malawian HIV/AIDS patients receive free drug

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malawi woman (c) unicef cindy andrewMalawi has managed to increase the number of HIV/AIDS-infected people receiving free life-prolonging drug to 70,000 by the end of September this year, Malawi's National Aids Commission (NAC) revealed on Thursday.

"We are set to reach this year's target of putting 80,000 infected people on free anti-retroviral drug (ARVs) by the end of December," NAC Executive Director Bizwick Mwale told journalists in the capital Lilongwe.

Mwale said the free drug was being provided in 130 government and private health facilities throughout the country.

Malawi has managed to increase the number of people receiving free ARVs from about 4,000 two years ago to 70,000 at present. Last year the country managed to have about 36,000 people with free drug.

SurinamePARAMARIBO, Suriname: Promising additional funds if necessary, the Netherlands has donated 303,300 euros towards several HIV/AIDS projects in Suriname.

At the signing ceremony Tuesday in Paramaribo, Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation, Agnes van Ardenne, stressed the importance of the fight against the deadly disease. “I am very pleased to sign these documents and the Netherlands is willing to donate more funds if necessary,” said the Dutch official.

Suriname's acting Minister of Health, Michel Felisi, stressed the importance of minimising the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS. The funds donated to the National AIDS Program (NAP) are to be utilised for activities to combat stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV and AIDS.

Africa: HIV/Aids Threatening Life Expectancy

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AIDS in AfricaFalling life expectancy is one of the most visible effects of HIV/AIDS in many nations and has reversed human development across a large part of Southern Africa, according to a new UN report.

In sub-Saharan Africa, life expectancy today is lower than it was three decades ago. "Several countries in Southern Africa have suffered catastrophic reversals: 20 years in Botswana, 16 in Swaziland and 13 in Lesotho and Zambia," the report said.

The annual Human Development Report 2006 noted that while most people in Southern African countries with relatively stable economies were not expected to reach the age of 50, the situation was even more worrying in Zimbabwe, where the economy was shrinking rapidly.

Zimbabwean women now have an average lifespan of 34 years, the lowest in the world, while men lived for an average 37 years.

Taiwan says HIV cases coming from China

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A girl points at an AIDS awareness campaign poster during a ceremony to mark World AIDS day in Shanghai (c) Reuters TAIPEI (Reuters) - A recent explosion of HIV-AIDS cases in Taiwan is coming from China and is being spread by drug users, prompting the island to step up its prevention efforts, medical experts said on Friday.

The HIV strain among Taiwan's intravenous drug users was the same as that circulating in western China, particularly in an area near the Golden Triangle, said Chen Yi-ming, a professor at the Institute of Public Health at Yangming University in Taipei.

HIV could be reaching Taiwan via drug traffickers and users who arrive on the island via southern China and Hong Kong, Chen said. He added the same virus strain had not turned up in other Asian countries.

HIV/AIDS Advocacy Group Calls for Emergency ADAP Funds

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south carolina state flagThe deaths of three HIV-positive people on the waiting list of South Carolina's AIDS Drug Assistance Program -- a federal- and state-funded program that provides HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals -- highlights the need for an emergency increase in federal funds for the program, the HIV/AIDS advocacy group Title II Community AIDS National Network said recently, CQ HealthBeat reports (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 11/7).

According to TII CANN, there are more than 200 South Carolina residents on the state's ADAP waiting list. About 1,800 HIV-positive people are enrolled in South Carolina's ADAP. Sixty-seven percent of the clients are black, and 85% have incomes lower than 200% of the federal poverty level, which is about $19,000 annually, according to TII CANN.

The state's waiting list is the longest in the country. Carmen Julious, director of Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services, said South Carolina's ADAP would need $3 million to move everyone from the waiting list by June 2007 and an additional $8 million by 2008 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/7). 

$1.7 million more sought to prevent HIV in Chicago

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Ald.Tom Tunney (44th) Dismayed that the 2007 city budget proposed by Mayor Richard Daley has no increase in HIV-prevention funding , Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) is seeking an amendment to mandate a $1.7 million boost to fight the disease.

The number of reported HIV/AIDS cases in Chicago has increased 20 percent since 2003--particularly among African-Americans and Latinos, according to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. But there has not been a city budget increase in HIV-prevention funding since then.

"Early prevention could have saved so many lives in my community: the white gay male, North Side community," said Tunney. "We need these dollars for the ravaging effects of what's happening in the Latino and African-American communities."

prostitutionMOSCOW (AFP) - Only about 10 percent of Russia's officially estimated 341,000 HIV-positive patients received treatment in 2005 with antiretroviral drugs to slow down the development of AIDS, a senior health official said.

"Last year only 3,500 people received treatment with these drugs," Vadim Pokrovsky, director of the federal centre for preventing and fighting AIDS, said according to Russian news agencies.

"In many regions there are no doctors qualified" to administer the treatment and the number of specialist medical centres is inadequate, he said.

The number of HIV-positive Russians has now risen to 357,918 according to official figures but Pokrovsky thinks the real figure is thee times higher.

Gorillas harbour AIDS-like virus

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gorillaPARIS (AFP) - Gorillas appear to be widely infected by a close relation to the AIDS virus, according to a study that appears in the British journal Nature.

French scientists made the startling discovery -- which has wide implications for the illegal market in bushmeat -- as they were looking for traces of the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) among chimpanzees.

Chimpanzees have already been closely implicated in the origin of AIDS. The apes are believed to have initially spread SIV to Man, where the agent mutated into a form that adapted to a human host -- the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Martin Peeters and Eric Delaporte of the Institute for Development Research (IRD) and the University of Montpellier, southern France, analysed more than 500 faecal samples deposited by chimps and gorillas in remote forests in Cameroon.

More young people contracting HIV

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south east asiaEAST ASIA - Every 15 seconds, a young person contracts HIV in East Asia. This shocking statistic illustrates the rapidly growing number of young people infected with the virus.

In Malaysia alone, 35 per cent of reported HIV infections occur among those below 29 years old.

A total of 70,559 HIV infections, including 10,663 AIDS cases, were reported last year.

Over 6,000 young people aged between 15 and 24 years are newly infected throughout the world each year and young people now make up 50 per cent of the world’s new HIV infections.

Patients recalled for HIV tests

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health care workerHundreds of patients treated by a health care worker diagnosed with HIV and hepatitis B are being recalled.

Letters have been sent to 1,185 people treated in the West Midlands and Southampton over the last six years.

A NHS spokeswoman said it was "highly unusual" to have a health worker contract both infections.

No patient who has had contact with the worker has been diagnosed with the infections but there is a "small risk" of transmission, the spokeswoman said.

Nearly all the patients contacted were treated in the West Midlands with 24 people in the Southampton area also being notified.

Unleash Web to fight HIV in Africa

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internet and healthIRVINE, Calif., Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The Internet is already a source of information about AIDS for children in Africa but could be more powerful if it were free, a U.S. study says.

About one-third of adolescents in the east-African nation of Uganda reported using the Internet as a source of health information in a study published in the journal PLoS Medicine.

That rate is similar to the rate in the United States, according to researchers at the California-based Internet Solutions for Kids Inc.

However, an additional third of Ugandan adolescents studied said they could use the Internet for health information if it were available without charge.

Targeted Irradiation: A New Weapon Against HIV?

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radio immuno therapyAntiretroviral therapy can keep HIV infection in check and delay and ameliorate the symptoms of HIV/AIDS. However, the drugs do not manage to eradicate the virus completely; individuals have to stay on the drugs permanently. Preclinical studies in mice by Ekatarina Dadachova and colleagues (Albert Einstein College of Medicine) published in the international open-access journal PLoS Medicine now suggest a new strategy to locate and kill many if not all HIV-infected cells in the body.

Radioimmunotherapy refers to an approach pioneered by cancer researchers in which patients are injected with antibodies against specific molecules characteristic of cancer cells (or in this case, HIV-infected cells) which carry a radioactive isotope. The approach takes advantage of the antibody's ability to rapidly hone in on its target cells and deliver the radioactive payload which then selectively kills the target cells and any HIV particles within it.

First HIV Gene Therapy Test Encouraging

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gene therapyThe first test of a potential new gene therapy for HIV _ the virus that causes AIDS _ was encouraging enough for researchers to launch a more extensive trial.

'The goal of this phase I trial was safety and feasibility, and the results established that,' said lead researcher Dr. Carl June. 'But the results also hint at something much more.'

In addition to showing that the treatment was possible and didn't endanger the patients, the amount of virus in the subjects remained steady or decreased during the study, which involved just five people with chronic HIV infection.

Global Fund approves $67m for HIV and TB in Rwanda

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global fundGlobal Fund International has approved $67m (Frw361.8bn) project proposals for Rwanda to control HIV/Aids and Tuberculosis (TB). According to sources, the approval follows the submission of three project proposals worth $76m (approxFrw410.4b) early this year.
 
Efforts to get a comment from Dr Innocent Nyaruhirira, the State Minister in charge of Aids and Other Infectious Diseases over the development were fruitless by press time.

ut a source in the Ministry of Health confirmed the approval of the two project proposals, saying they covered the next five years.Shakilla Umutoni, a member of the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) for Rwanda, said: “When we met as members of CCM-Rwanda, we had so many proposals under each programme (HIV/Aids, TB and Malaria). But as the Global Fund required, we had to fuse them all up or even drop others to come up with three of them.”

(c) medscapeAntiretroviral drug therapy (ART) of HIV continues to improve, with current regimens offering greater convenience, tolerability, and even the ability to retain activity when resistance has developed, compared with the first highly active ART (HAART) regimens available a decade ago. The study of antiretroviral (ARV) drug resistance is crystallizing into distinct categories:

  • The prevalence and clinical implications of transmitted or primary HIV resistance;
  • the genetic mechanisms of drug resistance during initial treatment failure;
  • the implications of cross-resistance for salvage therapy with drugs belonging to previously used drug classes; and
  • the optimal use of new drug classes for treatment of persons in whom previous regimens failed.

Although only a small proportion of presentations at the 46th ICAAC were devoted to HIV drug resistance, there were several abstracts that extended current knowledge in each of these categories.

Arab religious leaders in Egypt to combat HIV/AIDS

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AIDS ribbonCAIRO (AFP) - Over 300 religious leaders from 20 Arab countries have gathered in Cairo to discuss means of raising awareness in their communities of the spread of the HIV/AIDS.

"It is time to stop what happens in some Arab countries like expelling (HIV positive persons) from their community," Arab League Assistant Secretary General Nancy Bakir said at the opening of the three-day forum.

It is time to get rid of the fictitious ideas of AIDS and its spread," she said Monday.

Partcipants explained that taboo which long surrounded the sexually-transmitted disease in the region had hampered early efforts to tackle the epidemic.

Customers seek ways to avoid HIV

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tatoo salonTattoos, once the sole domain of inmates, soldiers and sailors, have become a popular and accepted body art form.

Celebrities who openly sport them are credited with spreading the trend, and more women than ever are getting tattoos.

But the fad has some experts and health professionals concerned that people must seek out only licensed tattoo artists and facilities to avoid infections and injuries that can be spread by unskilled operators who use dirty needles and work in unsanitary conditions.

"The problems arise from roadside tattoo artists that operate in bars or out of their homes or customers' homes," said William Wolff, public facilities program manager for the El Paso City-County Health and Environmental District.

Equal opportunities for HIV-positive women urged

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equal opportunities (c) Steve Cole New Delhi, (IANS) A leading economic think tank has urged policymakers to ensure equal access to treatment and livelihood opportunities for HIV-positive women to reduce their economic and social vulnerability.

'It is imperative to see that women who are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS get equal opportunities to access treatment,' stated the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in a report on 'Gender impact of HIV and AIDS in India', published in its latest monthly bulletin.

'One of the ways (to do so) is to provide more education to women. Creating livelihood opportunities for more women will reduce their dependency and expand their financial freedom,' stated NCAER, which conducted a household survey during October 2004 to May 2005 with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO).

UNICEF launches HIV prevention computer game

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UNICEFThe United Nations Children's Education Fund (UNICEF) has released an online game to help Kiswahili-speaking youths to know more about HIV prevention and the need for voluntary testing.

The move seeks to reach East African adolescents and young people in the battle against Aids. This is UNICEF's first interactive feature in Kiswahili that empowers the young to make good life choices.

The game, called 'ungefanyaje' or 'what would you do?' in Kiswahili, takes the player through a series of relationship-based scenarios that emphasize the importance of HIV prevention and testing.

Chronology of Libya HIV trial of Bulgarian medics

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Liby trialReuters - A Libyan court will deliver its verdict on six foreign medics accused of deliberately infecting Libyan children with HIV on Dec 19, the judge said on Saturday.

Following is a chronology of key events in the case.

Feb 1999 - Nineteen Bulgarian medical workers in Libya detained in connection with investigation into how children in a hospital in the eastern town of Benghazi became infected with the HIV virus that causes AIDS. Thirteen are later freed.

Feb 2000 - Trial of six Bulgarians - five female nurses and a male doctor - and a Palestinian doctor and nine Libyans opens at Tripoli People's Court. They are accused of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV-contaminated blood products as part of conspiracy by foreign intelligence to undermine Libya. Libyan defendants are charged with negligence.

CARE actThe delay in reauthorizing the Ryan White CARE Act -- which provides funding for HIV/AIDS programs in the U.S. -- is "playing havoc with AIDS funding for 10 states that have yet to convert to a new system" of reporting HIV/AIDS cases by name and could "seriously impair the care of thousands of AIDS patients in Maryland," a Baltimore Sun editorial says (Baltimore Sun, 11/2).

Legislation that reauthorized the CARE Act in 2000 gave states six years to begin reporting people who are HIV-positive by name, not numerical code, as Maryland currently does (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/1). If the reautorization of the CARE Act -- which contains an extension of the "grace period" for switching to name-based reporting -- is not approved, "about $10 million to $15 million in AIDS funding for the Baltimore area would be lost," according to the editorial.

"Maryland's senators should be looking for a way to press their colleagues to at least enact into law the reporting grace period," the editorial says, adding, "Barring that, the next governor should be prepared to cover some of the shortfall until a compromise" is reached (Baltimore Sun, 11/2).

source 

Global health fund fails to select new director

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the global fund (c) photoswissGENEVA (AFP) - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said it had failed to choose a new executive director among five candidates and would renew its search, postponing a decision until April 2007.

The administrative Board, meeting this week in Guatamala, "could not reach consensus," said Board President Carol Jacobs in a statement.

"The new executive director will need strong and broad support to accomplish our life-saving mission. The Board has therefore decided to continue the search process, with the goal of identifying and appointing a new Executive Director by its next Board meeting in April 2007," the statement said.

The term of the current executive director of the Fund, Richard Feachem, comes to an end in March 2007.

HIV researchHow well an individual's immune system controls HIV during the earliest phases of infection appears to depend on both the specific versions of key immune-system molecules called HLA Class I that have been inherited, as well as on the fragments of viral protein those molecules display to the T lymphocytes that usually destroy infected cells.

In a report in the November issue of PLOS Medicine, researchers from the Partners AIDS Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital (PARC/MGH) report that specific HLA Class I/HIV viral fragment combinations are associated with a more powerful antiviral response, findings that may help develop vaccines against HIV.

"We found that only a limited number of viral protein fragments from HIV-1 are targeted by the immune system in early infection and that the versions of HLA Class I previously associated with slower HIV-1 disease progression also contribute more to this initial antiviral immune response," says Marcus Altfeld, MD, PhD, of PARC/MGH, the paper's lead author. 

HIV test price cut to half

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HIV testINDIA, Chandigarh -- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has positive news for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs). In a path-breaking move that seeks to encourage early testing of HIV/AIDS in India and reduction in mortality, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has significantly reduced the cost involved in getting the CD-4 count test.

Until now, each test would cost Rs 500, but not any longer. NACO has notified that the cost of the test will henceforth be half of what it used to be. PLHWAs, who have not yet enrolled for the anti-retroviral therapy (ART), will now be required to pay only Rs 250 for the test.

Further, this test will now be free of cost for all HIV-infected children and HIV positive patients living below the poverty line (BPL). Till October 26 this year — when NACO made the notification — the test was being offered free of cost only to patients already on ART. This test requires to be repeated after every six months.

southeast asiaSoutheast Asia's HIV prevention program has become ineffective because of a lack of political commitment in addressing the epidemic across the region, Thierry Mertens, special adviser to the WHO Regional Office for Southeast Asia, said Tuesday at a regional meeting, the Bangkok Post reports.

Mertens said poor health care services and inadequate human resources also are hindering efforts to control the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases, including tuberculosis and hepatitis C, in the region. In addition, Mertens said that Southeast Asian countries are at high risk of an HIV/AIDS epidemic in part because of a lack of education about condom use and the high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections in the region.

"The Southeast Asia region is not an exception to the documented global low coverage in prevention services," Mertens said, adding, "Despite effective interventions such as condom use, the coverage of these prevention interventions across the region has been poor."A 2005 WHO report found that there are about 6.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the Southeast Asian region. This year's figures will be released on World Aids Day on Dec. 1, the Post reports (Bangkok Post, 11/1).

source 

Got HIV? Lifetime Cost: $618,900

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living with hivPeople with HIV can get 24 extra years of life from modern treatments -- at a total cost of $618,900 in 2004 dollars.

That finding comes from a Cornell/Johns Hopkins/Harvard/Boston University research team that analyzed the costs and benefits of modern HIV treatment.

When first introduced in 1996, a combination of then-new HIV drugs increased life expectancy by four years.

Now there are 24 HIV drugs on the market. The benefits are huge. So are the costs.

Brothers accused of selling fake HIV tests

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HIV testINDIA - Police say the company Monozyme India sold hundreds of thousands of HIV test kits under false pretenses between April and August 2006. The test kits were actually designed to test for pregnancy and other conditions, and they were sold after Monozyme signed a government contract to distribute them.

Doctors say the kits led to some infected people being cleared to give blood—and possibly infect others with HIV.

The company's owners deny charges of malpractice and forgery. Calcutta-based Govind Sarda and his brother Ghanshyam say the kits were mistakenly distributed after a consignment of what were believed to be HIV/AIDS testing kits were delivered to India from China. The pair were denied bail at their court appearance Monday.

HIV email a hoax

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emailAn email in circulation warning of HIV-infected needles in public places was a hoax, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS) said today.

 

The email, which said infected needles had been found in a cinema seat and at an ATM, was sent illegally using a staff member's name and email address, spokeswoman Dr Philippa Hetzel said.

"This email is not from the blood service," she said.

"We have no knowledge of the alleged incidents described in the email occurring anywhere in Australia."

 

New U.S. HIV cases to cost $12 bln a year

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HIV researchNEW YORK (Reuters) - Future treatment for the 40,000 people infected with HIV in the United States every year will cost $12.1 billion annually, a new study showed on Wednesday.

U.S. patients infected with HIV can expect medical bills for current care related to the disease of $618,900 during their lifetimes, according to the study, which will appear in the November issue of Medical Care.

Current medical bills for U.S. HIV patients from the beginning of care until death average $2,100 per month. The projected lifetime HIV-related medical costs were based on life expectancies of 24.2 years for patients in optimal HIV care.

care actBaltimore could lose more than half of its HIV/AIDS federal funding if the Ryan White CARE Act -- which provides funding for HIV/AIDS programs in the U.S. -- is not reauthorized by the end of 2006, local officials said Monday, the Baltimore Sun reports. According to the Sun, the CARE Act is the region's primary funding source for HIV/AIDS services (Bor, Baltimore Sun, 10/31).

Congress last month adjourned without the Senate passing a measure to reauthorize the CARE Act. Five senators, including some from New Jersey and New York, blocked Senate consideration of a House-approved bill (HR 6143) sponsored by Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) that would change CARE Act funding formulas so that rural areas experiencing increasing numbers of HIV/AIDS cases receive higher funding amounts, which would decrease funding allocated to urban areas.

Some legislators from states with large urban areas -- including California, New Jersey and New York -- have opposed measures that would change CARE Act funding formulas, saying they could harm HIV/AIDS programs in areas with higher HIV prevalence (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/17). 

HAARTContext: Highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) usage in India is escalating. With the government of India launching the free HAART rollout as part of the "3 by 5" initiative, many people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) have been able to gain access to HAART medications.

Currently, the national HAART centers are located in a few district hospitals (in the high- and medium-prevalence states) and have very stringent criteria for enrolling PLHA. Patients who do not fit these criteria or patients who are too ill to undergo the prolonged wait at the government hospitals avail themselves of nongovernment organization (NGO) services in order to take HAART medications.

In addition, the government program has not yet started providing second-line HAART (protease inhibitors). Hence, even with the free HAART rollout, NGOs with the expertise to provide HAART continue to look for funding opportunities and other innovative ways of making HAART available to PLHA. Currently, no study from Indian NGOs has compared the direct and indirect costs of solely managing opportunistic infections (OIs) vs HAART.

Thousands of London children to learn about HIV and Aids

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HIV virusThousands of schoolchildren across London are set to learn about HIV and Aids following the launch of a major new charity-funded education kit today.

Leading Aids charity, Crusaid, has developed the new media kit to complement the GCSE English curriculum and will distribute it to 1,500 schools across London following today's launch at the British Council.

Crusaid has funded the pilot project and distribution to London schools with a view to encouraging the Government to provide funding for national distribution.

The "Aware!" media kit will be sent out to the schools during 2007 following a successful pilot project in eight schools during the 2005/06 school year.

Bayelsa to pay HIV carriers N10,000 monthly, free drugs

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NigeriaNIGERIA - Governor Goodluck Jonathan of Bayelsa State has affirmed the administration’s determination to come up with a master plan for the development of Yenogoa, the state capital even as he has taken  education as the first priority of his government.

At an interactive session with Bayelsans living in Abuja, Monday, Governor Jonathan also disclosed the government’s policy of giving N10,000 monthly to carriers of the HIV/AIDS virus in addition to distribution of free anti-retroviral drugs. The session which was thronged by Bayelsans living in the federal capital also had in attendance, the President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof. Kimse Okoko, the state’s immediate past commissioner for Information, Mr. Oronto Douglas and top Federal Government officials from the state living in Abuja.

New Federal HIV Testing Protocols Unveiled

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blood testIn a sweeping revision of federal guidelines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended in September that doctors include HIV tests in routine medical care for all Americans between the ages of 13 and 64, regardless of patients' risk.

The aim is to identify the nearly 250,000 Americans believed to have HIV who don't know they are infected.

The guidelines recommend screening all patients ages 13 to 64 at least once, and annual screenings for high-risk patients.

The CDC previously recommended "routine testing" for high-risk groups: intravenous drug users, homosexual males, and people living or working in areas where more than 1 percent of the population is infected with HIV. It also recommends testing for all pregnant women.

Dirty needles bigger HIV threat than unsafe sex

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dirty syringeA study by Britain's Royal Society of Medicine found that pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa are more likely to get HIV/AIDS from a tetanus shot with a dirty needle than from unsafe sex, reopening a debate over the best way to combat the spread of the disease.

The study, published in the November issue of the society's International Journal of STD & AIDS, found that pregnant women who received the neonatal tetanus-toxoid shot as a preventative measure were almost twice as likely to subsequently test positive for HIV as those who did not receive the injection.

Injections and other such puncture treatments -- frequently conducted with reused or improperly sterilized needles -- are the main cause of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, not heterosexual sex with multiple partners, the studies authors reported.

New drug to be funded for HIV/Aids sufferers

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PharmacA new drug for HIV/Aids sufferers will reduce side-effects and simplify pill regimes, the New Zealand Aids Foundation says.

The once-a-day protease inhibitor atazanavir (Reyataz) will be funded by Pharmac from today.

Protease inhibitors are taken to stop the HIV virus from reproducing.

Pharmac medical director Peter Moodie said HIV patients usually took a combination of different drugs, which had to be changed as people grew resistant to them.

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