February 2007 Archives

Breastfeeding safer for some HIV-infected mothers


breastfed childBreast-feeding, which helps build a baby's immune system, may be the best option for HIV-infected mothers in developing countries, despite the risk of transmitting the virus that causes AIDS to their babies, according to new studies presented on Monday.

HIV-positive mothers generally are counseled to feed their babies formula to limit the risk of transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus, but that has caused problems in nations where clean water and other needs may not be met.

Dr. Hoosen Coovadia a pediatrician at South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal, told the 14th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections that instructing HIV-infected mothers in developing nations to breast-feed would result in about 300,000 children becoming infected with HIV, but would save 1.5 million from dying of other diseases.

HIV/AIDSThe government of The Gambia gave the most senior United Nations official in the country 48 hours to leave the country starting Friday, following remarks she made criticising Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s widely-publicised cure for HIV/AIDS.

Dadzai Gwardzimba, UN Resident Coordinator in the capital Banjul, is due to travel to New York, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

President Jammeh announced he had a cure for AIDS in January. It is reportedly made from herbs and bananas. He said he can eliminate the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from people living with the virus and heal people with AIDS in a matter of days. Footage of the president applying his treatment has been widely broadcast on state-run television.

Russia: $2.9Bln to Go Toward Combating Disease


HIV in RussiaThe Cabinet has tentatively approved a $2.9 billion program aimed at raising the country's life expectancy by tackling AIDS, diabetes, tuberculosis and other diseases.

Health and Social Development Minister Mikhail Zurabov trumpeted the HIV portion of the program as "an essential step forward."

Under the program, the state would provide medical treatment for 30,000 people living with HIV. "A couple years ago, only 700 people with HIV or AIDS could get treatment," Zurabov told the Cabinet while presenting the five-year program Thursday.

Herpes treatment may help HIV patients: study


valtrex valacyclovirTreating genital herpes may slow the progression of the AIDS virus in those infected with both viruses, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The test involving 140 women in the West African country of Burkina Faso found that when herpes was being treated with 500 milligrams of the drug valacyclovir twice daily for three months, the women were less likely to shed, or spread, the AIDS virus.

In addition, the treatment reduced the levels of AIDS virus in the blood, the research group led by Dr. Nicolas Nagot of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found.

3 given organs from HIV-positive donor


Carreggi hospital medical director Mauro Marabini, left, and director of transplants organization Franco Filipponi, answer reporters questions during a press conference in Florence, Italy, Tuesday Feb. 20, 2007 after the liver and the kidneys of an HIV positive woman were transplanted to three patients, due to a mistake in the transcription of the blood exams. (AP Photo/Lorenzo Galassi)Three patients at hospitals in Tuscany were mistakenly given organs from an HIV-positive donor, raising serious concerns about transplant procedures in Italy.

A 41-year-old woman's kidneys and liver were taken after she died of a brain hemorrhage at Florence's Careggi hospital and were implanted due "to a tragic human error," the hospital said in a statement Monday. The director of the regional transplants agency said the patients' chances of infection are high.

The HIV test on the organs had come back positive, but "unfortunately the expert who did the report wrote down 'negative' for all the tests, including this one," said Careggi director Mauro Marabini.

Gambia's leader claims prayer, green paste can cure AIDS


AIDS BANJUL, Gambia -- From the pockets of his billowing white robe, Gambia's president pulls out a plastic container, closes his eyes in prayer and rubs a green herbal paste onto the ribcage of the patient -- a concoction he claims is a cure for AIDS.

He then orders the thin man to swallow a bitter yellow drink, followed by two bananas.

''Whatever you do, there are bound to be skeptics, but I can tell you my method is foolproof,'' President Yahya Jammeh told a reporter. ''Mine is not an argument, mine is a proof. It's a declaration. I can cure AIDS and I will.''

South Africa: Aids spending to top R5bn


HIV/AIDS AfricaSPENDING on dedicated HIV and Aids programmes by national and provincial government departments will exceed R5bn within the next two years, according to today’s budget.

The Treasury says in its budget review that an additional R1,65bn has been committed to provinces over the next three years for their Aids treatment programmes.

The programmes are currently being run at 272 sites, and the health department says over 210,000 patients there are on antiretorviral (ARV) treatment.

Mobile phones: the new tool to combat AIDS in Africa


nobile phones in africaMobile phones will be used to help fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa, it was announced at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona.

A public-private partnership between five member groups of the mobile phone industry and the US government has formed the Phones for Health initiative.

Phones for Health is a $10m scheme aimed at using mobile phone coverage to strengthen health systems in 10 African countries.

Firms working on the project include the GSM Association, the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Accenture, Motorola, MTN and Voxiva.

HIV and AIDS prevention for Russian Youth: Channeling Hope

hiv in russiaOver 9,000 youth will have access to counseling and guidance on HIV and AIDS prevention in Saint Petersburg through a project called 'Channeling Hope'. World Vision started the prevention activities earlier this month. More than 80 faith leaders and social workers will be involved in the project, trained by World Vision to support and better equip them to reach out to vulnerable youth.

The most vulnerable youths identified are aged between 14-24. This age group makes up almost one third of newly diagnosed HIV infec¬tions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, according to UNAIDS 2006 data.

India to study if doctors prescribe proper HIV-AIDS drugs


hiv testingIndia's HIV/AIDS agency said it has ordered a survey to see if doctors are providing the correct drugs to people infected with the virus, after a report said many doses are wrong or too strong.

The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) called for the survey in response to findings by the Geneva-based UNAIDS that Indian doctors wrongly prescribed "second-line" drugs, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

"We want to find out whether doctors are giving the right drugs and the right doses," Sujatha Rao, who heads NACO, told PTI on Sunday.

"We have found out that doctors are not equipped enough," she said.

Indonesia faces rapidly growing HIV/AIDS problem


AIDSA recent survey shows Indonesia has the fastest growth rate of HIV infection among Asian countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Saturday. Half of the country's cases are found in the easternmost province of Papua.

The survey found that 2 percent of the Papua population had HIV, 20 times higher than the national average.

WHO said Indonesia recorded 316 new cases of AIDS in 2003. The number increased to 1,195 in 2004 and rocketed to 2,638 in 2005 and 2,873 new cases in 2006.

Merck, Pfizer HIV Drugs May Spark a Second Revolution in Care


HIV binding Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- To look at him, you wouldn't know Mark McClelland is dying.

McClelland, a ramrod-straight 6-foot-4 (1.9 meters), easily strides up the San Francisco hill to his house and tussles playfully with his golden retriever. While McClelland has a form of HIV that's overcome all seven drugs he now takes, he can smile because hope is on the horizon.

Pfizer Inc., Merck & Co. and others are in the final stages of developing drugs that offer unique ways to bar HIV from infecting human cells. For the 65,000 people in the U.S. whose virus, like McClelland's, is resistant to three or more drug types, the new therapies promise to spur the first revolution in care in a decade. The debut of combination therapy in 1996 doubled life expectancy for patients. This latest generation of treatments offers new options to hold off the opportunistic infections that occur when HIV leads to deadly AIDS.

AIDS Surveillance - General Epidemiology (through 2005)


Slide 1: Estimated Number of AIDS Cases and Deaths among Adults and Adolescents with AIDS, 1985–2005—United States and Dependent Areas                                          The upper curve represents estimated AIDS incidence (number of new cases); the lower one represents the estimated number of deaths of adults and adolescents with AIDS.   The peak in 1993 was associated with the expansion of the AIDS surveillance case definition implemented in January 1993. In recent years, AIDS incidence has leveled and deaths of persons with AIDS have declined.  The overall decline in new AIDS cases and deaths of persons with AIDS are due in part to the success of highly active antiretroviral therapies, introduced in 1996.  The data have been adjusted for reporting delays.
Slide 1
Estimated Number of AIDS Cases and Deaths among Adults and Adolescents with AIDS, 1985–2005—United States and Dependent Areas
PDF File PDF icon or PPT File

pfizerLOS ANGELES, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Effective immediately, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest AIDS healthcare, prevention and education provider in the United States which operates free AIDS treatment clinics in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia, including 13 healthcare centers in California and Florida, has banned pharmaceutical sales representatives from Pfizer Inc., the world's largest drug company, from calling on AHF's medical providers and staff at its healthcare centers. Two weeks ago, AHF filed a lawsuit against Pfizer, the manufacturer of the blockbuster erectile-dysfunction (ED) drug, Viagra (sildenafil citrate), over its irresponsible marketing tactics and advertising for the company's drug.

AHF's move today reinforces its concern over Pfizer's questionable marketing tactics for Viagra that the Foundation believes encourages the recreational use of the popular ED drug, as well as the Foundation's disappointment over the drug giant's lack of response over the past year to repeated concerns raised by AHF. In its letter today (via fax & first class mail) to Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein and AHF's Chief of Medicine, Charles Farthing, M.D., stated:

Thailand in talks on cheaper AIDS drugs


kaletraThailand said it has opened talks with US drugmaker Abbott Laboratories on lowering the price of an AIDS treatment, which could avoid the need for a generic version Bangkok approved last week.

Thailand has already issued a so-called "compulsory license" for the anti-AIDS drug Kaletra, which effectively breaks the drug's patent and clears the way for the kingdom to either produce or import cheaper generic versions.

Hoping to prevent Thailand from turning to generics, Abbott has agreed to work with the kingdom to find ways of reducing the cost of treatment, the health ministry said.

New HIV infections hit high in Japan


AIDS in japanThe numbers of new infections of HIV and AIDS patients in Japan hit record highs in 2006, the Health Ministry said Wednesday, underscoring concerns over spreading infections.

The number of new HIV infections last year was 914, up nearly 10 percent from 2005, according to preliminary data released by the ministry's AIDS Surveillance Committee.

The number of those who developed AIDS in 2006 was 390, up 6.3 percent from the year before.

AIDS remains top killer of African Americans


HIV AIDSFORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - AIDS is not the bad word it used to be in Broward County, Fla.'s black neighborhoods.

Once such a taboo subject that many black people would not acknowledge the health crisis in their communities, AIDS and the virus that can lead to it, HIV, now are important topics in an important black institution: the church.

Black preachers are breaking the silence, calling from the pulpit for abstinence and AIDS testing. Health workers say it has made people more receptive to awareness campaigns.

Those efforts have helped lead to a decline in the number of new infections, Broward health officials said.

geovaxATLANTA, February 05, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- GeoVax Labs, Inc. , an Atlanta-based biotechnology company, today reported successful early results from two ongoing AIDS prevention Phase I human vaccine trials. Results from the first low dose trial indicate a good safety profile as well as positive immune responses in human volunteers receiving 1/10th dose of GeoVax's AIDS vaccine.

Results from a second larger full dose trial also indicate a good safety profile in participants. The GeoVax vaccines being tested are designed to prevent the development of Acquired Immunodeficiency Disease ("AIDS") caused by the virus known as HIV-1 by vaccinating individuals prior to infection with the AIDS virus.

New compound shows promise in halting HIV spread

medical researchDeveloped by Temple University researchers, 2-5AN6B could someday work as an effective treatment for HIV especially in conjunction with current drug treatments. Their work is published in the January issue of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.

A nucleic acid, 2-5AN6B inhibited HIV replication in white blood cells from a group of 18 HIV infected patients by up to 80 percent, regardless of the patients’ treatment regimens.

"A cure for HIV infection remains an elusive goal despite the significant impact of current treatments because of the virus’ ability to adapt to and resist those treatments, and bypass the immune system’s natural defenses," said Robert J. Suhadolnik, Ph.D., prinicipal investigator and professor of biochemistry at Temple University School of Medicine. "This compound prompts the body to restore its natural antiviral defense systems against the invading virus."

Current drugs for HIV work by blocking one of the steps toward virus replication.

CDC Fact Sheet: HIV/AIDS among African Americans


CDCIn the United States, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is a health crisis for African Americans. At all stages of HIV/AIDS—from infection with HIV to death with AIDS—African Americans are disproportionately affected compared with members of other races and ethnicities [1, 2].


HIV/AIDS in 2005

  • According to the 2000 census, African Americans make up approximately 13% of the US population. However, in 2005, African Americans accounted for 18,510 (49%) of the estimated 38,096 new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the United States in the 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting [2].*
  • Of all African American men living with HIV/AIDS, the primary transmission category was sexual contact with other men, followed by injection drug use and high-risk heterosexual contact [2].
  • Of all African American women living with HIV/AIDS, the primary transmission category was high-risk heterosexual contact, followed by injection drug use [2].
  • Of the estimated 141 infants perinatally infected with HIV, 91 (65%) were African American (CDC, HIV/AIDS Reporting System, unpublished data, December 2006).
  • Of the estimated 18,849 people under the age of 25 whose diagnosis of HIV/AIDS was made during 2001–2004 in the 33 states with HIV reporting, 11,554 (61%) were African American [3].

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