General HIV/AIDS News: October 2006 Archives

Vaccines, microbicides and HIV prevention


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.


PNG police rapes undermine AIDS fight-report


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

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.

South Africa begins to see the light on HIV/AIDS


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?


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]

S.Africa drafting revised AIDS battle plan


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


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

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.

KZ: Guilty of HIV cases among children must be punished


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.

Journal criticises Libya HIV case

(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.

HIV girl in fine health


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.

First hospital makes HIV test routine


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.

HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa increases orphan rate


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.

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.

Military targets HIV test centre


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.

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.

Botswana Has 17.1% HIV Prevalence


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


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


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.

Malaysian women sues over false HIV diagnosis


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


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


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


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 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/ reports (Mwai, East African Standard/, 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


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


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.

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.

HMS Starts HIV Database


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.

Criticism over Taiwan court ruling for removal of HIV refuge


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


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.

Namibia: Suicide And HIV - Communities Need to Be Involved


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.

Nearly 10,000 HIV positive cases in state


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.

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.

First liver transplant for HIV patient


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.

New test may diagnose HIV virus sooner


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.

Yoghurt could help fend off HIV


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 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."

Researchers begin testing drugs to fight HIV dementia


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.

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