General HIV/AIDS News: November 2006 Archives

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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).

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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.

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.

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.

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.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the General HIV/AIDS News category from November 2006.

General HIV/AIDS News: October 2006 is the previous archive.

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