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Posts Tagged ‘hiv/aids

[LINK] “Most HIV Infections Come From Undiagnosed or Untreated People: Study”

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U.S. News and World Report is one news source of many sharing news of a recent study suggesting that the overwhelming majority of HIV transissions in the United States–nearly 92%–are a consequence of untreated people passing the virus on.

If an American becomes infected with HIV, chances are he or she contracted the virus from someone who didn’t know they were infected or wasn’t getting proper treatment.

That’s the message of a new U.S. study, which found that undiagnosed and untreated people with HIV may be responsible for more than nine out of 10 new infections.

The findings “highlight the community-wide prevention benefits of expanding HIV diagnosis and treatment in the United States,” a team led by Dr. Jacek Skarbinski, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in the report.

Looking at 2009 data, Skarbinski’s team said that about 45,000 new cases of HIV were transmitted that year, adding to the total of more than 1.1 million Americans who were already living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Using national databases, the investigators estimated that more than 18 percent of that total remained undiagnosed, while another 45 percent were aware of their status but were not getting medical care.

Only about one-quarter of HIV-infected Americans had managed to get their viral status under control by using the current standard of care known as antiretroviral therapy, the researchers found. These drugs can lower an HIV patient’s viral load to undetectable levels.

Science Daily goes into greater detail and links to the study.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 25, 2015 at 11:31 pm

Posted in Science

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[LINK] “Scientists announce anti-HIV agent so powerful it can work in a vaccine”

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Science Daily shares the good news.

When HIV infects a cell, it targets the CD4 lymphocyte, an integral part of the body’s immune system. HIV fuses with the cell and inserts its own genetic material — in this case, single-stranded RNA — and transforms the host cell into a HIV manufacturing site.

The new study builds on previous discoveries by the Farzan laboratory, which show that a co-receptor called CCR5 contains unusual modifications in its critical HIV-binding region, and that proteins based on this region can be used to prevent infection.

With this knowledge, Farzan and his team developed the new drug candidate so that it binds to two sites on the surface of the virus simultaneously, preventing entry of HIV into the host cell.

“When antibodies try to mimic the receptor, they touch a lot of other parts of the viral envelope that HIV can change with ease,” said TSRI Research Associate Matthew Gardner, the first author of the study with Lisa M. Kattenhorn of Harvard Medical School. “We’ve developed a direct mimic of the receptors without providing many avenues that the virus can use to escape, so we catch every virus thus far.”

The team also leveraged preexisting technology in designing a delivery vehicle — an engineered adeno-associated virus, a small, relatively innocuous virus that causes no disease. Once injected into muscle tissue, like HIV itself, the vehicle turns those cells into “factories” that could produce enough of the new protective protein to last for years, perhaps decades, Farzan said.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 19, 2015 at 10:42 pm

Posted in Science

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[LINK] “Inequality Fuels HIV Epidemic in the Caribbean”

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The Inter Press Service’s Desmond Brown describes the current state of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean is one of the most heavily affected regions in the world, with adult HIV prevalence about one percent higher than in any other region outside sub-Saharan Africa.

The HIV pandemic in the Caribbean is fuelled by a range of social and economic inequalities and is sustained by high levels of stigma, discrimination against the most at-risk and marginalised populations and persistent gender inequality, violence and homophobia.

HIV in the Caribbean is mostly concentrated in and around networks of men who have sex with men. Social stigma, however, has kept the epidemic among men who have sex with men hidden and unacknowledged. There is also a notable burden of infection among injecting drug users, sex workers and the clients of sex workers.

The main mode of transmission in the Caribbean is unprotected heterosexual intercourse – paid or otherwise. Sex between men is also thought to be a significant factor in several countries, although due to social stigma, this is mainly denied.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 11, 2015 at 10:55 pm

[LINK] “Nancy Reagan Turned Down Rock Hudson’s Plea For Help Nine Weeks Before He Died”

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Joe. My. God. and Towleroad each linked to an article by Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner noting that, despite a long-standing friendship with the Reagans, when Rock Hudson asked in 1985 for help from President Ronald Reagan to get into a French military hospital that was his only hope for HIV/AIDS treatment, he was turned down.

“I spoke with Mrs. Reagan about the attached telegram. She did not feel this was something the White House should get into and agreed to my suggestion that we refer the writer to the U.S. Embassy, Paris,” he wrote at the time.

“That refers to special treatment for a friend or celebrity. And that’s all it refers to. It had nothing to do with AIDS or AIDS policy or — that’s a whole different issue. We weren’t talking about that,” Weinberg told BuzzFeed News. “I know, I know that conversation,” he added, referencing long-standing criticism of the Reagan administration’s response to AIDS.

In his memo to Martin, while Weinberg noted that the White House would not be intervening in Hudson’s attempts to see Dormant, he added that the president had personally called Hudson. Also, the press should be informed of the call: “Mrs. Reagan asked, however, that we inform the press of the President’s telephone call to Rock Hudson today, which I did.”

[. . .]

Told of the communications and Weinberg’s explanation, Peter Staley — an early member of ACT UP and founder of the Treatment Action Group who was prominently featured in the Oscar-nominated AIDS documentary How to Survive a Plague — was incredulous.

“Seems strange that the Reagans used that excuse, since they often did favors for their Hollywood friends during their White House years,” Staley told BuzzFeed News, pointing out a time when President Reagan personally intervened to assist a fundraising effort led by Bob Hope, as detailed in a biography of the entertainer. “I’m sure if it had been Bob Hope in that hospital with some rare, incurable cancer, Air Force One would have been dispatched to help save him. There’s no getting around the fact that they left Rock Hudson out to dry. As soon as he had that frightening homosexual disease, he became as unwanted and ignored as the rest of us.”blockquote>

Written by Randy McDonald

February 4, 2015 at 11:12 pm

[LINK] “AIDS campaigners say pandemic has finally reached tipping point”

This Al Jazeera report about the spread of HIV/AIDS in the South of the United States is worrying, and distressing. Now, at the very moment where advances in education and treatment make the control of the epidemic possible, this takes off here?

In the United States, further efforts are needed for people with HIV to keep the virus in check, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the U.S. 70 percent of those living with HIV — or 840,000 out of 1.2 million people — are not consistently taking anti-HIV drugs that keep the virus suppressed at low levels. The trend is especially significant for young adults, where only 13 percent was taking the medication they needed to suppress the virus.

The consistent intake of anti-HIV drugs can lead to near-normal life expectancies of people living with the virus and reduce the risk of transmission with 96 percent, health experts say.

Health experts say U.S. efforts to control the disease have fallen particularly short among the country’s gay and bisexual men of color. In southern states, 68 more black residents are diagnosed with the virus than whites per samples of 100,000 people, according to a Duke University report.

[. . .]

In southern states such as Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, where access to affordable health care is more limited and the supply of medical care providers is insufficient, HIV infections are burgeoning, according to TAG’s [Tim] Horn. Nearly half of all new HIV infections are registered in southern states, while the region only accounts for 37 percent of the U.S. population, according to the report.

“We are not a country that is very well acclimated to taking care of our young or poor community members. They simply don’t have access to key services they need,” he said.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 9, 2014 at 11:28 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Centauri Dreams considers how the especially intense luminosity of young red dwarf stars compared to their more massive counterparts can complicate issues of long-term habitability. (Some worlds which were in the circumstellar habitable zone of the young star might not be, while other worlds which were closer might have been baked.)
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that in binary star systems, the other stars have to be taken into account in calculating habitability.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes China’s long-term plan for space, including a manned space station.
  • Language Log notes a new Cantonese word for shopping, borrowed from the Mandarin.
  • Languages of the World notes how genes and sociolinguistics help explain why Madagascar is dominated by speakers of Austronesian languages.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money features a guest post from Lisa Miller talking about how police racism demonstrates political failure in the United States.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw talks about his own interest in sculpture.
  • Towleroad notes how the Chinese gay social app Blued is working with the government to spread HIV/AIDS awareness.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy talks about the idea of Sweden having a feminist foreign policy.
  • Why I Love Toronto talks about an upcoming holiday event at the Gladstone Hotel (this Saturday) combining beer-tasting and sweater-knitting.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the Ukrainian launch of a satellite television station directed at Crimea and Russia proper, and notes continuing threats to non-Russian languages in Russia.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • blogTO lists ten quirky facts about the Annex.
  • Centauri Dreams notes that exoplanet 55 Cancri e has been detected from the ground.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that the proportion of metals in an emergent solar system can have significant consequences for gas giant formation.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports Nigerian interest in buying the new Sino-Pakistani JF-17 fighter.
  • Far Outliers looks at how Yunnan became Chinese and Muslim all at once.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that tests of sexual orientation can’t be applied to GLBT refugee claimants and celebrates the continuing decline of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York City.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the interestingly and differently gendered impact of technological unemployment for men and women.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer does not think the new Kurdish oil deal will be viable.
  • Savage Minds looks at African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston, and how her works reflect a knowledge of the people.
  • Spacing reviews the intriguing-sounding book Derrida for Architects.
  • Torontoist notes John Tory’s swearing-in as mayor.
  • Understanding Society looks at the sociology of urban black America.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World notes the reasons for rivalry and non-alliance between Russia’s Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan.
  • Peter Watts is disappointed with the movie Interstellar.
  • Window on Eurasia observes Kazakhstani concern with Russian television, looks at a Siberian town that has received Ukrainian war casualties, and suggests NATO has deterred Russia in the Baltic States.
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