Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Gonzo Explanation

smoking young . . .

Nicholas Bakalar writing in The New York TimesHealth section (July 31, 2007) reports

Nicotine Addiction Is Quick in Youths, Research Finds

A young cigarette smoker can begin to feel powerful desires for nicotine within two days of first inhaling, a new study has found, and about half of children who become addicted report symptoms of dependence by the time they are smoking only seven cigarettes a month.

“The importance of this study is that it contradicts what has been the accepted wisdom for many decades,” said Dr. Joseph R. DiFranza, the lead author, “which is that people had to smoke at least five cigarettes a day over a long period of time to risk becoming addicted to nicotine. Now, we know that children can be addicted very quickly.” Dr. DiFranza is a professor of family medicine at the University of Massachusetts.

The definition of tobacco addiction is controversial, but the scientists used widely accepted criteria to diagnose dependence and a well-validated questionnaire to determine the extent to which smokers had allowed the habit to dictate their behavior.

The researchers write that it may seem implausible that intermittent smoking could provide relief from withdrawal symptoms. But in fact a single dose of nicotine has effects on the brain that can last as long as a month, and the nicotine obtained from just one or two puffs on a cigarette will occupy half of the brain’s nicotinic receptors, the molecules specifically sought by nicotine in tobacco addiction.

“People used to think that long-term heavy use caused addiction,” Dr. DiFranza said. “Now, we know it’s the other way around: addiction is what causes long-term heavy use.”


Reference


Symptoms of Tobacco Dependence After Brief Intermittent Use
The Development and Assessment of Nicotine Dependence in Youth–2 Study
Joseph R. DiFranza et al
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 2007;161:704-710.

Link to APAM abstract


Link to NY Times article

Haven’t you got anything LARGER?

Zimbabwe is to start circulating a new 200,000 Zimbabwe dollar note.

The new note, issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe from Wednesday, can buy 1kg (2.2lb) of sugar.

The official annual rate of inflation in Zimbabwe is nearing 5,000% the highest in the world.

In practice, this means the price of a loaf of bread costs 50 times more in cash than it did a year ago.

The AIDS Clock

Talking of devasting increases, the AIDS CLOCK stands today at




Monday, July 30, 2007

Sean Hannity Sings 'Stand By Your Man'

Pot worse than tobacco?

BBC News on Line reports (July 30, 2007)

A single cannabis joint could damage the lungs as much as smoking up to five tobacco cigarettes one after another, scientists in New Zealand have said.

The research, to be published in the journal Thorax, found cannabis damaged the large airways in the lungs causing symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. It also damaged the ability of the lungs to get oxygen to, and remove waste products from tissues.

Researchers from the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, Wakefield Hospital and the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, found Cannabis smokers reported symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and excessive phlegm production. It also reduced the numbers of small, fine airways that transport oxygen and waste products to and from blood vessels in the lungs. And it damaged the function of the large airways of the lungs, obstructing air flow and forcing the lungs to work harder, so contributing to symptoms such as coughing, and the development of bronchitis.

The extent of this large airway damage was directly related to the number of joints smoked - the more joints smoked, the more damage was seen.

However, in this study, people who smoked only cannabis were not found to suffer from emphysema, a serious and crippling lung disease which was previously thought to be linked to the drug.

The authors said: "The most important finding was that one joint of cannabis was similar to 2.5 to five tobacco cigarettes in terms of causing airflow obstruction.

They said the impact of cannabis was likely to be due to the way in which cannabis joints are smoked - joints do not usually have filters, and they reach higher temperatures with users inhaling more deeply and holding their breath for longer than cigarette smokers.

Link to BBC News report


Newswise also covers the story

Link to Newswise report

And provides a link to view the paper in full:

Link to Pre-publication paper (pdf)

Brown visits Washington

Peter Brookes - The Times

Steve Bell - The Guardian

Martin Rowson - The Guardian

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ooh, Vicar

Washington State "Mental Health" Reform - Trust Us!
This is just a reminder to the Witch Finders of Washington State in their quest to "reform" private practice counseling that some of us still see the Francis Farmer story as a reminder of how draconian the state machine can be.




Yes we know that the new take is that she, herself, was never given an ice-pick lobotomy in a Washing State Hospital. It's interesting that is supposed to make us fell o.k. about all the others who were! And, whatever else, she paid an inordinate price for being "difficult"



Nivarna: Francis Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle


If it moves shoot it



Raves from Lulu's



We seem to have spent the week calming down the Brit. We all understand that venting is supposed to be good but . . . We think he may be a little sad (don’t say “depressed” --- we wouldn’t to be accused of making a diagnosis) but we are certain that he is more than a little pissed.

At first we all thought he was being just a teeny bit dramatic. Who could believe that Washington State had the intention to wipe out private practice counseling? And even more that they had implemented the first stage with legislation. Then somebody reminded us that they had done this kind of exercise before by “reforming” sex offender treatment credentials --- and we can all see what a great success that has been.

What seems to have ticked him off is this creation of the bogey man of the uncontrolled sexual exploiter. If -- and that is a gigantic if – this really were a problem confined only to counselors, it would have been solved by actually implementing the regulation that all counselors should have malpractice insurance. Having announced it was about to be happen the State mysteriously withdrew it.

He has always said that while he is a supporter of universal health care, the one nagging doubt was having a set of bureaucrats decide who needs what. You now the kind of thing --- just like that wonderful innovation in managed care --- HMOs rule. There are plenty of horror stories of insurance companies telling people who have started therapy that they are not eligible. And that is not to forget the norm where the therapy has to terminate after the time limit decided by the insurer. I suppose we should think of that when they tell us that eliminating private practice won’t be any loss and that clients will be redirected to agencies. Well isn’t that special!

It seems that the witch finders have already begun to practice the reforming zeal. He was telling us of the “advice” to remove safe sex information from a practice web site because it could be claimed it was “giving medical advice.” The most absurd notion is that counselors and therapists should stop using the term psychotherapy. It seems that the psychologist’s lobby objects. I won’t get into the implications of PhDs “pretending” to be doctors. But is it wise for them to proffer the claim that psycho- only applies to psychologists.

t.s. eliot reading

Saturday, July 28, 2007

*The House of Secrets*

how to . . .


The magazines current edition includes Wired’s second annual How To . . . “geeked out” by Martha Stewart .

One small item:

how to . . . Keep’em Honest

Are your co-workers skimping when it comes to the donations next to the coffee maker? Research shows that a picture of a face – or even just eyes – will inspire folk to fork over 30 percent more money. Something about being watched, even though the conscious mind knows that it’s just a picture, seems to enhance altruism


Link to Wired Magazine

You can also

Dive Into the Wired How To Wiki

The Wired How To Wiki, is a collaborative site dedicated to the burgeoning DIY culture. Here you'll find all kinds of projects, hacks, tricks and tips on how to live, work and play better. Anyone can contribute new items or edit an existing item.


Link to Wired’s How To Wiki

cyberbullying

Phil Mckenna writing in the New Scientist print edition (19 – 27 July, 2007) in

The cyber-bullies are always with you . . .

reproduces the article in New Scientist Technology on line under the title The rise of cyberbullying. It relates the story of Ryan Halligan was taunted for months. Classmates spread rumors via instant messaging that the 13-year-old boy was gay. A popular female classmate pretended to like him and chatted with him online only to copy their personal exchanges and share them with her friends. Unable to cope, Halligan, of Essex Junction, Vermont, killed himself.

Gail Jones, a 15-year-old from Tranmere near Liverpool in the UK took her life after receiving, at one point, 20 silent calls on her cellphone every 30 minutes. Her father, Glyn, suspects a final call in the middle of the night pushed her over the edge.

These are extreme but far from unique examples of the devastation wrought by cyber-bullying. Since Halligan died in 2003 and Jones in 2000, more and more children are logging onto the internet, so it's likely that online bullying, including sending threatening messages, displaying private messages and posting embarrassing video and photos online, is also increasing.

The article looks at some of the current research (with specific links) but notes as online communication evolves from instant messaging and chatrooms to social networking sites and YouTube, the venues where bullying occurs are becoming both more central to young people's lives, and more public. Research into the causes and effects of cyber-bullying is still in its infancy. But it is becoming clear that aspects of online communication encourage people to act aggressively, prompting them to do things they wouldn't dare to try in real life.

Online bullies attack adults too

Cyber-bullying affects adults too. Inhabitants of virtual worlds, from film stars to teachers have all been victims.

Second Life is designed for adults and to access most locations you are supposed to be at least 18 years old. Yet nearly 2000 abuse reports are filed each day, says Linden Labs of San Francisco, who created Second Life. "It's adults hassling other adults," says Thomas Chesney of the University of Nottingham, UK, who has encountered pushing, swearing and shooting there.

Chesney and colleagues recently set up an office in Second Life where they interviewed more than 100 inhabitants about bullying. Chesney says that because many people come to Second Life with a background in gaming, they bring preconceived notions of violence and aggression with them. "They're playing games like World of Warcraft - where the aim is to kill everybody - and they take that attitude into Second Life," he says. "It's a bit depressing that we haven't progressed beyond hassling one other, but not surprising given all we know about workplace bullying."

Teachers have also been victims. Tired of insults from students on websites such as RateMyTeachers.co.uk, the UK Association of Teachers and Lecturers said earlier this year that it is ready to go to court in support of teachers who have been libelled online. The union would target publishers of websites directly, not the children who post disparaging comments.

The on-line version also provides related articles & links to useful sites

Link to New Scientist article

Friday, July 27, 2007

Say bye bye to your shrink?


Who knew? Washington Professional Counselors Association is getting the word out that Registered Counselors with a private practice in Washington State this year almost lost the right to practice and their clients came very close to losing their right to work with them.

Legislative action was initiated at the request of the Governor Christine Gregoire after an inflammatory article in the Seattle Times --- License to Harm (April 24, 2006) that condemned all Registered Counselors as a danger to the community. The focus was on fewer than 1% who had been disciplined in the past 10 years (out of almost 18,000 RCs).

What seems strange and inequitable (let alone crassly inefficient and flawed) is that the task force which met at the Governor's request to "study the problem of registered counselors" did not include any Registered Counselors in private practice.

Astoundingly, the bill to eliminate Registered Counselors in private practice passed the Washington State House 94 to 3. Fortunately there was sensible bi-partisan reaction in the Senate. But the struggle continues. A new bill is to be introduced in the 2008 legislative session. At least now Registered Counselors may be heard. One can only wonder if they have a voice strong enough to counter the special interests who stand to gain from putting private practice out of business,

It seems to us that theGovernor's reaction to the tabloid analysis was too knee jerk. After all the large number of RCs working in the community are not unqualified ex-hippies reading tarot cards in a room at the back of their house. Nor are they the sex offenders seeking to use their position to groom victims --- at least, to be honest, they are no more so than any of other professional group within the community. Indeed, it doesn't seem that the Governor is aware how many RCs there are doing work in the community --- not least in State Agencies. This kind of witch hunt not only undermines those working in Corrections, Public Health, Child Protective Services, Case Management (to name but a few) but it will also bring the system to a halt.

Perhaps the major absurdity in all this is the HIV/AIDS issue. The only training requirement that the State has ever mandated for RCs was HIV/AIDS awareness. CDC and all WA State’s Prevention imperatives have acknowledged that provider prevention was so important. Instead, at this stage in the pandemic, what a choice --- to attempt to remove so many from the front line.





As always, the Governor invites questions, comments and opinions

Link to the Governor’s contact site


Washington Professional Counselors Association
Link to WPCA news


MRSA

Kevin Sack writing for the New York Times (July 27, 2003) in

Swabs in Hand, Hospital Cuts Deadly Infections

Looking at the example set by the Veterans Affairs hospital in Pittsburgh demonstrates how it is possible to reduce MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infection rates by 78 percent.

Such results are not unprecedented. Several European countries, including the Netherlands and Finland, have all but eliminated MRSA through similarly aggressive campaigns. But at many American hospitals, experts say, high infection rates have been accepted as a cost of doing business. Barely a quarter of American hospitals screen patients for bacterial colonies in any methodical way, a recent survey found.

He notes the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected this year that one of every 22 patients would get an infection while hospitalized — 1.7 million cases a year — and that 99,000 would die, often from what began as a routine procedure. The cost of treating the infections amounts to tens of billions of dollars, experts say.


Jeff Swensen for The New York Times - A special light reveals deadly bacteria.


Link to NY Times article

Steve Bell - The Guardian

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Countdown: Gonzo-Gate July 26, 2007

Bush Breaks Disapproval Records: Impeachment Imminent?

Contempt?

West Nile epidemic?

Denise Grady reports in The New York Times (July 26, 2007)

Rise in Cases of West Nile May Portend an Epidemic

The number of West Nile virus cases in the United States is nearly four times what it was a year ago, meaning that a large epidemic may be in store, government researchers are reporting.

“It’s certainly a warning sign that we need to be extremely vigilant,” Dr. Lyle Petersen, the director of the division of vector-borne infections at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said yesterday. “The worst is yet to come.”

Last year, 4,269 cases were reported in the United States, including 1,495 brain infections, and 177 people died. The risk of severe illnesses increases with age.

So far this year, 122 cases have been reported, with the most in California and the Dakotas. At this time last year, there had been only 33.

The reported cases are just the tip of the iceberg, researchers say. Many infections are never diagnosed because they were mild and the patient did not see a doctor, or was not tested for the virus.

This year, there have already been 42 brain infections and 3 deaths. This is early in the season, since 90 percent of the cases usually occur in August and early September. It is impossible to predict whether the trend will continue, Dr. Petersen said, adding that it may be related to “a lot of weird weather events,” including both the heat waves in the West and unusual storm patterns in the Midwest.

If people keep getting infected at the current rate, he said, “we could see the largest epidemic ever.”

Link to New York Times article

Link to CDC West Nile – fight the bite

Oscar hits the big time
















The wire services (AP), newspapers, television, even the BBC, are all carrying the story of a cat. Oscar has a habit of curling up next to patients at the home in
Providence, Rhode Island, in their final hours.

According to Dr. David Dosa, a geriatrician at Rhode Island Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University — both in Providene --and the author of a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the two-year-old cat has been observed to be correct in 25 cases so far.

Oscar was adopted as a kitten and is said to do his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses at the home, but is not generally friendly to patients.

We know of a local therapy office where one or two cats have gathered regularly and interact with clients who express emotion. But sh! that is in Washington State and we wouldn't want the Witch Finder General's Task Force to pursue an investigation into them for uncredentialed therapy.

reference

A Day in the Life of Oscar the Cat
David M. Dosa, M.D., M.P.H.

The New England Journal of Medicine: Volume 357:328-329 Number 4: July 26, 2007

Link to NEJM article

Steve Bell - The Guardian

A steaks carbon footprint?

Daniele Fanelli for NewScientist.com news service (18 July 2007) in

Meat is murder on the environment

points out a kilogram of beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving for 3 hours while leaving all the lights on back home.

This is among the conclusions of a study published in the Animal Science Journal by Akifumi Ogino of the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan, and colleagues, which has assessed the effects of beef production on global warming, water acidification and eutrophication, and energy consumption.

The team looked at calf production, focusing on animal management and the effects of producing and transporting feed. By combining this information with data from their earlier studies on the impact of beef fattening systems, the researchers were able to calculate the total environmental load of a portion of beef.

Their analysis showed that producing a kilogram of beef leads to the emission of greenhouse gases with a warming potential equivalent to 36.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide. It also releases fertilising compounds equivalent to 340 grams of sulphur dioxide and 59 grams of phosphate, and consumes 169 megajoules of energy.

In other words, a kilogram of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car every 250 kilometres, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.

The calculations, which are based on standard industrial methods of meat production in Japan, did not include the impact of managing farm infrastructure and transporting the meat, so the total environmental load is higher than the study suggests.

Most of the greenhouse gas emissions are in the form of methane released from the animals' digestive systems, while the acid and fertilising substances come primarily from their waste. Over two-thirds of the energy goes towards producing and transporting the animals' feed.

Possible interventions, the authors suggest, include better waste management and shortening the interval between calving by one month. This latter measure could reduce the total environmental load by nearly 6 per cent. A Swedish study in 2003 suggested that organic beef, raised on grass rather than concentrated feed, emits 40 per cent less greenhouse gases and consumes 85 per cent less energy.

"Methane emissions from beef cattle are declining, thanks to innovations in feeding practices," says Karen Batra of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in Centennial, Colorado. "Everybody is trying to come up with different ways to reduce carbon footprints," says Su Taylor of the Vegetarian Society in the UK: "But one of the easiest things you can do is to stop eating meat."

reference


Evaluating environmental impacts of the Japanese beef cow-calf system by the life cycle assessment method

Akifumi Ogino et al
Animal Science Journal 78 (4), 424–432.
doi:10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007.00457.x

Link to Animal Science Journal abstract

Link to New Scientist article

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Summary of Information provided by AG Gonzales to Senate Judiciary Committee

Lady Constance's Culture Corner


Adrian Searle is the chief art critic of The Guardian newspaper in Britain in

Call this a national treasure?

looking at the work of the popular artist Beryl Cook, begins with the stark critique

Her art depresses me. I thought I would be able to summon some sort of enthusiasm for its Englishness, its playfulness, its sauciness. But I can't. The best that can be said is that Cook celebrates ordinariness - large women with large appetites, broad-shouldered men, hen parties, booze-ups, dances, dinners, shopping, sunbathing, a bit of slap and tickle.

Searle who has been writing for the paper since 1996, previously was a painter who taught at various Colleges of Art. This was the beginning of his reactions to her work specifically focused on a new exhibition of more than 40 paintings by Cook which has opened at the Baltic, Gateshead in the UK.

Myself, I love her work and she was a particular icon for Little Malcolm, himself.

Maybe in an attempt to disarm, Searle ends his piece:

Say no to Cook and it shows you are an illiberal, snobbish bore, with no sense of fun. After all, everyone likes a bit of rubbishy art now and again. Worse, dissing Beryl risks incurring charges of caddish elitism, incipient ageism and a lack of humanity. Bring it on!

We will let one of Beryl Cooks own pieces have the last word!


Link to Searle’s article

Link to the Baltic Beryl Cook Exhibit

Crohn's disease

The New Scientist (21 – 27 July 2007 print edition) asks the question

Do multi bugs cause Crohn's ?

Crohn's disease might be caused by bacteria that have borrowed a few nasty genes from, of all things, plague.

Crohn’s is an incurable inflammation of the intestine that affects 1 in 1000 people in Europe and North America. Researchers suspected gut bacteria were to blame, but could not be sure which, as tests often produced contradictory results. Now Ken Simpson and colleagues at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, have discovered a possible reason for the confusion which is published in the International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal.

When they studied bacteria from the guts of people with inflamed small intestines, they found no evidence of MAP, a bacterium that some have blamed for Crohn's. MAP is related to the TB bacterium.

However, they did find higher than normal levels of the common gut bacteria E. coli in more inflamed areas. These E.coli uniquely carry disease-related genes from a host of other pathogens, including salmonella, cholera and bubonic plague, as well as from strains of E. coli that cause disease outside the gut.

reference

Culture independent analysis of ileal mucosa reveals a selective increase in invasive Escherichia coli of novel phylogeny relative to depletion of Clostridiales in Crohn's disease involving the ileum
Martin Baumgart et al

The ISME Journal advance online publication, 12 July 2007; doi:10.1038/ismej.2007.52

Link to ISME Journal abstract


Link to New Scientist article

That little blue pill

Shannon Pettypiece writing for Bloomberg News (July 23, 2007) in

Pfizer Sings `Viva Viagra' to Boost Sales of Its Drug

reports Pfizer will begin airing new Viagra TV ads today that feature a band of men in their 40s and 50s singing ``Viva Viagra'' to the tune of Elvis Presley's ``Viva Las Vegas.'' The first ad, an attempt to make men less embarrassed about the disorder, will run during the NBC Nightly News, the company said.

Pfizer is struggling to boost sales of Viagra, which have fallen 11 percent to $1.7 billion since 2003, when Eli Lilly's Cialis and Bayer's Levitra became available.

Sales of Viagra, which costs $10 a pill, rose 1 percent to $1.7 billion last year, while revenue from Eli Lilly's rival Cialis gained 30 percent to $971 million. Pfizer spent $95 million on Viagra advertising last year.

In a break from past Viagra advertising -- which had spokesmen such as former senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole and television sex expert Dr. Drew Pinsky -- this ad features middle-aged men playing guitars and driving motorcycles and vintage cars.

Advocacy groups and U.S. officials have criticized Pfizer in the past for its Viagra marketing tactics. The company had to pull a Viagra ad in 2004 that featured a man who grew devil horns when he walked past a lingerie store in a shopping mall. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the ads were misleading and didn't properly warn of the risks.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which runs 14 AIDS clinics in the U.S. and seven pharmacies, sued Pfizer in February claiming its Viagra marketing encourages recreational sex that can increase the risk of users getting the HIV virus. The lawsuit was dismissed, said Michael Weinstein, the president of the foundation.

``Pfizer has been an outlier in shamelessly promoting Viagra as a party drug,'' Weinstein said. ``All those Sin City references, everything associated with Vegas, that is what they want the association to be. It's not about a medical condition, it's about performance anxiety.''

Pfizer is also studying new formulations and a possible non-prescription version of the drug that could increase usage.

Link to Bloomberg News story

AIDS Healthcare Foundation Ad


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

HIV/HCV

Liz Highleyman, writing for Aidsmap (Tuesday, July 24, 2007) from 4th International AIDS Society Conference in Sydney in

Hepatitis C clusters reveal international transmission among HIV-positive gay men

reports clusters of acute hepatitis C in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe provide further evidence that sexual transmission is occurring internationally among HIV-positive gay men, Mark Danta from the UCL Institute of Hepatology in London and colleagues records.

Six years ago, sexual transmission of HCV among gay men was almost completely under the radar, with many physicians believing that it was a very rare occurrence. Beginning in the early 2000s, however, doctors in large cities in the UK and Europe (including the Netherlands, Germany and France) started seeing outbreaks of acute hepatitis C, mostly among HIV-positive men who have sex with men. There have now been nearly 400 such cases reported in London and Brighton alone, and similar outbreaks have since been observed in Australia and the United States.

The researchers concluded that their analysis reveals a large HCV transmission network among HIV-positive gay men in
Europe, and that travel between countries presumably plays an important role in transmission. Further, they noted, international mixing increased with larger cluster size, indicating rapid spread of regional outbreaks to neighboring countries.

They recommended that national public health agencies should implement targeted prevention strategies, including HCV screening for high-risk HIV-positive men who have sex with men, to reduce the spread of hepatitis C in this population. American researchers were also urged to collaborate
Reference

E
vidence of international transmission of HCV in pan-European study of HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM).
Danta M et al

Fourth International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Treatment and Pathogenesis, Sydney
abstract TUAB201, 2007.

Link to Conference Web Site

Link to Aidsmap report


500% Price Rise

At the 4th International AIDS
Society Conference in
Sydney
a new report by
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Untangling the Web of Price Reductions

shows dramatic price reductions for second-line antiretroviral treatment over the last year, largely stimulated by a compulsory license issued by Thailand. But the report also identifies a worrying trend: using the newer, less-toxic first-line combination, now recommended by the World Health Organization, raises the cost for patients by nearly 500 percent, from US$99 to up to US$487.

This follows on from yesterdays report in the New York Times of the recent worldwide recall of Roche's antiretroviral drug Viracept which has "disrupted treatment for tens of thousands of the world's poorest patients” and left many with no treatment at all.,

Link to MSF report


Link to Conference Web Site

AmfAR initiative


AmfAR - American Foundation for AIDS Research on Tuesday announced at the 4th International AIDS Society Conference in
Sydney the launch of a global initiative to curb the spread of HIV among men who have sex with men. They report the number of HIV cases is increasing among MSM in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and less than 5% have access to HIV-related health care.


Look at their video

Link to amfAR video

Monday, July 23, 2007

'losing the fight'

The BBC from the Sydney at the Fourth International Aids Society Conference (July 23, 2007) reports

World 'losing fight against Aids'

according to Dr Anthony Fauci the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who. told the conference that progress had been made but more people were being infected with HIV than were being treated.

"For every one person that you put in therapy, six new people get infected. So we're losing that game, the numbers game,"

Last year, 2.2 million people in the developing world had access to the anti-retroviral drugs that help treat the virus, compared with less than 300,000 people three years ago. But new infections are continuing to outpace the global effort to treat and educate patients.

"We've had one important breakthrough this year, with understanding the role of circumcision in prevention," Dr Fauci said. We need to do more of that and importantly, we need to make available to the people throughout the world the prevention methods that are proven technologies."

But in many parts of the developing world, effective prevention strategies like condoms and sterile syringes are available to less than 15% of the population.

The statistics remain daunting”

  • The number of people with HIV is expected to rise from around 40 million today to 60 million by 2015
  • Aids has already killed 25 million people
  • Only 28% of the world's HIV/Aids patients are on anti-retroviral drugs
  • Just one in 10 pregnant women with Aids get treatment to stop them transmitting the disease to their unborn children

Adult and Child HIV Rates In 2006


Living with
HIV

Newly
infected

Deaths
from Aids

Sub-Saharan
Africa

24.7m

2.8m

2.1m

South and South
-East Asia

7.8m

860,000

590,000

Eastern Europe
and
Central Asia

1.7m

270,000

84,000

Latin America

1.7m

140,000

65,000

North America

1.4m

43,000

18,000

East Asia

750,000

100,000

43,000

Western and
Central Europe

740,000

22,000

12,000

North Africa and
Middle East

460,000

68,000

36,000

Caribbean

250,000

27,000

19,000

Oceania

81,000

7,100

4,000

Total

39.5m

4.3m

2.9m

Source: UNAids, all figures estimates

Link to BBC report

Link to Conference Web Site