Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
The (RED) contribution to the Fund outstrips pledges from
The Global Fund directs (RED) donations to specific AIDS program in
“(RED) has shown that it is possible to do good business while also doing good. It gives consumers a way to really impact upon the lives of people affected by AIDS in
According to the (RED) website, the purchase of one i-Pod Nano will finance antiretroviral treatment for an adult for one month. In common with most charity branded credit cards, 1% of total transactions on the (RED) American Express card is donated to the Gobal Fund each month.
Link to Product ( Red )
Friday, September 28, 2007
BBC News on line reports (September 27, 2007) in
Legalized "physician-assisted death" has not been used to kill people who may be "a burden to society",
The average age of people choosing assisted suicide was 70, with most suffering from cancer. There was no sign of any bias towards any other factor, including mental ill health or other chronic illness.
They said that there were no facts to support the "so-called slippery slope" arguments about new assisted dying laws.
The Pro-life Alliance still warned of the danger of a "slippery slope". "Physician-assisted death" can mean either a form of suicide in which a doctor provides drugs in the knowledge that they will be used to end life, or active euthanasia where the doctor also helps administer those drugs.
A spokeswoman for the Pro-life Alliance said that other studies hinted that vulnerable people were at risk from assisted dying. She said: "There was a 1995 study from the
"As well as this, data from
This poignant image by Anthony Russo appears in today's New York Times where it accompanies letter to the editor devoted to the Jena case.
Mr. Walters, the district attorney of LaSalle Parish in Louisiana, states that while he prosecuted six African-American students because they broke the law, he could not pursue a case against the students who hung nooses from a schoolyard tree because their actions “broke no law.”
Hanging a noose constitutes nothing less than a threat of murder that invokes a history of bloody, deadly terror that remains a living memory for many African-Americans.
part of a letter from Barbara Krauthamer, New York
Thursday, September 27, 2007
'Risk reduction' strategies don't always prevent HIV infection for gay men
Some of the methods of perceived risk reduction mentioned by the men were serosorting, insertive unprotected anal sex, and receptive unprotected anal sex with an HIV-positive partner who reported an undetectable viral load. The investigators believe that their study shows that risk reduction is not a substitute for consistent condom use.
The number of gay men reporting unprotected anal sex with casual partners has increased in many countries since the mid-1990s. The extent to which this represents a true increase in the risk of HIV infection is uncertain because men often employ personal strategies to minimize their risk of becoming infected with HIV despite having unprotected anal sex.
Three principal strategies have been reported:
- The first is serosorting.
This involves the selection of partners for unprotected anal sex who are known, or believed to be of the same HIV status.
Serosorting appeared to be widely practiced. Twenty-one (21%) men reported that they were certain that their partner was HIV-negative and18% said they suspected their partner was HIV-negative. Of the 21 men saying they were certain their partner was HIV-negative, ten said that this was a regular partner. The duration of the relationship was under twelve months in most of these cases.
- The second is strategic positioning.
This means adopting the less risky role in unprotected sex, for example the HIV-negative partner having insertive sex with a receptive HIV-positive man or man of unknown HIV status.
Ten men (10%) reported that their highest risk behavior was insertive unprotected anal sex. Of the 21 men who said that they were certain that their partner was HIV-negative, 20 (95%) reported unprotected receptive anal sex.
- The third involves negotiation about viral load
This means the HIV-negative partner agreeing to either insertive or receptive anal sex when their HIV-positive partner has an undetectable plasma viral load.
A total of 21 men said that the viral load of an HIV-positive partner was known to them, and nine of these men said that their partner’s viral load was undetectable. All nine men reported receptive unprotected anal sex.
On the basis of recent seroconverters’ retrospective accounts, serosorting was implicated in 21 HIV infections, strategic positioning in ten infections, and reliance on the undetectable viral load of an HIV-positive partner in nine infections. These 40 attributions of seroconversions to risk reduction strategies…represent 38% of all seroconversions in which unprotected anal intercourse was reported”, comment the investigators.
They believe that their findings have implications for the design of HIV prevention campaigns for gay men, “our data demonstrate that, not infrequently, risk reduction strategies seem to fail to prevent HIV infection on an individual level. This finding should be communicated to populations of gay men who might se these risk reduction strategies as an alternative to the more effective strategy of consistent condom use.”
How homosexual men believe they became infected with HIV: the role of risk-reduction behaviors.
Jin, Fengyi et al
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 46(2):245-247,
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Shock at archbishop condom claim
The head of the Catholic Church in Mozambique has told the BBC he believes some European-made condoms are infected with HIV deliberately.
Maputo Archbishop Francisco Chimoio claimed some anti-retroviral drugs were also infected "in order to finish quickly the African people".
The BBC's Jose Tembe in the capital, Maputo, says it is estimated that 16.2% of Mozambique's 19m inhabitants are HIV positive.
About 500 people are infected every day.
Archbishop Chimoio told the reporter that abstention, not condoms, was the best way to fight HIV/AIDS.
"Condoms are not sure because I know that there are two countries in Europe, they are making condoms with the virus on purpose," he alleged, refusing to name the countries.
"They want to finish with the African people. This is the program. They want to colonize until up to now. If we are not careful we will finish in one century's time."
Aids activists in the country have been shocked by the archbishop's comments.
"Condoms are one of the best ways of getting protection against catching Aids," said Gabe Judas, who runs Tchivirika (Hard Work) - an theatre group that promotes HIV/Aids awareness.
The BBC correspondent says the archbishop is well respected in the country and the Catholic Church and played a leading role in sponsoring the 1992 peace deal that ended a 16-year civil war.
Some 17.5% of Mozambicans are Catholic.
The UN says anti-retrovirals (ARVs), though not a cure,have proved very effective for treating people with Aids.
Link to Report [pdf]
The current issue of the journal AIDS includes a report of a study
Explaining disparities in HIV infection among black and white men who have sex with men: a meta-analysis of HIV risk behaviors.
Gregorio A. Millett et al
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Potent antiretroviral therapy reduces viral load an increases CD4 cell count in peripheral blood. But only 2 - 5% of lymphocyte cells are in peripheral blood, the rest being in lymphoid tissue. Gut-associated lymphoid tissue is the largest lymphoid organ and according to the researchers, “is extremely permissive of HIV-1 infection and supportive of HIV-1 replication, providing a persistent viral reservoir.”
Studies have previously shown that HIV replication persists in lymphoid tissue for at least two years, despite the complete suppression of viral load in the blood with antiretroviral therapy. Although the presence of HIV in intestinal mucosa has been demonstrated, there are few data illustrative of the effects of potent anti-HIV therapy on such tissue.
“Our results show that HIV RNA can be detected in patients with successful highly active antiretroviral therapy, confirming that residual HIV reservoirs remain in spite of successful treatment”, comment the investigators. They add, “the detection of HIV in the duodenum was not influenced by treatment.”
The investigators conclude, “in our study, the plasma viral load did not predict the presence of HIV-1 RNA in the duodenum. These data suggest that the intestinal mucosa can be a reservoir that is not influenced by levels of plasma viral load or antiretroviral therapy. Ongoing HIV replication in the intestine may be a source that repopulates the body with virus after therapy is withdrawn.”
The intestinal mucosa as a reservoir of HIV-1 infection after successful HAART.
Belmonte, Liliana et al
Monday, September 24, 2007
The sexual transmission of hepatitis C has been well-described amongst HIV-positive gay men in
The Australian Trial of Acute Hepatitis C (ATAHC) is a prospective study of the natural history and treatment outcome of acute hepatitis C. It is being conducted at 21 sites across
Further evidence of HCV sexual transmission among HIV-positive men who have sex with men: response to Danta et al.
Gail V Matthews et al
Research by the charity in July suggested there was still widespread ignorance about HIV, particularly among young people. The poll of 1,000 people found more than 20% of people aged 18 to 24 mistakenly thought there was a cure for HIV.
A video is available on the BBC page
Link to BBC News report
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Some 2,100 professors, staff members, students and alumni have already signed an online petition protesting his appointment which will involve advising a task force on ideology and terrorism.
It is intriguing to see the justaposing of Mr. Rumsfeld with Dr. Philip G. Zimbardo, emeritus professor of psychology,who still teaches on campus and who conducted the famous in 1971 that found that students playing the role of prison guards readily adopted sadistic behavior toward students in the role of prisoners. In a new book, he has criticized Mr. Rumsfeld, President Bush and Vice President Cheney for policies that he said contributed to the mistreatment and torture of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Glater's article notes another potential conflict could involve Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a former Stanford provost and Hoover fellow. Ms. Rice, who is on leave from a tenured faculty position, has said she would be interested in returning to Stanford after leaving the Bush administration. In a letter to Stanford’s undergraduate newspaper in May, a professor wrote that she should not be welcomed back.
“I’m not a particularly big fan of his, but I think I would go listen,” said Daniel Gratch, 17, a freshman from New York.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
HIV prevention could save millions in
The study is published online in Public Library of Science journal - PLoS ONE suggests a daily pill would not even have to prevent infection all the time to have an effect, if it was given to the right people with the proper counseling.
Potential Impact of Antiretroviral Chemoprophylaxis on HIV-1 Transmission in Resource-Limited Settings.
Ume L. Abbas et al
PLoS ONE 2(9): e875 (
The hope was that exposure to the genes would prompt an immune response in the body so that cells containing HIV virus would be recognized and destroyed.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thomas J. Moore et al
Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:1752-1759.
By some estimates,
She concludes with the warning of the need for real reform when the fast-tracking of licensing is being encouraged and investigations into pharmaceutical companies drag on. There is a need for ADR reporting to made independent and legally enforceable, and for professionals with prescribing rights to be educated to recognize the warning signs. Link to APRIL
Link to APRIL
Link to New Scientist article [registration required]
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Ms. Erbelding was intrigued: Although
The declaration is not legally binding, but it is a barometer of opinion and must be formally taken into account by officials drawing up legislation in the European Commission (EC).
Link to the Red List
The testicular cells do not need to be genetically "tweaked" to behave more like embryonic stem cells, unlike other "adult stem cells" found elsewhere in the body, say the scientists.
However, some doubt has been expressed on the willingness of men to undergo the procedure to extract the cells.reference
Generation of functional multipotent adult stem cells from GPR125+ germline progenitors
Marco Seandel et al
Nature 449, 346-350 (
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
tells of a 78-year-old woman found unconscious on the floor of her apartment by a neighbor who checked on her. The woman could not remember falling but told doctors that before going to bed she had abdominal pain and nausea and had produced a black stool, after which she had palpitations and felt lightheaded.
Her medical history included high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure and osteoarthritis. She also had a cold with a productive cough. For each condition, she had been prescribed a different drug, and she was taking a few over-the-counter remedies on her own. These were the medications:
¶Lopressor to control high blood pressure.
¶Digitalis to help the heart pump and control its rhythm.
¶Coumadin to prevent a stroke caused by blood clots.
¶Furosemide, a potent diuretic to lower blood pressure.
¶Lipitor to lower serum cholesterol.
¶Baby aspirin to reduce cardiac risk from blood clots.
¶Celebrex for arthritis pain.
¶Paxil for depression and anxiety.
¶Valium, as needed, to help her sleep.
¶Levofloxacin, an antibiotic for the cough.
¶Ibuprofen for body aches.
This is what doctors call polypharmacy, otherwise known as a “poisonous cocktail” of many drugs that can interact in dangerous ways and cause side effects that can be far worse than the diseases they are treating. Elderly people are especially vulnerable because they often have several medical problems for which they see different doctors, each prescribing drugs, often without knowing what else the patient is taking.
The case was reported in the June issue of Emergency Medicine by Dr Michael Stern, a specialist in geriatric emergency medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He noted that the elderly took about 40 percent of prescribed drugs, roughly twice what younger adults take, and that they suffered twice as many adverse drug reactions as younger people. Polypharmacy is responsible for up to 28 percent of hospital admissions and, if it were classified as such, it would be the fifth leading cause of death in the
Case Studies in Geriatric Emergencies: Polypharmacy
Emerg Med 39(6):10, 2007
“The data won't work for that because HIV evolves too fast. This means that even though the viruses from two people may look similar, other local viruses may even be more alike. Analyzing them can't show whether A infected B or vice versa, whether it went through a third person or whether both were infected by another person “
Deenan Pillay et al
British Medical Journal 2007;335:460-461 (8 September),
Monday, September 17, 2007
Meanwhile, here in
The new tool, called the EuroSIDA risk score, has been designed to be used in people already on anti-HIV treatment and calculates the risk of disease progression in the short-term, for example three, six or twelve months.
The researchers derived the risk score by studying the EuroSIDA study population, a group of 14,262 HIV-infected people in 31 European countries plus
The data showed there were 658 events which defined clinical progression in the 22,231 person-years of follow up, giving a incidence rate of 3.0/100 person-years.
Current viral load and CD4 count, CD4 cell slope, haemoglobin level and BMI were all independent predictors of new AIDS events or death.
Other risk factors included age, becoming infected through intravenous drug use, having taken any antiretrovirals before starting HAART and having a diagnosis of AIDS before starting HAART.
These factors were combined to come up with the risk score (of between 0 and 5) with patients being put into four categories:
- lower than 1.5,
- 1.5 to 2.99,
- 3.0 to 4.49
- 4.5 or above.
Those groupings then give a risk of developing an AIDS illness or death in three, six or 12 months.
For example, having a Euro-SIDA score of less than 1.5 means the chances of developing an AIDS event or illness is 1 in 801 at three months or 1 in 201 at 12 months.
Having a higher score, for examples 3.0 to 4.49 puts those risks at 1 in 63 and 1 in 16 respectively.
The developers plan to make the risk score publicly available soon at
Short-term clinical disease progression in HIV-1 positive patients taking combination antiretroviral therapy: the EuroSIDA risk-score.
Mocroft, Amanda et al
AIDS. 21(14):1867-1875, September 2007.