Viral load blips are likely due to lab error and not cause for concern
Viral load blips are the result of statistical fluctuations in the test used to measure viral load levels, and not clinically significant, according to the results of a study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, published in the February 16th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Commentary: How important is the New York resistance case?
New York City's health department has announced that a gay man in his 40s has been newly infected with a strain of HIV resistant to drugs from the three main classes of antiretrovirals, and has experienced rapid disease progression.
"Condoms are an essential component of anti-AIDS strategy" says the South African Council of Churches
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) has issued a strong statement in support of the continued public distribution of condoms to control HIV transmission. In the press release, dated 4 February 2005, Rev. Dr. Molefe Tsele, the General Secretary of SACC, "expressed shock and dismay at continuing assertions that condoms "don't work" as a means of preventing the spread of HIV."
HIV treatment knowledge still patchy among people with HIV in Soweto
Patients with HIV from Soweto, South Africa have a relatively good understanding of HIV/AIDS according to a report in the February 1st issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.
HIV/AIDS deaths in South Africa are substantially underreported
HIV/AIDS related deaths in South Africa are commonly attributed to TB or other AIDS-related conditions without any reference to underlying HIV disease on the death certificate. As a result, cause-of-death statistics in South Africa cannot be taken at face value, according to a report in the January 28th issue of AIDS.
CD4-guided structured treatment interruptions safe in patients at high risk of resistance
Patients at high risk of developing drug resistance can undergo CD4-guided structured treatment interruptions without developing major HIV drug resistance mutations, according to a small Thai study published electronically in Clinical Infectious Diseases on 4th February.
Roche issues warning about use of boosted saquinavir with rifampicin
Boosted saquinavir should not be taken with the anti-tuberculosis drug rifampicin because of the risks of drug-induced hepatitis, according to a warning issued by saquinavir's manufacturer, Roche. The drug company is advising anybody taking this protease inhibitor and rifampicin to contact their doctor immediately.
Most children thriving after four years of HAART
After four years of HAART, the majority of a small cohort of Dutch children have continued to thrive, with most achieving and maintaining viral suppression and increased CD4 cell counts. However, unlike other paediatric studies, the researchers found that as the children aged, viral response worsened, possibly due to confounding effects of puberty-related adherence issues. The results of this study are published in the February 15th issue of the journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Cotrimoxazole prophylaxis reduces the risk of death in TB patients
Cotrimoxazole prophylaxis reduces the risk of death in TB patients in a setting with high HIV seroprevalence according to the results of a large South African study reported in the January 28th issue of AIDS. Offering cotrimoxazole to all adults with TB at the onset of anti-TB treatment could be an effective, simple, and safe way to reduce mortality, especially in settings where HIV coinfection is common.
Latvian study reports good responses to individualised, directly observed therapy in patients with multidrug resistant tuberculosis
A high proportion of patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) can be successfully treated with individualised drug regimens administered by directly observed therapy (DOTS) programmes according to a study reported in the January 22nd issue of The Lancet. The study, conducted in the Eastern European nation of Latvia, also demonstrated that it is possible for countries with somewhat limited resources to offer individualised therapy to manage MDRTB through their national TB programmes (NTPs).
Former UK cabinet minister: I'm HIV-positive
Chris Smith MP, who was Secretary of State for Culture between 1997 and 2001, yesterday revealed that he has been living with HIV for 17 years.
Boosted saquinavir monotherapy explored as treatment option for patients with advanced HIV in South Africa
Monotherapy with the protease inhibitor saquinavir boosted by ritonavir provides safe antiretroviral induction therapy for individuals with advanced HIV disease, according to a small South African pilot study reported in the January 28th edition of AIDS. The investigators noted that treatment with saquinavir/ritonavir achieved a significant increase in CD4 cell count, a significant fall in viral load, and an improvement in anaemia, neutropenia, and liver function and note that the safety and efficacy of this treatment strategy is being explored in randomised controlled studies.
HIV conspiracy theories associated with poorer condom attitude and use amongst African American men
A significant proportion of African Americans agree with conspiracy theories about HIV, according to a study published in the February 1st edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. The investigators also found that agreement with these conspiracy theories could be hampering HIV prevention efforts as, for African American men, stronger agreement with conspiracy theories was associated with more negative attitudes towards condoms and less consistent condom use.