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HATIP #69, 20th June, 2006

Published: 20 June 2006

News headlines

Rapid antibody tests can diagnose HIV infection in infants almost as well as DNA PCR, South African study shows
The use of two separate rapid antibody tests can accurately diagnose HIV infection in infants as early as four months after birth, and in a study of 67 infants with a median age of eleven months, this method diagnosed HIV infection with 95-97% accuracy, South African researchers reported last week at the 2006 Implementers Conference of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Durban, South Africa.

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Cost of ARVs makes up less than one third of treatment cost in South African study
The cost of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) amounts to only one third of the costs incurred in treating HIV-positive people with antiretroviral therapy in South Africa, researchers reported last week at the 2006 Implementers Meeting of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Durban, South Africa.

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High discordance rates among Ugandan ART clients require new prevention approaches
High rates of discordant HIV status between people receiving antiretroviral therapy in Uganda and their partners have been reported in two studies presented on Tuesday at the 2006 Implementers Conference of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Durban, South Africa.

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Fees for HIV treatment increase risk of death in developing countries
People with HIV who have to pay fees for treatment in resource-limited settings are significantly more likely to die during the first year of follow-up than people who receive free treatment, according to findings from an international cohort study presented on Monday at the 2006 implementers` meeting of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Durban, South Africa.

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Risky sexual behaviour remains low after 2 years of ART in Uganda
People receiving antiretroviral therapy in rural Uganda continue to have lower levels of risky sexual behaviour and a vastly reduced risk of HIV transmission after two years on treatment, US researchers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported on Tuesday at the 2006 Implementers meeting of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Durban, South Africa.

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High incidence of bacterial pneumonia seen in HIV-positive US women
A study conducted amongst urban women in the United States during the early years of potent antiretroviral therapy has found one of the highest incidence rates of bacterial pneumonia ever recorded in well-resourced countries. Nevertheless, the study, reported in the July 1st edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases found that both potent antiretroviral therapy and use of cotrimoxazole prophylaxis reduced the risk at all CD4 counts, although the use of both together reduced the risk even further.

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Liver damage linked to ddI exposure in small series of Spanish patients
Prolonged exposure to ddI (didanosine, Videx / VidexEC) can lead to liver damage, according to a Spanish case-control study published in the June edition of The Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. However, most cases of liver damage in people with HIV are caused by other factors, such as hepatitis, alcohol or other diseases.

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Cellulose sulfate microbicide safe and acceptable to HIV-positive women
An experimental topical gel designed to avoid the transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted infections is safe to use and acceptable to HIV-positive women and their HIV-positive male partners, according to a double-blind placebo controlled trial published in the May edition of AIDS. The gel, which includes cellulose sulfate will now be examined in further, larger studies.

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Genetic testing can predict who is at risk of abacavir hypersensitivity
No patient who tested negative for the gene HLA-B*5701, which is associated with a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to the drug abacavir (Ziagen) went on to develop the hypersensitivity reaction when they subsequently started treatment with the drug, according to an Australian study published in the July 1st edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Three patients who tested positive for the gene started treatment with abacavir and all three patients developed clinical symptoms of a hypersensitivity reaction, which was subsequently confirmed by patch testing. Two of the patients initiated therapy with abacavir before the results of their HLA-B*5701 test were available.

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Patients taking three-drug NRTI therapy should switch, even if they have durable virological suppression
Patients who take a triple nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) combination with abacavir (Ziagen) as their third drug are significantly more likely to experience a rebound in their viral load, even if they achieve durable suppression of HIV, than patients who take the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) efavirenz (Sustiva) as their third antiretroviral drug. Italian investigators writing in the July 1st edition of The Journal of Infectious Diseases recommend that patients who take abacavir as the third drug as part of a triple NRTI combination with 3TC and AZT, d4T and 3TC or d4T and ddI should change to a more potent antiretroviral regimen, irrespective of whether they have durable viral suppression.

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Uganda: criminal probe recommended in AIDS fund scam
A judicial probe into the mismanagement of grants to Uganda from the Geneva-based Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has recommended that former health ministers and other managers of the funds be investigated for possible criminal prosecution.

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Final declaration of commitment on HIV/AIDS adopted — disagreement over strengths and weaknesses persist
Late Friday evening the United Nations (UN) adopted a Political Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS that, after days of intense round-the-clock lobbying by HIV/AIDS advocacy groups, contained substantially stronger language than the earlier versions of the document. However, while the President of the General Assembly, Jan Eliasson, praised the declaration and credited civil society for its unprecedented part in the negotiations, one large coalition of activists put out a statement denouncing the document, saying that “UN Member States refused to commit to hard targets on funding, prevention, care and treatment.”

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Four more Ranbaxy drugs on WHO pre-qualification list
Ranbaxy Laboratories announced on 1st June that four more of its generic anti-HIV products have been included on the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) list of prequalified medicines.

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Serious heart condition still more common in HIV-positive people despite antiretrovirals
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a relatively rare - but very serious - complication of HIV infection is no less common now than it was before HAART, French researchers have discovered. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a condition where the blood pressure rises in the arteries carrying oxygen-deprived blood away from the heart to be replenished in the lungs.

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Three million years of life saved by AIDS care in the United States
Researchers have used a computer-based model to calculate that treatment of patients with AIDS led to at least 2.95 million years of life being saved between 1989 and 2003 in the United States. The results were published in the 1st July edition of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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Protests at UN over declaration's silence on vulnerable groups
About 100 members of civil society, including many people with HIV/AIDS from resource-constrained settings, were expelled from the UN and a special event, "An Evening of Remembrance and Hope" on Thursday night, after they stood up and began chanting for "treatment, targets, women, harm reduction, vulnerable groups" to be restored to the UN's latest draft of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.

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UN meeting: last minute lobbying on vulnerable groups, gender
Civil society advocates at the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS in New York say that overnight negotiation may have moved the political declaration towards text that is more supportive of universal access to prevention, treatment and care, and which acknowledges the existence of `vulnerable groups`.

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UN meeting: commitment to universal treatment access slipping away at 11th hour, say advocates
The United Nations High Level Meeting on AIDS is in danger of watering down commitments to universal access to treatment, prevention and care and emerging with a toothless political declaration, according to civil society organisations engaged in last-minute lobbying today in New York.

 

 

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.