Posts tagged: HIV

Study Reveals HIV-Positive Women Uneasy in the Consulting Room

When people go to see a doctor it is usually to seek help and advice. To find that help, patients overcome some of their fears and pour out their hearts. They never give it a second thought knowing that what is said in the doctors’ office should stay there under the doctor-patient confidentiality. These are based on the fact that doctors should maintain a professional and highly ethical rapport with their patients, uphold their dignity and respect their privacy.

Yet sadly, when it comes to women living with HIV, things aren’t so peachy. Results from a study indicate that many of them do not discuss issues pertaining to their HIV status and important issues like HIV management before or after pregnancy1. Apparently, clinicians have a lack of experience, comfort or knowledge when it came to discussing gender based matters. In the cases that this wasn’t true it was found that the attending clinicians expected these matters to be dealt with by other physicians. Read more »

Campaign (RED) Fights HIV/AIDS

Founded in 2006 by U2 frontman Bono, the Red Campaign combats the effects of HIV AIDS in Africa by channeling the energy and attention of today’s eager consumers towards a priceless cause. The Red Campaign simply utilizes the financial expenditure of consumers in order to help people affected by HIV AIDS.  (RED) produces (PRODUCT) red items with influential partners including the likes of American Express, Apple, Bugaboo, Converse, Dell, Emporio Armani, Gap, Hallmark, Nike, Penfolds, Penguin, and Starbucks .  Generally, these items pass on up to 50 percent of their profits to the Global Fund in order to invest in HIV AIDS support programs [I].

By examining the Gap, the internal processes of Campaign RED can be broken down into three easy to understand steps [II]:
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Vitalwave™ – An Overview

Vitalwave™ is the application of photodisinfection to the birth canal. It is a therapy currently under development by OrGenX Biopharma Corporation and Ondine Biomedical Inc. for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. More than 90% of HIV infections in children are caused by mother-to-child transmission. This is the equivalent of 1,600 children becoming infected with HIV every day, or one child every minute1, affecting 1 out of every 4 babies born. Vitalwave™ is intended to bypass the stigma associated with AIDS, and designed to be safe, instantly effective and inexpensive to allow for universal deployment in resource-poor counties.

It is estimated that 13-38% of all pregnant women in South Africa are HIV positive1. Current estimates indicate that 90% of HIV-positive women in resource-poor settings do not have access to antiretroviral (ARV) medication on a regular basis and often reject treatment due to fear of the stigma-related threats of violence and abandonment. In the absence of ARV treatment, a pregnant woman has a 14-42% chance of passing HIV on to their child during labour and delivery2. A higher HIV vaginal viral load in the mother is associated with an increased risk of transmission to their unborn child. Vitalwave™ is currently being designed to safely and immediately reduce the HIV vaginal viral load to low levels.

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International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference – Day 4

As I wrote on Monday, the excitement at the 2011 ISA conference are the conversation and reports about HIV prevention and the potential for a cure.  The day started with a presentation from the director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse.  Injection drug use is the most commonly recognized drug use related vector for HIV transmission.  However, non-injecting drug use also increases the likelihood of HIV transmission. Data shows that the prevalence of HIV is as high in non-injecting drug users as it is in injecting drug users worldwide.  The reason is due to the physiological changes in the brain due to drug use and addiction.  Stimulation of the dopamine receptors in the brain (the reward center that promotes sexual arousal) together with inhibition in parts of the frontal lobe (the area of the brain we use to control our impulsive behaviors) are the result of drug use and abuse.  This combinatorial effect produces a propensity for injection and non-injection drug users to engage in high HIV risk sexual behavior.  In the context of a HIV prevention plan, this means we need to consider adequate attention and treatment for drug users in order to contain transmission and protect the general population.

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International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference – Day 3

During today’s plenary session we heard HIV experts from Australia, the Ivory Coast and Belgium.  Susan Kippax (Australia) talked about the social barriers to effective HIV prevention.  She argued that any prevention plan will require people to change their social practices.  Additionally, she presented the case that people’s behavior cannot be separated from their social, cultural and political structure and the biomedical pieces of prevention planning cannot be separated from the non-biomedical ones.  As such, Kippax voiced the requirement that social scientists be part of the discussion when creating HIV prevention plans and policy. Read more »

International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference – Day 2

The venue for the 2011 International AIDS Society Conference is Rome’s music auditorium.  There are four main music halls being used simultaneously to host main sessions.  Delegates sit in acoustically optimized rooms as though they were attending a symphony or ballet, but the music and dancing on the stages is being carried out by the international leaders in HIV/AIDS research and clinical practice.  After the Day 1 festivities, the conference is in full swing and the venue is abuzz with science.

The plenary sessions each day set the stage for the future conference sessions.  Monday’s plenary session featured three presentations; 1) looking at the current state of vaccine development, 2) managing treatment of HIV/AIDS in 2011 and 3) using combination therapies for prevention. Read more »

International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference – Day 1

The 6th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention officially began in Rome at 7:30 PM on Sunday July 17th, 2011 although there were a number of satellite meetings starting around noon.  I spent the afternoon in a special session organized by the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The Session was entitled Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV: Measuring the Effectiveness of National PMTCT Programs.  There is a great deal of emphasis in the HIV research and clinical community on women and children.  Two years ago at the IAS conference in Cape Town there was an emphasis on scaling up prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) programs and antenatal care facilities; two years later we want to evaluate their effectiveness.  The session started with presentations from both the WHO and the CDC with draft protocols outlining how to conduct an effective evaluation.  In addition to providing guidelines on how to determine infant exposure and/or infection, the discussions included the ethical challenges of testing orphans and infants brought to a clinic by a sibling or community member.  Who provides consent? And, to whom is the result reported.

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Global Business Coalition 2011: Reflections On The Past Decade

It has been just over a month since the Global Business Coalition (GBC) met in New York for their 10th anniversary conference and awards dinner! Several things about that conference continue to give me pause for reflection. The big news was the Coalition’s name and scope change. The GBC on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria has changed its name to GBCHealth with a new logo and the tagline ‘Mobilizing Business for a Healthy World’. As I reflect on this change it strikes me as a natural progression that may NOT have been so predictable. So often in the developed world we generously provide dollars and service through non-profit organizations to aid with crisis’ in developing countries. This model appeared to work well for disaster relief or other acute circumstances that arose; then the HIV/AIDS health crisis appeared on the scene. After decades of spending billions of dollars and millions of man hours annually, we have still not been able to contain the HIV/AIDS health crisis.

One outcome from the, so far unsuccessful fight against HIV/AIDS is a better understanding of what is really required to aid developing countries in the field of health care. The evolution of the GBC reflects this growing understanding. In 2001 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called for greater action from the business sector in response to HIV/AIDS. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke led the response taking the helm of the non-profit, GBC on HIV/AIDS. It soon became clear the scope of GBC on HIV/AIDS needed to expand to include tuberculosis and malaria because these two diseases were so prevalent in countries where HIV/AIDS was most prolific; often occurring as co-infections or as the root cause of mortality after AIDS had compromised the immune system. Outcome: GBC on HIV/AIDS became GBC on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

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National HIV Testing Day Is June 27th

On Monday, June 27th, the U.S. observes National HIV Testing Day, a day which encourages HIV testing and early detection of HIV/AIDS. This year’s event comes at an important time as we mark 30 years since the first reported diagnosis of what would later be known as AIDS.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate more than 1.1 million Americans are currently living with HIV, and of those, approximately one in five are unaware they have the virus.1  These 230,000 people are responsible for transmitting more than half of the 56,000 HIV infections that occur annually.2 This is why testing is so important.  In 2006, the CDC recommended that a one-time HIV test become routine for all persons between ages 13 and 64, and that those with high-risk behavior such as intravenous drug use and multiple sexual partners be tested annually. Sadly, these recommendations are not followed comprehensively, and too few people are being screened.

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Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV: Development of Infant Drug Resistance

In September of 2000, the General Assembly of the United Nations held the Millennium Summit to adopt an “Earth Charter” and a “Declaration” that would lead to global governance.  The summit focused on the role of the United Nations in the 21st century; in particular, the UN’s role in pulling over one billion people out of extreme poverty, halting the pandemic of HIV/AIDS and protecting the global environment.  With 150 heads of state in attendance, it was the largest gathering of world leaders in history as of 2000; the outcome of this summit was eight international development objectives known as the UN Millennium Goals.  Two of these goals expressed an intention by the year 2015 to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS1 and to reduce by 66% the infant mortality rate 2.

Using a class of pharmaceutical drugs known as anti-retrovirals (ARVs), great strides have been made toward achieving these UN Millennium Goals.  However, each year approximately 300,000 infants still contract HIV/AIDS 3.  Almost all of these HIV+ infants are infected through mother-to-child transmission, and in the absence of treatment,  half will die before the age of two.  Using ARV therapy, the total rate of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) can be reduced to between two and five percent (without treatment, rates are between 20-45%) 4.   Read more »

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