"Are you an HIV-positive man who has sex with women? You can have the sex life you want and the family you want," begins a flyer announcing a connections mixer at PRO Men (Positive Reproduction Options for Men), an innovative program of the Bay Area Perinatal AIDS Center (BAPAC) in San Francisco. While reproductive health services have increasingly been available for HIV-positive women, men living with the virus have had far fewer services and support. As one man states in a video produced by the program, "I thought my sex life was over [and that I would] never have a chance of having a family, but that's not the case."
Hepatitis C has been potentially curable for decades, but it's hardly been easy. "I feel like I'm slowly killing myself," said one of my patients, memorably, during week 24 of a planned bazillion-week course of interferon-ribavirin. (Actually it was only 48 weeks, but seemed like a bazillion weeks.)
I was speaking with a British colleague the other day, and she was remarking how jealous she was that we get a Thanksgiving holiday each year. Starting with a long whine (or moan, as they would say) about the pressures, commercialization, cost, and religious aspects of Christmas, she then went on about how perfect Thanksgiving seems from her outsider perspective.
Must say it's in some ways sad to see it go -- in my opinion the nifty work they did correlating genotype results with their database of phenotypes gave the clearest representation of what a genotype actually means. If you didn't want to order both genotype and phenotype simultaneously -- which was expensive and took weeks to come back from the lab -- vircoTYPE was was the most efficient way to get information on complex resistance patterns. Sure, one could quibble about methodology and validation of the test, but it was remarkable indeed to send a genotype and get back results estimating fold-change, upper and lower cut-offs, full and partial activity -- and virus clade, just for kicks.
In today's New England Journal of Medicine, the SINGLE study finally makes its appearance "in print." (The study results were first presented over a year ago.) The highlights:
Gastrointestinal (GI) health is proving to be a vital, though often ignored, component of HIV infection. Recent research presented at the 7th International AIDS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2013), which took place this past July in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, showed that microbial translocation and the damage done to gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) during primary HIV infection has a dramatic effect on the pathogenesis of HIV, including the disruption of microflora, resulting in ongoing and damaging inflammation. While more research on the effects of HIV on the GI system is sorely needed, the consequences of sequestration on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget, along with the growing competition to prioritize directions in therapeutic investigation, ranging from viral host restrictive factors to preventive vaccines, make putting anything else on the table an enormous challenge.
Here are the key details about the GARDEL study, presented just this week by Pedro Cahn at the European AIDS Clinical Society meeting, or EACS:
It was a common scene several years ago throughout Fort Lauderdale. Clinic parking lots were filled with cars bearing license plates from Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. When one vehicle pulled out it was immediately replaced by another, and another after that. These were not snow birds seeking sun and warm temperatures, but rather people trafficking opiates. They shopped at dozens of pain management clinics dotting Broward County, buying hundreds of OxyContin (oxycodone) to take home and sell. At one point, Broward County had more so-called "pill mills" than McDonald's, and a few local physicians prescribed more of the narcotic than the rest of the country combined.
In case you didn't know, "MODERN" is the clever name for the "Maraviroc Once-daily with Darunavir Enhanced by Ritonavir in a New regimen" trial, which compared TDF/FTC to maraviroc, both with boosted darunavir.
You know how to make an ID/HIV specialist angry? Frustrated? Sigh loudly?
Tell a clinical anecdote that involves "late" presentation of HIV diagnosis, in particular someone who has been seeking medical care for various ailments for months or even years without getting tested.