Welcome to The Body PRO Newsletter, a bi-weekly review of the latest breaking news and research in HIV medicine, aimed specifically at informing health care professionals.

September 20, 2011

In This Newsletter:


Sangamo's SB-728 HIV Gene Therapy Approach Still Looks Sexy, but Leaves More Questions Than Answers
Biopharmaceutical firm Sangamo BioSciences, Inc., makes waves with new data on a form of gene therapy that attempts to rewire an HIV-infected person's CD4+ cells so they no longer have a functional CCR5 receptor.

ICAAC HIV Poster Roundup #1: Clinically Relevant Findings
Here's a quick sampling of some of the more clinically relevant HIV-related posters (from a U.S. clinician's standpoint) presented at ICAAC 2011 on Sunday, Sept. 18.

Ibalizumab Study Casts a Ray of Hope for HIV-Positive People With Extensive Drug Resistance
Though still relatively early in its development, ibalizumab is a potential oasis in the desert for HIV treatment-experienced patients. At ICAAC 2011, new data maintain the vision of that oasis; whether it turns out to be the real thing or just a mirage will require further study.

More Headlines on HIV Care and Antiretroviral Therapy:

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John KerryEnd of Britain's Gay Blood Donor Ban Is a Tipping Point, U.S. Senator Says
Most of the United Kingdom soon will drop the policy enforcing a lifetime ban on blood donations by men who have sex with men, a move that "is likely the start of a trend globally that I'd rather we be leading than following," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said. "This is a very close ally who sees the same information we do, and they've determined that gay donors pose no risk to the blood supply."

dancerD.C. HIV/AIDS Org Charged With Using Federal Money for Exotic Dancing Club
Washington, D.C., Attorney General Irvin Nathan has accused Miracle Hands Inc. of spending nearly $330,000 in federal tax dollars on an exotic dance club, instead of using the money for what it was intended for -- a job training center for people living with HIV. Nathan is suing the organization for $988,959 in damages.

Life FoundationHIV/AIDS Organization Spotlight: Life Foundation of Hawaii
The cultural stigma attached to HIV/AIDS remains strong in Hawaii; that's part of what makes Life Foundation's efforts are as important as ever. The 28-year-old nonprofit is the focus of our latest HIV/AIDS Organization Spotlight; we talk with communications director Melanie Moore in this interview.

AIDS United Wants to "Make it Grow"
More than 1 million people are living with HIV in the U.S., and almost half of them do not have access to quality health care. To narrow this gap, AIDS United has launched Make it Grow, a campaign that aims to increase individual, corporate and private investments for AIDS United programs that can reduce HIV health care costs for patients.

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comicComic Books in Motion: The CDC's New HIV Awareness Campaign
In a new initiative to disseminate HIV education, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are turning to comic books. But they won't be creating traditional print comic books as many of us know them: The CDC is much more interested in using the blossoming medium of digital motion comics, which brings comic book pages to a video screen and combines them with voice-overs, sound effects and music.

San Fran Very Close to Becoming First City to Pass Out PrEP
San Francisco public health officials and the National Institutes of Health are very close to inking a deal that would make the city the first in the nation to pass out pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to gay and bisexual men. This joint program, aimed to debut in early 2012, would allow up to 300 high-risk men who have sex with men to enroll.

Is Poor Communication to Blame for Lackluster HIV Vaccine Participation?
It's not a secret that getting volunteers for HIV vaccine trials has not been easy. To better understand why, researchers from the University of Toronto interviewed nine focus groups made up of high-risk communities in Canada. They found that false perceptions and mistrust dominated people's thoughts.

AIDS Org Chief Asks: What's Your Game Plan?
"Congress and the Obama administration have agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts to federal spending," Paul Kawata, head of the National Minority AIDS Council, writes. "We need to come together as a community and talk about how we are individually and collectively going to protect existing funding for programs we feel are vital to fighting HIV/AIDS."

More Headlines on HIV/STD Transmission:

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A Day With HIV in America"If They Could Just See" -- A Day With HIV in America
So many people don't truly understand what it means to live with HIV. Don't you wish there was a way to show them? Jeff Berry, the national spokesman for "A Day With HIV in America," has the answer: "In a few days, on Wednesday, Sept. 21, you can share a moment in your daily life through a photograph that tells your story -- in one frame."

Richard Cordova IIIMeth vs. Meds: A Tale of Self-Preservation
"Even though, in the beginning, I had no idea how my HIV medications worked, deep down I knew they were the only things that were going to keep me alive," Richard Cordova III writes. "At the time, I had no stability in my life -- I was using crystal meth daily, my housing situation was tenuous at best, and I had no job. Not exactly a recipe for medication adherence!"

TV10 HIV-Positive LGBT Characters We Love
Over the past three decades, HIV/AIDS has been a part of our lives and our communities, as well as a fixture (though in no way enough of one) in pop culture. While the epidemic does not discriminate by sexual preference, society does. We pay homage to the HIV-positive LGBT characters in film and television who have inspired us, made us cry, made us laugh and made us think over the past 30 years.

ScotCharlesScotCharles: Openness
ScotCharles: Openness "It's said that 'When one door closes, another opens.' My viral load has never been as high as it is now. I do not know what will happen. I am open to whatever comes. I am like the bonsai in my garden; the virus has pruned me. I am open and exposed." In his latest blog post, longtime HIV survivor ScotCharles lays all his cards on the table.

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Also Worth Noting

HIV Management Today

In HIV Management Today, an informative online series from TheBodyPRO.com, we consult with some of the top clinical minds in HIV on some of the most important issues in HIV/AIDS clinical management.

•  Assessing and Acting on Cardiovascular Disease Risk in HIV-Infected Patients, featuring Marshall Glesby, M.D., Ph.D., and Jens Lundgren, M.D.

•  A Closer Look at Tesamorelin (Egrifta), a Treatment for HIV-Associated Lipohypertrophy, featuring Daniel Berger, M.D.

•  Clinical Management of the HIV-Infected Woman, featuring Kimberly Smith, M.D., M.P.H., and Valerie Stone, M.D., M.P.H.