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.

March 21, 2011

In This Newsletter:

  HIV CARE TODAY: THEBODYPRO.COM'S NEW BLOG

TheBodyPRO.com is pleased to announce the launch of HIV Care Today, a multi-author blog featuring people on the frontlines of HIV treatment, prevention and patient/client care. This blog serves as a platform for these health care professionals to discuss the everyday challenges of their jobs, recent developments in their fields and issues relevant to the evolution of HIV/AIDS care.


Bethsheba JohnsonBethsheba Johnson: A Provider's Path From Practicing Gerontology to HIV Care, and Everything in Between
"How do we assist our clients in teasing apart what is normal aging versus what is not?" asks Bethsheba Johnson, G.N.P.-B.C., A.A.H.I.V.S. "For example, a woman in her mid-to-late 40s presents with complaints of amenorrhea. Is it menopause, a normal aging process? Or is it a lack of menses due to HIV's effect on the immune system?" In her first blog post, Johnson touches on the clinical issues about which she is most passionate, and the career path that brought her to them.


David FawcettDavid Fawcett: Creating a Safe Place for Open Discussion of Sex
"It is one of the great ironies of a sex-drenched culture that sex, if it is spoken of at all, is too often described with code words and cute metaphors -- or, in health care settings, sometimes barely mentioned," writes David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W. In this blog entry, he explains the importance of talking frankly with patients about sexual concerns, and offers some advice on how to help facilitate this discussion.


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  HIV TREATMENT & COMPLICATIONS

The Slow Decline: An Update on Neurological Complications Among People With HIV
For a number of years, a closer examination of long-term neurological problems in HIV took a back seat to many other avenues of research, since many assumed that successful HAART had resolved most such issues. But as recent research makes clear, neurological issues remain a concern in HIV patient care. In this interview, Bruce Brew, M.D., discusses the latest we've learned.


Gene Therapy for HIV Makes Small But Promising Steps Forward
At CROI 2011, one major avenue of presented research focused on new and innovative ways to treat HIV infection -- or to possibly eradicate the virus from its human host. Although the idea of gene therapy has been around for a while, its potential value in HIV treatment is only now beginning to bear fruit. Nelson Vergel summarizes some exciting recent research on this alluring possibility for HIV treatment.


FDA Report Suggests Abacavir May Not Increase MI Risk After All
In recent years, high-profile studies have tied the use of abacavir (Ziagen) to an increased risk of myocardial infarction (MI) among some patients with HIV. But many researchers doubted those findings -- and a new analysis from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration appears to support those who felt abacavir's link to MIs was overblown.


Could MicroRNA Be the Next Great Frontier in HIV/AIDS Treatment (and Prevention)?
A (relatively) recently discovered form of regulatory RNA dubbed microRNA (miRNA for short) has been found to play a critical role in some viral infections. In this video interview with our partners at the International Foundation for Alternative Research in AIDS, Bryan Cullen, Ph.D., reviews our knowledge to date about miRNA and discusses its potential application in HIV.


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  HIV NEWS & VIEWS

Making Sense of the Budget Battle: The Implications for HIV/AIDS
"Basic accounting requires that you balance a budget by either raising revenues or decreasing expenses," explains Phill Wilson. In this article from the Black AIDS Institute, Wilson takes a look at proposals that aim to cut the U.S federal budget down, and the impact those measures could have on people living with HIV.


Report Documents Underrepresentation of At-Risk Groups at World's Largest HIV Meeting
The Global Forum on MSM & HIV has released a report criticizing the lack of focus on the most at-risk populations during the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria last year. The audit reveals the percentage of all sessions that focused exclusively on these groups was 2.6% for men who have sex with men (MSM); 1.1% for transgender people; 3% for sex workers; and 4.5% for users of illicit drugs.


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  THE PATIENT PERSPECTIVE: FEATURED ON THEBODY.COM

quiltIntroducing the Southern AIDS Living Quilt
The Southern AIDS Living Quilt illustrates the growing impact of HIV on women in the South, particularly women of color. In each video testimonial, women living with HIV share their personal stories about being diagnosed, the stigma they encounter and the importance of getting tested. We're honored to partner with the Southern AIDS Living Quilt to offer these videos on TheBody.com.


Dr. BobThe Search for the Cure Heats Up! Part Three: What's Going On?
"In the search for a cure we often take two steps forward and then one step back," cautions Bob Frascino, M.D., in his final entry of a three-part blog series. "However, we are now certain that we are stepping on the correct path." Now that he's shared why he believes the search for an HIV cure has been reinvigorated, he outlines the actions being taken in the HIV research, activism and funding communities to move us in that direction.


Candace Y. A. MontagueHomes for Hope: Building Housing for People Living With HIV
In this third entry of blogger Candace Y.A. Montague's "If You Lived Here" series, meet Veronica Jenkins, M.D., an ordinary doctor from the Southeast, whose passion for helping her HIV-positive patients grew into Homes for Hope. Jenkins shares the ups and downs of starting her own organization that provides emergency and transitional housing for people living with HIV.


Ed Perlmutter Ed Perlmutter: In This Case, I Don't Even Own That Kind of Towel
"The battle for routine opt-out HIV testing is not futile, and I will never throw in the towel as I carry on with this advocacy work," writes blogger Ed Perlmutter. Critiquing the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Perlmutter blasts it for using "weather-worn" written consent forms and claims that too many people are falling through the HIV testing cracks because of them.


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  HIV/STD TRANSMISSION

Studies in Post-Menopausal Women Reveal Potentially Higher HIV Risk, Tenofovir Concerns
At CROI 2011, two studies shone a little light into the dark corners of HIV research involving aging women. One new study of HIV-uninfected women suggests that post-menopausal women may be at a biologically higher risk for HIV than those who have not yet reached menopause. The other found potentially increased levels of tenofovir (Viread) in older, HIV-infected women taking the drug.


Vaginal Tenofovir-Based Microbicide Gel Doesn't Quite Measure Up When Used Rectally, Study Shows
The 1% tenofovir gel that made headlines for its protective properties when used vaginally in the CAPRISA 004 study has also been found capable of preventing HIV when applied to rectal tissue, according to research presented at CROI 2011. But as Heidi Nass reports, work remains to make the gel safer and more desirable for patients to use before it's ready for clinical use.


Community Viral Load: A New Way to Measure Our Progress
"There is a newly emerging way to use viral load as a population measure: community viral load," writes Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H. In hopes of ensuring that all communities in the U.S. obtain undetectable viral loads and lower HIV incidence, Valdiserri discusses how researchers and health advocates are using measurement of the community viral load as a means of learning about which particular neighborhoods need better access to care.


IAS President: Don't Overlook Treatment As Prevention
"HIV treatment is HIV prevention, and the path forward must include an increase of resources for [antiretroviral] coverage," writes Elly Katabira, president of the International AIDS Society (IAS). In this impassioned piece, Katabira urges governments, donors and policy makers to stop seeing HIV prevention and HIV treatment as two separate ideas, and explains why he feels "treatment as prevention" is an effective strategy.


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Also Worth Noting

Top HIV/AIDS Clinical Developments of 2010

David Wohl, M.D.

Of the hundreds of published studies, presented research and other major developments in HIV this year, which are the most likely to change the way we approach HIV prevention or the care of our HIV-infected patients?

In one of our most popular annual updates (available this year on TheBody.com), David Wohl, M.D., takes an in-depth look at the highlights of 2010 and their clinical implications.

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 Newly Approved Treatment for HIV-Associated Lipohypertrophy, featuring Daniel Berger, M.D.

•  New Paradigms of First-Line HIV Therapy: Determining When (and With What) to Start, featuring Eric Daar, M.D., and Trevor Hawkins, 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.