Interesting developments in med-tech: gene testing machines for doctors, a plan to engineer stem cells to kill HIV, a new way to repair damaged nerves, the next generation of retinal implants, and the first bionic fingers up for sale. (Bonus for those uninterested in medicine: the newest take on a Minority Report-style interface, courtesy of MIT.)
The Ugandan government is considering a law that would criminalize homosexuality, advocacy for gay rights, or even failing to report homosexuals to the govenment. And death for HIV+ gays. And who is behind this? An American group with purported ties to the administration called the Family. [more inside]
Tuesday, December 1, 2009 is the 21st annual World AIDS Day An estimated 33.4 million people worldwide worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS. Take a moment today to think about those you've lost, those who are still living with the disease, and how you can prevent yourself or others from becoming infected. [more inside]
San Francisco's Bay Area Reporter, together with the GLBT Historical Society, are making available all of the gay newspaper's AIDS obituaries in an on-line searchable database. The database, to be unveiled on December 1, 2009, World AIDS Day, contains the obituaries for about 10,000 people. [more inside]
A new HIV vaccine is showing promising results, reducing the risk of contracting the virus by 32 percent. While further tests are still needed, the vaccine is a combination failed HIV vaccines AIDSVAX and ALVAC, based on the Canary Pox virus. The study itself faced criticism from the outset.
The Circumcision v. HIV debate rages on. [previously and previously-er and previously-er still] The debate has been rekindled due to new findings. It is expected to be one of the main topics during the CDC's National HIV Prevention Conference this week, as the CDC is considering endorsing routine circumcision. The American Academy of Pediatrics is also considering revising their circumcision policy, thus making it covered under Medicaid. Naturally, there is a lot of criticism of the evidence. In related news, it appears that there is a modicum of the so-called 'Birthers' who believe Obama's citizenship can be proven by his penis.
The history of needle exchanges in the United States starts in 1986 with Jon Parker, a dyslexic Yale medical student and former IDU (intravenous drug user), who was arrested time and time again for providing sterile needles and supplies to drug users, to prevent infection and spread of disease. David Purchase started the first organized (and illegal) needle exchange in Tacoma Washington in 1988, which still exists 21 years later. [more inside]
After one performer tested positive this week, 16 previously unpublicized cases of HIV in the porn industry have emerged. Last time this happened, government officials called it an outbreak and porn production grinded to a halt for two months.
Live Hope Love — Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica.
Kenyan women call to mind Greek comedy, though perhaps they have other reasons to take a week off...
Intended Consequences. It is estimated that 20,000 children were born as the result of rape during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide that claimed the lives of over 800,000 Tutsis. Many of these women also contracted HIV/AIDS as a result. Not only do the mothers have to live with memories of this incredibly horrible event, but they along with their children are shunned by other Tutsi survivors. [more inside]
"If you’re ever looking for a warning sign that you’re on the wrong side of an argument, suing Medecins Sans Frontieres is probably a pretty good clue." Science journalist and blogger Ben Goldacre has released the missing chapter of his book, Bad Science, telling the story of Matthias Rath, vitamins and the AIDS crisis in South Africa. [Previously. Also.]
What if we could rid the world of AIDS? The notion might sound like fantasy: HIV infection has no cure and no vaccine, after all. Yet there is a way to completely wipe it out - at least in theory. What's more, it would take only existing medical technology to do the job.[more inside]
Out of Africa. As award-winning Globe and Mail Africa correspondent Stephanie Nolen bids farewell to a place she's come to love, she reflects on how it has changed, and how it changed her. [more inside]
Luc Montagnier, Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Harald zur Hausen take the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discoveries of the AIDS virus and HPV, respectively. Take that Gallo.
New Scientist reports today that inhabitants of the former Roman Empire have much lower levels of a gene variant that protects against the virus that causes AIDS - CCR5-Delta32 to be exact. Previously, this genetic mutation had been attributed to the spread of the Black Death.
The plague is over, lets party. Article by Elizabeth Pisani describing the troubling consequences of a gay scene in a world where HIV is treatable and AIDS is avoidable.
In 1974 - or 1976, depending who you ask - Armistead Maupin began writing "an extended love letter to a magical San Francisco” in the form of a serialized, fictional drama published originally in the Pacific Sun, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner, originally called "The Serial" which then became collectively known as Tales of The City. It is a suprisingly beautiful, deep, emotional, cosmopolitan and lasting tale about life in San Francisco in the turbulent, heady days of the 1970s and 1980s. Widely credited with and cherished for helping spread a little of the openess, tolerance and acceptance that San Francisco is now famous for. It then became a series of books - Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City, Babycakes, Significant Others, Sure of You - and lastly, the spin-off tale of Michael Tolliver Lives. Almost exactly twenty years after first publishing, it then became an excellent miniseries from the United Kingdom's Channel 4, which aired in the United States on PBS, but not without protest or limitations. [more inside]
Maybe it's time to give up. Last year's failed clinical trial for Merck's HIV vaccine (which once appeared so promising) led many to claim that AIDS vaccine research is in crisis. According to an unprecedented poll conducted by The Independent most scientists involved in AIDS research believe that a vaccine against HIV is further away than ever and some have admitted that effective immunisation against the virus may never be possible. [more inside]
"Some Florida teens believe drinking Mountain Dew or smoking marijuana will prevent pregnancy and that swallowing a capful of bleach will prevent HIV/AIDS."* As a result, lawmakers are pushing "for an overhaul of sex education in the state. State lawmakers said the myths are spreading because of Florida's abstinence-only sex education"* "On Tuesday, a bill that would 'require a more comprehensive approach' to sex education narrowly won approval from a state Senate committee."*
Manipur, which has a population of 2,388,634, has the highest rate of HIV in the country, which is also the reason why it has the most number of NGOs working in the area. However, what is disturbing is that a day or two ago, one of these NGOs bribed a group of children into getting their blood tested, so that they could increase their chances of garnering more funds.
Austin Gutwein first became aware of the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS from a pen pal in Africa.“‘My pen pal [2006 video - 2:48]*...was the first one to open my eyes to the world outside of my own backyard,’ Austin says. One of the harsh realities that struck a chord with Austin was the fact that many kids become orphaned as a result of a parent contracting HIV. ‘I started to think about what it would be like if I lost my parents,’ says Austin. ‘I just felt called to help.’...On World AIDS Day [December 1] 2004, at age 10, Austin shot 2,057 free throws to represent the number of children who would be orphaned because of AIDS during that school day....Austin approached individuals in his community to sponsor his endeavor. That year [he] raised $3,000, which he gave to World Vision to be used to help eight orphans in Africa.” Three years later his non-profit, Hoops of Hope, raised $100,000 [2007 video - 2:32] which was used to build a residential school in Zambia for those orphaned -- and many infected -- by HIV/AIDS. Next year's goal -- to build a hospital. [more inside]
Raven and Jason live together in Vancouver's downtown East Side. A touching short documentary about life on the edge.
Long before storied 'Patient Zero' Gaëtan Dugas [previously] scientists now believe that HIV/AIDS "invaded the United States in about 1969 from Haiti, carried most likely by a single infected immigrant who set the stage for it to sweep the world in a tragic epidemic." A new study to be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that researchers conducted a genetic analysis of stored blood samples from early AIDS patients and now believe that HIV first entered the United States in the 1960s -- and not the 1980s. Other "studies suggest the virus first entered the human population in about 1930 in central Africa, probably when people slaughtered infected chimpanzees for meat."
"Where there is no doctor", a "village health-care handbook", was originally published by Mexican health activists in 1973 as a response to a critical lack of medical care among Mexico's poor. Now available for free download, the book covers such topics as "Family Planning" [pdf], Healing without Medicines [pdf], Common Medicines, their uses and doses [pdf], the right and wrong uses of modern medicines [pdf], and (in the midwives edition) DIY abortion [pdf]. [more inside]
The elderly are staying sexually active [WaPo], and this is a good thing. Although there is a sex-education gap among America's seniors. Play it safe, old folks!
How to Market a Deadly Disease: Ten provocative examples of AIDS awareness campaigns from around the world. Here are some more [YouTube]. NSFW. Via. [Previously/related: 1, 2]
Three million long-haul truckers traverse India's 8,000-kilometer highway network for months at a time. According to studies, more than two-thirds of those men are having frequent unprotected sex, and it's a big problem. Seena Taan Ke is a campaign that's underway to create AIDS/HIV awareness among the truckers, featuring Bollywood celebrities as well as Hollywood celebrity Richard Gere. It's a good thing for a good cause. Well, up until Richard got a little frisky onstage and planted some kisses on Big Brother winner/Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty. Crowds of Indians are now burning effigies of both Gere and Shetty in protest. "Such a public display is not part of Indian tradition." said the spokesman for Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata. Well, so much for AIDS awareness for truckers.
In their own words... Researchers at the National Institutes of Health recall the early years of AIDS, from diagnosis of the then-unknown disease, to discovering the viral cause, and from there to the search for treatments. The site features interviews (including several with virologist Robert Gallo), early publications, and a collection of archived image materials.
Judy's tour diary (pdf, somewhat long) isn't your standard travelogue. The author is Judy Porter, a professor of sociology from Bryn Mawr Collge. Her expertise in the fields of AIDS and poverty are apparent as she paints a vivid picture of life in West Africa, and the health and social conditions that come with it. She also set up a web page that has links to a number of photo slide shows and hand shot video footage. West Africa has been extensively discussed previously.
The Challenge of Global Health is an article written in the most recent Foreign Affairs, describing how "stovepiping" health care funding towards only HIV/AIDS, the shortage of health care workers in the West, and a vacuum of international health-care experts are all causing great damage to developing countries. The article was written by Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague, Betrayal of Trust, as well as a Pulitzer Prize winner for her writing on Ebola. Previously on mefi: garrett resigns, comments on world leaders.
Sir Does Not Allow Me to Watch ‘Project Runway’ Maybe going to class to learn to express one’s inner kink is not such a good idea. (NSFW, but no pictures)
Death by firing squad is imminent (timeline) for a Palestinian doctor and five Bulgarian nurses accused of infecting 426 girls and boys at the al-Fatah Hospital in Benghazi with HIV, after having the sentence lifted a year ago and sent to retrial. Libya stands accused of using the children as diplomatic pawns and torturing confessions out of the health workers. Nature has published a series of articles refuting the dubious evidence provided by Libyan researchers, which many think was concocted to cover up the poor hospital hygiene that likely caused the infections in the first place. [previously]
The WHO says being circumcised significantly reduces a male's risk of HIV infection and recommends male circumcision as part of a "comprehensive prevention package."
Turning off anti-inflammatory response cures viral meningitis in mice. Chronic viral infections may one day be cured by suppression of interleukin-10 (IL-10).
"Injection is the real-life story of six health care workers falsely accused and jailed by an Arab dictator [^], the deplorable conditions that led to their arrest, and the simple solution that might have prevented not only this injustice, but millions of needless infections. " [full movie at google video]
CDC Recommends it for Everyone between 13 and 60 This seems like a very expensive proposition. It appears more people are living with this virus without knowing about it.
Fourteen infants in Kazakhstan hospitals have been found to have HIV. The chief of the regional anti-AIDS center blamed degenerate parents. Not a bad guess; certainly drug use and prostitution have been the major driving force behind the spread of HIV into Central Asia. In this case, however, the victims were probably infected by tainted blood, a problem largely solved in developed countries but still problematic in much of the world. Attitudes like the official's in this case are a big part of the problem.
The new lies about women's health (image slightly NSFW) according to Glamour. More on why every egg is sacred to the Bush administration. [via Wired's Sex Drive Daily]
AIDS really did come from chimps in the 1950s --..."We're 25 years into this pandemic," Hahn said. "We don't have a cure. We don't have a vaccine. But we know where it came from. At least we can make a check mark on one of those." ... ...Identifying the source of the HIV pandemic is more than filling in a missing link in the disease's progression. ...
Bonofilter: Yesterday, May 16, U2 front-man Bono was a guest "editor" for the UK newspaper The Independent. Called the "RED Edition," half of this issue's proceeds went "to help fight HIV and AIDS among women and children in Africa." Highlights included US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice offering her take on "The Ten Best Musical Works" and an interview with Eddie Izzard on immigration in Europe. Is there a downside to celebrity editing, or is it a win-win-win for Bono, The Independent, and some people in need?
It is estimated that due to an infected polio vaccine, 10 million to 30 million people in the United States from 1955 through early 1963 were inadvertently exposed to live Simian Virus #40, a pathogen linked to various cancers. If it happened before, maybe it happened again. Perhaps AIDS was just another accidental contamination originating in an American lab - this time a hepatitis vaccine gone wrong. Why assume conspiracy Dr Cantwell?
The Nata village blog - "A unique opportunity to witness the battle to control the spread of HIV/AIDS in an African village."
Who goes to POZ Parties? Researchers profile HIV-1 positive men who have sex with men (MSM) at so-called "POZ parties": "Predominantly white and over the age of 30, subjects in the sample include a broad range of years living with HIV infection. Motivations for using a POZ Party venue for sexual partnering include relief from burdens for serostatus disclosure, an interest in not infecting others, and opportunities for unprotected sexual exchange. High rates of unprotected sex with multiple partners are prevalent in the venue. Although the sample evidences high rates of lifetime exposure to illicit drugs, relatively little drug use was reported in these sexual environments."
Newsfilter: Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Paul Hewson named by Time Magazine as their persons of the year in recognition of their efforts against HIV-1, malaria and debt in Africa. "For being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and re-engineering justice, for making mercy smarter and hope strategic and then daring the rest of us to follow, Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono are Time's Persons of the Year." said the mag's editor-in-chief.
British man 'recovered from HIV' Doctors are planning further tests on a British man whose body has reportedly cured itself of HIV