People living with HIV disproportionately affected by hepatitis

From blog.AIDS.gov:

People living with HIV who are also living with viral hepatitis are at increased risk for serious, life threatening complications.  As a result, all persons living with HIV should be tested for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C by their doctors. Co-infection with hepatitis may also complicate the management of HIV infection.

In order to prevent co-infection with Hepatitis B, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends universal Hepatitis B vaccination of susceptible patients with HIV/AIDS.  Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines are also recommended for all men who have sex with men, users of illicit drugs, and others at increased risk of infection. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C.

You can also read the full article on the Pitt Men’s Study Website.

Bullying has long-term health effects

From the tucsonsentinel.com:

LGBT students who reported high levels of victimization, compared to those who reported low levels of victimization, were 2.6 times more likely to report depression above the clinical cut off, and 5.6 times more likely to report having attempted suicide at least once, and having a suicide attempt that required medical attention, the study showed.

Also, students who reported high levels of victimization were more than twice as likely to having reported a STD diagnosis, and having been at risk for HIV infection.

In comparison, LGBT young adults who reported low levels of victimization reported higher levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction and social integration compared to those who experienced higher levels of victimization.

Go to the tucsonsentinel.com for the full article.

HIV study: 96% reduction in HIV transmission

Press release from HIV Prevention Trials Network:

Thursday, 12 May 2011, 11 am EST
Washington, DC

Initiation of Antiretroviral Treatment Protects Uninfected Sexual Partners from HIV Infection (HPTN Study 052)

Men and women infected with HIV reduced the risk of transmitting the virus to their sexual partners through initiation of oral antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to findings from a large multinational clinical study conducted by the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), a global partnership dedicated to reducing the transmission of HIV through cutting-edge biomedical, behavioral, and structural interventions.

The study, known as HPTN 052, was designed to evaluate whether immediate versus delayed use of ART by HIV-infected individuals would reduce transmission of HIV to their HIV-uninfected partners and potentially benefit the HIV-infected individual as well. Findings from the study were reviewed by an independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB).The DSMB recommended that the results be released as soon as possible and that the findings be shared with study participants and investigators. The DSMB concluded that initiation of ART by HIV-infected individuals substantially protected their HIV-uninfected sexual partners from acquiring HIV infection, with a 96 percent reduction in risk of HIV transmission. HPTN 052 is the first randomized clinical trial to show that treating an HIV-infected individual with ART can reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV to an uninfected partner.

“This is excellent news,” said Dr. Myron Cohen, HPTN 052 Principal Investigator and Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Health and Director of the Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “The study was designed to evaluate the benefit to the sexual partner as well as the benefit to the HIV-infected person. This is the first randomized clinical trial to definitively indicate that an HIV-infected individual can reduce sexual transmission of HIV to an uninfected partner by beginning antiretroviral therapy sooner. HPTN recognizes the significant contribution that this study’s participants have made to furthering the progress in HIV treatment and prevention. We are very grateful for their participation.”

Media inquiries:

Matt Matassa
703.647.1909
mmatassa@fhi.org

“Take the Test, Take Control” – National HIV testing day

National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is an annual campaign coordinated by the National Association of People with AIDS to encourage people of all ages to “Take the Test, Take Control.”

Early HIV diagnosis is critical, so people who are infected can fully benefit from available life-saving treatments. Currently, almost 40 percent of people with HIV are not diagnosed until they already have developed AIDS. That can be up to 10 years after they first became infected with HIV. Finding out whether you are infected with HIV is the first step to improving your health and the health of your partners and your family.

Find out more about National HIV Testing Day and where to get tested.

Find out how you can help promote Testing Day.

President Obama speaks out for National HIV Testing Day.

HIV reaches “critical levels” in Philadelphia

From the Philadelphia Gay Issues Examiner:

HIV has reached critical levels in Philadelphia. The City of Philadelphia has just begun a campaign called Freedom Condom. The goal of this campaign is to reduce the infections of HIV and other STDs among teenagers in Philadelphia. According to the City of Philadelphia Department of Health, men who have sex with men in Philadelphia have more than a 40% chance of getting HIV by having unprotected sex. There are an estimated 16,905 people living with HIV or AIDS in Philadelphia.

These statistics are shocking but true. HIV has become the ultimate threat to the gay community, especially for gay African-Americans and Hispanics. There are many reasons why HIV is spreading so rapidly in Philadelphia but one of the main reasons is that there is an increase use of unprotected sex among gay men and ignorant myths about how the virus is transferred. There are many myths that HIV is transferred by hugging, kissing, or shaking hands with someone who is HIV positive. These myths are completely wrong. Before understanding how HIV is spread, understanding what is HIV is most important. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, meaning that the virus can only be transmitted between humans. HIV attacks the body’s immune system by invading and taking over the CD4+ T cells.

Continue reading on Examiner.com

An interview with leading gay men’s health expert, our own Ron Stall

University of Pittsbrugh Researcher Ron Stall talks about 30 years of HIV and gay men’s health on Web’s Huffington Post… 

While no longer a singularly “gay disease,” gay, bisexual and transgender people remain severely impacted by HIV/AIDS in the U.S. For young gay, bi, and transgender youth of color, alarming rates of HIV rival those of some Sub-Saharan countries. What can we learn from the 30-year history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in order to forge a better, future response?

These are just some of the questions the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) is posing this year as it reflects on lessons learned from the past 30 years of HIV/AIDS. Chief among these questions is why, 30 years into the crisis, are rates of HIV highest among young gay men, particularly men of color? According to federal officials, rates of HIV among gay men are 50 times higher than any other group and, while new cases have plateaued for other groups, among gay/bi men and transgender, they continue to climb.

Read the full article.