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Marijuana VS. Aspirin

Posted by pozlife on March 4, 2009

News

by admin on Mar.03, 2009, under Bud Report, Laws, News

When Bayer introduced aspirin in 1899, cannabis was America’s number one painkiller. Until marijuana prohibition began in 1937, the US Pharmacopoeia listed cannabis as the primary medicine for over 100 diseases. Cannabis was such an effective analgesic that the American Medical Association (AMA) argued against prohibition on behalf of medical progress. Since the herb is extremely potent and essentially non-toxic, the AMA considered it a potential wonder drug.

Instead, the invention of aspirin gave birth to the modern pharmaceutical industry and Americans switched away from cannabis in the name of “progress.” But was it really progress? There can be no doubt that aspirin has a long history as the drug of choice for the self-treatment of migraines, arthritis, and other chronic pain. It is cheap and effective. But is it as safe as cannabis?

History:

Marijuana has been used for over 5,000 years.
No one has ever overdosed on marijuana.
Aspirin has been used for 108 years.
Approximately 500 people die every year by taking aspirin
The Law:

Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, meaning the US government believes it is extremely dangerous, highly addictive, and of no medical value.
Aspirin is available for pennies and can be purchased by children at any drug, grocery, or convenience store. Often they are just handed out free by people with no medical education.
Marijuana side effects and dangers:

The dangers of marijuana include possible respiratory problems caused by the deposition of burnt plant material on the lungs. This danger can be eliminated with alternate forms of consumption such as eating or vaporizing the medicine.
For two to four hours, marijuana causes short-term memory loss, a slight reduction in reaction time, and a reduction in cognitive ability. (It makes you stupid for a little while.)These conditions DO NOT persist after the herb wears off.

Hunger
Paranoia
Depression
Laughter
Introspection
Creative Impulse
Euphoria
Tiredness
Forgetfulness
Aspirin side effects and dangers:

When taken with alcohol, aspirin can cause stomach bleeding.
Reye Syndrome in children: fat begins to develop around the liver and other organs of the child, eventually putting severe pressure on the brain. Death is common within a few days.
People with hemophilia can die.
People with hyperthyroidism suffer elevated T4 levels.
Stomach problems include dyspepsia, heartburn, upset stomach, stomach ulcers with gross bleeding, and internal bleeding leading to anemia.
Dizziness, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, vertigo, vision disturbances, and headaches.
Heavy sweating
Irreversible liver damage
Inflammation and gradual destruction of the kidneys
Nausea and vomiting
Abdominal pain
Lethargy
Hyperthermia
Dyspepsia: a gnawing or burning stomach pain accompanied by bloating, heartburn, nausea, vomiting and burping.
Tachypnea: Abnormally fast breathing
Respiratory Alkalosis: a condition where the amount of carbon dioxide found in the blood drops to a level below normal range brought on by abnormally fast breathing.
Cerebral Edema: Water accumulates on the brain. Symptoms include headaches, decreased level of consciousness, loss of eyesight, hallucinations, psychotic behavior, memory loss and coma. If left untreated, it can lead to death.
Hallucinations, confusion, and seizure.
Prolonged bleeding after operations or post-trauma for up to 10 days after last aspirin.
Aspirin can interact with some other drugs, such as diabetes medication. Aspirin changes the way the body handles these drugs and can lead to a drug overdose and death.
If you think that cannabis is actually safer than aspirin, you are not alone. In October 2000, Dr. Leslie Iversen of the Oxford University Department of Pharmacology said the same thing.

In her book, ‘The Science of Marijuana,’ Dr. Iversen presents the scientific evidence that cannabis is, by-and-large, a safe drug. Dr. Iversen found cannabis had “an impressive record” when compared to tobacco, alcohol, or even aspirin.

“Tetrahydrocannabinol is a very safe drug,” she said. “Even such apparently innocuous medicines as aspirin and related steroidal anti-inflammatory compounds are not safe.”

So if safety is your concern, cannabis is clearly a much better choice than aspirin. If you eat it or vaporize it, it just might be the safest painkiller the world has ever known.

Author: Nunya

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Hot Topics at The Body’s "Ask the Experts" Forums

Posted by pozlife on February 23, 2009

LIVING WITH HIV

Once You’ve Been Diagnosed With AIDS, Will You Always Have AIDS?
In one of your recent answers, you said that an AIDS diagnosis is irreversible. Are you saying that if a healthy HIV-positive person had an opportunistic infection or a CD4 count under 200 at some point, then that person still has AIDS, even if he or she currently has an undetectable viral load and a CD4 count of 1,500? Please explain!
Anabolic Steroids and HIV/Hepatitis B Coinfection
I am a 30-year-old professional model and athlete. I was diagnosed with HIV five years ago and hepatitis B (hep B) a little less than two years ago. I am taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) and my HIV viral load is 125 copies while my hep B viral load is 10,000 copies. I would like to regain a few pounds as well as some muscle mass that I’ve lost since starting on Atripla. I did a cycle of Equipoise and Winstrol before I was diagnosed with hep B, and it worked great. Would doing another eight-week cycle of steroids — either Deca-Durabolin (nandrolone decanoate) or Equipoise, along with Winstrol — affect my liver now that I have hep B?

Also Worth Noting: Breaking Research: In-Depth Coverage of CROI 2009

CROI 2009: Montréal, February 8-11

Articles and podcasts continue to flood in from TheBody.com’s coverage of CROI 2009, the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. Visit our CROI 2009 home page throughout the month as we add more highlights!

MIXED-STATUS COUPLES

Any Tips for a Mixed-Status Couple?
I was diagnosed in March of 2008. I am taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) and am proud to say that thus far I have been 100 percent compliant. My viral load recently dropped to undetectable levels, I feel great and my fiancée has been wonderful. We have a fairly active sex life consisting of protected vaginal and anal intercourse, as well as unprotected oral sex. My fiancée has been tested every three to four months since my diagnosis, and all her tests have come back negative. Is this enough? As a doctor who is also a member of a magnetic couple (one partner positive, the other negative), do you have any recommendations for us?

HIV TREATMENT

Should I Switch From Sustiva to Reyataz?
I have been on Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for the past four years with great results: My viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is 900. Lately, however, I have had chronic, persistent fatigue in the mornings and dizziness at night. I’m considering changing my Sustiva to Reyataz (atazanavir) boosted with Norvir (ritonavir), or possibly lowering my dose of Sustiva to reduce these unpleasant side effects. Would either of these make sense, or is it risky to change a regimen that is otherwise working great for me?
What Do You Think of a Regimen of Isentress + Intelence?
I’ve been positive for seven years and since starting treatment, my viral load has remained undetectable on several regimens. However, I have severe fat loss in my cheeks and body, and switching regimens has not helped me regain fat. I’m currently on Isentress (raltegravir), Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Viread (tenofovir) but I’m thinking of dropping Viread and Sustiva and just taking Intelence (etravirine) with the Isentress. Is a two-drug regimen unusual? Do you think this is too risky a move to make just to recover some fat?
Do I Have to Take Atripla on an Empty Stomach?
It’s recommended that Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) be taken on an empty stomach, but I like to eat at night. Will taking Atripla with food affect the way the drug works?

Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the January 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Gay Pride Parade, NY," Luis Carle

Visit the February 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month’s gallery, entitled "In the Flesh," is curated by Jo-ey Tang.

HEALTH ISSUES & SIDE EFFECTS

Which Side Effect Do I Want?
I started on Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and Viramune (nevirapine) 18 months ago. One year into treatment, a bone density scan showed that I had moderate osteopenia (bone loss). Since the tenofovir in Truvada has been linked to bone problems, I planned to switch from Truvada to Ziagen (abacavir) — until I saw recent studies regarding Ziagen and cardiovascular problems. Do I have to choose between dealing with bone problems and risking a heart attack? What would you do?
What Will Help My Extreme Fatigue?
I am 34 years old and have been HIV positive for 18 years. My viral load is 759 and my CD4 count is 387. I am currently taking Isentress (raltegravir), Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) and Viread (tenofovir). The problem is that I have absolutely no energy. I sleep between 13 and 17 hours a day — energy-wise, I feel no better now than I did with a CD4 count of 6 and a viral load of 750,000. I have read that taking Provigil (modafinil) may help my fatigue. What do you think I should do?
Can Tamoxifen Affect My Lipoatrophy Treatments?
I began taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex) four months ago to reduce male breast enlargement (gynecomastia), most likely caused by taking Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) for my HIV along with Propecia (finasteride) for hair loss. The tamoxifen seems to be doing its job, but my dermatologist thinks it is causing my Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid, New-Fill) facial wasting treatments to wear off more quickly than usual. Have you ever heard of such a thing?
Allergic to Sulfa Meds: Can I Still Take Prezista?
I am severely allergic to Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim) and other sulfa-based meds. Is it safe for me to start taking Prezista (darunavir)?

Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others

Homophobic U.S. Preachers Denied Entry to the United Kingdom
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)
Hot off the presses: The UK government has just announced that Kansas-based preachers Rev. Fred Phelps and Shirley Phelps-Roper, whose slogan is "God Hates Fags," will be denied entry to the UK if they arrive tomorrow, as promised, to picket a play about the brutal 1998 homophobic murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming. Rev. Phelps and his followers picketed Matthew’s funeral with banners proclaiming such things as "Matt Shepard Rots in Hell," "AIDS Kills Fags Dead" and "God Hates Fags."
— Ruairi

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HIV gene therapy trial promising

Posted by pozlife on February 17, 2009

 

The therapy aims to stop HIV re-producing

One of the first attempts to use gene therapy to treat HIV has produced promising results in clinical trials.

When the therapy was tested on 74 patients, it was shown to be safe and appeared to reduce the effect of the virus on the immune system.

In theory, one treatment should be enough to replace the need for a lifetime of antiretroviral therapy.

The study, by the University of California, Los Angeles, appears in the journal Nature Medicine.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gif

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/start_quote_rb.gifThe researchers have shown enough of an effect for us to be hopeful that a gene therapy approach to HIV treatment might eventually deliver effective treatments for the disease http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/end_quote_rb.gif

Keith Alcorn
HIV information service NAM

Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has greatly improved the prognosis for people infected with HIV.

However, it must be taken on a daily basis, there is a risk of adverse reactions and the virus – which has an astonishing capacity to evolve rapidly – is starting to develop resistance to the drugs.

Therefore, new ways to combat the virus are badly needed.

Stem cells

The latest therapy involves giving patients blood stem cells modified to carry a molecule called OZ1, which is designed to stop HIV reproducing itself by targeting two key proteins.

The patients in the trial either received the therapy, or a dummy treatment.

After 48 weeks the researchers found there was no statistically significant difference in the amount of HIV circulating in the blood of the two groups of patients.

However, after 100 weeks the patients who received the gene therapy had higher levels of CD4+ cells – the key cells of the immune system which are specifically destroyed by HIV.

Lead researcher, Professor Ronald Mitsuyasu, said the research was the first to come through tightly controlled trials in which patients did not know whether they were getting the therapy or the placebo.

He said: "Gene therapy has the potential of needing only a one-time or infrequent administration of product and would allow the patients to control their own HIV internally without the need for continuous drug therapy.

"While this treatment is far from being perfected, it is not yet as effective or as complete as current antiretroviral therapy in controlling HIV, the study did show proof of concept that inserting and administering a single anti-HIV gene in the patients’ own blood stem cells and giving it back to them could reduce viral replication to some degree when anti-HIV medications are stopped."

However, Professor Mitsuyasu said long-term follow up was needed to ensure the therapy was safe.

‘Exciting’ area

Jo Robinson, of the HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "Gene therapy is an exciting area which aims to create a one off treatment for HIV, avoiding the need for people to take daily medication.

"However, it’s a very complex area and early days in research terms so we’re a long way from something like this being on the market.

"This particular trial proved safe and has shown some promising results which definitely warrant further investigation.

"Some people find their HIV becomes resistant to current treatments over time so it’s essential that we invest in researching potential new approaches like this."

Keith Alcorn, of the HIV information service NAM, said: "The viral load responses in this study were very modest, and for any other sort of product would not justify going forward.

"However, the researchers have shown enough of an effect for us to be hopeful that a gene therapy approach to HIV treatment might eventually deliver effective treatments for the disease."

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Show on the road: Top 10 kitsch destinations

Posted by pozlife on February 8, 2009

by Aefa Mulholland

Highbrow destinations and lofty, cerebral cultural attractions are not for all of us. Sure, long days spent pouring over masterpieces might be all that some people desire to fill vacation days, but if there’s a drive-thru shaped like an oversize hot dog or a quirky museum dedicated to questionable medical devices (St. Paul, Minn.), neon art (Los Angeles) or lunch boxes (Columbus, Ga.) nearby, they will always top my to-do list.

Sadly, some of my favorite attractions, such as Lexington’s biblically themed mini-golf course (complete with elves and gnomes standing in for apostles), and Portland, Ore.’s 24-hour Church of Elvis, are no more, but there are still plenty of kitsch pit stops to be made. Read on for some of my favorite offbeat attractions around the country.

1. Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
http://www.dollywood.com
Dolly Parton’s Tennessee mountain home, a butterfly-adorned family fun park in the Smokies, offers a slew of Dolly-themed diversions, as well as rides including Beaver Creek, Piggy Parade, Rockin’ Roadway and Tennessee Tornado.

2. Las Vegas, Nev.
http://www.visitlasvegas.com
The motherlode of kitsch, Vegas offers a veritable overload of the splashiest, trashiest, campest sights in the country, from the Liberace Museum and Elvis impersonators by the score to the astounding heights of architectural kitsch that the casinos have reached.

3. The Donut Hole
Los Angeles
http://search.cityguide.aol.com/losangeles/restaurants/donut
-hole/v-138202
A donut drive-thru to beat all other drive-thrus, the Donut Hole in La Puente, about 12 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, is actually a tunnel between two chocolate-covered half donuts.

4. Shady Dell RV Park
Bisbee, Ariz.
http://www.theshadydell.com
This cache of vintage aluminum travel trailers in this former copper-mining town in the Mule Mountains is the perfect place to stay during Bisbee’s annual gay Pride celebrations (June; http://www.bisbeepride.com). Check into a 1949 Airstream, 1950 Spartanette or 1951 Royal Mansion, have yourself a little something to eat at Dot’s diner, then go back to your rig and turn up the cassettes of big-band music thoughtfully provided within.

5. Graceland
Memphis, Tenn.
http://www.elvis.com
The King of Kitsch’s home life is preserved in all its glittery, manically patterned shag-carpeted glory at his Memphis mansion. Join the determined flow of middle-aged Middle Americans as you trot through the ground floor and grounds.

6. Velveteria
Portland, Ore.
http://www.velveteria.com
Velvet paintings, from Yoda to Elizabeth Taylor to the Virgin of Guadelupe, as well as changing exhibitions, are on show in this purple shag-carpeted, pink-curtained and tiger-striped treasure trove of tack.

7. The Grand Guitar
Bristol, Tenn.
http://www.talentondisplay.com/grandguitar.html
Home to a guitar store, a museum and a radio station (country, of course), the world’s only three-story guitar-shaped building nestles on the border of Virginia and Tennessee, three miles outside Bristol.

8. The Museum of Bad Art
Dedham, Mass.
http://www.museumofbadart.org
Wonder at the marvels within at this Boston-area museum, the world’s only cultural institution "dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms."

9. Madonna Inn
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
http://www.madonnainn.com
Choose from uniquely quirky quarters at the Madonna Inn, an eclectic 109-room marvel with accommodations including the zebra-saturated Jungle Rock room or Caveman and Rock Bottom rooms, where boulders are big and Flintstones fantasies are plentiful.

10. Bob’s Java Jive
Tacoma, Wash.
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/WATACjavajive.html
Although former residents Java and Jive, a duo of caffeine-fueled drummer chimps, are no longer in residence, Tacoma’s coffee-pot-shaped bar still manages to work up a ruckus, with live bands playing in the venerable venue most nights of the week.

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POZ – News : India vs. HIV/TB Coinfection

Posted by pozlife on June 15, 2008

 

Acknowledging that more than 60 percent of India’s HIV-positive people die of tuberculosis, the country is integrating its national HIV and TB programs, The Times of India reports (timesofindia.indiatimes.com, 6/12).
Patients diagnosed with TB will now also be offered testing for HIV; those testing positive will undergo prophylactic treatment recommended by the World Health Organization to ward off opportunistic infections like pneumonia. These combined services will be implemented in nine Indian states with high prevalences of both HIV and TB by October 1.
At the United Nations’ high-level meeting on AIDS, held June 10 and 11, leaders stressed the need to address both infections together, noting that the global prevalence of TB is further complicating the fight against AIDS.
“Selective testing for HIV will continue on those diagnosed with TB if they are found to have a high-risk behavior and are suffering from sexually transmitted diseases,” said the National AIDS Control Organization’s (NACO) national consultant for HIV, Rahul Thakur. “However, in the nine states, all TB patients, irrespective of their lifestyle, will be offered free HIV testing.”
According to Thakur, 50,000 to 80,000 people suffer from HIV/TB coinfection in India. He added that NACO identified 40,000 cases from 2007 through 2008 alone.

POZ – News : India vs. HIV/TB Coinfection

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Just The Facts

Posted by pozlife on June 11, 2008

 

Have questions about HIV and AIDS?  Clink on the links below to find out all about HIV transmittal and what it is like to get an HIV test.

The Facts about HIV and AIDS [en español]

What are HIV and AIDS?
How is HIV Transmitted?
What actions put me at risk?
How do I prevent myself from contracting or transmitting HIV?
Why should I be tested for HIV?
What is involved in HIV testing?
What types of tests are available?
What other STDs should I be concerned about?
What’s going on in current research of HIV?


What are HIV and AIDS?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system (the body’s defense against infection). HIV uses healthy white blood cells to replicate itself, breaking down the immune system and leaving the body more susceptible to illness.  Without treatment, most people infected with HIV become less able to fight off germs that we are exposed to every day.  Someone who has HIV is called “HIV positive” or “HIV+”. 

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a late stage of HIV infection. An HIV positive person is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system is so weakened that it is no longer able to fight off illness. People with immune deficiency are much more vulnerable to infections such as pneumonia and various forms of cancer. These diseases are called opportunistic infections because they take advantage of the weakened immune system. Ultimately, people do not die from AIDS itself, they die from one or more of these opportunistic infections.  It is believed that all people who become HIV+ will eventually have AIDS.

There is no known cure or vaccine for AIDS. While anti-viral medications and healthy behavior can improve the quality and length of life for some people living with AIDS, these treatments do not work for everyone and may cause harmful side effects.

It can take several years before HIV breaks down a person’s immune system and causes AIDS, and people may show few symptoms for several years after they are infected. People who appear perfectly healthy may not know they have the virus and can pass it on to others. 1 out of 4 Americans with HIV do not know they have the virus.  The only way to know if you have HIV is to GET TESTED.

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How is HIV Transmitted?

HIV is transmitted from person to person through the exchange of bodily fluids. While the HIV virus can be found in all bodily fluids of an infected person only these fluids contain a high enough concentration of HIV to transmit the virus:

  • Blood
  • Semen (including pre-cum)
  • Vaginal secretions
  • Breast milk

Modes of Transmission

  • Sexual – unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex
  • Sharing needles – IV drug use, tattooing, piercing
  • Maternal/Childbefore, during & after birth, including breast-feeding
  • Blood transfusion before 1985
  • Donor Products
  • Job Injury
  • Sharing of Sex Toys

HIV has not been proven transmittable by saliva, urine, feces, sweat, tears, vomit or mucus.

*HIV is NOT transmitted through casual contact including: hugging, kissing, using public toilets, sharing eating utensils, pools or coughing.

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What actions put me at risk for contracting HIV?

The most common ways that people put themselves at risk for HIV infection are engaging in unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex, sharing unclean drug paraphanalia like syringes and cookers, or sharing unclean needles used for tattoos and body piercing with a person who is HIV positive or unaware of their HIV status.

The use of drugs and/or alcohol can also put you at risk by making it harder for you to practice safe behavior.

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How do I prevent myself from contracting or transmitting HIV?

  • Abstinence: Simply choose not to have sex. For more information about abstinence, visit www.plannedparenthood.org
  • Latex and Polyurethane Barrier Methods: Use safe sex materials such as male and female condoms, dental dams, and finger cots when engaging in sexual activity.  Do not use male and female condoms at the same time!
  • Needle Exchange/Clean Your Works: Always use new, unused needles or clean your works by flushing the needle and plunger with water and bleach each time you use an intravenous drug syringe. Do not share other IV drug paraphanalia such as cookers cottons/filters, or water glasses.  There are needle exchange programs available in your area where you can exchange used needles for new ones. For more information, visit www.harmreduction.org
  • Tattoos and Piercing: When you get a tattoo or body piercing, use a professional tattooist or piercer who sterilizes all equipment, uses a new disposable needle (a new package should be opened in front of you) and new ink in a disposable container for each customer. Do not use a piercing gun because it cannot be properly sterilized. Keep any tattoo or piercing on your body clean and free from infection.
  • Pregnancy: If you are HIV positive and think you may be pregnant, you should contact your doctor immediately to discuss your options. There are medications that you can take during your pregnancy to reduce your baby’s risk of being HIV positive. For more information, visit www.plannedparenthood.org

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Why should I be tested for HIV?

The CDC has recently recommended that Americans receive routine HIV testing as part of regular preventative health.  Anyone who is participating, or has participated in activities that involve the exchange of HIV transmittable fluids should be tested for HIV. It is important to know your status. If you test negative, you can find out how to keep from getting infected in the future. If you test positive, you can take advantage of the advances in antiviral medications to maintain a healthy lifestyle and learn how to prevent passing HIV to others.

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What is involved in HIV testing?

Most HIV tests actually detect the presence of HIV antibodies, not the virus itself. Antibodies are proteins that are produced in the blood to fight infection. It takes the immune system time to identify the virus and begin producing antibodies. Most people will develop detectable antibodies within two to eight weeks (the average is 25 days) of contracting the virus. Ninety-seven percent will develop antibodies in the first three months following the time of their infection. In very rare cases, it can take up to six months to develop antibodies to HIV. The time between when a person is infected and when the body produces enough antibodies against HIV to be detected is called the window period.

Even if someone tests negative for HIV antibodies, they can still transmit the virus. Once a person is tested for HIV, they have to be tested again 6 months after the last exposure to confirm that they are negative

If the test is negative, the person should return for a follow up test 6 months after the initial test date. The person should abstain from any risky behavior during the 6 month window period to assure accurate results and to reduce the risk of transmission to someone else.

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What types of tests are available?

  • ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay): This is the initial HIV-antibody blood test. If a person gets a positive result, an additional ELISA test will be taken. If the initial test comes back negative, the person will return for a 6-month test after the window period. If this returns negative, no further testing will be done at this time. Results are available in approximately 10 days.
  • Western Blot Test: If the second ELISA test comes back positive, the Western Blot test will be performed to learn more about the infection. The Western Blot is a more detailed HIV-antibody test. Results are available in approximately 10 days.
  • OraSure: This HIV-antibody test involves collection of cells between the cheek and the gums. This is the least intrusive and does not require a blood sample. Results are available in approximately 10 days.
  • OraQuick Rapid HIV-1 Antibody Test for blood: This test, administered by finger prick, gives results of HIV-1 antibody detection in about twenty minutes. The test is about 97% accurate but a confirmatory standard test, such as the Western Blot, must be administered prior to delivering an absolute positive result.
  • OraQuick Advance Rapid HIV 1/2 Antibody Test for oral fluid: this test collects oral fluid through an oral swab and can give results in 20 minutes, and it is 99.3-99.8% accurate. As with the Rapid HIV-1 Antibody Test, a confirmatory blood test must be administered before giving a positive result. This test can detect both HIV-1 and HIV-2 (see Glossary). Though HIV-2 is rare in the Unites States, it is prevalent in parts of Africa.
  • RNA Testing: RNA testing looks for the RNA of the virus itself, not antibodies to the virus. RNA testing is currently only available in North Carolina and San Francisco. Though results take about a week, this test can detect the RNA of HIV within ten days of infection. The cons of this test are that people may not return for their results, and it is a costly test. Ideally, testing sites would conduct a rapid HIV-antibody test as well as an RNA test, but due to funding limitations, this is not currently possible.

Although LIFEbeat does not offer HIV testing, there are testing centers across the United States. For more information about HIV testing and the types of tests available, or to find a testing center near you, call the Centers for Disease Control Hotline, available 24 hours a day, at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636), or visit www.hivtest.org.

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What other STDs should I be concerned about?

HIV is not the only sexually transmitted disease you need to protect yourself against. Most STIs show few symptoms, but all can be properly diagnosed through doctor’s exams and tests. STIs can increase the risk of HIV transmission through symptoms such as open sores and biological changes that happen in your body as a result of an STI infection. The most common STIs are:

  • HPV (Genital Warts)
  • Chlamydia
  • Genital Herpes
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hepatitis B
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis

To find out more about Sexually Transmitted Diseases, their symptoms, testing and treatment, visit www.cdc.gov.

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What’s going on in current research of HIV?

  • Vaccine trials– Preventative vaccines cannot cause HIV/AIDS because they are made of man-made materials and do not contain HIV. Since 1987, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has enrolled over 12, 000 volunteers in 79 HIV vaccine clinical trial that have tested more than 52 different vaccine candidates. For more information on vaccine trials and other clinical trials, visit http://www.aidsinfo.nih.gov/vaccines/.
  • CDC Trials of Daily Tenofovir for HIV Prevention– study is taking place in Botswana (using heterosexual males and females), Thailand (using Injection Drug Users), and the United States (using men who have sex with men). Tenofovir is an FDA approved anti-HIV drug. Currently it is only used among HIV+ persons, but this trial is designed to test the drugs preventative benefits.
  • Microbicides – would work like a spermicide, but would kill HIV instead of sperm. Microbicides may work by inactivating HIV, blocking attachment of HIV to susceptible cells and/or inhibiting viral spread from the first cells that acquire HIV. Microbicides are not yet available to the public because they are still in the research/testing phase.
  • Lubricants – specifically Astroglide may help prevent transmission because it may contain chemical compounds that kill HIV. This is not yet proven, but it is known that lubricants help prevent condom breakage and tears in the skin.
  • Non-oxynol-9 the CDC has determined that nonoxynol-9 (spermicide) does NOT prevent against HIV and in fact may make users more susceptible to HIV infection because spermicides are abrasive and may cause cuts and scrapes in the skin.
  • Circumcision Studies have shown that the foreskin has a higher density of target cells for HIV infection and may have greater susceptibility to cuts or abrasions during sex, opening up pathways for HIV infection. Relative risk was 44% lower in circumcised men than in un-circumcised men.

Just The Facts

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POZ – Treatment News : Lingering Side Effects Reported With Facial Filler

Posted by pozlife on May 23, 2008

 

People who have injections of the facial filler polyalkylimide may have immune-related side effects many months after the injections, say the authors of a study published in the May 2008 issue of the Archives of Dermatology.
Though not approved in the United States, polyalkylimide—often sold as Bio-Alcamid in other countries—is a permanent filler that is a popular option for the treatment of HIV-associated facial lipoatrophy. Until now, there have not been reports of the immune system reacting to polyalkylimide.
Spanish physician Jaume Alijotas-Reig, MD, PhD, of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and Autonomous University of Barcelona, and his colleagues assessed 25 people who had what appeared to be side effects of polyalkylimide injections 12 months or more after treatment. The patients’ HIV statuses are not mentioned in the article.
Side effects ranged from tender nodules, or bumps, at the injection site in 24 of the patients, to more wide spread effects like headaches and fever in six people. Twenty people had laboratory abnormalities that implied immune inflammation. Side effects diminished and ultimately disappeared in 11 people over 21 months of follow-up.
Though it is impossible to determine from these case reports what proportion of people who receive polyalkylimide treatment will ultimately have these immune responses, they appear thus far to be a relatively rare phenomenon.

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Chi Chi LaRue Takes a Stand Against Barebacking in Gay Porn

Posted by pozlife on March 25, 2008

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Article Date: 02/05/2008

By Dylan Vox

Over the past few years, a frightening new trend has been developing in the gay adult industry, and now, after some controversial publicity, porn director extraordinaire Chi Chi LaRue and the company heads at Channel One Releasing are taking a stand against barebacking videos. A new website and four minute PSA featuring some of the hottest boys in the business is reiterating the message that ‘safe sex is hot sex’.

Larue has produced countless award winning films on both the straight and gay side of the industry throughout his career, and has been one of the strongest proponents for safe sex and the health of the models that he works with.

Earlier this year, his self-created studio became the largest gay adult company when it purchased both All Worlds Studio and the legendary, now defunct, Catalina line of films. The Channel One conglomerate has been vocal about the protection of the models in the industry, and after 20 years of directing and producing films, LaRue has become legendary for his success and his strong stance against unsafe sex.

In 2006, Larue turned down a huge contract with the famous Vivid Video over condom and safe sex issues.

He explains on the new safe sex promotional website, “I walked away from a lucrative contract with Vivid Video when they decided to go ‘condom optional’ so don’t ever say I don’t put my money where my mouth is!”

Earlier this year, the controversy over the increase and success of barebacking companies came to a frightening head when three UK based porn actors reported they had contracted HIV. The actors claim they were infected during the shooting of a barebacking video with a fourth actor, who says he didn’t realize he was HIV-positive until days after shooting.

Following the news, Larue along with Titan Media’s Bruce Cam and Keith Webb took a bold anti-AIDS/anti-bareback position when they refused to accept their honors at the David Awards, the European equivalent to the GAYVN’s.

Many supporters for barebacking argue that adult films are about creating fantasies and that most of the time condoms take away from the moment.

Sam Dixon of Tipo Sesso told Out Magazine, “We’re an adult industry. We’re not an educational industry.”

Larue explains that in the past, “it was pretty obvious to most that the models ‘appeared’ to be HIV+ and were having unsafe sex with what ‘appeared’ to be other HIV+ models” in barebacking films.

The trend, however, seems to have shifted, and more and more companies are relying on younger men who are willing to do riskier things for money.

 

“Younger gay guys who didn’t have all their friends die, who didn’t see deathly ill gay men at the grocery store, and aren’t bombarded with AIDS messages on the news daily can watch barebacking porn and it doesn’t affect their behavior,” LaRue says. 

Larue also explains that he understands that it is not just barebacking porn that is leading to the current rise of HIV/AIDS cases among young gay youth.

“I think the lack of real sex education, thanks to our current conservative regime, is a factor. Let’s not forget the rampant drug abuse in the gay community, which is definitely a factor. I also think gay men are really just tired of talking and hearing about it! But we can’t stop talking about it. I think what we are seeing is a result of too many people being way too silent!”

With the new ‘Safe Sex Is Hot Sex’ campaign, Larue hopes to put an end to all of those critics who have said that he doesn’t stand behind his messages.

“Look I understand about freedom of speech and freedom of choice more than anyone, and if people don’t want to watch the PSA, or if they don’t agree with my stance, that is their prerogative,” he told GayWired.com. “I do, however, hope that people will see that there is a safer, sexy alternative and that people can watch my movies and the films made by other condom only companies and understand that they are watching amazing hot sex that is not undermined by the use of a condom.”

Larue, who says that he has never and will never produce a barebacking film, has a strict policy of protection on all of his film sets.

“I have always promoted on my sets the same thing that I feel every gay man should practice in his personal life. Assume everyone you are having sex with is HIV+. That way you are taking a proactive approach to staying healthy and disease free.”

Since 1999, the number of new AIDS/HIV cases among the gay population has been slowly on the rise according to recent CDC reports. In 2003, approximately 63% of new cases were among men who were infected through sexual contact with other men according to the MMWR CDC report.

A majority of those new cases are among younger gay and bisexual men who have less fear about the risk of infection.

In a study presented to the CDC about unprotected sex, Dr. Kenneth Mayer, medical research director at Fenway Community Health in Boston, noted in Healthday: “We found that almost a third of the men (in the study who were reportedly HIV- positive) said that they had had unprotected anal intercourse with at least one partner of unknown serostatus, and almost a quarter had unprotected intercourse with a partner who they knew was HIV uninfected.”

Dr. Mayer talked about the importance of education to help reinstate the message that these practices are still dangerous.

Channel One’s new PSA is part of the bigger picture of education, and LaRue feels an ethical responsibility to helping educating the younger generations, as well as a sense of providing the safety for the models working in the industry.

And as Chi Chi adamantly proclaims in her service announcement, please, “Wrap it Up!”

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NIAID Modifies HIV Antiretroviral Treatment Study – The Body

Posted by pozlife on February 29, 2008

 

NIAID Modifies HIV Antiretroviral Treatment Study

Combination Therapy That Includes ABC/3TC Found Less Effective in Subgroup of Antiretroviral-Naive Individuals

February 28, 2008

An independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) met recently to review data from a clinical trial examining the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of four different antiretroviral treatment regimens in HIV-infected adults who had never taken anti-HIV drugs before. The trial, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, involves a randomized comparison of the HIV drug efavirenz (EFV) with atazanavir boosted with ritonavir (ATV/r), and a double-blind, randomized comparison of co-formulations of emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (FTC/TDF) with abacavir/lamivudine (ABC/3TC). The DSMB has recommended changes to the study on the basis of new findings in a subset of participants who have been receiving ABC/3TC.

This study is being conducted by the NIAID-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) and is known as ACTG 5202. The trial is important for examining initial HIV treatment regimens because existing regimens may vary both in their ability to suppress the level of HIV in the blood (viral load) and in the side effects with which they may be associated.

Investigators enrolled 1,858 eligible men and women into the Phase III efficacy study between September 2005 and November 2007 at 64 sites in the United States. Participants were divided into two groups based on HIV levels at the time of screening: those with high viral loads (100,000 or more copies of HIV RNA per milliliter of blood) and those with lower viral loads (fewer than 100,000 copies/mL). Each volunteer was assigned at random to one of the four treatment groups:

  1. EFV, FTC/TDF, and placebo for ABC/3TC.
  2. EFV, placebo for FTC/TDF, and ABC/3TC.
  3. ATV/r, FTC/TDF, and placebo for ABC/3TC.
  4. ATV/r, placebo for FTC/TDF, and ABC/3TC.

All regimens effectively reduced the amount of virus in most participants. However, the DSMB found that among participants with high viral loads at the time of screening, treatment combinations that included ABC/3TC were not as effective in controlling the virus as those on regimens containing FTC/TDF. This was the DSMB’s primary concern. Secondarily, the DSMB found that among participants with a high viral load at screening, those receiving ABC/3TC experienced a shorter time to developing non-specific side effects, such as body aches, and laboratory test abnormalities, such as elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, than those receiving FTC/TDF. In general, these side effects were obvious to participants or the study physicians and would have been readily managed or treated.

The DSMB had no safety concerns regarding EFV or ATV/r and recommended that study participants in the lower viral load group who were taking ABC/3TC should continue with their assigned treatment regimen.

Based on its findings, the DSMB recommended that all participants who had high viral loads at screening be told which treatment regimen they are receiving and stop taking their placebo pill. The DSMB also recommended that those participants receiving ABC/3TC who had high viral loads at screening be counseled on what the DSMB findings might mean for them and possibly be shifted to another regimen, if appropriate. Finally, the DSMB recommended that the remainder of the study continue as originally designed. NIAID concurred with the DSMB’s recommendations.

ACTG has notified the site investigators and the affected study participants of the DSMB’s recommendations. In consultation with the site study teams and their physicians, these participants may continue taking ABC/3TC, switch to FTC/TDF or switch to alternative antiretroviral combinations.

NIAID Modifies HIV Antiretroviral Treatment Study – The Body

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Posted by pozlife on November 1, 2007

Jan Ostermann, PhD, MS; Virender Kumar, PhD, MPH; Brian Wells Pence, PhD, MPH; Kathryn Whetten, PhD, MPH

Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:2128-2135.

Background Increasing the rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing among groups not traditionally perceived as being at high risk has been advanced as a primary strategy in the effort to combat the HIV epidemic.

Methods We conducted a pooled cross-sectional analysis of data from 146 868 participants aged 18 to 64 years in the 2000-2005 National Health Interview Surveys to describe longitudinal trends in HIV testing rates in the US population and differences between planned and actual testing across demographic and risk groups. Multivariable logistic models were estimated to assess correlates of perceived risk for HIV infection and planned and actual HIV testing. Difference-in-differences models examine how differences between planned and actual testing varied with demographic characteristics, perceived risk, alcohol consumption, depression, and health behaviors and access.

Results Rates of HIV testing remained relatively unchanged from 2000 to 2005 (mean rates for lifetime and past year, 37% and 10%, respectively) and varied substantially by sex and race, with female and minority (nonwhite) populations more likely to get tested. Rates were higher in individuals reporting greater risks of HIV infection. However, even among respondents reporting medium or high risks of contracting HIV, less than 25% reported an HIV test in the previous year. Those with a higher perceived risk, more alcohol consumption, and more depressive symptoms had higher rates of both planned and actual testing but also demonstrated the greatest deficit of actual relative to planned testing.

Conclusions In the United States, HIV testing rates remain low, nationally and in high-risk populations; low rates are likely contributing to a substantial number of undiagnosed cases of HIV. Despite above-average testing rates, populations considered to be at increased risk for HIV infection still demonstrate the need for improved access to and utilization of testing.

Author Affiliations: Health Inequalities Program, Center for Health Policy (Drs Ostermann, Pence, and Whetten), Department of Community and Family Medicine (Drs Ostermann and Whetten), Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy (Drs Pence and Whetten), Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; and Westat (Dr Kumar), Rockville, Maryland.

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