Got Tested by Sold Out Creations #HIV #AIDS #Memphis custom #shirt king (Taken with Instagram at Memphis, TN)
In 2006, an HIV-positive man was diagnosed with leukemia. First he received chemotherapy, and when the cancer returned his doctor recommended a stem-cell transplant with tissues obtained from a bone-marrow donor. After finding an unusually high number of compatible donors, his doctor, Gero Hütter, had a simple idea that would change the course of HIV research. Dr. Hütter knew of a rare genetic mutation that confers immunity to many strains of HIV, including the strain that infected his cancer patient. And new blood cells, including immune cells, are manufactured by bone marrow. What if he could find a bone-marrow donor with this mutation? What effect would it have on the HIV infection?
Five years after his cancer diagnosis, the man, known as the Berlin patient and recently identified as Timothy Ray Brown, is in remission from cancer … and the most sensitive tests have been unable to detect HIV anywhere in his body, despite the discontinuation of antiretroviral drugs. Scientists are a cautious lot, careful not to make grand statements without qualifying them with words like “seem” and “suggest.” But more and more, researchers are starting to say that Brown could be the first case in which a cure for HIV was attained.
My favorite display from the CDC museum
Safe, protected sex helps prevent the transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases. Safe sex also helps prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Teenagers are going to continue having sex, no matter how much abstinence-only education they get. Let’s keep them informed about their options, starting with an emphasis on safe, protected sex to prevent unwanted pregnancy and the transmission of STIs. And let’s give them alternative options for more “wholesome” activities by promoting after-school programs, maintaining art programs at schools, and getting them interested in and excited about what else makes them special individuals.
Can stem cells cure AIDS? Not yet. But a provocative new study shows that human stem cells can be genetically engineered to attack living cells infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
“We believe that this study lays the groundwork for the potential use of this type of an approach in combating HIV infection in infected individuals, in hopes of eradicating the virus from the body,” study author Dr. Scott G. Kitchen, assistant professor of medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, said in a written statement released by the university.
For the “proof-of-principle” study, Dr. Kitchen’s team implanted genetically engineered human blood stem cells into “humanized” mice, rodents in which HIV infection and the resulting disease resemble what happens in HIV-infected humans.
When the researchers checked the mice’s blood, plasma, and organs weeks later, they found an increase in levels of so-called CD4 “helper” T cells—infection-fighting cells that become depleted as a result of HIV infection. At the same time, levels of HIV fell.
The finding, published in the journal PLoS Pathogens, comes more than a year after The Huffington Post reported that an HIV-positive man known as the “Berlin patient” was apparently cured of his infection by a stem cell transplant.
Just how significant is the new finding?
In an email to The Huffington Post, renowned AIDS researcher Dr. Nathaniel R. Landau, professor of microbiology at New York University Langone Medical Center, called it “a remarkable demonstration of the power we are developing to alter how our bodies work. That is, that you can in the laboratory do something that will educate the cells of the immune system to recognize a specific pathogen.”
Many obstacles must be overcome before the research might lead to a real-world cure for AIDS, Dr. Landau said, adding that “This is not something that will be ready for patients this year or next (maybe 4-5 years?).”
For now, the UCLA researchers plan to begin making genetically engineered T cells that target different parts of HIV, according to the statement.
As of 2010, World Health Organization statistics show that 34 million people around the world were living with HIV infection. AIDS claimed 1.8 million lives in 2010.
“Temporary anti-retroviral therapy during the first stage of HIV infection can delay the time to long-term treatment, researchers reported.”
What Matters to You
We’re switching things up here at the magazine and one of our new pages is “What Matters to You.” Every month, we’ll take an issue and break it down to: the issue, why it (should) matter to you, and what you can do about it. First up, needle exchange.
Got ideas? Are there issues we’re not covering? Let me know.
“Medical breakthroughs in curing sickle-cell anemia and treating prostate cancer and HIV/AIDS may dramatically improve life for the millions of people struggling with these diseases, but there are significant barriers that may keep African Americans from receiving this new, high-quality care. This article is the third and last in a series about how health care costs, policies and even the structure of the health care system may increase, rather than decrease, the health disparities we face. To read other articles in the series, click here.
Barbara Joseph is smart and resourceful and has advocated so successfully for African-American women living with HIV/AIDS in Texas that a clinic in Houston bears her name. That’s why it’s all the more surprising that Joseph faces barriers to obtaining treatment and participating in a clinical trial — an act that might improve her health and teach scientists more about black women and HIV/AIDS.
An HIV/AIDS activist for 20 years, who has been living with the disease just as long, Joseph is also executive director of Positive Efforts, an organization that provides information on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for black women. Yet when asked if her organization had been approached about getting black women into clinical trials investigating cutting-edge HIV/AIDS treatments, Joseph said no. According to the nation’s leading advocates for black women living with the disease, there’s nothing unusual about that.
“Part of the argument for not making a greater effort to include women in research, until now, has been that prevalence rates among women were too low to justify a large focus on them,” says Dázon Dixon Diallo, founder and director of Sister Love in Atlanta, one of the oldest and largest organizations for women living with HIV/AIDS.
“But we now have the research to prove that we need to be included,” Dixon Diallo adds. She is referring to ISIS (Women’s HIV Seroincidence Study), released on March 8. ISIS researchers found that the rate of HIV/AIDS infection among black women living in Baltimore; Atlanta; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Washington, D.C.; Newark, N.J.; and New York City was five times higher than the rate previously reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Part of the problem,” Dixon Diallo says, “is also that the AIDS community is still a male-dominated culture. That’s one reason we formed 30 for 30, a coalition of women’s organizations working to ensure that at least 30 percent of the resources spent on HIIV/AIDS in the United States are spent on women — as we represent nearly 30 percent of the epidemic. But in terms of getting women into advanced research at elite academic institutions, we know a lot less about these small, early trials. That should say something about the process…” “
For more on this article click on the title.
Sex Is Good