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Gene therapy said to increase white blood cells in HIV patients
Date: 2012-09-13 22:42:18

The immune systems of a group of individuals who had received positive results from a STD test for HIV were significantly enhanced by gene therapy, according to an article from MedPage Today. The news source got this information from scientists presenting at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Researchers from the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Port St. Lucie, Florida hope these preliminary findings on inducing the production of more white blood, or T cells, in HIV patients could lead to an ability to bring their immune systems back to normal someday.

However, after examining the Institute's data, Douglas Ward, MD, of the Washington state-based Dupont Circle Physician's Group told MedPage Today that "the concept that you can improve the immune response in HIV" shows promise, although he questions the significance of this particular study.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that by the end of 2008, more than 1 million U.S. residents over the age of 13 had gotten a positive result from an STD test for HIV. The agency also says that about 50,000 new cases of HIV are reported in the U.S. every year.

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Drug use and poverty don't affect HIV care
Date: 2012-09-28 22:05:20

Patients who screened positive on STD testing for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) respond well to contemporary treatment options, regardless of low income or a tendency to use intravenous drugs, according to a 15-year study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

"Contemporary HIV care can markedly improve the health of persons living with HIV regardless of their gender, race, risk group or socioeconomic status," said Richard Moore of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Although 92 percent of the patients in the Baltimore clinic that the study focused on had low incomes as of 2010, the patients who the survey studied have an average life expectancy of 73 years. Although, the researchers say it's noteworthy that this increased duration of survival only applies to patients who consistently showed up to their appointments for treatment.

High instances of affirmative STD testing can be especially worrisome for low-income communities that are near prisons. A 2007 study from the University of New South Wales found that, in 20 of the more than 100 countries they surveyed, the prevalence of HIV in prisons can be more than 10 percent due to widespread use of illegal intravenous drugs.

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Meningitis results in death of New York City HIV patient
Date: 2012-09-28 21:58:34

An outbreak of meningitis in New York City has left one man severely ill, two others infected and one dead within the last four weeks. All four of the affected men had, at an earlier point, received a positive result from an STD test for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and are between the ages of 31 and 42.

"People living with HIV are at a greater risk than the general population of acquiring invasive meningococcal disease and if infected, dying from infection," reads the statement from the New York State Health Department. "This disease is spread by prolonged close contact with nose or throat discharges from an infected person."

The state health department urges anyone who suspects they've been infected with meningitis to seek medical attention immediately.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that meningitis symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. The agency reports that a normal immune system can fend off meningitis within 10 days, but individuals who have gotten unfavorable results from an STD test for HIV are at greater risk for serious illness, and the virus took the lives of three other New York City residents last year.

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HIV patients shown to be more susceptible to salmonella
Date: 2012-10-01 22:36:52

Those living in Africa who have screened positive for AIDS through STD testing are at risk for a mutated and potentially fatal form of salmonella. These findings have been released as part of the journal Nature Genetics.

The infection, which scientists call invasive non-typhoidal salmonella (iNTS), ends the lives of at least 22 percent of the African people it infects, and could be killing as many as 45 percent.

"Our findings suggest the current epidemic of iNTS and its transmission across sub-Saharan Africa may have been potentiated by an increase in the critical population of susceptible immune-compromised people," said Robert Kingsley, an associate of study co-author Chinyere Okoro, linking the prevalence of fatal salmonella to the African AIDS epidemic.

The scientists note that this particular strain of salmonella may have developed immunity to the normally applied first set of antibiotics, which allows it to survive for far longer than it would without this trait. In addition to an affirmative screening for AIDS through STD testing, malnourishment and malaria could also be contributing to the reason why the mortality rate of salmonella is substantially higher in sub-Saharan Africa than it is in the rest of the world.

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Methadone shown to lower the chance of spreading HIV
Date: 2012-10-06 20:34:55

A drug prescribed for pain and to help individuals who are addicted to more dangerous opiates could also help people whose STD tests detected the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) avoid transferring the illness.

Although Methadone has helped some people end heroin habits, and is now said to help contain the spread of HIV, it can be dangerous itself. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that one-third of the more than 15,500 prescription overdose-related deaths that occur in the U.S. every year can be attributed to Methadone.

In the meta-study published in the British Medical Journal, an international team of researchers examined nine prior studies from several countries. The information gathered showed a more than 50 percent reduced chance of receiving an STD test result showing a new HIV infection among users of intravenous drugs undergoing opiate substitution therapies, often involving Methadone.

"These results are important given that increases in HIV incidence have been reported among people who inject drugs in a number of countries in recent years, where opiate substitution therapies are illegal or severely restricted," said the study's lead author, Matthew Hickman, from the University of Bristol.

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HIV drug could help breast cancer patients
Date: 2012-10-09 15:05:12

Individuals who have undergone blood tests that detected biomarkers indicating the presence of breast cancer tumors could have a new treatment option related to drugs originally designed for people whose STD tests came out positive for HIV, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Previous studies have shown the drug, Nelfinavir, which inhibits a type of protein in patients who have taken HIV-confirming STD tests, can help reduce the expansion of some types of cancers. However, researchers say their experiments on mice are the first to demonstrate its implications for patients whose blood tests for breast cancer brought up unfortunate results.

"With a relatively low toxicity profile and much available information on its drug-drug interactions and on pharmacokinetics, Nelfinavir is ready for clinical testing in HER2 breast cancer patients," wrote the study authors, before noting that their findings have "important implications in the development of Nelfinavir and its analogs as new anticancer agents."

This is not the only recent study showing that medications for HIV could also be used to treat breast cancer. In July, scientists at Thomas Jefferson University said HIV drugs helped treat patients with triple negative breast cancer, which is particularly difficult to survive, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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CDC issues recommendations for high-risk heterosexual couples' use of HIV medication
Date: 2012-08-13 14:52:50
One month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the HIV medication Truvada as a preventive measure among high-risk individuals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a set of recommendations for the drug's use among high-risk heterosexual couples. Truvada, along with regular STD testing, may be beneficial for serodiscordant couples, in which one individual is HIV-positive and the other is negative, as reported by HealthDay.... Full Story

Truvada receives approval for prevention of HIV
Date: 2012-07-17 13:19:26
At-risk individuals who are HIV-negative may now protect themselves from infection with the help of the antiretroviral Truvada, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This medication must be combined with safer sex practices and regular STD testing.... Full Story

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