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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.

... Full Story

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.

... Full Story

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