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News You Can Use: ADAP, Newborns, Assault Charges Dismissed

News You Can Use: ADAP, Newborns, Assault Charges Dismissed


A roundup of recent news on health, HIV, and AIDS

*Newborn children of HIV-positive mothers are less likely to contract the virus if the infants are given a combination of AZT and one or two other drugs within 48 hours of birth. A UCLA-led study found that giving an infant either AZT with nevirapine or AZT with nelfinavir and lamivudine reduced the risk of HIV transmission by about half compared with giving AZT alone.

* The Obama administration will allot nearly $80 million in grants to increased HIV/AIDS care access, particularly for low-income people. Most will go toward eliminating AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting lists in 25 states and territories. The rest will be distributed to community-based health clinics nationwide.

*The Scripps Research Institute has been awarded a grant of more than $77 million from the National Institutes of Health for a seven-year project to develop an HIV vaccine. The Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology & Immunogen Discovery will research immune responses that can prevent infection with the virus or control it in infected people.

*Researchers have identified a critical factor in the development of cardiovascular disease in people with HIV. Microbial translocation, or bacteria leaking from the intestine into the bloodstream, causes chronic inflammation and can drive the development of such disease in HIV-positive people.

*Los Angeles County will vote in November on a measure that would require condom use by adult-film performers. Producers would have to obtain public-health and film permits that would allow county officials to inspect sets and enforce the condom law. The measure is part of an ongoing campaign by groups such as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and For Adult Industry Responsibility for steps to reduce the spread of STDs, including HIV, among performers in pornography.

*Eighty-one countries increased their domestic spending on AIDS by more than 50% between 2006 and 2011, according to a new report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. Low- and middle-income countries invested $8.6 billion in responding to HIV/AIDS in 2011, an 11% increase from 2010.

*The New York Court of Appeals has dismissed an HIV-positive man’s conviction on a charge of aggravated assault for biting a police officer. The charge arose from David Plunkett’s altercation with an officer in 2006; his saliva was considered a “dangerous instrument” because he has HIV, although the officer did not become infected. The court clarified that saliva does not qualify as a dangerous instrument under the law and sent the case back to a lower court for resentencing. Plunkett has been serving a 10-year term.

*A community board has approved a design for an AIDS memorial in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The design includes a triangular “living canopy” of climbing plants on a trellis, calling to mind the triangle used by the activist group ACT UP with its “Silence=Death” slogan. On the ground beneath will be granite inscribed with facts about the disease, which has taken the lives of tens of thousands of New Yorkers. The memorial will be part of a larger city park.

 - Compiled by Camille Beredjick

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Camille Beredjick