UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
AIDS Daily Summary May 12, 1994 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National AIDS Clearinghouse makes available the following information as a public service only. Providing this information does not constitute endorsement by the CDC, the CDC Clearinghouse, or any other organization. Reproduction of this text is encouraged; however, copies may not be sold, and the CDC Clearinghouse should be cited as the source of this information. Copyright 1994, Information, Inc., Bethesda, MD "AIDS Researchers Seek Redirection of Efforts Toward Learning Basics of the Disease" New York Times (05/12/94) P. A20; Kolata, Gina Top scientists from around the country are forming a new consensus that America's $1.3 billion AIDS research program is on the wrong track and in need of redirection. Dr. Bernard Fields, chairman of the department of microbiology and molecular genetics at Harvard Medical School, has drafted a blueprint for change that advocates a broadened definition of AIDS research. The hope is that a broader look at the disease could bring a new understanding to the disease process. In the first decade, writes Fields, government's main approach to research was to "isolate the virus, develop a vaccine, and prevent the virus"--a straightforward approach that was successful in combating polio. Quick testing of potential AIDS drugs and vaccines, however, yielded only widespread frustrations and a growing sense that AIDS was much more complicated than scientists first suspected. Now, Fields says, the focus should be placed on understanding the basic biology of HIV and AIDS. How the virus enters the cell, for example, is still a mystery. Many other leading researchers, including Dr. Harold Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. William Paul, the newly appointed head of the Office of AIDS Research, say they endorse Fields' comments. Federal AIDS administrators say they expect to make some changes according to Fields' suggestions. "10-Year Sentence for Spreading AIDS" Washington Post (05/12/94) P. B6 A Petersburg, Va., court yesterday handed down a 10-year prison sentence to a man who had unprotected sexual intercourse with three teenage girls without informing them of his HIV-positive status. Johnny M. Webb, 28, pleaded no contest to sodomy, statutory rape, indecent liberties, and two counts of attempted murder. According to Petersburg Commonwealth's Attorney Cassandra S. Burns, he is the first person to be prosecuted in the state for spreading HIV. Burns said she recommended no more than 10 years of prison time for Webb because he was already exhibiting symptoms of AIDS during his February trial. Two of the girls that Webb had sex with have tested positive for HIV. Related Story: USA Today (05/12) P. 7A. "Aging--AIDS" Associated Press (05/12/94); Martinez, James Instances AIDS among people aged 50 and older account for 10 percent of the national tally of AIDS cases, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the number of new AIDS cases among younger people has been steadily declining, they are on the upswing among older Americans. According to Dr. William Adler of the National Institutes of Health, this trend can be partially attributed to the fact that older gays in particular have not embraced safe sex and have not modified their behavior patterns. With most AIDS education efforts still targeting young people, this trend is likely to continue, he says. Ann Prochilo, director of educational services for the Health Crisis Network in Miami, agrees. "They are a segment of the population that hasn't identified with the crisis," she says. "Just like it took time for heterosexuals to realize it's not just gays and drug users who can get it, it will take time for older people to realize they can get it, too." She notes that only now are support groups, education campaigns, and other social services beginning to target older people. The American Association of Retired Persons has begun its own campaign, through which it compiles AIDS information for its members, and is in the process of making an educational video. "There seems to be an otherness factor to this disease across the board," says the AARP's Judy Fink. "We need to realize this as an international crisis." "Julio & Marisol: AIDS Drama Unfolds" United Press International (05/11/94); Connor, Tracy Officials at the New York City Health Department have released the much-anticipated sixth and seventh episodes of "Decision," a innovative and popular comic strip about AIDS awareness that debuted in the city's subways four years ago. The latest installments continue the saga of Julio and Marisol, two estranged young lovers who clashed over safe-sex precautions. In the couple's first appearance in May 1990, Julio storms out of Marisol's apartment after she refuses to have sex without a condom. In subsequent strips, the pair discovers that one friend has died of AIDS and another friend, Raul, is dying. In the last episode, earlier this year, Julio and Marisol reconcile after meeting in Raul's hospital room, and a new character, Rosa, confesses to Raul that she has HIV. The newest installments, which were released Wednesday, reveal that Rosa is actually an ex-girlfriend of Julio's who is ashamed to tell him about her HIV status. According to Health Department spokesman Steve Matthews, it takes three to four months to create and execute new episodes for the soap-opera-style strip. He says the department welcomes ideas from the public and will continue to put out the strip as long as they see interest. "The company that handles advertising for the [subway system] tells us they know the episodes are popular because they're stolen in great numbers," says Matthews. He adds that the pictorial novellas, originally targeted at Latinos, have been translated into English by popular demand. "Chicago Tattoo Artist Calls Proposal to Require License "Nonsensical"" Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News (05/09/94); Krol, Eric Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are no documented cases of AIDS being transmitted through tattooing, a Illinois proposal that would require tattooists to be licensed and comply with safety standards is winding its way through the legislative process. The bill would require tattooists to pay a $200 licensing fee and adhere to cleanliness and sterilization guidelines. Doctors, alarmed by the potential spread of AIDS and hepatitis through dirty needles, feel regulation of the tattoo industry is long overdue. But North Side tattoo artist "Mad" Jack Kaplan, who has been in the business for 15 years, calls the proposal "nonsensical," and says it is based on ignorance of the trade. He says that, in his parlor, tattoo artists wear latex gloves at all times and conduct the entire process using sterilized needles kept in plain view. Mick Beasley, president of the Alliance of Professional Tattoists, claims the state standards for cleanliness and sterilization are inadequate. Her group uses an oven-like steam-pressure device known as an autoclave to sterilize instruments and kill bacteria. The state's guidelines, which would require only dry heat sterilization, would be ineffective against bacteria, she says. "Catholic Charities Announces Three New Contracts" Business Wire (05/09/94) Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco has presented two new services in San Mateo County for AIDS patients. One is a six-bed residential AIDS program; the other is a service to provide food and emergency funding for people living with AIDS. The contracts were made possible through the federal government's Ryan White CARE Act. "Catholic Charities is committed to serving those in need during the HIV/AIDS epidemic," says Bob Nelson, director of AIDS services. "We are proud of our track record in helping this population and are committed to reaching all people in need without discrimination on any basis." "Medical Briefs: Life Quality With AZT Studied" Advocate (05/03/94) No. 654, P. 33 Among patients who take AZT, the reduction in the quality of life caused by severe side effects is equally balanced with the improved quality of life associated with delayed disease progression, according to a recent study of 1,338 patients enrolled in a clinical trial of the drug. The results of the study calculate the average time in which neither a progression of disease nor an adverse event occurred was 15.7 months for patients receiving a placebo, 15.6 months for patients receiving 500 mg of AZT, and 14.8 months for patients receiving 1,500 mg of AZT. Adverse events were identified either as symptoms or abnormal laboratory findings. After 18 months, the group receiving 500 mg of AZT gained an average of half a month without disease progression in comparison to the placebo group. "With More Businesses Having to Accommodate HIV-Positive Employees, Companies Need Guidelines to Address Federal Disability Laws and Privacy Rights" National Law Journal (05/09/94) Vol. 16, No. 36, P. B5; Klein, Jeffrey S.; Baer, Lawrence J. Two-thirds of companies with 2,500 to 5,000 employees and 1 in 12 businesses with 500 or fewer employees say they have had at least one HIV-infected individual on their payroll. These statistics emphasize the importance of every company having an employment policy that includes guidelines for the treatment of HIV-positive employees. Such guidelines are necessary to ensure that infected employees are protected in accordance with applicable laws--such as the Americans With Disabilities Act--and that the company's liability in relation to HIV-related claims is minimal. At the very least, firms should develop policies to address the requirements of the Medical Leave Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Acts, and the ADA--which requires employers to reasonably accommodate an HIV-infected employee. The only exceptions occur if such an accommodation would result in "undue hardship" to the employer or a "direct threat" to the health or safety of the employee or others in the workplace. A number of recent cases, however, have made it clear that an irrational fear of infection, unsupported by scientific fact, will not be considered a direct threat under the ADA.