UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
AIDS Daily Summary March 4, 1997 The CDC National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention makes available the following information as a public service only. Providing this information does not constitute endorsement by the CDC. Reproduction of this text is encouraged; however, copies may not be sold, and the CDC National AIDS Clearinghouse should be cited as the source of this information. Copyright 1996, Information, Inc., Bethesda, MD ****************************************************** "Unit Gets FDA Approval for Genital-Warts Therapy" "Researchers Say Drug Helps AIDS Patients Live Longer" "Facing the Questions of Medical Marijuana" "A Trek Across U.S. to Help AIDS Children" "'Morning After' Pill for AIDS" "Revocation of Needle-Exchange Ban in U.S. Called Urgent Public Health Priority" "Marijuana Advocates Say San Jose, Calif. Club Will Still Open" "Hodgkin's Disease May Be an AIDS-Defining Illness" "AIDS and the British Healthcare System" "Taking Control" ****************************************************** "Unit Gets FDA Approval for Genital-Warts Therapy" Wall Street Journal (03/04/97) P. B4 A division of Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing has been given clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to market a treatment for genital warts, a sexually transmitted disease. The company said that Aldara (imiquimod) offers some advantages over most current treatments, although no cure for the condition is available. Genital warts often go into remission and reappear years later. Approximately 750,000 new cases of the highly contagious viral disease occur in the United States each year. "Researchers Say Drug Helps AIDS Patients Live Longer" Baltimore Sun (03/04/97) P. 2A A drug used to treat overdoses of the pain reliever acetaminophen may help AIDS patients live longer, Stanford University researchers report in the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers found that patients treated with N-acetylcysteine, or NAC, survived longer than those who did not receive the drug. "Facing the Questions of Medical Marijuana" Miami Herald (03/03/97) P. 1A; Smith, Stephen As the national debate over the medical use of marijuana continues, eight people across the country are receiving 300 joints a month as part of a federal program. Cancer patient Irvin Rosenfeld of Boca Raton, FL, is one of the eight and says he feels that "without the marijuana, I would be dead. And I'm still a good and productive member of society." The federal government has opposed state initiatives to legalize marijuana for medical use--a policy that has been criticized by the New England Journal of Medicine, which called federal prohibitions "misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane." A synthetic form of THC, the major active ingredient in marijuana, has been found to be beneficial for patients with AIDS and cancer. Although THC is available as the medicine Marinol, advocates of medical marijuana say that smoked marijuana is more effective. "A Trek Across U.S. to Help AIDS Children" Houston Chronicle (03/03/97) P. 13A; Milling, T.J. Louie Rochon, 43, is undertaking a cross-country walk to benefit the Children with AIDS Project, a charity he chose after hearing several stories of children who were discriminated against because they were HIV-positive. "Every kid, even if they're going to die, deserves a loving home," he said. Rochon, who started the walk in Miami on Sept. 16, is now 1,200 miles into the 5,200-mile trek, which will end in Seattle. Rochon said he decided to make the journey "because I was asking myself, 'What's the meaning of life? Can one man make a difference?'" "'Morning After' Pill for AIDS" United Press International (03/03/97); Wasowicz, Lidia A study to test the efficacy of "morning-after" drug therapy for people who are accidentally exposed to HIV is slated to begin soon in San Francisco. As part of the trial, researchers at the San Francisco General Hospital will recruit individuals exposed to HIV as the result of one incident of risky behavior. The study participants will receive a 30-day supply of AZT and 3TC, with the hope that the treatment may prevent the virus from taking hold. HIV prevention advocates warn that the therapy could reverse the trend toward safe behaviors, but researchers say the strategy is worthwhile. Studies of similar preventive therapy for health care workers who are accidentally exposed to HIV on the job have shown that the drugs dramatically reduce the risk of infection. "Revocation of Needle-Exchange Ban in U.S. Called Urgent Public Health Priority" Reuters (03/03/97) Nearly 10,000 HIV infections in the United States could have been prevented between 1987 and 1995 if needle exchange programs had been established, report Drs. Peter Lurie and Ernest Drucker in this week's issue of the Lancet. Lurie, of the University of California at San Francisco, and Drucker, of Montefiore in the Bronx, estimate that between 4,394 and 9,666 preventable HIV infections occurred during this time period and that 88 percent of these infections were tied to injection drug users. The researchers also estimated that the U.S. health care system would spend between $244 million and $538 million on the infected individuals. They say that if the ban on the use of federal funds for needle exchanges is not lifted by 2000, the number of new preventable HIV infections will reach between 5,150 and 11,329. "Marijuana Advocates Say San Jose, Calif., Club Will Still Open" Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News (03/03/97); Mercado, Tony A proposed cannabis buyers' club will open in San Jose, CA, and has received a $5,000 donation from a member of the San Francisco club, according to activists Peter Baez and Jesse Garcia. The money will be used to purchase a computer and photo identification camera to keep clients on file. The donor reportedly has AIDS and has had to travel to Santa Cruz to get marijuana. Baez and Garcia discounted recent reports that the owner of the building where the club is to be located has withdrawn his offer to have marijuana legally sold out of his residence. "Hodgkin's Disease May Be an AIDS-Defining Illness" Reuters (03/03/97) Italian researchers have reported findings that support U.S. studies suggesting that an excess incidence of Kaposi's sarcoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas is found in HIV patients. The Italian study also revealed that HIV-positive patients have a higher incidence of Hodgkin's disease compared with the general population. Dr. Diego Serraino of Aviano and colleagues reported that Hodgkin's disease was 38 times more frequent in HIV patients. As a result, Serraino said that the "question [of whether the disease should at least be considered for the list of AIDS-defining illnesses] deserves serious attention." "AIDS and the British Healthcare System" Journal of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (02/97) Vol. 3, No. 2, P. 34; Youle, Mike A variety of competing health-related pressures in the United Kingdom indicate that the country's response to the AIDS epidemic appears threatened and may not be adequate to implement new advances in treatment, according to Mike Youle, associate specialist and clinical trials coordinator in HIV medicine at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. The UK budget for AIDS treatment in 1997-1998 has been increased by 7.7 percent, after being cut by 8 percent in 1996. The UK has one of Europe's least serious AIDS epidemics, possibly due to the success of early prevention efforts in the gay community and the introduction of needle exchange programs in 1987. The British National Health Service is also credited with establishing a network of clinics and specialist services for gay men, which developed into HIV clinics. These centers bridge the gap between primary and secondary HIV prevention, and focus on sexually transmitted disease prevention and treatment for HIV patients. However, these centers have also led to the localization of funding and treatment standards, which may contribute to the low level of antiretroviral use. Moreover, UK hospitals are increasingly being faced with HIV-infected Africans and Asians, challenging facilities that have largely treated gay men in the past. Because of the ease with which EU nationals can obtain treatment in the country, people diagnosed in Great Britain are significantly less likely to go back to their home countries for care. Other potential problems, Youle notes, are the lack of widespread HIV testing in the United Kingdom, as compared to the United States and Australia, and what some claim to be a culture of dependency created by the British health and welfare system. "Taking Control" Emerge (03/97) Vol. 8, No. 5, P. 57; Norris, Michele L. Rae Lewis-Thornton, an African American spokeswoman for HIV prevention, says she decided to talk publicly about her disease, after living with HIV for 10 years, because she wanted to help eliminate the shame and stigma surrounding AIDS. Lewis-Thornton has relied on success throughout her life to deal with pain--the abuse she suffered at home, the rape she suffered in college, and now, the effects of AIDS. Despite setbacks, she went on to earn a college degree and was hired to work for Jesse Jackson's 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns and for Carol Moseley-Braun's senatorial campaign. However, bouts of pneumonia for which she has been hospitalized have forced her to face the pain of AIDS. Her husband of two years, Kenny Thornton, has helped her remain active as much as possible, quitting his job to care for Lewis-Thornton and manage her speaking schedule. When speaking to audiences, Lewis-Thornton uses her polished good looks to capture her audience's attention, then exposes them to the darker images of AIDS--the herpes, hemorrhoids, depression, and fatigue. "People need to hear the crudeness of AIDS," she says, "I don't want people to become deceived ... I want people walking away saying, 'I don't ever want to get AIDS.'"