UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
AIDS Daily Summary May 15, 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 1997, Information, Inc., Bethesda, MD ****************************************************** "Doctor Plans to Open Profit-Making Centers for Treatment of AIDS and H.I.V. Patients" "Vaccine for HIV Might Always Elude Researchers' Efforts" "Tuskegee Survivors Make Trek to Capital for Apology" "Health-Care Entrepreneur Plans to Open a Chain of For-Profit AIDS Clinics: [NY Blood Center to Close Test Lab]" "New Study Downplays Medical Benefit of Marijuana" "White House Backs AIDS Amendment" "AIDS List Sender Gets 60 Days in Jail" "Prostitution Crimes: Bill Would Force More Testing for HIV" "AIDS Trials Ethics Questioned" "Urinary Stones in HIV-1-Positive Patients Treated With Indinavir" ****************************************************** "Doctor Plans to Open Profit-Making Centers for Treatment of AIDS and H.I.V. Patients" New York Times (05/15/97) P. A35; Fein, Esther B. Dr. Bernard Salick, the entrepreneur that brought for-profit cancer treatment to New York, plans to launch a chain of for-profit AIDS and HIV treatment centers in the city within the next three months. Salick has already enlisted Dr. David Ho, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in Manhattan, and is in negotiations with several New York medical centers in an effort to find a location. Ho will serve as Salick's principle adviser, while retaining his current position as director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in Manhattan. Salick's long-term plans include finding a vaccine and cure for AIDS, and opening additional treatment centers in Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco. "Vaccine for HIV Might Always Elude Researchers' Efforts" Washington Times (05/15/97) P. A10; Price, Joyce Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of HIV and director of the University of Maryland's Institute of Human Virology, said on Tuesday that scientists may never develop an effective vaccine against HIV. The remarks, made at a vaccine symposium held in Washington D.C., were later followed by comments from Gallo that indicated he did believe a vaccine would eventually be found. Nevertheless, the contention among many AIDS researchers is that developing a vaccine against the virus that causes AIDS is likely, but difficult, and not in the immediate future. "Because of the difficulties, I said that I couldn't see we'd have one before the beginning of the 21st century," said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Tuskegee Survivors Make Trek to Capital for Apology" USA Today (05/15/97) P. 6A; Kasindorf, Martin Despite entreaties from the elderly survivors of the Tuskegee syphilis study for President Clinton to deliver his apology for the event in Alabama, where it took place, the apology will be delivered in the White House Rose Garden. As a result, only four of the eight survivors of the racist study will be in attendance on Friday--Charlie Pollard, age 91; Carter Howard, 93; Herman Shaw, 94; and Fred Simmons, 100. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will cover their travel expenses, while providing a satellite telecast to the four frailest survivors who will remain in Tuskegee. "Health-Care Entrepreneur Plans to Open a Chain of For-Profit AIDS Clinics: [NY Blood Center to Close Test Lab]" New York Times (05/15/97) P. A34; Altman, Lawrence K. Officials of the New York Blood Center said Wednesday that the center will close its Manhattan laboratory responsible for screening blood for such infectious diseases as HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis, and outsource the testing to an independent lab. The lab will close within 60 to 90 days, though the blood center will remain open. The blood center collects and distributes approximately 85 percent of the blood products supplied to the greater New York area. Allegations of improper testing procedures at the lab first circulated last November. In December, the blood center entered a consent decree with the FDA to institute changes needed to bring it into compliance with federal laws and regulations "New Study Downplays Medical Benefit of Marijuana" Baltimore Sun (05/15/97) P. 11A New research published in Wednesday's edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that smoking marijuana has less medical benefit than taking the drug's active ingredient, THC, in its pure form, which is the prescription drug dronabinol. Moreover, neither is beneficial when side effects are taken into account. Researchers from the International Drug Strategy Institute, an anti-drug think tank, noted that THC has been shown to be useful for such things as fighting nausea after chemotherapy and increasing appetite in AIDS patients, but its medical value is limited by its intoxicating effects. At least one proponent of the use of marijuana for medical purposes said the study's authors were biased. "White House Backs AIDS Amendment" Washington Times (05/15/97) P. A10 A House amendment to the $5.5 billion flood disaster bill has been proposed by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and backed by the White House. The amendment would provide an additional $68 million to a program that offers AIDS drugs to low-income patients. "AIDS List Sender Gets 60 Days in Jail" Washington Times (05/15/97) P. A10 Gregory Wentz, the former funeral home director found guilty of sending a confidential list of some 4,000 AIDS patients to the media to spite a former lover, has been sentenced to 60 days in prison. He will remain free pending his appeal. "Prostitution Crimes: Bill Would Force More Testing for HIV" St. Louis Post-Dispatch (05/14/97) P. 2B A bill sent by the Missouri legislature to Gov. Mel Carnahan would make HIV-testing a potential bond requirement for anyone arrested more than once for prostitution-related crime. The bill would also clarify the state's laws regarding reckless spread of HIV, and would boost penalties for adults who willfully infect minors. "AIDS Trials Ethics Questioned" Science (04/25/97) Vol. 276, No. 5312, P. 520; Cohen, Jon With the remarkable success of new AIDS treatment options, AIDS researchers and drug testers face the ethical dilemma of whether it is wrong to provide patients with trial drugs that are less effective than the proven therapies. Even as the AIDS treatment community strives to overhaul the nature of its trials, many critics say too often drug developers knowingly conduct tests focusing on "suboptimal" therapies. Joep Lange, of the University of Amsterdam, has been particularly scathing in his criticism of drug developers. Citing the consensus that combination therapies have proven most successful delaying drug resistance in AIDS patients, Lange and other like-minded researchers say that tests lacking this approach are unethical and endanger patients. Other researchers contest this view, saying that since anti-HIV drugs affect everybody differently, clinical trials must focus on a wide array of treatment options to establish which option is best for each patient. Thus, a treatment with moderate anti-HIV power must still be tested because it could turn out to be a valuable weapon against the disease due a particular patient's physiological disposition or history of treatment. "Urinary Stones in HIV-1-Positive Patients Treated With Indinavir" Lancet (05/03/97) Vol. 349, No. 9061, P. 1294; Daudon, M.; Estepa, L.; Viard, J. P.; et al. Researchers recently studied indinavir sulphate, a protease inhibitor, as part of a combination treatment for HIV-1-positive patients. They found that more than 100 HIV-infected patients of a large therapeutic program in France developed renal colic and/or passed radiolucent urinary stones within one to 20 weeks after the initiation of treatment. Only three of the patients had a past history of urinary stones. The occurrence of the stones, however, was not an unexpected event, as the risk has been noted in a document from the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products.