Archive for aids

7th Grader Finds Where Mysterious California Infections Are Coming From

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NZ Pohutukawa

Image: http://www.nzplantpics.com

People living in Southern California have been falling ill from a mysterious fungus known as Cryptococcus grattii, which can cause deadly infections — particularly in HIV/AIDS patients with compromised immune systems — for years. The fungus is mysterious because it’s hard for scientists to pinpoint exactly where it comes from. Now, researchers, spearheaded by the science…

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Golden Showers Rain Down In Oregon GOP Party Race

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MannekinPisw259h222

When you gotta go, you gotta go -- pee, that is.

All candidates running for office, even the super wealthy ones, look for campaign contributions. That's just a given. But usually what they want from you is money. Not so with one candidate, Art Robinson. He wants you to send him your pee. Yes, your urine. I guess he wants to piss you off.

Art Robinson is the head of Oregon’s Republican Party. Pretty big job. He's also a congressional candidate (he's run twice, lost twice). But he's taking time from his third try going to Washington to solicit people’s urine for a scientific experiment. And not just Oregonian liquid waste. He wants volunteers from anywhere in the U.S. He's not particular where his contributions come from nor how large these are. I wonder if this is all part of the Citizens United ruling prohibiting limits on campaign contributions. 

Here's a look at how Rachel Maddow sees the situation:

In case you think this unorthodox candidate is a certifiable nut case, consider this: he's got followers. He's the Republicans choice in Oregon to seek a seat in the House. And how can you question this man's credentials? He's at the forefront of science. Among his discoveries is the secret information that AIDS was actually a government conspiracy. And one of his theorems is that radiation is a good thing. So good he's proposed it be put into water and sprinkled over the entire population.

And who said the GOP is anti-education? Anti-science. Global warming deniers?

So, take up Art Robinson on his quest to get you to do your share for man or womankind. Next time you have to relieve yourself, don't waste it. If it's brown, flush it down. But if it's yellow, send it to Art Robinson, currently in Oregon but ready to travel to Washington D.C., through your contributions.

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Marijuana - An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

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ounce of prevention

Now let me begin with I'm a skeptic when it comes to things like Dr. Whoopadoo's Snake Oil Elixir, good for whatever ails you. There's no panacea that does it all. At least I haven't found it. But I'd like to believe that good health and cures for all diseases are within our reach.

Now I read this on HUFFPO:

Marijuana has long been used to effectively treat symptoms associated with HIV, such as chronic pain and weight loss. But a growing body of research suggests the plant may be able to stop the spread of the disease itself.

Adding to these findings is a Louisiana State University study published last week in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses Scientists found that damage to immune tissue in the primates' stomachs, one of the most common areas in the body for HIV infection to spread, decreased.

Some of you may say, who cares? HIV is a "gay" disease, attributed to risky sexual behavior. Those queers deserve what they got. It's God's wrath. Well if you believe that, you don't need to read any farther. Go back to reading your Flat Earth Society Monthly periodical.

I suppose I attribute my being spared from HIV to my relatively normal, quite risk-free lifestyle. But hey, maybe my many years of smoking weed was actually helping me in ways of which I had no knowledge. Putting honesty above claims that marijuana saved me revelations, I'm glad to see these scientific research findings. And not for the reason you may think.

I'm glad because I come from the generation that saw so many die of HIV-related AIDS complications. It was the '80s and '90s. Being diagnosed with HIV was as close to a death sentence as you could get. There were no cocktails of meds that could save you. I saw friends die. Now, things are bit different.

So what if smoking grass could prevent this awful disease and its related complications? Wouldn't that be great?

Put aside the old thinking that marijuana is nothing more than a gateway drug. Of course it's got its drawbacks which, like the premature reports of Mark Twain's death, have been greatly exaggerated. It's not for everybody -- neither is alcohol or peanuts. There are also limits to be discussed. But with all the arguments against smoking cannabis, the movement to legalize it is a juggernaut. It's happening. The sooner the better.

If you're an opponent of legalization, I understand. You really don't have the facts. But give a bit of credence to the findings quoted above or this one below:

Similar research spearheaded by Molina in 2011 found that infected monkeys treated with THC had a better chance of surviving. And a report published in 2012 pointed to evidence that marijuana-like compounds can fight HIV in late-stage AIDS patients.

Let's face facts. Most of us aren't scientists. So being dubious is natural. If you have doubts about marijuana being nothing more than snake oil, that's your business. No one's forcing you to imbibe. Just don't stop others whom modern medical science show are being benefited by it. And not just HIV sufferers.

Last year, an oncologist from the United Kingdom found that marijuana compounds can kill cancer cells in leukemia patients, and scientists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco have conducted research that suggests those compounds can also effectively combat other forms of aggressive cancer.

If there's even the slightest bit of medical benefits to this drug, that's important to all of us. And if by some chance it actually does stop the spread of disease, let's make it available for anyone of legal age to have access to. It won't hurt you and it could ease a patient's pain or even prevent the spread of a deadly disease. The time is here. Let's take our heads out of the sand and back marijuana legalization when it comes up for a vote in your state. As they say, the life you save may just be your own.

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Experts: New treatment "could 'revolutionize' the search" for a cure for HIV/AIDS

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good news

Need a dose of good news? I mean other than the Democratic victories from last night's elections. Well, here's your dose now, pun intended.

This article from the BBC is about a paper that was published by a lab at the NIH in the journal, Nature. As the BBC article states, "The findings could 'revolutionize' the search for an HIV cure, says experts." Yes, this could be a potential cure for HIV/AIDS:

A potential new HIV treatment has a "profound and unprecedented" impact on the virus, according to animal studies published in the journal Nature.

Potent antibodies were able to wipe a hybrid of human and monkey immunodeficiency viruses from the bloodstream of monkeys within days.

The findings could "revolutionise" the search for an HIV cure, say experts. [...]

It may also be possible to devise a vaccine that could train the immune system to produce these antibodies.

Here is the link to the following NIH press release:

HIV Antibody Infusions Show Promise for Treating SHIV-Infected Monkeys

WHAT:

Two teams are reporting results from experiments in which they infused powerful anti-HIV antibodies into monkeys infected with an HIV-like virus, rapidly reducing the amount of virus, or viral load, to undetectable levels, where it remained for extended periods. One study was led by government scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the other was led by NIAID grantees at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Both teams worked with monkeys infected with simian human immunodeficiency virus, or SHIV, which can cause AIDS in monkeys. ...

In the study led by NIAID grantees, the antibody infusions reduced SHIV viral load to an undetectable level in 16 of 18 monkeys within just 7 days and kept it there for a median of 56 days, when the infused antibodies were gone. While the two monkeys with the highest viral loads at the outset of the study never achieved undetectable viral loads, the three monkeys with the lowest viral loads at the outset maintained stable, undetectable viral loads long after the infused antibodies were gone. The antibody infusions appeared both to improve the monkeys’ control of the virus and to reduce the presence of SHIV DNA in blood and tissues without generating SHIV resistance to the antibodies.

In the study led by NIAID scientists, infusion of a single antibody to 4 monkeys infected for 3 months quickly reduced SHIV viral load to undetectable levels for 4 to 7 days, but then virus reappeared and strains in two animals were antibody-resistant. Yet when two asymptomatic monkeys SHIV-infected for more than 3 years received an infusion of two antibodies, viral load fell to undetectable levels within 7 to 10 days and remained there for 18 to 36 days. A second infusion reduced viral load to undetectable levels for 4 to 28 days. When virus reappeared, strains in one monkey were antibody-resistant. Infusion of the same antibody pair into three monkeys SHIV-infected for more than 3 years and with AIDS symptoms provided modest or no benefit but did not generate resistance.

The studies’ authors now propose testing antibody-based immunotherapy in HIV-infected people and exploring the potential role of antibody infusions in curing people of HIV.

Here's a link to the science-jargony Nature article preview about the paper that will be published in the hard copy later this month.

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Video Afternoon Distraction- White House Time-Lapse: Raising the Commemorative HIV/AIDS Red Ribbon

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I lost my first friend to AIDS way back in 1983, and too many more since. We've made strides, but not enough.

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VIDEO: Hope for an "AIDS-free generation"

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Today is World AIDS Day:

World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 each year around the world. It has become one of the most recognised international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

The Obama administration on Saturday marked World AIDS Day with optimism the fight against the disease can be won.

And John Boehner sees naked people… or so nude AIDS activists hoped when they, erm, exhibited their displeasure with possible Fiscal Cliff, er, Bluff budget cuts that could severely affect HIV/AIDS funding.

Despite the struggles, both past and present-- physical, financial, and emotional-- things are looking up. Think Progress lists five important advancements we’ve made over the past year. Please link over for details:

  1. Increased access to HIV testing.
  2. Improved coverage under Obamacare.
  3. Better, simpler treatments for the virus.
  4. Breakthroughs in HIV research.
  5. Raised life expectancy for HIV-positive individuals.

And those are five wonderful reasons to declare this an official...

This post is dedicated to Tom Villard, with whom I had the pleasure to work and laugh:

Thomas Louis Villard grew up in Spencerport, New York. He has two brothers and one sister. After high school, Tom attended Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania for two years. After college, he moved to New York City. There he attended the Lee Strasberg Acting Studio and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Tom moved to Los Angeles in 1980. During Tom's film career, he landed roles in numerous films and television shows. Tom passed away on November 14, 1994, from AIDS related pneumonia.

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VIDEO: John Boehner sees naked people... or so nude AIDS activists hoped.

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Boehner sees naked people... at least that's what protesters were hoping when they made their way into the office of the Speaker of the House. Let's dispense with all "The Boehner" jokes right from the get-go. I know it's asking a lot, but still...

Anyway, AIDS activists put on their birthday suits to make their voices heard and their bodies visible to show their displeasure with possible Fiscal Cliff, er, Bluff budget cuts that could severely affect HIV/AIDS funding.

Per Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed, three people were arrested for indecent exposure while other protesters apparently "barely" made it out of there unscathed, if you will. If there were any justice, it would have been Republicans who were arrested for being indecent, but that's another post for another time. Protester Jennifer Flynn:

"We grabbed attention by illustrating the naked truth and by showing how people with AIDS have had, literally, all of the clothes off of their backs taken away by these guys in Congress... The reality is that these draconian budget cuts will actually result in the conservative loss of 600,000 people with AIDS' lives around the world... We're talking about killing 600,000 people around the world if we let these budget cuts go into effect. And that's just one year."

The chants included, "Boehner, Boehner, don’t be a dick. Budget cuts will make us sick." As we say on Twitter when we want to show support, +1.

The activists also held a rally in front of the Democratic National Committee. 

Chris has more here.

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