NN: Medical news (July 26, 2008)

Medical News Today (July 26); BBC News (July 24): A recent study suggests that life expectancy for HIV/AIDS patients in developed countries increased by about 13 years between 1996-1999 and 2003-2005, largely due to better medication.  The study also indicated the importance of early diagnosis, as “life expectancy is worse when treatment is later in the progression of the disease.”

Medical News Today (July 26): “A new study by a Tulane University research team gives support for the use of vaginal microbicide gels as a way to protect women against sexual transmission of HIV,” though the researchers have not progressed to human testing.  Many HIV/AIDS workers hope microbicides could provide something of a breakthrough in prevention efforts by empowering women to take charge of protecting themselves from sexual transmission.

*** Medical News Today (July 26): Based on a study just published in Lancet, scientists fear that a statement from Swiss health officials could cause an increase in HIV transmission if it is misinterpreted.

Medical News Today (July 25): A recent study among mothers and infants in low-income countries provides new information on the relative advisability of breastfeeding by HIV+ mothers.  HIV can be transmitted through breastmilk (as well as through blood, semen, and vaginal fluids); this creates hard dilemmas in developing countries, as formula feeding deprives babies of important antibodies, may cause illness due to contaminated water sources, and is sometimes stigmatized.

Associated Press (July 25): Frustrated by the recent cancellation of an HIV vaccine trial, a group of American researchers argues, “Design of a vaccine that blocks HIV infection will require enormous intellectual leaps beyond present day knowledge.”

Reuters (July 24): A group of American researchers have found that “mindfulness meditation stress-management” may significantly slow the progress of HIV/AIDS in an infected individual.  They suggest that the technique, “defined as practicing an open and receptive awareness of the present moment, avoiding thinking of the past or worrying about the future” may strengthen the immune system.  Study participants also reported that their quality of life improved as they were able to reduce stress.  [Comment: it would be interesting to see if different types of stress-reduction techniques had similar effects.]

Reuters (July 22): Researchers say people infected by a particular parisitic worm may be more likely to contract HIV.  It is suggested that this might help explain why HIV/AIDS has hit sub-Saharan Africa so severely, since parasitic infections are common in parts of Africa where the worms contaminate local bodies of water.

***For more on this study, see this post.


~ by h.e.g. on July 26, 2008.

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