Lancet Infectious Diseases Publishes HIV/AIDS Articles in Advance of XV International AIDS Conference
The journal Lancet Infectious Diseases in its July 2004 issue published a series of stories relating to HIV/AIDS to coincide with the XV International AIDS Conference, which will be held July 11-16 in Bangkok, Thailand. Summaries of the stories appear below:
- "HIV/AIDS Prevention Carries on in Rural India": Reducing the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases is "key" to reducing the spread of HIV throughout India, where the epidemic is "driven by unsafe sex," according to a Lancet Infectious Diseases "Newsdesk" piece (Chatterjee, Lancet Infectious Diseases, July 2004).
- "WHA Puts Focus on HIV/AIDS Treatment": Health ministers at the World Health Assembly in May agreed that to provide HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in developing countries, those countries' health systems need to be improved. In addition, the ministers called for strategies to address "brain-drain" of health personnel on national health systems, which are "already stretched to the limits," a Lancet Infectious Diseases "Newsdesk" piece reports (Zarocostas, Lancet Infectious Diseases, July 2004).
- "Zackie Achmat -- Head of the Treatment Action Campaign": The challenges of South Africa's antiretroviral treatment program rollout, "if addressed correctly, will help develop a decent public health care system" in the country, Achmat, chair of the South African treatment advocacy group Treatment Action Campaign, said in an interview with Lancet Infectious Diseases Senior Editor Pam Das (Das, Lancet Infectious Diseases, July 2004).
- "Prospects for an AIDS Vaccine: Three Big Questions, No Easy Answers": The "most fundamental" challenges to developing an HIV/AIDS vaccine -- beyond the "formidable" practical, political, economic, social and ethical challenges -- are found in "basic biology of HIV-1 infection and pathogenesis," David Garber of the Emory University School of Medicine Vaccine Research Center and colleagues write in a literature review (Garber et al., Lancet Infectious Diseases, July 2004).
- "Global Strategies To Prevent Bacterial Pneumonia in Adults with HIV Disease": Highly active antiretroviral therapy could have "substantial potential" to prevent bacterial pneumonia in Africa, Daniel Feikin of the CDC National Center for Infectious Diseases and colleagues write in an examination of peer-reviewed literature on bacterial pneumonia prevention (Feikin et al., Lancet Infectious Diseases, July 2004).
- "Syphilis and HIV: A Dangerous Combination": All HIV-positive people should be treated with a penicillin-based regimen that is "adequate" for the treatment of late-stage syphilis, according to a review conducted by William Lynn and Susan Lightman of the Middlesex, U.K.-based Ealing Hospital Department of Infectious Diseases (Lynn/Lightman, Lancet Infectious Diseases, July 2004).
- "HIV and Hepatitis C Virus Co-Infection": Considering the high incidence of HIV and hepatitis C co-infection throughout the world, improved treatment strategies and guidelines related to the management co-infection "remain a major future goal," Jurgen Rockstroh, head of the University of Bonn HIV Outpatient Clinic, and Ulrich Spengler, professor of hepatology at the University of Bonn Department of Medicine, write in a review (Rockstroh/Spengler, Lancet Infectious Diseases, July 2004).
- "Peptide Inhibitors of Virus-Cell Fusion: Enfuvirtide as a Case Study in Clinical Discovery and Development": David Cooper, director of the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the University of New South Wales, and Joep Lange, president of the International AIDS Society and co-chair of the XV International AIDS Conference, review the development and administration of enfuvirtide, also known as Fuzeon, which is the first fusion inhibitor; the first antiretroviral administered by injection; and has very few side effects (Cooper/Lange, Lancet Infectious Diseases, July 2004).
Although there are "many depressing statistics" related to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, there are "some grounds for hope," a Lancet Infectious Diseases editorial says. Antiretroviral therapy is reducing AIDS-related death rates in Europe and North America and the drugs are becoming less expensive, according to the editorial. In addition, more leaders of high-income countries are realizing that HIV/AIDS is a "global security issue, and therefore one that needs to be tackled for reasons of national self interest as much as enlightened altruism," the editorial says, adding that this realization helped spur the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Although "[i]t must be said that there is a degree of nervousness about how the AIDS relief money is being spent and whether donor nations will live up to their funding promises," there is "reason to believe that in the past few years the barrier between good words and real global action on HIV/AIDS has been breached," the editorial concludes (Lancet Infectious Diseases, July 2004).