BETA Summer/Fall 2009

You will notice that the current issue introduces a new column: “Aging and HIV.” This topic garnered the highest rating in the Reader Survey: 80% of respondents reported “high interest” in HIV and aging. The new column, introduced here by an interview with clinician and infectious disease specialist Malcolm John, MD, will alternate with the “Women and HIV” column to better serve the needs and interests of BETA readers.

This issue also brings an in-depth look at neurological complications of HIV, as well as adiscussion of what we know—and don’t know—about HIV risk and HIV health in the underserved transgender population. A third feature article examines the promise of—and problems with—two potential strategies for preventing HIV: pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV negative persons and treatment-based prevention for people living with HIV

HIV and the Brain

Right from the early years of the epidemic, researchers have recognized that HIV can affect the brain. Before effective antiretroviral therapy (ART), people with AIDS were susceptible to a variety of opportunistic infections of the brain, as well as HIV-related dementia. Read more...

Is HIV Treatment HIV Prevention?

As antiretroviral drugs have become increasingly effective (and tolerable), more people are living longer with HIV and research is suggesting that the drugs used to treat HIV disease may also contribute to HIV prevention. Read more...

Transgender Health and HIV

Transgender persons illuminate the complex interplay of social and biological factors that determine gender identity (an individual’s own sense of maleness or femaleness) and contribute to both HIV risk and HIV health. This article highlights some of the unique challenges that transgender persons face in maintaining their health—including avoiding HIV infection or living well with HIV—and discusses ways in which health-care providers can better equip themselves to provide care that meets the needs of transgender clients. Read more...

News Briefs

The 5th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention took place July 19–22 in Cape Town, South Africa. Alternating every other summer with the International AIDS Conference, the IAS meeting focuses primarily on the medical aspects of HIV prevention and management. This year, however, the conference’s location prompted more emphasis on social and economic aspects of the epidemic in resource-limited settings. Read more...

Drug Watch: Two New Pharmacoenhancers Give HAART a Boost

Clinicians typically try to avoid drug-drug interactions because they can alter medication levels in the body in ways that can either decrease effectiveness or increase toxicity and side effects. But one type of interaction—known as “boosting”—can enhance effectiveness and lower drug doses. Abbott Laboratories’ ritonavir (Norvir) was the first, and currently is the only, agent used to boost antiretroviral drugs. But two investigational “pharmacoenhancers” discussed at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) this past February— GS-9350 from Gilead Sciences and SPI-452 from Sequoia Pharmaceuticals—may offer additional boosting options and new opportunities for developing fixed-dose combination pills. Read more...

Aging and HIV, A Conversation with Dr. Malcolm John

Thanks to years of HIV health advocacy, better understanding of HIV disease and its complications, and improved antiretroviral treatment regimens, people with HIV now are better able to maintain their health and live longer—perhaps even decades longer than they ever expected. For many, living longer with HIV brings new health challenges that positive people, clinicians, and researchers are only just beginning to understand. Read more...

Open Clinical Trials

Below is a selected list of currently enrolling clinical trials gathered from various sources. The federal government’s AIDSinfo website includes a clinical trials section that features an introduction to HIV/ AIDS research and study listings from the National Institutes of Health’s database. AIDSinfo also offers personalized advice about clinical trial participation via email (, an interactive website (, and a toll-free telephone service (800-448-0440, international 301-315- 2816). Read more...

HAART Chart - Approved Antiretroviral Drugs


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