BETA Winter/Spring 2010

In this issue of BETA, Liz Highleyman tackles one of HIV medicine’s biggest topics today: inflammation and immune activation. What exactly is inflammation? And why isn’t immune activation a good thing? Click the article title below to find out.

Readers will also find a practical and creative guide to staying healthy with HIV during the current economic recession. Take a look; you may discover untapped resources for maintaining your health, your housing, and your peace of mind. The issue also includes an in-depth overview of peripheral neuropathy—which causes pain, tingling, or numbness in the feet and legs—and how to avoid or treat this common condition.

Inflammation, Immune Activation, and HIV

Inflammation is a broad term for what happens in the body when the immune system is activated to counter a threat. A healthy immune response is key to good health, but ongoing immune activation and inflammation due to a persistent threat such as chronic HIV infection can lead to many different problems throughout the body. Read more...

Understanding and Managing Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is the most common neurological disorder in people with HIV infection. It can be a major source of pain and discomfort and a limiting factor in antiretroviral treatment. Since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in the mid-1990s, the overall incidence of neurological complications of HIV— such as HIV-associated dementia and central nervous system opportunistic infections—has decreased; however, rates of peripheral nervous system complications remain high. Read more...

HIV and the Recession: Living Well in Tough Times

A few months ago, a client sat at Ellen Novogrodsky’s desk at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, resigned and frustrated. He did not know what the financial benefits counselor could do for him, but he figured it was worth a shot. Read more...

News Briefs

The 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), which took place February 16–19 in San Francisco, is one of the major annual scientific meetings covering HIV/AIDS and its management. Selected reports from the conference are included below, along with recent news from medical journals and other sources. Read more...

Drug Watch: KP-1461:A Novel Anti-HIV Drug in Limbo?

The path of an experimental drug from the laboratory to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval is typically long, rocky, and uncertain. It is especially so for a drug that turns common wisdom on its head. Take KP-1461, a new type of antiretroviral drug from Koronis Pharmaceuticals in Seattle. Unlike all of the currently approved anti-HIV drugs, which aim to reduce the amount of virus in the body by blocking viral replication, KP-1461 was designed not to inhibit replication, but rather to force newly created HIV to become less able to infect human cells. Read more...

Women and HIV: Hormonal Contraception for HIV Positive Women

Barrier methods such as condoms and diaphragms are the most commonly used forms of birth control among HIV positive women. Sterilization is the second most popular method and hormonal contraception is the third. Hormonal contraceptives, when used correctly and consistently, are highly effective in preventing unintended pregnancy and are also useful for treating health conditions such as painful menstruation. 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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