Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

AIDS Confab: Risky business
by Bob Roehr
2000-02-09

This article shared 1052 times since Wed Feb 9, 2000
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


How difficult is it to get HIV? The 7th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections offered a mixed bag of evidence that both soothed and disconcerted.

Heterosexual transmission between married couples did not occur if the viral load was 1500 or less, in a study done in Uganda. Thomas Quinn, MD, from Johns Hopkins University, monitored 415 couples over 30 months and reached that encouraging conclusion. He also confirmed that risk of transmission from the infected to the uninfected partner increased with the viral load. It made little difference whether male or female partner was infected.

But don't go throwing those condoms away just because your viral load is undetectable, there are some serious questions about relevancy of the data. The number of people in the study with a low viral load was small, so statistically speaking, one would not necessarily expect to see any new infections in this subset.

HIV is a rapidly mutating virus. It is not clear that virus held in check by drugs has the same infective capacity as virus held in check by the immune system. Nor is it clear what role non-vaginal sex played in transmission. Many believe that unprotected anal sex carries a higher risk.

Michelle Roland, MD, a researcher at the University of California at San Francisco, told the Associated Press that she knows of one case in that city where a man passed the virus to his female sex partner, even though his plasma viral load was undetectable.

That could be because the testes are behind a blood barrier, which some anti-HIV drugs do not penetrate very well. The virus can have separate patterns of activity and mutation within this tissue compartment. Also, viral load can "blip" or show a short-term rise due to a cold, minor infection, or even a vaccination.

Oral Sex

Prevention messages within the gay community have long taught that oral sex is "safer" than unprotected anal sex. Some have been lulled or deluded themselves into thinking that low risk meant no risk. They were shocked to read a report that assigned 6.6 percent of HIV infections in one study to oral sex. Beth Dillon, MD, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) , presented the work.

Over a three-year period her research team interviewed 122 patients in San Francisco who were recently infected [ within the last 12 months ] , to ascertain how they became infected. It found eight who claimed to engage only in oral sex, or who always used condoms when getting fucked. While condoms are highly effective in preventing the transmission of HIV, they are not 100 percent effective. Aside from the noticeable complete break, from time to time a small bit of material may slip through, as illustrated by the occasional pregnancy, even though a condom was used during sex.

Seven of the eight performed oral sex to orgasm, little is known of the viral load of their partners. Several likely had gum or mouth disease at the time of infection, which may have facilitated transmission. Use of poppers, which dilate blood vessels and hence exposure to HIV, was not recorded. The study did not report information on the number of sexual contacts each patient had, so it offers nothing on the relative risk of each contact.

"It's a little piece of evidence," said James Learned, an educator with the Community Research Initiative on AIDS ( CRIA ) . "But there are big questions in it." He urged people to read it "in context" and not get too upset or discouraged. Oral sex is still more than a hundred times less risky than unprotected anal sex.

Superinfection

"Is there original immunogenic sin?" asked Gary Nabel, MD, director of the Vaccine Research Center at NIH. Many believe that once infected with HIV, one cannot become infected with a second strain. The few exceptions to the rule have been attributed to virtually simultaneous exposure to two viruses.

J.B. Angel, MD, documented the first example of "superinfection," where a second HIV infection occurred years after the first. The subject was a patient at the Ottawa Hospital in Canada who was diagnosed with HIV in 1989, a blood sample was taken and stored. He eventually went on a combination regimen and his health was stable when he began a relationship with another HIV-positive man in the fall of 1997. They did not use condoms. Soon his regimen began to fail and his disease began to progress rapidly.

The researchers ran a genetic analysis of the patient's virus from 1989 and 1998. The later sample contained gene segments that were not present in the early sample, and were unlikely to have evolved from it. Those new segments did match segments found in his partner's virus. Angel concluded that superinfection had occurred and led to more rapid progression of HIV disease.

Further complicating the infectious picture is the story of prostitutes in Nairobi, Kenya, whom researchers have followed for years. The women did not seem to become infected with HIV despite repeated exposure to the virus. Researchers speculated that something in their immune system allowed them to fight off infection. It was the basis for hope that a preventative vaccine could be developed.

But increasing numbers of the women began turning seropositive. It came when they either retired from the profession or adopted safer-sex practices that reduced their exposure to HIV. The ironic hypothesis that observers have proposed is that it was the very massiveness of their exposure to HIV that somehow contributed to the prostitute's protection.

Post-Exposure Prevention

Healthcare workers exposed to HIV on the job through needle sticks or other means have long had the option of immediately beginning a month of antiviral therapy. The theory was that it might knock out the virus before infection could become established. There is no definitive data on the effectiveness of this approach.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health and UCSF decided to try it with non-job related exposure to HIV. The Post-Exposure Prevention ( PEP ) program offered to people within 72 hours of exposure a course of four weeks of therapy [ AZT/3tc ] and periodic follow-up out to one year.

Mitchell Katz, MD, said that 401 people enrolled in the program in its first 16 months of operation. Anal sex was the greatest exposure risk at 57 percent, while oral sex was only 4 percent. More than half, 55 percent, did not know the serostatus of their partner. These were not highly promiscuous people. Katz explained, "Even though they were high risk exposures, generally they had relatively few partners and were unlikely to have had multiple unsafe exposures."

Repeat visitors were not common, only 12 percent within six months. Katz related how one young man returned four times in five months, each time vowing to be more careful having sex with his HIV positive boyfriend. It has been eight months since his last visit. "When you think about behavioral change, that is not surprising," Katz said. "Many people quit smoking or drinking multiple times until it sticks. It is not a failure if ultimately we were able to work with him to stop putting himself at risk."

None of the participants have become infected with HIV. But Katz is not claiming that PEP prevented infections. "In a cohort this size you wouldn't necessarily expect to see any seroconversions." He called PEP "a reason for high risk people to talk to a doctor and be counseled to prevent future exposures."


This article shared 1052 times since Wed Feb 9, 2000
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Proceeds from 30th Annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago to help 26 HIV/AIDS organizations 2021-09-22
--From a press release - CHICAGO — On Saturday, Oct. 2, at 9:30 a.m., more than 1,700 advocates and supporters will gather safely at Soldier Field to participate in the 30th annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago (ARWC) to support individuals ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Carl Bean dies, LGBT History Month, military events, Dykes on Bikes 2021-09-19
- Archbishop Carl Bean—an openly gay former Motown singer, longtime AIDS activist and leader in the LGBTQ church movement—died at age 77, The New York Daily News reported. In a statement entitled "The Giant Sleeps," the Unity ...


Gay News

HHS awards $48M to health centers to expand HIV prevention, treatment 2021-09-16
- On Sept. 16, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded more than $48 million to 271 HRSA-supported health centers across 26 states, Puerto Rico and ...


Gay News

New safety precautions announced for 30th annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago Oct. 2 2021-09-08
--From a press release - CHICAGO — AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) has announced proof of full vaccination or negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of event will be required for all in-person participants for the 30th annual AIDS Run & ...


Gay News

HIV AT 40: Global activist Phill Wilson talks Chicago, the '80s and vaccines 2021-09-01
- Phill Wilson is one of the best-known HIV/AIDS activists/educators around the globe. The Chicago native was the co-founder of the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum and the National Task Force on AIDS Prevention. He ...


Gay News

Feds expand insurers' requirements for PrEP coverage 2021-08-26
- Insurers and service-providers have until September to comply with a new federal guidance requiring insurance companies to cover the entire cost of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) interventions. Many insurers have been ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Ann Arbor ban, Buttigieg, NYC settlement, Gloria Allred 2021-08-22
- Using gay conversion therapy on minors to try to change their sexual orientation or gender identity is now officially banned in Ann Arbor, Michigan, according to MLive.com. "So-called conversion therapy is, of course, an abomination," Mayor ...


Gay News

Chicago Academy's 25th annual AIDS benefit show Sept. 24-25 2021-08-12
- Each year, Chicago Academy for the Arts students produce and perform in a variety show to support HIV/AIDS research and organizations. The 25th Annual AIDS Benefit will take place Sept. 24-25 at The Academy, 1010 W. ...


Gay News

U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS moves to virtual 2021-08-10
--From a press release - Aug. 10, 2021 - NMAC today announced that the 2021 US Conference on HIV/AIDS will move from an in-person conference to a virtual meeting due to the continued spread of the Delta variant of the Covid ...


Gay News

DaBaby apologizes for 'misinformed' comments about AIDS, LGBTQ people 2021-08-03
- After his headlining sets at Lollapalooza, Governors Ball and Day N Vegas festivals were canceled within 24 hours of each other, rapper DaBaby issued another apology to the LGBTQ community, Variety reported. "Social Media moves so ...


Gay News

PrEP pills to be free for insured people 2021-07-25
- The U.S. government has stated that nearly all health insurers must cover the entire cost of HIV prevention treatments, according to U.S. News & World Report. That includes the two approved pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs Truvada ...


Gay News

Summit looking for BIPOC LGBTQ+ attendees 2021-07-22
- Pride Action Tank (PAT) and AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) will co-host "Co-Creating Futures: A BIPOC LGBTQ+ Policy & Practices Summit," starting virtually on Saturday, July 31, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. CT. According to the event's webpage, "T ...


Gay News

30th Annual 2021 AIDS Run & Walk Chicago to benefit 25 groups, AIDS Foundation Chicago 2021-07-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Now in its 30th year, AIDS Run & Walk Chicago returns to Soldier Field on Saturday, October 2 to support individuals living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses. AIDS Run & ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Spa incident, N.J. items, AIDS gala, Tenn. lawsuits 2021-07-11
- Tensions rose between protesters and counterprotesters in Los Angeles over a spa incident involving a transgender woman, The Hill reported. Recently, a cisgender woman complained to staff at Wi Spa in Koreatown after a transgender woman ...


Gay News

ALMA, AFC host Latino/a/x-focused COVID-19 grand rounds virtual presentation 2021-07-08
- Association of Latino/as/x Motivating Action (ALMA) and AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) hosted a "COVID-19 Grand Rounds—Systemic Racism and Health Disparities: The Impact of COVID-19 on Latino/a/x populations" virtual presentation July ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.