HIV spread may be prevented with discovery of new gene

Scientists have discovered a new gene that may have the ability to prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from spreading once it enters the body, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

HIV May Be Prevented With New GeneResearchers from King’s College London in the UK say the gene, called MX2, could lead to new effective and less toxic treatment against HIV – the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

For the study, the researchers conducted experiments on human cells, in which they introduced the HIV virus to two different cell lines. One cell line had the MX2 gene “switched on,” while the other cell line had no MX2 expression.

On observing the effects, the researchers found that in the cells in which the MX2 gene was expressed, the HIV virus was unable to replicate, therefore stopping new viruses from being produced.

In the cell line in which the MX2 gene was switched off, the HIV virus replicated and spread.

Full story of HIV prevention from gene at Medical News Today

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Making sure HIV-positive women get the care they need

In the back of a skid row community health center, a woman with teardrop tattoos under her eyes begins to tell her story.

Making Sure HIV Postive Women are Getting CareTo a circle of other women, she says she ran away from home and joined a gang at 13. She started injecting PCP, and as a teen spent time in jail. By 22, she worked as a prostitute. At 37, she was diagnosed with HIV.

Now 50, the woman known as Hilda tells the circle that the only time she took her HIV medication was when she was in jail. “Why?” someone asks. “I wanted to die,” she answers.

Welcome to a weekly support session sponsored by the Ladies of Diversity, a federally funded program that works to give HIV-positive homeless women of color a reason to stay connected to medical services. Leaders allowed the Los Angeles Times to attend one gathering on the condition that clients be identified only by their first names.

The organization aims to better understand the challenges that keep infected black and Latina women from connecting to HIV care, said Tina Henderson, an HIV/AIDS researcher for 20 years and the program manager of the Ladies of Diversity.

California is one of eight states where such a project has been given money by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

Full story of care for HIV positive women at the Los Angeles Times

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HIV: New East Bay program gives prevention pill to high-risk youths

Prevention Pill to HIV High-Risk YouthsDavid was skeptical. It sounded too good to be true. A once-a-day pill that could help healthy people avoid HIV infection?

But David also knew he was at high risk because his partner was HIV-positive.

So after careful research, the 21-year-old Oakland resident decided to join an unusual program that will give the drug known as Truvada to more than 100 East Bay youths, along with safe-sex counseling and other sexual health services.

Those overseeing the program hope it can help solve a serious problem: The number of people nationwide who are newly infected with HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS, has held steady at about 50,000 annually in recent years after dropping sharply in the late 1980s, despite health professionals’ best efforts to tackle the problem.

“There is a degree of frustration — we don’t seem to be able to reduce the level of transmission,” said George Lemp, director of the University of California Office of the President’s HIV/AIDS Research Program.

“A lot of people felt that we needed more aggressive approaches,” he said.

Full story of prevention pill to high-risk youths at Mercury News

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Sex lives and traumatic brain injury

Sex lives and Traumatic Brain InjuryFor the more than 3 million Americans living with traumatic brain injury, there is often an unspoken problem: many suffer from sexual dysfunction, something that is easily overlooked as patients struggle with overwhelming physical and emotional issues that can last for years, new research has found.

The sexual difficulties usually become most apparent about six months after the injury and, if left unaddressed, worsen with time, said study author Jhon Alexander Moreno, a researcher in neuropsychology at the University of Montreal.

The cause of the injury can also influence whether a person will struggle with sexual problems, Moreno said. “The psychological stressors that an athlete or a soldier faces are quite different, so a traumatic brain injury with the same severity can lead to different sexual difficulties.”

Full story of sex and brain injuries at Health 24

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