New Test Aims to Make AIDS Diagnosis Easier

A new device intends to make diagnosing AIDS easier and more accessible for people in developing countries.

The instrument would eliminate the need for expensive equipment and highly trained staff, resources that are not available in many areas where the HIV epidemic is most severe.

HIV kills by destroying a particular type of disease-fighting white blood cells called CD4+ T lymphocytes. Full-blown AIDS sets in when patients’ CD4 counts fall below a critical level and they are unable to fight off infections. That’s when antiretroviral drugs are critical.

But counting CD4 cells requires a blood sample and a lab equipped to analyze it. In many areas hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic – much of sub-Saharan Africa, for example, “there is just no way to get the patient or the blood very easily to the lab,” said Rashid Bashir, head of the bioengineering department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Lab on a chip

So, Bashir and colleagues have developed a prototype “lab on a chip” with all the equipment and chemicals to do the job in a 3-centimeter-by-4-centimeter cartridge.

Full story of new AIDS testing at Voice of America

Most Parents Believe HPV Vaccine Should Require Their Consent (VIDEO)

Parents Consent For HPV VaccineThe National Poll on Children’s Health, conducted by the University of Michigan C.S. surveyed a national sample of adults as to whether they would allow adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 years to be vaccinated against HPV without parental consent. They found that only 45% of responders replied they were in support of the state law.

Sarah Clark, M.P.H., Associate Director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit at the University of Michigan and Associate Director of the National Poll on Children’s Health exclaimed: "But in contrast, 57 percent say they support teens being able to get medical care for prevention of sexually transmitted infections and 55 percent for treatment, all without parental consent." The HPV vaccine provides a short term protection against genital warts, one of the most frequent sexually transmitted infections and long term protection against the development of cervical cancer in females and some head and neck cancers in men. It is recommended that both males and females undergo a routine HPV vaccination at the age of 11-12 years, given that the vaccine is most effective when given before the onset of sexual activity.

Full story of parents consent at Medical News Today

Photos courtesy of and copyright stock.xchng,

Leading AIDS experts issue new HIV guidelines

News Medical

New HIV GuidelinesLeading AIDS experts at Johns Hopkins and other institutions around the world have issued new guidelines to promote entry into and retention in HIV care, as well as adherence to HIV treatment, drawn from the results of 325 studies conducted with tens of thousands of people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The guidelines are believed to be the first ever to focus exclusively on how best to get those newly diagnosed with HIV into treatment plans and to help them adhere to lifelong drug and check-up regimens.

Some 50,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with the potentially deadly, but now-treatable infection, and more than a million Americans already are known to be HIV positive.

Full story of new hiv guidelines at News Medical

HIV, STD Exposure Risk Increases With Methamphetamine Use

By Nancy A. Melville

Methamphetamine use among younger men who report having sex with older men significantly increases the risk for exposure to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV, according to a study published in the August issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

As part of the Adolescent Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions, Peter Freeman, MPH, from the Children’s Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional observational study, surveying 595 adolescent boys and young men who have sex with men, aged 12 to 24 years, recruited from social venues (eg, clubs, parks, and street corners) in 8 US cities. Recruitment took place between January 3, 2005 and August 21, 2006. Among the participants, 64 respondents reported having used methamphetamines in the past 90 days. The methamphetamine users were found to have higher STD rates than those who did not use methamphetamine or other hard drugs in the preceding 90 days (51.6% vs 21.1%), higher rates of 2 or more sex partners in the past 90 days (85.7% vs 63.1%), much higher rates of sex with an injection-drug user (51.6% vs 10.7%), and sex with someone who has HIV (32.8% vs 11.1%). Each of these comparisons was statistically significant (P < .05).

Full story at Medscape Today