Shocking Revelation: Medical Sources Say Saudi King’s Aid Cargo to Yemen Was HIV-Infected

Yemen HIV
Medical sources disclosed that test results have shown large numbers of people in Yemen have been infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses after they took the drug cargo sent by Saudi King Salman to the war-stricken nation.

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US doctors cure child born with HIV

(Refreshing News) Doctors in the US have made medical history by effectively curing a child born with HIV, the first time such a case has been documented.

The infant, who is now two and a half, needs no medication for HIV, has a normal life expectancy and is highly unlikely to be infectious to others, doctors believe.
Though medical staff and scientists are unclear why the treatment was effective, the surprise success has raised hopes that the therapy might ultimately help doctors eradicate the virus among newborns.
Doctors did not release the name or sex of the child to protect the patient’s identity, but said the infant was born, and lived, in Mississippi state. Details of the case were unveiled on Sunday at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta.
Dr Hannah Gay, who cared for the child at the University of Mississippi medical centre, told the Guardian the case amounted to the first “functional cure” of an HIV-infected child. A patient is functionally cured of HIV when standard tests are negative for the virus, but it is likely that a tiny amount remains in their body.
“Now, after at least one year of taking no medicine, this child’s blood remains free of virus even on the most sensitive tests available,” Gay said.
“We expect that this baby has great chances for a long, healthy life. We are certainly hoping that this approach could lead to the same outcome in many other high-risk babies,” she added.
The number of babies born with HIV in developed countries has fallen dramatically with the advent of better drugs and prevention strategies. Typically, women with HIV are given antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy to minimise the amount of virus in their blood. Their newborns go on courses of drugs too, to reduce their risk of infection further. The strategy can stop around 98% of HIV transmission from mother to child.
In the UK and Ireland, around 1,200 children are living with HIV they picked up in the womb, during birth, or while being breastfed. If an infected mother’s placenta is healthy, the virus tends not to cross into the child earlier in pregnancy, but can in labour and delivery.
The problem is far more serious in developing countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, around 387,500 children aged 14 and under were receiving antiretroviral therapy in 2010. Many were born with the infection. Nearly 2 million more children of the same age in the region are in need of the drugs.
In the latest case, the mother was unaware she had HIV until after a standard test came back positive while she was in labour. “She was too near delivery to give even the dose of medicine that we routinely use in labour. So the baby’s risk of infection was significantly higher than we usually see,” said Gay.
Doctors began treating the baby 30 hours after birth. Unusually, they put the child on a course of three antiretroviral drugs, given as liquids through a syringe. The traditional treatment to try to prevent transmission after birth is a course of a single antiretroviral drug. The doctor opted for the more aggressive treatment because the mother had not received any during her pregnancy.
Several days later, blood drawn from the baby before treatment started showed the child was infected, probably shortly before birth. The doctors continued with the drugs and expected the child to take them for life.
However, within a month of starting therapy, the level of HIV in the baby’s blood had fallen so low that routine lab tests failed to detect it.
The mother and baby continued regular clinic visits to the clinic for the next year, but then began to miss appointments, and eventually stopped attending all together. The child had no medication from the age of 18 months, and did not see doctors again until it was nearly two years old.
“We did not see this child at all for a period of about five months,” Gay told the Guardian. “When they did return to care aged 23 months, I fully expected that the baby would have a high viral load.”
When the mother and child arrived back at the clinic, Gay ordered several HIV tests, and expected the virus to have returned to high levels. But she was stunned by the results. “All of the tests came back negative, very much to my surprise,” she said.
The case was so extraordinary, Dr Gay called a colleague, Katherine Luzuriaga, an immunologist at Massachusetts Medical School, who with another scientist, Deborah Persaud at Johns Hopkins Children’s Centre in Baltimore, had far more sensitive blood tests to hand. They checked the baby’s blood and found traces of HIV, but no viruses that were capable of multiplying.
The team believe the child was cured because the treatment was so potent and given swiftly after birth. The drugs stopped the virus from replicating in short-lived, active immune cells, but another effect was crucial. The drugs also blocked the infection of other, long-lived white blood cells, called CD4, which can harbour HIV for years. These CD4 cells behave like hideouts, and can replace HIV that is lost when active immune cells die.
The treatment would not work in older children or adults because the virus will have already infected their CD4 cells.
“Prompt antiviral therapy in newborns that begins within days of exposure may help infants clear the virus and achieve long-term remission without lifelong treatment by preventing such viral hideouts from forming in the first place,” said Dr Persaud. “Our next step is to find out if this is a highly unusual response to very early antiretroviral therapy or something we can actually replicate in other high-risk newborns.”
Children infected with HIV are given antiretroviral drugs with the intent to treat them for life, and Gay warned that anyone who takes the drugs must remain on them.
“It is far too early for anyone to try stopping effective therapy just to see if the virus comes back,” she said.
Until scientists better understand how they cured the child, Gay emphasised that prevention is the most reliable way to stop babies contracting the virus from infected mothers. “Prevention really is the best cure, and we already have proven strategies that can prevent 98% of newborn infections by identifying and treating HIV-positive women,” she said.
Genevieve Edwards, a spokesperson for the Terrence Higgins Trust HIV/Aids charity, said: “This is an interesting case, but I don’t think it has implications for the antenatal screening programme in the UK, because it already takes steps to ensure that 98% to 99% of babies born to HIV-positive mothers are born without HIV.”

Did antibiotics spur the sexual revolution?

 

 

(ArsTechnica) -The 1960s saw a wealth of changes in the US, from crime waves to shifts in political activism. But perhaps the most defining social trend in this era was a cultural revolution in which sex became more socially acceptable and “free love” became a mantra for young people across America.

One of the traditional explanations for the change in sexual behavior during this era was the development and increasing availability of the birth control pill; sex was less risky if it didn’t lead to pregnancy. But in the latest issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior, economist Andrew Francis argues that it was actually the decline in a different risk—syphilis—that was most important.

In the early 20th century, syphilis was a dangerous sexually transmitted disease without a particularly effective treatment. As of the mid-1940s, more than 600,000 Americans had recently contracted the disease, and the probability that a random sexual partner would have syphilis was more than 1 in 100. But in 1943, penicillin was found to be an effective treatment for syphilis. Infection and death rates from the disease fell sharply, reaching a low in 1957.

Francis’ hypothesis is that the sharply decreasing “cost” of syphilis helped spur changes in sexual behavior in the US over the next decade. The author proposes that the economic principles related to demand can also be used to explain behavior; in this example, when the costs associated with sex decrease, demand increases.

To test this theory, Francis carried out a series of regressions that compared the incidence of syphilis during this era to the rise in what he termed “risky non-traditional sex,” or extramarital sex that could put people at risk for STDs. Francis used three measures to estimate the trajectory of this type of sexual behavior for both whites and non-whites: the rate of gonorrhea infection, the percent of births to teen mothers, and the ratio of births by unmarried women compared to those by married women.

Between 1957 and 1975, the gonorrhea infection rate rose 300 percent, the percentage of both white and non-white teen mothers increased nearly 50 percent, and the extramarital birth rate jumped more than 200 percent.

These measures of risky sexual behavior coincided precisely with the collapse of the syphilis epidemic. All measures but one—the percentage of births to white teen mothers—were inversely related to the syphilis death rate. The availability of a syphilis treatment thus appears to be tightly linked to increases in “risky” sex.

However, the findings of the study hinge heavily on correlation and, as we all know, correlation does not necessarily imply causation. But the author did investigate alternative hypotheses and found that neither the advent of the birth control pill nor an increase in generally permissive attitudes coincided as precisely with changes in sexual behavior as did the change in syphilis rates.

Of course, many forces play a role in sexual behavior. Francis acknowledges that multiple factors—such as birth control, economic growth, and the inception of Playboy—probably contributed to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. However, the effective treatment of syphilis may have played a larger role in shaping modern sexual behavior than has previously been recognized.

Francis also notes that historical syphilis trends very closely mimic the AIDS epidemic of the last few decades. The rate of syphilis deaths in 1939 was nearly as high as the rate of AIDS deaths in 1995, and the two diseases accounted for roughly the same percentage of deaths in those years. Additionally, studies suggest that a similar increase in risky sexual behavior may have occurred after the development of an AIDS treatment plan, the “highly active antiretroviral therapy.”

The author’s conclusion: using economic principles to understand how the costs of syphilis, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases affect behavior may improve decisions about health policy during future epidemics.

Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2013. DOI: 10.1007/s10508-012-0018-4 (About DOIs).

Doctors Save A Little Girl’s Life By Reprogramming The HIV Virus To Fight Cancer Cells

(Business Insider) -Drug company Novartis is betting $20 million on a cancer treatment that seems to have saved a little girl’s life, according to a report from The New York Times’ Denise Grady.

Just last spring, six-year-old leukemia victim Emma Whitehead was “near death,” having gone through chemotherapy twice without success.

But then her parents put Emma through an experimental treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

They infected her with a version of HIV, reprogrammed to attack cancer cells.

Whitehead almost died, but the treatment worked and now she’s in remission — and doing cartwheels all over her house.

Grady says the treatment hasn’t worked for all patients.

It worked completely on three adults. Four treated adults have merely improved. A child relapsed. The treatment failed two adults completely.

Here’s the thing though: Each of these patients was a “hopeless” case before trying the treatment. So any success is huge.

Emma in April:

Emma Whitehead

CHOP

 

Emma now:

Emma Whitehead

CHOP