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Issue No. 4 | January 26, 2007

News and Features

Nominations for New Members for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Working Group on Treatment of HIV-Infected Pregnant Women and Prevention of Perinatal Transmission in the U.S.

The HHS Working Group on Treatment of HIV-Infected Pregnant Women and Prevention of Perinatal Transmission in the US (the Perinatal Guidelines Working Group) is accepting nominations for new members with clinical research and/or practice expertise in management of HIV infection in pregnant women and in prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) to serve a 3-year term, with an option of renewal of membership at the end of the term.

The Perinatal Guidelines Working Group, a Working Group of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council (OARAC) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is composed of approximately 25 members who are clinicians, researchers, academicians, and HHS representatives with expertise in management of pregnant HIV-infected women (with training in obstetrics/gynecology or women's health with HIV expertise, or in HIV/AIDS medicine) and interventions to prevent MTCT (such as pediatricians or obstetrician/gynecologists with HIV expertise, or HIV/AIDS medicine specialists) as well as community representatives with knowledge of HIV infection in pregnant women and interventions to prevent MTCT. The Working Group meets monthly via teleconferencing and on occasion in a face-to-face meeting to review and critically evaluate emerging scientific data relating to antiretroviral therapy in pregnant women and interventions to prevent MTCT. The members actively engage in the preparation and update of the "Recommendations for Use of Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnant HIV-1-Infected Women for Maternal Health and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV-1 Transmission in the United States," which appears as a living document on the AIDSinfo Web site.  This document is widely used by HIV practitioners and researchers in the US.

Working Group members are not compensated for their time commitment and travel support is not provided for participation.

The nomination should include a curriculum vitae and a letter of nomination or letter of interest outlining what qualities and contributions the candidate may bring to the Panel.  Please submit nominations electronically no later than close of business Friday March 9, 2007, to Lynne M. Mofenson, M.D., Executive Secretary, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, 6100 Executive Blvd, Room 4B11, Rockville, MD 20852, Fax:  301-496-8678; email: or

New HIV Drug Resistance Test May be 1,000 Times More Sensitive than Current Tests

Resistance to anti-HIV drugs can be a significant barrier to effective HIV treatment. The detection of subpopulations of drug-resistant HIV viruses can help doctors design a more effective course of treatment for their patients. Unfortunately, current drug resistance tests are limited, because they can only detect a drug-resistant strain of HIV if it makes up 10% to 20% of the total HIV population in an HIV-infected individual.

Recently, however, researchers published a study on parallel-allele specific sequencing (PASS), a new technique that may be able to detect drug-resistant virus with 1,000 times more sensitivity than currently available tests. The new PASS test detects mutations, or changes in DNA, that are known to cause resistance to specific anti-HIV drugs. PASS testing can also detect when a single virus has multiple mutations-something no currently commercially available resistance test can do.

PASS testing is not expected to be widely available for several years but could help improve patient treatment as well as delay the spread of drug-resistant strains of HIV.

New Web Page Layout for AIDSinfo Fact Sheets

AIDSinfo has redesigned the Web pages for both the English and Spanish fact sheets. Now visitors to AIDSinfo will be able to locate fact sheets by searching the blue navigation bar located on the left side of the page. With this new layout, fact sheets can be downloaded either as an entire series or as individual sections within a series. All fact sheets are available in a printer friendly PDF format.

Additionally, to help AIDSinfo visitors who need to find fact sheets in Spanish but have a hard time navigating in the language, AIDSinfo now provides access to all Spanish fact sheets directly from the English fact sheet pages. The equivalent Spanish fact sheet can be downloaded by clicking on the "En espaƱol" link next to the title of each English fact sheet.

If you would like to order a copy of any of the fact sheets, please visit AIDSinfo's Order Publications page.