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Issue No. 28 | June 29, 2007

News and Features

Practical Education among Inner-City African-American Women Can Reduce Risk of HIV and STD Transmission

A recent study funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) found that inner-city African-American women were more likely to use correct and consistent prevention methods after participating in effective single-session HIV risk reduction interventions. These brief skill-building interventions included informational brochures, educational videos, and role-playing exercises and resulted in reduced risk of HIV and STD transmission among the women in the study group.

Nurses, trained specifically for these programs, worked with women both individually and in small groups. Women enrolled in the study were encouraged to recognize the importance of prevention methods in reducing the risk of becoming infected with HIV.

The study was designed to examine and improve preventive efforts for those most at risk for transmission of HIV. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among African-American women age 25 to 34.

For more information, read the NIAID fact sheet on HIV Infection in Women and AIDSinfo fact sheet on Understanding HIV Prevention.

Increased Length of Viral Suppression May Reduce the Rate of Viral Rebound in Patients with Previous Treatment Failures

Successful viral suppression is the main goal of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Viral suppression allows for immune system stability in HIV-infected people and, ideally, an increase in CD4 cell count.

Andrew Benzie, et al. report in a study in the July 11 edition of the journal AIDS that a long period of viral suppression correlates to lower viral rebound rates in people who have previously experienced treatment failure. Of the study participants who achieved an undetectable viral load, 18.1percent had at least one viral rebound event during the course of the study. During the first year of suppression, the rate of viral rebound was 8.3 incidents/100 person-years for those participants who had never experienced viral rebound before. That rate almost quadrupled for participants who had previously failed treatment more than four times.

However, the study also presents some encouraging data for individuals who have experienced multiple treatment failures. Additional follow-up of study participants demonstrated that if viral suppression could be successfully maintained for more than four years, further viral rebound rates returned to the same level seen in participants who had never experienced treatment failure before.

The conclusions of this study emphasize the importance of avoiding treatment failure. This can be done by being careful to take anti-HIV medications on time and as recommended. Maintaining a high level of treatment adherence keeps drug levels in the body steady and at the most effective amounts. This limits the ability of HIV to replicate and prevents the development of drug resistance, both of which contribute to viral rebound.   

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Issues Revised HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2005

On June 28, 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a revised version of the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2005. This revision corrects a calculation error in the number of estimated AIDS cases for 2001-2005. The error resulted in an overestimate of 2 percent for 2001-2005 and of 8.3 percent for 2005.

Read the full revision notice or see the complete revised estimated AIDS data.