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Issue No. 31 | July 20, 2007

News and Features

Genome-Wide Association Study Reveals New Targets for HIV Treatment

A new study conducted by the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI) has identified three gene variants that are associated with HIV viral load set point and disease progression. This genome-wide association study screened the genomes of 486 HIV positive individuals for 550,000 gene variants. The two viral load set point variants are associated with immune-response genes. Researchers believe that by creating therapeutic vaccines that stimulate these genes, HIV infected individuals may be able to hold their viral load set point to a lower level and for a longer period of time. The discovery of these variants gives researchers new targets to study in the fight against HIV.

Genome-wide association studies try to find genetic variations that can account for the different ways that people respond to a particular illness. This study is the first time a genome-wide association study has been performed on an infectious disease.

CHAVI was established by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). For more information, see the following resources:

  • The full NIH press release
  • The Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology Web site
  • AIDSinfo's Therapeutic HIV Vaccines fact sheet
  • Therapeutic HIV vaccine clinical trials

New Online Training Tool Available for Treatment of Adolescents with HIV

A new online training program developed for health care providers entitled Treating Adolescents with HIV: Tools for Building Skills in Cultural Competence, Clinical Care, and Support will be launched next Monday, July 23. Continuing education credits are available for participating in this training which can be accessed at

This project is supported by the Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration's HIV/AIDS Bureau. For more information on Adolescents and HIV see:

  • The Adult & Adolescent Treatment Guidelines
  • The HIV Infection in Adolescents fact sheet from NIAID

Research Suggests New Ways to Treat HAART-Induced Hyperlipidemia

According to an article recently listed on PubMed, use of the protease inhibitor Norvir (ritonavir) prevents certain white blood cells from ridding themselves of cholesterol. Cholesterol build-up in these cells is an important factor in the development of atherosclerosis, a type of heart disease characterized by the hardening of arterial blood vessels. Significantly, the researchers identified several ways to potentially treat this side effect. This study takes another step toward being able to effectively mitigate highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)-induced hyperlipidemia.

Hyperlipidemia, or an elevated level of fat in the blood, has been reported as an adverse event with potential long-term complications that can result from treatment with HAART. For more information, see the following resources: 

  • Adult & Adolescent Treatment Guidelines
  • AIDSinfo's Hyperlipidemia fact sheet
  • The Health Resources and Services Administration's Guide to Primary Care for metabolic complications of antiretroviral therapy
  • One of the many clinical trials on treatment of hyperlipidemia
  • To learn more about ritonavir or other antiretroviral drugs, please visit the AIDSinfo Drug Database.

FDA Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee Will Meet to Discuss Raltegravir

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that its Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee will hold a meeting to discuss the application for the new anti-HIV drug raltegravir (MK-0518). The meeting will be held on September 5, 2007, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilton Washington DC/Silver Spring and is open to the public. Full details can be found on the FDA Web site.

Raltegravir is a member of the new anti-HIV drug class of integrase inhibitors and the first to be considered for FDA approval. For more information on raltegravir see:

  • The AIDSinfo Drug Database
  • Clinical trials being conducted on the drug