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Issue No. 20 | May 1, 2009

News and Features

Updated Perinatal Treatment Guidelines: Your Feedback Is Important!

The HHS Panel on Treatment of HIV-Infected Pregnant Women and Prevention of Perinatal Transmission would like to hear your feedback on the latest revisions to the Public Health Service Task Force Recommendations for Use of Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnant HIV-Infected Women for Maternal Health and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States. Please send your comments with the subject line "Perinatal Comments" to by May 13, 2009.

CDC: Guidance for H1N1 Virus in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents

"Evidence that influenza can be more severe for HIV-infected adults and adolescents comes from studies among HIV-infected persons who had seasonal influenza; these data are limited. However, several studies have reported higher hospitalization rates, prolonged illness and increased mortality, especially among persons with AIDS. Thus, immune compromised persons, including HIV-infected adults and adolescents and especially persons with low CD4 cell counts or AIDS can experience more severe complications of seasonal influenza and it is possible that HIV-infected adults and adolescents are also at higher risk for [H1N1]-origin influenza complications."

New Studies Continue to Suggest that Circumcision Reduces Risks of HIV Infection

"Austrian researchers analyzing biopsies from 20 circumcised and uncircumcised men found that the inner foreskin of the penis contains a higher concentration of Langerhans cells -- a prime target of the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV -- than any other part of the male foreskin. Because this would make the inner foreskin more susceptible to HIV, removing it through circumcision would help lower a man's risk of contracting HIV, they concluded.

In the second study, a two-year study of nearly 3,000 Kenyan men found that those who were recently circumcised were less likely to suffer coital injuries, such as scratches, cuts, scrapes or soreness, than those who had their foreskin intact."

Study: Genome-Wide Screen Identifies Gene Mutation Linked to Neuropathy

"The mechanisms underlying the development of NRTI-induced neuropathy...remain unclear. Using a mouse model of NRTI-induced neuropathy, the authors conducted an unbiased whole-genome microarray screen to identify molecular targets in the spinal dorsal horn, which is the location where integration of ascending sensory transmission and descending modulatory effects occur. Analysis of the microarray data identified a change in the gene giant axonal neuropathy 1 (Gan1). Mutation of this gene has been linked to the development of giant axonal neuropathy (GAN), a rare autosomal recessive condition characterized by a progressive sensorimotor neuropathy. Gan1 has not been previously linked to nerve pathologies in other populations. Our report is the first to suggest that Gan1 might be a novel molecular target in the development of NRTI-induced peripheral neuropathy with implications for new therapeutic approaches to preventing or reducing a significant side effect of HIV treatment."

Study: New Gene Regions Linked to Susceptibility of HIV-1-Associated Nephropathy

"Multiple studies have linked podocyte gene variants to diverse sporadic nephropathies, including HIV-1-associated nephropathy (HIVAN). We previously used linkage analysis to identify a major HIVAN susceptibility locus in mouse, HIVAN1. We performed expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analysis of podocyte genes in HIV-1 transgenic mice to gain further insight into genetic susceptibility to HIVAN....Data demonstrate that transcript levels of Nphs2 and related podocyte-expressed genes are networked and suggest that the genetic lesions introduced by HIVAN susceptibility alleles perturb this regulatory pathway and transcriptional responses to HIV-1, increasing susceptibility to nephropathy."