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Issue No. 44 | October 30, 2009

News and Features

Volunteer for a Research Study to Help Fight Influenza

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is looking for volunteers to participate in influenza clinical studies. The studies help scientists learn ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat seasonal and pandemic influenza, including H1N1. Clinical studies are available for people with both healthy immune systems and weakened immune systems, which includes individuals who are infected with HIV.


Influenza studies are being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, and at sites across the country. Visit the following Web sites for the latest in NIAID-supported influenza research and detailed information on clinical trials seeking new volunteers:


Results of Two Studies: Interleukin-2 Plus Antiretroviral Therapy Yields No Clinical Benefit as Compared with Antiretroviral Therapy Alone

“Used in combination with antiretroviral therapy, subcutaneous recombinant interleukin-2 raises CD4+ cell counts more than does antiretroviral therapy alone. The clinical implication of these increases is not known. …We conducted two trials: the Subcutaneous Recombinant, Human Interleukin-2 in HIV-Infected Patients with Low CD4+ Counts under Active Antiretroviral Therapy (SILCAAT) study and the Evaluation of Subcutaneous Proleukin in a Randomized International Trial (ESPRIT). In each, patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who had CD4+ cell counts of either 50 to 299 per cubic millimeter (SILCAAT) or 300 or more per cubic millimeter (ESPRIT) were randomly assigned to receive interleukin-2 plus antiretroviral therapy or antiretroviral therapy alone. …The primary end point of both studies was opportunistic disease or death from any cause. ...Over a median follow-up period of 7 to 8 years, the CD4+ cell count was higher in the interleukin-2 group than in the group receiving antiretroviral therapy alone--by 53 and 159 cells per cubic millimeter, on average, in the SILCAAT study and ESPRIT, respectively. ...Despite a substantial and sustained increase in the CD4+ cell count, as compared with antiretroviral therapy alone, interleukin-2 plus antiretroviral therapy yielded no clinical benefit in either study.”


More information is available:

Study Concludes Survival Disparities are Most Pronounced for Hispanic and Latino HIV-Infected Individuals

"Most persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in the United States present to care with advanced disease, and many patients discontinue therapy prematurely. We sought to evaluate sex and racial/ethnic disparities in life-years lost as a result of risk behavior, late presentation, and early discontinuation of HIV care, and we compared these survival losses for HIV-infected persons with losses attributable to high-risk behavior and HIV disease itself. ...With use of a state-transition model of HIV disease, we simulated cohorts of HIV-infected persons and compared them with uninfected individuals who had similar demographic characteristics. We estimated non-HIV-related mortality with use of risk-adjusted standardized mortality ratios, as well as years of life lost because of late presentation and early discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV infection. Data from the national HIV Research Network, stratified by sex and race/ethnicity, were used for estimating CD4(+) cell counts at ART initiation.…The high-risk profile of HIV-infected persons, HIV infection itself, as well as late initiation and early discontinuation of care, all lead to substantial decreases in life expectancy. Survival disparities resulting from late initiation and early discontinuation of therapy are most pronounced for Hispanic HIV-infected men and women. Interventions focused on risk behaviors, as well as on earlier linkage to and better retention in care, will lead to improved survival for HIV-infected persons in the United States.”


More information is available: