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Issue No. 29 | July 16, 2010

News and Features

HHS Secretary Sebelius Makes Statement on Reallocating Funds for AIDS Drug Assistance

"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] took an important step to improve access to critical HIV/AIDS prescription drugs. The $25 million reallocated for AIDS drug assistance provides resources to States that have AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) waiting lists or have implemented strategies to contain costs and delay or prevent a waiting list.

"This week, we improved access to critical HIV/AIDS prescription drugs and are continuing to work towards preventing, and ultimately eliminating, the need for ADAP waiting lists. ...

"Improving access to care and treatment for people living with HIV is a top priority for HHS. These funds are just one part of a broader effort we are making to improve the health status of people living with HIV. ..."

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White House Releases National HIV/AIDS Strategy

On July 13, 2010, the White House released the new National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) for the United States.  The NHAS has three primary goals: 

  • Reducing  the number of new infections
  • Increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV
  •  Reducing HIV-related health disparities

To accomplish these goals, the NHAS  calls for a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic and includes a NHAS Federal Implementation Plan that outlines key, short-term actions to be undertaken by the federal government to execute the outlined recommendations. 

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Study Suggests Starting Anti-HIV Treatment At Higher Nadir CD4 Count May Reduce Cardiovascular Risk

“[Researchers] sought to evaluate whether initiation of HIV therapy at higher nadir CD4(+) T-cell counts might reduce cardiovascular risk, as measured by arterial stiffness. … [Researchers] conducted a cross-sectional study of 80 HIV-infected men who were antiretroviral-treated with undetectable plasma HIV RNA levels. … Participants underwent noninvasive assessment of arterial stiffness by pulse wave analysis (augmentation index normalized for heart rate of 75 bpm) and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, both sensitive measures of cardiovascular risk. … After adjusting for both cardiovascular risk factors (age, blood pressure, antihypertensive medication use, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and smoking) and HIV-related covariates, nadir CD4(+) T-cell count below 350 cells/microl was independently associated with a 0.41 m/s increase in pulse wave velocity (95% confidence interval 0.03-0.79, P = 0.03) and a 7.3% increase in augmentation index (augmentation index normalized for heart rate of 75 bpm; 95% confidence interval 2.6-11.9, P = 0.003). …Among treated HIV-infected individuals, arterial stiffness is independently associated with both traditional cardiovascular risk factors as well as a low nadir CD4(+) T-cell count. [The] data suggest that cardiovascular risk among HIV-infected individuals could be reduced through early initiation of antiretroviral therapy, before CD4 T-cell counts are depressed, a concept that should be tested prospectively in future studies.”

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