HIV and AIDS
HIV and AIDS
News Article | April 17, 2017
US president Donald Trump has sparked anxiety in the scientific community by denying climate change, casting doubt on the use of vaccines, and generally decrying experts who don’t toe the Trump administration’s line. Virtually everything Trump disagrees with is dismissed as “fake news”. Denialism is inevitable whenever powerful financial, governmental, cultural or religious interests come into conflict with scientific reality. HIV researcher Glenda Gray saw this first hand at the turn of the millennium, when South African president Thabo Mbeki refused to accept the link between HIV and AIDS. This prevented vital research and treatment, leading to the avoidable deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Today’s professional deniers, with their deep pockets and sophisticated use of media, are better than ever at convincing the general public that black is white and vice versa. So in these challenging times, it pays to remind ourselves of the cunning moves in the denialists’ playbook, with this excerpt from our special report “Living in denial”. Martin McKee, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who also studies denial, has identified six tactics that all denialist movements use. “I’m not suggesting there is a manual somewhere, but one can see these elements, to varying degrees, in many settings,” he says.
News Article | May 1, 2017
A year ago, Apple's iPhone sales dropped for the first time and everyone freaked out. This year, no matter what, people will likely shrug as they await the debut of the next iPhone. For the record, Wall Street is looking for a slight rebound when Apple reports its fiscal second-quarter results Tuesday. Estimates call for iPhone sales to rise a tick, to 52.2 million from 51.2 million a year ago, according to investment firm Stifel Nicolaus. Revenue also is expected to increase in the fiscal quarter, which ended in late March, but not with the big jump that Apple's reported in the past. It was the second full quarter of iPhone 7 sales, and no one's anticipating either a blowout or disaster. Normally, analysts don't start looking ahead until the quarter that ends in late June, the last full period before a new model is released. That's because Apple typically unveils its new iPhones at the start of September and starts selling them later in the month. But this year -- the 10-year anniversary of the first iPhone -- is different. Already, analysts and other market watchers are looking to that next model instead of worrying about last quarter's results. The iPhone 8 (or whatever it'll be called) already has sky-high expectations built in. That leaves little room to worry about current results. "Most investors are focused on [fiscal 2018], which means the next few reports should be less important than usual," UBS analyst Steven Milunovich noted. Apple didn't have a comment ahead of its earnings report. With that said, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are still pretty darn important. Apple generates more than two-thirds of its revenue from the iPhone. And those two phones helped reverse three quarters of sliding sales. In its fiscal first quarter, which ended in late December, the company reported the highest number of iPhones ever sold: 78.3 million. During its second quarter, Apple introduced the Product Red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the first time its marquee phone has been sold in bright red to help fund programs that combat HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. The company also boosted the cheaper iPhone SE's storage and updated its 9.7-inch iPad Pro. No one is expecting the sales of those products to blow anyone away. Apple's potential to wow will come later this year, with the expectation that the company will significantly redesign its popular phone. That includes speculation it'll use a brighter OLED screen, slim down the frame around the display and add wireless charging. Apple hasn't changed its iPhone design much in three years. The most noticeable difference in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus was the introduction of two camera lenses in the bigger, pricier Plus version. Many analysts have dubbed the next phone launch a "super cycle." Every two years or so, Apple tends to change the iPhone's design, and consumers rush to upgrade, according to Asymco analyst Horace Dediu. "The demand is vast due to the user base and accumulated age of devices in use," he said. "If history is a guide then the next iPhone will be the best iPhone ever." We can hardly wait. Does the Mac still matter? Apple execs tell why the MacBook Pro was over four years in the making, and why we should care. Virtual reality 101: CNET tells you everything you need to know about VR.
News Article | April 21, 2017
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks at the annual LGBT Center dinner on April 20, 2017, in New York City. The Center gave Clinton its Trailblazer Award. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images) Hillary Clinton jabbed at President Trump’s record on LGBT rights, warning Thursday, “We may not ever be able to count on this administration to lead on LGBT issues.” Clinton was receiving an award at a fundraiser for The Center, an LGBT community center in New York City, where she made the critical remarks. After losing the race for the presidency in November, Clinton initially avoided publicly criticizing her former opponent. However, after recently declaring she was “ready to come out of the woods,” the former secretary of state has been increasingly vocal in speaking out against the White House. During her address, Clinton listed specific examples of Trump administration moves she said threatened “the progress that we fought for, that many of you were on the frontllines for.” “When this administration rescinded protections for transgender students, my heart broke,” Clinton said, then pivoted to Trump’s proposed budget. “When I learned about the proposed cuts in funding for HIV and AIDS research, I thought about all our efforts to try and achieve an AIDS-free generation.” “Some of the changes that we’re seeing should seem small, but they matter a great deal if you’re the person affected,” she continued. “Others carry historic significance, like the future of the Supreme Court.” Clinton ran on a decidedly pro-gay rights platform in 2016, though she was criticized for her previous stances on some issues, such as her opposition to same-sex marriage. As secretary of state, Clinton proclaimed, “Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,” repurposing a famous line from her time as first lady. In a quieter but still significant move, she also approved a measure that allowed transgender people to change the gender listed on their passport with a doctor’s note. “I know the election hit a lot of us hard,” Clinton told the audience Thursday. “I can tell you this: Even when it feels tempting to pull the covers over your heads, please keep going.”
News Article | May 2, 2017
This isn't the kind of surprise Apple watchers want to see. Apple on Tuesday reported a slight drop in quarterly iPhone unit sales to 50.8 million units, from 51.2 million units a year earlier. Analysts, on average, had expected it to sell 52.2 million in the fiscal second quarter that ended April 1. Even though Apple sold fewer iPhones, it made more money because of demand for its pricier iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone's average selling price was $655 in the quarter, up from $642 a year ago. iPhone revenue rose 1 percent to $33.2 billion, benefiting from the iPhone 7 Plus. That model included a newer, better camera than its predecessors and its smaller sibling, the iPhone 7. Apple CEO Tim Cook called iPhone 7 Plus demand "robust" and admitted that Apple didn't correctly predict just how many people would opt for the bigger phone over the iPhone 7. "It took us a little while to adjust all the way back through the supply chain and to bring iPhone 7 Plus [availability] into balance, which occurred ... early this past quarter," Cook said. This quarter a year ago marked the first time iPhone sales fell -- ever -- but Apple's iPhone 7, released in September, helped it rebound. The company didn't change the design of the device much from the past two generations of iPhones, but the dual lenses in the bigger, pricier iPhone 7 Plus attracted millions of buyers. In its fiscal first quarter, which ended in late December, the company reported the highest number of iPhones ever sold: 78.3 million. Still, the devices weren't enough to boost Apple's iPhone sales this quarter. The decline marks only the fourth time ever that iPhone unit sales have fallen. That's largely because the market is saturated with iPhone owners unwilling to upgrade, as well as consumers sticking around to see if bigger changes are afoot with the next version. During its second quarter, Apple introduced the Product Red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the first time its marquee phone has been sold in bright red to help fund programs that combat HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. The company also boosted the cheaper iPhone SE's storage and updated its 9.7-inch iPad. But it's the iPhone 8, expected later this year, that has everyone talking. Analysts and other market watchers are largely looking ahead to the next smartphone model -- the iPhone 8, or whatever it'll be called -- instead of worrying about last quarter's results. The upcoming device -- marking the 10-year anniversary of the first iPhone -- already has sky-high expectations built in. That leaves little room to worry about current results. Apple sold 8.9 million iPads, down from 10.3 million but in line with analyst expectations, according to Bernstein. The quarter marked the 13th-straight decline in Apple's tablet unit sales. The drop comes despite Apple's efforts to revitalize the market with its Pro models and with lower pricing for its 9.7-inch iPad. For Apple's Mac line, the company sold 4.2 million computers, in line with what analysts had anticipated. Sales in all regions rose, except the key Greater China market. In that region, Apple's revenue dropped 14 percent to $10.7 billion. Cook said Apple continues to be "very enthusiastic" about China but noted sales likely won't rebound this quarter. "Where the iPhone 7 Plus did well, we didn't perform as well on some of the previous generation iPhones," Cook said. "What I now believe is that we'll improve a bit more during this current quarter, not back to growth but improve -- but make more progress." Apple's services business posted an 18 percent jump to $7 billion. And sales of company's "other products" -- which includes the Apple Watch, AirPods, Beats headphones, iPods and other accessories -- climbed 31 percent to $2.87 billion. Cook noted that the Apple Watch, AirPods and Beats revenue in the last four quarters is now the size of a Fortune 500 company. "Demand for AirPods significantly exceed supply, and growth in Beats products has also been very strong," Cook said during a call with analysts. He added that Apple has "seen the Watch as a really key product category for us since before we launched it." "We're really proud of the growth with the business," Cook said, without giving any specific figures. "The Watch units more than doubled in six of our top 10 markets, which is phenomenal growth, particularly on a non-holiday quarter." Overall, Apple reported revenue of $52.9 billion, up 4.6 percent from a year ago. Analysts expected it to post revenue of $53 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters. Apple's net income increased to $11 billion, or $2.10 a share, from $10.5 billion, or $1.90 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had anticipated per-share earnings of $2.02. For the June quarter, Apple expects revenue to total $43.5 billion to $45.5 billion. Analysts had estimated sales of $45.6 billion. Apple on Tuesday also boosted the amount of money it's returning to shareholders to $300 billion, from $250 billion, through stock buybacks and dividends. The company plans to return that total by the end of March 2019. Does the Mac still matter? Apple execs tell why the MacBook Pro was over four years in the making, and why we should care. Virtual reality 101: CNET tells you everything you need to know about VR. Update at 3:20 p.m. PT with comments from conference call.
News Article | April 17, 2017
Community Participation Encouraged May 6, 2017 at William R. Mason Regional Park in Irvine, Calif. IRVINE, CA--(Marketwired - Apr 10, 2017) - AIDS Services Foundation Orange County (ASF) is pleased to announce it will be hosting its 31st annual AIDS Walk Orange County on Saturday, May 6, 2017 at William R. Mason Regional Park in Irvine, Calif. Whether walkers plan to participate in the 5K walk or the Red Ribbon 5K Fun Run, all are encouraged to don capes, spandex, boots and other favorite super hero gear as a reminder that in the HIV/AIDS community: "Heroes Are Zeros:" Zero new infections. Zero deaths. Zero discrimination. "I am so excited to be a part of the upcoming AIDS Walk Orange County -- part of our crusade to be a powerful force for change," said Philip Yaeger, ASF CEO and executive director. "We'll be running in our capes while creating a family-friendly day of fun, remembrance, unity and education -- and most importantly, we'll be helping people living with HIV disease in Orange County." ASF expects more than a thousand walkers, joggers and runners to join the event, which will also include music, food vendors, carnival booths and merchandise sales. The funds raised will be used to identify -- through outreach and testing -- those individuals living with the virus, get them into care and on medication, reduce their viral loads and keep them healthy. There is no upfront cost to register and start or join a team; the only commitment is to raise a minimum of $25 -- although, raising more is always welcome! ASF will also be providing free, rapid HIV testing and counseling at the event; and other recipient agencies will also be on hand to provide information on the services they offer in the community. To register as an individual, start a family team, join up with co-workers or members of a faith community, visit www.aidswalkorangecounty.com. For more information about the event or to learn more about ASF, please contact Leslie Licano at 949.733.8679 ext. 101, or visit the ASF website at www.ocasf.org. AIDS Services Foundation Orange County (ASF) is a nonprofit AIDS service organization that has helped more than 7,000 people living with HIV disease in Orange County since 1985. ASF serves the local community impacted by HIV and AIDS by providing food, transportation, housing, emergency financial assistance, counseling, education and preventative services. You can learn more about the organization by visiting www.ocasf.org. Follow ASF on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
News Article | April 17, 2017
April 10th marked National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, an annual observance to educate the public about the impact of HIV and AIDS on young people. The HIV epidemic in the United States continues to be a major public health crisis. An estimated 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV and one out of five people do not know they have it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Florida Department of Health reports Miami-Dade County has the highest rate of new HIV cases in the country. To interrupt this epidemic, Homestead Hospital embraced the revised HIV testing statutes and implemented a routine HIV and hepatitis C screening and Linkage to Care program -- becoming the first hospital in the state to routinely screen for HIV and HCV. It took a coalition of hospital and public health professionals and a significant investment of human and infrastructure resources to bring about systemic change. Patients treated in the emergency department who require bloodwork now receive an HIV and HCV test unless they decline. Since implementation of this program in May 2016, the emergency department has screened more than 5,000 patients and identified 72 HIV and more than 200 HCV positive individuals. Technological advancements have also helped to identify several highly infectious, acute cases, and working in partnership with the Department of Health, the hospital has been able to immediately link these individuals to care and conduct a social and sexual history to mitigate the spread of infection. There are several positive stories that can be attributed to this program, including young women in early-stage pregnancy who are now taking precautions to prevent HIV transmission to their fetuses.
News Article | May 23, 2017
As Congress and the Administration determine the future of this vital funding, it's important to recognize that each dollar spent by the United States fighting HIV and AIDS has a direct and considerable impact on the daily health and survival of people in need. If EGPAF were required to absorb even a 10% reduction to our annual budget, it would significantly impact those served by our programs – resulting in 56 additional infant HIV infections and 119 additional adult deaths due to HIV each week. These are real consequences for real people. To halt the remarkable progress we've made to date would not only be irresponsible, but could seriously jeopardize active efforts to end AIDS in children by 2020. Since 2000, there has been an astonishing 70 percent decline in the number of new HIV infections in children worldwide, much of that due to America's leadership. However, important work remains. Every day 400 children are newly infected with HIV, and only 49 percent of the 1.8 million children living with HIV have access to the medications they need to stay alive and healthy. The human cost of the cuts in the president's proposed budget will be substantial and should not be underestimated. Sustained commitment, investment, and prioritization are critical to continuing this progress and removing the final hurdles to our goal of ending AIDS in children. We urge Congress to preserve full funding for U.S. foreign assistance programs. About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) EGPAF is the global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/ AIDS and has reached more than 26 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. EGPAF is currently supporting activities in 19 countries and more than 5,000 sites to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute global advocacy activities that bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide. For more information, visit www.pedaids.org. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/1-bil-cut-to-hivaids-will-roll-back-progress-threatens-mothers-and-children-300462624.html
News Article | May 25, 2017
— Stanley Tomchin, the renowned games professional and active philanthropist, continues his ongoing support of Pathfinder International, a local non-profit agency fighting to combat barriers to important sexual and reproductive services throughout the developing world. Much inspired by his sister Joy, who has been actively involved with the AIDS Center of NYC for many years, Tomchin became driven by the conviction that no matter where a person lives, they should have the right to decide whether and when to have children, to exist free from fear and stigma, and to lead the lifestyles they choose. To date, his efforts have allowed for educational programs to be carried out around the globe and given access to vital medical procedures to those who need it most. Since 1957, Pathfinder International has partnered with local governments, communities, and health systems to expand access to contraception, promote healthy pregnancies, save women’s lives, and stop the spread of new HIV infections wherever the need is most urgent. They are recognized as champions of sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide, mobilizing communities in need to forge their own path to a healthier future. In 2016 alone, Pathfinder’s global impact led to 5.9 million visits to facilities for contraceptive services, 1.5 million individuals receiving HIV and AIDS assistance, and 6,700 fewer maternal deaths. Of all the achievements the organization had in 2016, the most significant to Stanley Tomchin were the reproductive health assistance and 10.8 million visits to youth-friendly services made by young people. “Much of his funding goes to education and access in places where it’s most challenging,” explained Jennifer Wong, Pathfinder’s Director of Development. “A very small percentage of donors help out with this - Stanley is regarded as a trailblazer and a pioneer of their cause.” The United Nations estimated that 70% of adult deaths result from behavior started or reinforced during adolescence. By coordinating with Pathfinder International, Tomchin hopes to develop new and creative strategies for young people to form healthier practices and establish lifelong good habits. Together they are fighting to reach the over one billion youth who need accurate, unbiased information and health care free of judgment. Wherever the need is most urgent, the programs made possible by this partnership will ensure young adults can make educated decisions about their bodies and successfully choose their own path forward. Stanley Tomchin is a retired professional games player and dedicated philanthropist currently residing in Nevada. Naturally gifted at skilled games since he was a child, Tomchin became a chess master at the age of 13 before representing the United States in the bridge Olympiad. After experiencing global success and reaching the status of the most potent professional games player in the world, he decided to retire, start a family, and devote his life to helping those in need. In 2005 he founded the Tomchin Family Charitable Foundation, which supports over forty organizations and actively seeks new causes that warrant attention. For more information, please visit http://www.stanleytomchinnews.com
News Article | May 24, 2017
About 70% of childhood cancer survivors experience side effects from their treatment, including secondary cancers. And as survival rates improve, the worldwide population of childhood cancer survivors is growing. Side effects cause stress for survivors and families and increase demand on health systems. But an emerging area of medicine, nanomedicine, offers hope for better children's cancer treatment that will have fewer side effects and improve quality of life for survivors. Nanomedicine is the application of nanomaterials, or nanoparticles, to medicine. Nanoparticles are a form of transport for drugs and can go places drugs wouldn't be able to go on their own. Nano means tiny. A nanometre (nm) is one-billionth of a metre. Nanoparticles used for drug delivery are usually in the 20 to 100 nanometre range, although this can vary depending on the design of the nanoparticle. Nanoparticles can be engineered and designed to package and transport drugs directly to where they're needed. This targeted approach means the drugs cause most harm in the particular, and intended, area of the tumour they are delivered to. This minimises collateral damage to surrounding healthy tissues, and therefore the side effects. The first cancer nanomedicine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration was Doxil. Since 1995, it has been used to treat adult cancers including ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma and Karposi's sarcoma (a rare cancer that often affects people with immune deficiency such as HIV and AIDS). Currently, there is a stream of new nanomedicine treatments for adult cancers in clinical trials (trials in humans), or on the market. But only a limited number of these have been approved for children's cancers, although this is arguably where nanomedicine's strengths could have the most benefit. The nanoparticle drug-delivery systems can work in different ways. Along with carrying the drug for delivery, nanoparticles can be engineered to carry specific compounds that will let them bind, or attach, to molecules on tumour cells. Once attached, they can safety deliver the drug to the specific tumour site. Nanoparticles can also help with drug solubility. For a drug to work, it must be able to enter the bloodstream, which means it needs to be soluble. For example, the cancer drug paclitaxel (Taxol) is insoluble so has to be dissolved in a delivery agent to get into the blood. But this agent can cause allergic reactions in patients. To overcome these issues, chemists have developed a nanoparticle out of the naturally occurring protein albumin. It carries the paclitaxel and makes it soluble but without the allergic reactions. Tumours commonly have disordered and leaky blood vessels sprouting through and off them. These vessels allow chemotherapy drugs to readily enter the tumour, but because chemotherapy molecules are so small, they also diffuse through the vessels and out of the tumour, attacking surrounding tissues. Nanoparticles are larger molecules that get trapped inside the tumour, where they do all the damage. Once they have delivered their drug cargo to cells, nanoparticles can be designed to break down into harmless byproducts. This is particularly important for children who are still developing. Nanoparticles vary in characteristics like shape and size. Researchers need to match the right nanoparticle to the drug it's to deliver and the particular tumour. An array of nanoparticle structures are currently being engineered. One example of an interesting structure is the shape of a DNA origami. Because DNA is a biological material, nanoparticles engineered into DNA origami shapes won't be seen as foreign by the immune system. So these can transport a drug to diseased cells while evading the body's immune system, therefore lessening the side effects of drugs. Another example of nanomedicine structures are polymeric nanocarriers. We have recently identified a gene that promotes the growth of tumours, cancer spread and resistance to chemotherapy in pancreatic cancers. We used a nanomedicine called a polymeric nanocarrier and combined it with a drug that silences the cancer gene. We packaged this up to form a nanomedicine and delivered the drugs into the tumour. These nanomedicines reduced the expression of the cancer gene, blocked tumour growth and reduced the spread of pancreatic cancer. But we also showed that polymeric nanocarriers can be combined in the lab with other gene-silencing drugs. This means the method can be used for a range of other gene-based cancers. How can nanomedicines help treat kids' cancer? In standard treatment for children's cancer, chemotherapy drugs are often prescribed at the maximum tolerable dose for a child's age or size, based on adult dosages. But children aren't small adults. The processes underlying children's growth and development might lead to a different effect and response to a chemotherapy drug not seen in adults. Also, if a child becomes resistant to a drug and they're on the maximum tolerable dose, there's no scope to increase it without toxic side effects. By packaging up drugs and moving them through the body directly to diseased cells to reduce collateral damage, in theory, nanomedicine allows higher doses of drugs to be used. Nanomedicine has great potential to safely treat children's cancer. However, it is currently stymied by too little research. About two-thirds of research attention in nanomedicine therapeutics, of more 250 nanomedicine products, is focused on cancer. Yet this isn't translating into new cancer treatments for children coming to market. But we are making progress. Our work is exploring the design of nanoparticles to deliver gene-silencing drugs to treat the most common brain cancer in children – medulloblastoma. We're also working on nanomedicines for other significant childhood cancers. These include drug-refractory acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, the most common childhood cancer, and neuroblastoma, the cancer that claims more lives of those under five than any other. Explore further: New nanotechnology application for difficult-to-treat cancers
News Article | May 9, 2017
A new study suggests that a psychoactive cannabis extract called THC or tetrahydrocannabinol may assist and protect human brains in improving memory in old age. Researchers from the Hebrew and Bonn University discovered that THC — a key active element found in cannabis — may have positive effects by reversing the decline of cognitive functioning, which occurs in our brains with age. Tetrahydrocannabinol or dronabinol is commonly known as Marinol (i.e. man-made cannabis). THC is the key constituent or psychoactive part of cannabis. The compound — when clear — sports a clear gold or amber-colored glassy liquid look and becomes sticky and vicious when warmed. The compound is medically approved for the treatment of HIV and AIDS in anorexic people. THC is also used to treat vomiting and refractory nausea for individuals undergoing chemotherapy. The study tested THC on mice to arrive at the conclusion that cannabis improves memory in older brains. To test the effect of the chemical compound on brains from different ages, mice from three different age groups — two months, one year, and one year six months — were treated with THC for a month. After the completion of the month-long course, all the mice underwent obstacle- and recognition-based tests to validate the effectiveness of THC on their brains. They were tested to find their way out of a water maze with old and new configurations. The mice also had to identify familiar objects. The researchers observed the effects on both the older and younger mice when THC was administered or not given to them. The younger mice performed well sans THC in their system, but struggled significantly under the influence of THC. On the other hand, the older mice who struggled in the tasks without the support from THC performed extraordinarily well when THC was administered. With the compound in their system, the older mice got a considerable boost in their brain activity and performance. The boost given by the THC put the old mice at par with the performance of the younger mice who did not have THC in their system. The researchers asserted that no mice displayed the bizarre effects of a THC dose, which one may expect. "Together, these results reveal a profound, long-lasting improvement of cognitive performance resulting from a low dose of THC treatment in mature and old animals," the researchers noted. A human clinical trial to observe the effects of THC on human brains has been scheduled for the later part of 2017. The key findings of the study have been published in journal Nature Medicine on Monday, May 8. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.