HIV law unjust, says lawyer

A Toronto lawyer believes a new law for HIV patients isn’t fair for Canadians, and leads to more questions than answers.

Ryan Peck, executive director of the HIV and AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO), was in Barrie recently to discuss the law.

On October 5, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled a person with HIV doesn’t have to tell a sexual partner, as long as both a condom is used and medication is taken for the disease.

“Some people call this the ‘belts and suspenders’ approach,” said Peck.

Prior to October, the law had an informal either/or approach, said Peck.

Now the court has muddied the water and has left HIV patients nervous, said Peck.

“There should not be a duty to disclose when there is an undetectable viral load,” he said. “People should not go to jail.”

HIV is effectively the only disease with criminal law consequences, said Peck.

In Canada, approximately 70,000 people live with HIV and Canada is a world leader for prosecutions, with at least 150 on the books.

“HIV is radically different than it was 10 years ago. It’s a chronic illness, but it’s manageable if a person has access to meds,” said Peck.

“It’s harder to transmit than people suppose.”

For those who are maliciously trying to infect others with HIV, then of course the justice system should intervene, he said.

“This is not about giving people with HIV a free pass to rape – we’re not talking about that,” said Peck.

Most HIV patients actually want to protect their sexual partners, he said.

Not only doesn’t the new law address oral sex, it doesn’t say what happens if a condom breaks.

“Now people don’t know what kind of behaviour will land them in jail,” said Peck.

Peck’s talk, sponsored by the AIDS Committee of Simcoe County, comes as a local trial is playing out in the courts.

Jennifer Murphy is before the courts after being charged with aggravated sexual assault in 2011.

It is alleged she engaged in oral sex and intercourse and didn’t reveal her HIV-positive status.

Her Superior court trial is set for the end of June.

In 2005, she pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault for engaging in sexual intercourse and oral sex with two men at Canadian Forces Base Borden. She was sentenced to a year of house arrest and a three-year probation.

In 2007, while living in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Murphy was again charged with aggravated sexual assault, but the charges were withdrawn.

Tulsa dentist may have put 7,000 patients at HIV risk

Dr. Harrington has been practicing for 36 years

Dr. Harrington has been practicing for 36 years

Health officials in the US state of Oklahoma have warned 7,000 patients their dentist may have exposed them to HIV and hepatitis B and C.

Patients of Dr W Scott Harrington’s practice in Tulsa were advised to test themselves at a free clinic set up by the state, health officials said.

Health inspectors found rusty dental instruments and poor hygiene standards at the clinic.

Dr Harrington has voluntarily closed the practice, officials said.

“Although we do not know whether you were personally exposed to blood-borne viruses,” the state health department wrote to patients, “there is a possibility that you may have been exposed to infectious material.”

The letters are being sent to patients treated since 2007, but health officials have said they do not know who may have been seen by the dentist before that.

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Link between violence and HIV must be made explicit, say African ministers

Ministers from Liberia, Zimbabwe and Ghana shed light on reality of violence and infection in their countries, as campaigners at UN conference press for action

Photograph: Catianne Tijerina/UN

Photograph: Catianne Tijerina/UN

The link between gender-based violence and HIV infections needs to be explicit in the outcome document of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), delegates said this week.

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Many Bremer Africans believe Religion protects against HIV

Africans living in Bremen, know too little about HIV and AIDS – and therefore have outlandish ideas about dealing with the infection.



BREMEN. The research results of a preliminary study on knowledge, attitudes and behavior of Africans in Germany show that over half of respondents (63 percent) in Bremen want more information on HIV, especially through the media and the public health departments.

So misconceptions about modes of HIV transmission are prevalent, reported by the Institute of Public Health: 8.1 percent believe in witchcraft, 7.1 percent of the airborne transmission, and 9.3 percent by the presence in the same room.

In order to protect themselves from HIV, 95.3 percent mentioned condoms, 87.4 percent and 75.3 percent loyalty abstinence. Nearly a quarter of respondents believe but also to protection by religious belief (24.8 percent), sex with a virgin (21.8 percent) or the selection of a partner for healthy appearance (15.8 percent).

HIV is often kept secret

“It is also the fear of stigma and discrimination, a major issue for African migrants,” Silke Gräser from the Institute of Public Health says to the “Medical Journal“.

For example, more than half of African women (58 percent) would hold the HIV infection of a family member a secret.

“The group of Africans should not be stigmatized as such,” warns Gräser, “many Africans fear that Africa and AIDS are called too quickly in one breath.”

In this context, HIV prevention services are run specifically for African migrants at risk of being perceived as stigmatizing. HIV prevention must therefore be made more culturally sensitive, it said.

translated by: Kiumars Seraj Elahy 

Hepatitis C: Treatment failures – Stay away from interferon

Some patients with hepatitis C should after failure of first-line therapy because of the increased antiviral risk of death should not be treated with pegylated interferon.

GRANADA HILLS. Patients with hepatitis C who have severe fibrosis and do not respond to initial antiviral therapy should not be treated with pegylated interferon. The reason: After monotherapy with the cytokine over several years, a recent meta-analysis of placebo-controlled studies, has increased the risk of death easily.

Nasty Balls    © Springer Verlag

Nasty Balls – © Springer Verlag

Treatment with alpha-interferon was lifted in the 1980s, the care of patients with hepatitis C virus. But now there are more effective drugs such as ribavirin or pegylated interferon combination partner, so the cytokine monotherapy is no longer the first choice for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is.

But there are still patients who do not respond to ribavirin as primary or secondary to treatment interruption and for whom monotherapy with pegylated interferon is attempted. A therapy is considered as successful if half a year after the start of treatment no detectable HCV.

U.S. doctors to the gastroenterologist Dr. Ronald L. Koretz from Granada Hills have now checked against the few available studies, whether HCV patients after failure of first-line therapy or a non-response, benefit from monotherapy with pegylated interferon.

For the analysis only placebo-controlled randomized trials were considered. Primary endpoints were overall and hepatitis C-related mortality, quality of life and side effects.

translated from ÄrzteZeitung (the German Medical Online Journal) by Kiumars

HIV and Hepatitis C Co-Infection

From Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange

Are you HIV positive and newly diagnosed with hepatitis C (Hep C)? Do you have one virus and think you might be infected with the other?

If so, this brochure answers some basic questions about living with both HIV and Hep C.

What is HIV and Hep C co-infection?

When people have HIV and another major infection such as Hep C, they are co-infected. HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, killing the CD4+ cells that help the body fight off infection. Hep C is a virus that attacks the liver, and can cause liver damage (cirrhosis), liver failure and liver cancer. You might also hear the Hep C virus referred to as HCV.

How do I know if I’m co-infected?

If you have either HIV or Hep C, you are at risk for also having the other virus because both can enter your body the same way.

The only way to find out for sure if you are infected with HIV and Hep C is by being tested. Each virus is detected by a different test, so you need both an HIV test and a Hep C test.

You might be co-infected and not know it. Both are slow acting viruses. People can be infected for years with either virus without having any signs or symptoms of illness.

Why is HIV and Hep C co-infection a problem?

Being infected with both HIV and Hep C is a problem because each one is very hard on your body. When you are co-infected, each disease makes the other one worse. You can get sicker faster, and it is hard to treat both diseases at the same time. HIV can cause the Hep C virus to reproduce more quickly. People who are co-infected can develop liver damage and liver cancer more quickly than people who have only Hep C. Having HIV makes Hep C harder to treat because the immune system is weaker. Having Hep C also makes HIV harder to treat. Many of the medications used to treat HIV are processed by the liver. A liver badly damaged by Hep C cannot process drugs as well. Although generally safe, the risk of side effects with HIV medications may be slightly higher.

Hepatitis C and HIV -
British Columbia Persons With Aids Society

Some doctors start their patients on medications to minimize the risk of depression a month before starting Hep C therapy. If you are using substances, you may want to talk to your doctor or nurse about how to quit drinking alcohol or get help for dependence on street drugs. These changes will make it easier to take treatment.

Because of side effects, some people are tempted to stop their Hep C treatment. But for the treatment to prescribed. If you experience bad side effects, you should talk to your doctor or nurse about ways to prevent or reduce them.

The complete brochure can be found here: click!

Papulonodular Syphilis

A 52-year-old woman presented with a 3-week history of asymptomatic erythematous papules and nodules. The lesions initially appeared on the face and tongue (Panels A and B) and subsequently spread to the trunk and lower legs. The patient had no other systemic symptoms. Two weeks earlier, she had been treated with oral penicillin G for a sore throat but had stopped taking the antibiotic after a few days because of angioedema. A biopsy of a facial lesion revealed an inflammatory infiltrate with multiple mature plasma cells suggestive of secondary syphilis. The diagnosis was made on the basis of a titer of 1:160,000 (normal range, 0 to 640) on a Treponema pallidum particle agglutination assay, a value of 5770 U per milliliter (normal range, 0 to 24) on an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for T. pallidum IgG, and a positive assay for T. pallidum IgM. The differential diagnosis included leukemia cutis and cutaneous sarcoidosis. The patient received the diagnosis of papulonodular secondary syphilis with mucous plaques and most likely a syphilitic pharyngitis. Because of previous penicillin intolerance, the patient was treated with intravenous ceftriaxone (2 g daily) for 3 weeks. The rash cleared within 4 weeks after the initiation of treatment.

Papulonodular secondary syphilis in a 52-year-old non-HIV heterosexual patient.

Papulonodular secondary syphilis in a 52-year-old non-HIV heterosexual patient.

Source: The New England Journal of Medicine

There has been a recent increase in the incidence of syphilis in Slovenia, similar to other countries. Secondary syphilis can manifest with various clinical and histopathological presentations. We report the case of a 52-year-old patient that presented with nonpruritic nodular lesions on the face, trunk, and insteps that clinically mimicked lymphoma or sarcoidosis. Histopathological findings showed granulomatous inflammation. The serology revealed positive non-treponemal and treponemal tests. Treatment with benzathine penicillin G was successful.

Source: ResearchGate

HIV & rape (rape and sexual violence)

Rape is an act of violence and domination and anger. It uses sexual acts including penetration as weapons. Rape is a subject which most people find uncomfortable. For women it conjures up all kinds of images. Some of us will think of dirty old men in plastic coats, or a monster too gross to think about. Others will have more specific ideas about rape, perhaps thinking about a certain group of men such as ‘weirdos’ in dark alleys.

مرد، تجاوز به عنف، قربانی اوگاندا     rape victim

Every woman in our society feels the fear of rape – no woman is allowed to ignore it. We are taught as children to be afraid of ‘strange men’ who offer us sweets, lifts, etc. Women are taught as adults to keep our doors locked, not to be alone, not to look or act in any way that might ‘bring rape upon ourselves’. Perhaps the most obvious situation in which we are taught to be afraid is when we walk home alone at night. The threat of violence is a total intrusion into women’s personal space and transforms a routine and/or potential pleasurable activity (for example, a walk in the park, a quiet evening at home, a long train journey) into a potentially upsetting, disturbing and often threatening experience.

causes of rape

Rape myths give people a false sense of security by minimising and/or denying the prevalence of sexual violence.

They accomplish this by blaming the victim and making excuses for the perpetrator. In effect these myths perpetuate sexual violence because they play a powerful part in defining responses to rape and create an excuse not to address the realities of sexual violence.

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Neuropathy and HIV: A Progress Report

With over 100 possible causes and over 100 possible forms, neuropathy is nerve damage that affects roughly 30% of people living with HIV. If you’re really unlucky, you may also be diabetic, or have also been treated for cancer, or are a heavy drinker, in which case your chances of suffering from nerve damage unfortunately become exponentially greater.

The bad news doesn’t end there I’m afraid: once it has been established that you are suffering from neuropathy of any form or cause; you will begin plotting your way through a minefield of treatments designed to reduce the worst symptoms, including tingling, loss of feeling, and sharp, unrelenting pain. If you’re lucky, the first treatment you meet will help you and keep you going for some while. However, if you are like most people with neuropathic problems, you will be trying this, that and the other medications, in the hope that your symptoms will be suppressed and if they fall short of your needs, your frustration increases.

If you see advertisements claiming to have cures for neuropathy, or clinics that say they will reverse the process; please take these with a pinch of salt and consult your HIV-specialist, or neurologist. Most scientists agree there is no cure for nerve damage, there is only the possibility of making the symptoms bearable but that doesn’t prevent unscrupulous people from trying to separate you from your money.

Over 20 million Americans alone suffer from neuropathy, the vast majority being diabetic. This has led to experts taking a closer look at the traditional medications used to subdue the symptoms. The pharmaceutical industry has made millions over the decades, promoting anti-depressants, anti-convulsants and analgesics ranging from aspirin, to the heaviest opioids for neuropathy. These are drugs normally meant for the treatment of other conditions but because of their effects on the brain and central nervous system, it has always been thought that they should be able to inhibit pain signals if directed properly.

The clear lack of significant and consistent success and the rise in numbers of people suffering from neuropathic pain, has finally forced companies to get their research labs working hard on developing new solutions and the results of these investigations and studies are now emerging. Unfortunately for most people currently suffering from neuropathic problems, this may be cold comfort because as you will all know, the path between research and development and the chemists’ shelves is a very long one indeed. Long periods of testing and the need to officially approve new drugs/treatments for public use mean it can be years before those treatments become available.

The good news is that progress is finally being made and the advent of more advanced technology has meant that research results at basic cellular and molecular levels are more promising. It looks as though a much wider industry-wide understanding is building up of how neuropathy works and how pain signals can be blocked or inhibited. Patience will be a virtue but in the meantime, neuropathy sufferers need to do as much research as they can and help their doctors find the best solutions currently possible.

Since the publication of this full progress report (Nov. 9th 2012), further studies have shown possibilities in the areas of spinal stimulation and spinal drug delivery from permanently implanted devices; regeneration of nerves in mice via magnetic fields and more serious studies into light treatment, electrical impulses, ultrasound and other devices such as the recently FDA-approved Sensus system. Apart from these, ongoing studies are looking even closer at the neuronal tissue that makes up nerve cells and layers protecting nerves. Even the role of antibodies and immunotherapy in neuropathic pain is now being seriously studied in an attempt to better understand the relationships with auto-immune diseases.

It certainly seems that the medical research world has finally woken up to the fact that the problem is serious and that current treatments are inadequate; but we’ll need to wait some years to see which studies will lead to end-products and which will not.

You can read the full article outlining exactly what sort of progress has been made and in which areas, during the last year here at

Source: The Body

استیگما = انگ، توهین، بدبینی

Stigma - HIV Is A VirusEin Stigma ist eine Verallgemeinerung von einer spezifischen Handlung oder Eigenheit einer Person auf deren Gesamtcharakter. Dabei bewirkt das Stigma einen Status der Person, der gegenüber ihren übrigen Eigenschaften hervorsticht.

Zur Stigmatisierung gedacht waren ursprünglich echte Leibesstrafen zum Zweck der öffentlichen Ächtung, wie bis in die Neuzeit hinein das Scheren der Haare (für Hurerei) oder des Bartes oder das Abschneiden der Ohren (für Ehrverlust), heute noch manchenorts im Rechtskreis der Scharia das Abschlagen einer Hand (für Diebstahl).

What is Social Stigma?

Stigma is a Greek word that in its origins referred to a type of marking or tattoo that was cut or burned into the skin of criminals, slaves, or traitors in order to visibly identify them as blemished or morally polluted persons. These individuals were to be avoided or shunned, particularly in public places.

Social stigmas can occur in many different forms. The most common deals with culture, obesity, gender, race and diseases. Many people who have been stigmatized feel as though they are transforming from a whole person to a tainted one. They feel different and devalued by others. This can happen in the workplace, educational settings, health care, the criminal justice system, and even in their own family. For example, the parents of overweight women are less likely to pay for their daughters’ college education than are the parents of average-weight women (Major, O’Brien; 2005).


استیگما =  انگ، توهین، بدبینی

انگ وتبعیض در سراسر دنیا و با شکل ها و دلایل مختلف وجود دارد و می تواند در برابر یک گروه از افراد با دین، اعتقاد و یا نگرش متفاوت با اکثریت جامعه و کشور اعمال شود
انگ و یا داغ ننگ را ترجمه ی کلمه اینگلیسی استیگما دانسته اند و این اصطلاح توسط یونانی ها، جهت اشاره به علائم بدنی ایجاد شده (حاصل از سوزاندن و یا بریدن)  بر روی پوست و یا کوتاه کردن موی سروبریدن ریش افراد مجرم بکار برده اند اما امروزه منظور ما بیشتر رسوایی و ننگ حاصل از داشتن خصوصیاتی متفاوت از افراد دیگر می باشد
یکی از گروه هایی که با این پدیده بسیار روبه رو می شوند، افراد مبتلا به اچ آی وی هستند. به دلیل افزایش احتمال ابتلا به اچ آی وی  درصورت استفاده از مواد مخدر و رابطه ی جنسی با افراد متعدد و بدون استفاده از کاندوم ، این بیماری در نظر افراد ترسناک و متعلق به گروه خاصی چون زنان روسپی، مردان همجنسگرا، مصرف کنندگان مواد مخدر و افرادی با تعدد رابطه ی جنسی تصور می شود و همین موضوع سبب شده است تا تصور کنیم با دور ماندن از این گروه ها و همچنین افراد اچ آی وی مثبت می توانیم از خطر ابتلا در امان بمانیم. علاوه بر آن تصور ابتلا به اچ آی وی   بعنوان مجازات الهی، جرم و ترس سبب تشدید این انگ ها و در نتیجه به وجود آمدن تبعیض مابین افراد مثبت و افراد غیر مثبت می شود
آگاه نبودن از راه های انتقال ویروس نقص سیستم ایمنی یکی از دلایل اصلی ایجاد انگ در مقابل افراد مبتلا به  اچ آی وی می باشد اگرچه داشتن اطلاعات کافی نیز سبب نمی شود تا حتی کارکنان بهداشتی نیز مابین افراد مبتلا و غیر مبتلا تفاوت قائل نشوند بلکه زمانی این موضوع امکان پذیر خواهد بود که نه تنها افراد آگاهی داشته باشند بلکه رفتارشان نیز تغییر داده شده باشد
در سراسر دنیا تحقیقات بسیار زیادی در ارتباط بررسی تاثیر انگ و تبعیض بر اپیدمی ایدز انجام شده است. امروز ما می دانیم که ارتباط مستقیمی بین وجود انگ و تبعیض با تمایل افراد به انجام آزمایش اچ آی وی ، دسترسی پیدا کردن به داروهای آنتی ویروس و تمایل به فاش سازی وضعیت ابتلا وجود دارد. بدیهی است که در صورت نیاز به کاهش یافتن سرعت پیشرفت اپیدمی اچ آی وی می بایست میزان انگ زدن به افراد مبتلا، از میان برداشته شود تا افراد بدون نگرانی با مراجعه به مراکز مشاوره، آزمایش دهند وهمچنین بدون هیچ ترسی از تبعیض، در زمان نیاز به دریافت خدماتی چون دندانپزشکی و سایر خدمات وضعیت ابتلا ی خود را اعلام کنند

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