Friday, April 30, 2010

Elton John Says Ryan White Turned His Life Around

by The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS April 28, 2010, 10:35 pm ET
Elton John says he's been sober for 20 years, since shortly after the death of an Indiana teen with AIDS who the musician credits with inspiring him to turn his life around.

John was in Indianapolis on Wednesday to headline a benefit celebrating the life and legacy of Ryan White. The 18-year-old died on April 8, 1990, about five years after contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through a tainted blood transfusion to treat his hemophilia.
The singer befriended the boy during his public battle for acceptance after he was banned from a central Indiana school at age 13, bringing national attention to HIV/AIDS education and the plight of children with HIV in the 1980s. John was at Riley Children's Hospital when White died and was a pallbearer and performed at the funeral.

"It was one of the greatest things in my life to meet Ryan's family, to be there the last week to try and help, and then for that wonderful message that he gave me to change my life around," John told The Associated Press before the Wednesday evening benefit. "It was weird to take stock and think of it — I'm 20 years sober this year, and it's 20 years since Ryan died, because I got sober shortly afterward."
Proceeds from the event, which was being hosted by Phil Donahue, will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Indianapolis Children's Museum's "Power of Children" exhibit, which features White.

John established the foundation two years after White's death. The organization funds innovative HIV prevention and education programs, works to eliminate stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, and provides direct care and support services for patients.

The 20-year anniversary of White's death is an opportunity to restart a dialogue about AIDS and push for educating children about the disease, John said.

"Every 10 years, a new generation of kids come up, and we see the numbers go up, because we can't really get to them in school," John said. "We never could. Education about sex and education about AIDS was totally forbidden. That could have saved so many more lives, because children are smart. Children will listen. You don't have to threaten children, you just have to inform them."
"It took a child to die to make people sit up and notice," he added.

White's mother, Jeanne White-Ginder, said John's return to Indianapolis was a bittersweet reminder of her son's last days.

White-Ginder said John played "secretary" during White's final days, filtering phone calls and telegrams and making sure those who sent flowers were acknowledged.

"One of the most beautiful scenes I think I can remember is walking into Ryan's room and seeing Elton standing on a chair decorating Ryan's room," White-Ginder said Wednesday. "He said, 'When he wakes up, I want him to know how much he was loved.' That really touched me as a mom because I hadn't thought to do that."

She said it was special to have John back to mark the 20th anniversary of her son's death.
"I've always felt like he was my guardian angel," she said.

John gives similar credit to White-Ginder, and to the family that helped him find purpose.
"Jeannie's incredible fortitude in going through this as a mother — I never saw her crack. The last week, there were some tense moments, and it was very emotional, but I never saw Ryan crack," John said. "It was just an amazing lesson in how to live life in the best possible way."

Blog Source:

House of Numbers Blog

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ban removed on foreigners with HIV/AIDS

By Shan Juan (China Daily) Updated: 2010-04-29 07:43

A majority of Chinese people polled against the decision
Beijing - The international community has applauded the decision by the Chinese government to lift a two-decade-old travel ban on foreigners with HIV/AIDS, despite a recent survey showing a majority of the Chinese public does not support the decision. 

The State Council said in an online statement late Tuesday that the government passed amendments on April 19, revising its border health quarantine law and the law on control of the entry and exit of aliens. 

The move came days before the opening of the Shanghai Expo, which starts on Saturday and is expected to receive 4 million overseas visitors. 

"I commend President Hu Jintao," said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "Punitive policies and practices only hamper the global AIDS response." 

The UNAIDS Country Coordinator in China said on Wednesday the nation has displayed its global leadership credentials by lifting travel restrictions on people with HIV and AIDS. 

"There are 51 countries in the world which still have such restrictions. China's move will have significant global influence and provide very important leadership," Mark Stirling, country coordinator of the UNAIDS China Office, was quoted as saying by Xinhua News Agency.  
Foreigners will not have to claim their HIV status while seeking a Chinese visa, and selective HIV testing among foreigners entering China and the deportation of those found to be HIV positive will be abolished, said Hao Yang, deputy director of the Ministry of Health's disease prevention and control bureau. 

Previously, those making honest claims about their status could be refused entry, as in the case of Australian writer Robert Dessaix, who was denied entry in March because he claimed HIV-positive status. 

Meanwhile, about 84 percent of more than 4,000 respondents opposed lifting the ban, citing the possibility that infected foreigners would further spread the incurable disease in China, a poll conducted by China Daily and in late March has found. 

Li Dun, a law expert with Tsinghua University, said such restrictions are discriminatory and do not prevent HIV transmission or protect local public health, particularly when China has an HIV-positive population of 740,000, which some experts consider a low estimate. 

Also, implementing such a ban in the face of globalization is almost impossible, he said.
With that in mind, in 1995 selective HIV testing for foreigners seeking to enter China replaced a mandatory test, according to the ministry. 

But for stays longer than one year, foreigners were still required to test for HIV upon arrival in China regardless of their health claims during their visa application. 

Ban Ki-moon urged the other 51 countries with AIDS restrictions to remove such measures as a matter of priority and urgency. 

"Individuals should have equal access to freedom of movement - regardless of HIV status," said Michel Sidib, UNAIDS Executive Director. 

"The change to the law is another example of China's leadership in the AIDS response," he noted. 

 See Dr. James Chin talk about HIV Estimates in the film, House of Numbers.

House of Numbers is coming to the Health Freedom Expo

House of Numbers is coming to the Health Freedom Expo. Radio host Robert Scott Bell will be introducing the film and providing a forum for discussions.

About the lecturer:
Each week Robert Scott Bell empowers his listeners with healing principles that can aid in physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, economic and, yes, even political healing! Robert Scott Bell hosts the fastest three hours of healing information on national radio as he deals with everyday health issues from the perspective of alternative/holistic health care. Learn more at or

About the filmmaker: Canadian-­born director Brent Leung attended Kwantlen University in British Columbia, majoring in psychology. In 1999 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee to attend The Watkins Film School. After three years of cinema study, Brent decided to devote his full attention to investigating the HIV/AIDS phenomenon, which had troubled him since his high school days. The result is his first feature, the documentary, House of Numbers.

Attend the Expo

Join Us For This Great Event!
The Health Freedom Expo returns to Chicago on June 4-6. This year features an outstanding line-up of many local, national and international speakers, dynamic workshops and seminars and it also showcases a diverse group of alternative and natural health care exhibitors.

What makes this Expo different is that it's supported by a not-for-profit lobbying group that works year round to protect consumers' rights, defends practitioners who use natural and nutritional solutions, and lobbies against laws which remove the individual's freedom to make informed health care choices.

Held at the beautiful Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center, the Chicago Health Freedom Expo is open to the public.

Monday, April 26, 2010

House of Numbers DVD Pre-orders Now Available -- Shipping July 20, 2010

House of Numbers is 89 minutes long, but for every minute in the documentary there exists nearly four times as much footage that could not be included in the optimum time-frame for a feature-length film. Drawing on this resource, the special Deluxe Edition explores in greater depth and more exacting detail the issues raised in the Standard DVD. This previously unseen footage brings into sharper focus the controversies and the cast of characters comprising the HIV/AIDS narrative; making it compelling viewing for anyone engaged by this fascinating and fateful "anatomy of an epidemic."

The Standard DVD Pre-order price is $19.95 and will include English Closed Captions, Spanish and German subtitles, and Stereo and 5.1 surround sound. The special features will include the HON theatrical trailer along with promo material we have released on the internet, such as the Luc Montagnier's extended interview.
The Deluxe DVD Pre-Order price is $39.95. This includes the Standard DVD along with Two Additional DVDs with the following special features:  
Behind-the-scenes Photos
Extended Interview Clips

23 Featurettes:
HIV Testing:
o  HIV Testing 101
o  The History and Evolution of HIV Testing
o  The Morphing Fine Print of
HIV Test Package Inserts
o  The Changing Criteria of Western Blot Testing
o  Deciphering Test Results for False Positives
o  Examining the “Gold Standard” for
HIV Diagnostic Tests
o  HIV Testing in High Risk Versus
Low Risk Populations
o  HIV Testing Campaigns

o  The Bangui Definition - A Closer Look
o  Bangui Redux: Abidjan and Caracas
o  The Growing Family of AIDS Marker 
Diseases and Indicators
o  The Clinicians' Dilemma: Dr. Anthony Fauci and 
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine
o  1993 - CDC Adds the CD4 T-Cell Count Marker
o  1997 - CDC Tables 11 and 12 
Addition by Subtraction

"Why I Began Questioning HIV" - 
 Five Skeptic's Stories
o  Dr. Kary Mullis
o  Rian Malan
o  Neville Hodgkinson
o  Dr. Rodney Richards
o  Dr. Christian Fiala
A Second Look
o  Profile: Dr. Robert Gallo
o  Profile: Dr. Peter Duesberg
o  History of Fabricated Scares and The CDC
o  The Incarnation Children's Center:
A cautionary Tale   

Currently we are offering NTSC, all region DVDs and will be providing PAL format shortly.

If you have any questions, please e-mail us at  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Berkeley scholar in dock over HIV-Aids article

24 April 2010
Anonymous complainants accuse Peter Duesberg of ‘ethical breach’ and making ‘false claims’. Zoë Corbyn reports
A scholar who has questioned the link between HIV and Aids is being investigated by his university following allegations of “unacceptable conduct”.

It has emerged that the University of California, Berkeley launched an investigation last November into whether Peter Duesberg, a professor of molecular and cell biology who is well known for denying the link between HIV and Aids, had violated its policies when submitting an article on the theme to the journal Medical Hypotheses.

The article, “HIV-Aids hypothesis out of touch with South African Aids – A new perspective”, argues that there is “as yet no proof that HIV causes Aids” and says the claim that the virus has killed millions is “unconfirmed”.

Its publication last July led to a furore, and prompted the publisher of the unorthodox journal, Elsevier, to issue an ultimatum to its editor, Bruce Charlton. It demanded that a peer-review system be introduced to replace the journal’s current model, under which Professor Charlton decides which papers to publish on the strength of how interesting or radical they are.

Professor Charlton has refused to implement the changes and faces the sack as a result.
Elsevier withdrew the Duesberg paper to submit it to a peer-review test, which resulted in its being “permanently withdrawn” last month.

In a letter to Professor Duesberg, dated 18 November 2009 and seen by Times Higher Education, Berkeley says it had received allegations that submitting the paper amounted to “unacceptable conduct”.

“The specific allegations are that an article you submitted to Medical Hypotheses was investigated and then withdrawn by the publisher based on issues of credibility and false claims [and] that you failed to declare a relevant conflict of interest with regard to the commercial interests of your authors,” it says.
Two anonymous letters of complaint accompany Berkeley’s letter.

One alleges that a co-author of the paper, David Rasnick – who also denies the HIV-Aids link – had “until recently” worked as a researcher for the Dr Rath Health Foundation Africa. It alleges that the foundation “promoted and distributed micronutrient products as alternatives to the use of antiretroviral drugs”.

It continues: “[The affiliation] is a material and relevant fact that should have been disclosed in the paper by Duesberg et al. As the responsibility for making such a disclosure is the corresponding author’s, it appears…that Professor Duesberg has likely committed an ethical breach that should be investigated.”

The second letter accuses Professor Duesberg of damaging the credibility of Berkeley and science by making “false claims”.

“If the University of California is to maintain its reputation as one of the most outstanding academic institutions in the world, it cannot support the use of the university or an academic position as platforms to disseminate dangerous opinions and deny principles which are the very foundations of science,” it says.

Professor Duesberg acknowledged that Dr Rasnick had worked for the South African organisation from 2005 to 2006, but stressed it was non-profit and that Dr Rasnick’s employment had ended three years prior to the submission of the Medical Hypotheses manuscript.

He noted that the faculty investigative officer appointed to examine the allegations – Art Reingold, division head of public health biology and epidemiology at Berkeley’s School of Public Health – had received grant money to study HIV-Aids. He also criticised the university for “hiding” the identities of the complainants.

“The HIV-Aids establishment has censored our paper because it undermines the primary prediction of the HIV-Aids hypothesis,” he said.

“I am under investigation for scientific misconduct at a university that is the cradle of free speech because I have published a paper that proposes an alternative.”

On the allegation that he had brought Berkeley and science into disrepute, the academic said it was “odd” that the university was only now responding to such charges, “23 years after I first advanced arguments that HIV is not compatible with the epidemiology and biology of viral disease”.

If Professor Duesberg is found guilty of misconduct, the university could impose a sanction ranging from a warning letter to demotion or even dismissal. Professor Duesberg said he expected the outcome of the investigation to be known in the next few weeks.

Berkeley did not respond to THE’s request for comment.

For more information on Peter Duesberg  and other scientists involved in the AIDS debate, watch House of Numbers.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Romania runs out of Aids drugs

The lives of people with HIV in Romania are being put at risk as the country runs out of drugs to keep them alive, say NGOs, while the government appears to blame the recession.

Activists have been afraid it would happen in the poorest countries of Asia or Africa. But it's happening in Europe instead. In Romania, HIV drugs are running out. People in the regions have been traveling to Bucharest to try to get their supplies, but the capital city's shelves are emptying and from this week, they will be turned away. As the Romanian Aids organisations put it, people with HIV are being sentenced to death.

Some people have had no drugs for over a month now. The reasons for the stock-outs are not entirely clear. Certainly Romania is hit by the recession, but, as an open letter from the EU HIV/Aids Civil Society Forum to the Romanian president, Traian Basescu, and his government said yesterday, other cash-hit European states have managed to keep the medicines available. It is a very serious situation for the 7,000 or so people with HIV in Romania. Antiretroviral drugs keep people alive and well, but those who start the drugs have to stay on the drugs, or the virus in their body will evolve into a drug-resistant strain. And then the drugs they were taking will not work any more. They will need other (more expensive) drugs instead. And for some, the Forum told the government in its letter, time is running out.

In particular those who as youngsters got infected in Romanian hospitals during their early childhood, between 1986 and 1992, are patients who received several drug regimens in the past, and some of them are already receiving their last treatment option. By interrupting their treatment, these people will be at great personal health risk, with the well-known public health implications on top.
The Forum - and the local NGOs - are urging the Romanian government to take steps to restore the drug supply. Money may be short, they say, but it is open to them to negotiate lower prices with the pharmaceutical industry, which they have not done. The letter also asks the government to call in the World Health Organisation for help and advice.

Depriving people of the drugs that will keep them alive is a clear breach, they say, of article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Two Romanian HIV/Aids NGOs, SENS POZITIV Association and ARAS - the Romanian Association Against AIDS, have set up a petition, here.


Watch House of Numbers and see the Nagel Family talk about adopting their daughter from Romania, her HIV positive test, and the direction they chose to take regarding HIV treatment.

HIV/AIDS - Drug Pipeline Analysis and Market Forecasts to 2016

Published: Apr-2010   Report Code: GDHCPRT086
Report Format: Electronic PDF
GlobalData's report, “HIV/AIDS – Drug Pipeline Analysis and Market Forecasts to 2016” is an essential source of information and analysis on the global HIV/AIDS market. The report identifies the key trends shaping and driving the global HIV/AIDS market. The report also provides insight on the prevalent competitive landscape and the emerging players expected to bring significant shift in the market positioning of the existing market leaders. Most importantly, the report provides valuable insight on the pipeline products within the global HIV/AIDS sector. GlobalData estimated the HIV/AIDS market was worth $12 billion in 2009. The global Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection market will continue to grow between 2009 and 2016 at a slower rate due to a series of patent expiries during this period. The growth rate is likely to decline from 2012 onwards due to the impact of the patent expiry of key drugs. The market is characterized by a high unmet need of drugs which can cure the disease. Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) which requires patients to take different classes of drugs has however succeeded in achieving near zero levels of HIV in infected people. Increased uptake of HAART and increasing awareness (which leads to increased treatment seeking) will drive the market. The pipeline for HIV is strong and consists of more than 250 molecules currently in development for various disease segments.


  • The scope of the report includes:
  • Annualized global HIV/AIDS market revenues data from 2001 to 2009, forecast for seven years to 2016.
  • Geographies covered in this report are the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Japan.
  • Pipeline analysis data providing a split across phases by mechanism of action, and the emerging trends. The key classes of mechanism of action include HIV vaccines, Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs), Protease Inhibitors (PIs), Multi-class Combination Products, Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs), CCR5 receptor antagonists, HIV integrase inhibitors, Nucleoside analogues, Viral entry inhibitors, Maturation inhibitors and Fusion Inhibitors.
  • Analysis of the current and future market competition in the global HIV/AIDS market. The key market players covered Boehring Ingelheim, Achillion Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, Incyte and Pharmasset, Shire Pharmaceuticals and Tibotec Virco
  • Insightful review of the key industry drivers, restraints and challenges. Each trend is independently researched to provide qualitative analysis of its implications.
  • The key topics covered include a strategic competitor assessment, market characterization, unmet needs and implications for the future HIV/AIDS market.

Reasons to Buy

  • The report will enhance your decision making capability in a more rapid and time sensitive manner. It will allow you to:
  • Develop and design your in-licensing and out-licensing strategies through review of pipeline products and technologies and by identifying companies with the most robust pipeline.
  • Develop business strategies by understanding the trends shaping and driving the global HIV/AIDS market.
  • Drive revenues by understanding key trends, innovative products and technologies, market segments and companies likely to impact the global HIV/AIDS market in future.
  • Formulate effective sales and marketing strategies by understanding the competitive landscape and by analyzing the performance of various competitors.
  • Identify emerging players with potentially strong product portfolio and create effective counter-strategies to gain competitive advantage.
  • Organize your sales and marketing efforts by identifying the market categories and segments that present maximum opportunities for consolidations, investments and strategic partnerships.
  • What’s the next big thing in the global HIV/AIDS market landscape? – Identify, understand and capitalize.
Watch House of Numbers to see more on HIV Drugs. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Annie Lennox Advocating HIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention

In her recent American Idol related appearance, where Annie Lennox's performance could be watched live via satellite, she wore a 'HIV Positive' black t-shirt which surprised her fans. People has started speculating that whether Annie have AIDS.

She has been advocating HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention since long. Lennox introduced a four year old little girl with HIV and pneumonia during her Idol Gives Back appearance. The girl’s mother had died from AIDS, leaving her an orphan. She urged the people to support the helpless and vulnerable.
Annie along with the SING Campaign will be supporting the Love Is All We Need Dinner and Auction on World AIDS Orphans Day which falls on 7th May 2010.

The campaign was started by Lennox after she heard that Nelson Mandela has described the African HIV pandemic as ‘genocide’, which is targeting mainly women and children. About 2 million dollars have already been raised and will talk about her ongoing battle against the HIV/AIDS epidemic at the dinner. She will also narrate her experiences in South Africa.

Annie said, “Access to treatment is a basic human rights issue. People do not have to die from AIDS”.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blogger Review of House of Numbers

Movie Review:

As someone who has followed the scientific debates regarding the cause of AIDS since the early 1990’s, I have reported on many of the controversies and inconsistencies with the existing causation hypotheses. Yes, that is right, there are multiple perspectives as to what causes the syndrome labeled as AIDS, even from within the well funded scientific orthodoxy. This, the film reveals.

Young filmmaker Brent Leung has done a remarkable job of allowing the scientists on all sides of this debate to describe their viewpoints in their own words so that the viewer can decide for himself the credibility or lack thereof of the information presented. How refreshing it is for a documentary film to treat its audience as if it is intelligent and capable of drawing reasonable conclusions, rather than being preached at as if we are all little children.

The calls for censorship of this film are outrageous. Beware those with conflicts of interest who appear offended for the mere suggestion that “they should wash their hands after cutting on cadavers before going into the next room to deliver babies.” Have we learned nothing since the time of Ignaz Semmelweis, much less Galileo?

House of Numbers is an important film at a time where we are rapidly running out of resources to chase a disease that may not actually be a disease at all. Yes, billions of dollars of potentially misallocated research funds are at stake, but so are the lives of potentially millions of immunocompromised inhabitants of planet earth.

If it is possible that conflicts of interest have covered up and prevented other avenues of research into immune dysfunction be explored, wouldn’t you want to know it?

Watch online Movie Trailer free House of Numbers English Hollywood Film.The film Directed by Brent Leung.

In my opinion, a good documentary film reveals many facets of its subject matter in ways that elevate interest throughout. A great documentary film allows its audience to draw its own conclusions. I sat riveted by House of Numbers. Three times. Dare I be so bold to posit that this may be the film to ignite a renaissance of scientific freedom and inquiry devoid of politics and economics?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gilead cuts 2010 sales outlook, shares fall

(Reuters) - Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O) posted disappointing quarterly sales for its core HIV drugs and cut its full-year forecast due to U.S. healthcare reform, sending its shares down more than 3 percent after-hours.

First-quarter sales of AIDS drug Truvada rose 11 percent to $657.8 million, while sales of Atripla, which combines Truvada with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co's (BMY.N) Sustiva into a single pill, rose 36 percent to $692.9 million.

However, analysts had expected even higher Truvada sales of $680 million and Atripla sales of $726 million, according to RBC Capital Markets.

The results followed news late on Monday that Gilead had terminated study of an experimental drug for hepatitis C because the drug was causing too much toxicity.

"Their hepatitis C program doesn't look like it's competitive and now you've got a little softness in their HIV revenue," Sanford Bernstein analyst Geoffrey Porges said, adding that investors may be "heading toward the end of their patience."

The company also lowered its outlook for 2010 sales by about $200 million to a range of $7.4 billion to $7.5 billion, citing the impact of recently passed healthcare reform. The new legislation calls on drugmakers to offer higher price rebates for government-funded health plans.

The biotech company posted a first-quarter net profit of $854.9 million, or 92 cents per share, compared with $589.1 million or 63 cents per share a year earlier.

Adjusting for acquisition expenses, restructuring costs and stock-based compensation, the company said it earned 99 cents a share for the quarter. Analysts had expected 96 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Quarterly revenue rose 36 percent to $2.09 billion, while product sales rose 24 percent to $1.79 billion. Analysts had expected revenue of $2.07 billion.

Chief Financial Officer Robin Washington said on a conference call that international government pricing pressures and currency exchange rates could also affect sales.

"During the first quarter we have seen increased evidence of additional international government measures to reduce pharmaceutical expenditures including increased rebates, cancellations, and callbacks of price increases," she said.

Gilead said product sales for the quarter were reduced by $29.4 million due to the impact of U.S. healthcare reform legislation.

Royalty, contract and other revenue more than tripled to $297.8 million from $82.9 million. Gilead derives most of its royalty revenue from Roche Holding AG's (ROG.VX) sales of Tamiflu, which has seen strong demand because of the swine flu pandemic.

J&J said its experimental AIDS drug, known as TMC278, was found to be at least as effective as Bristol-Myers' Sustiva in tests the company plans to submit for regulatory approval in the third quarter. J&J is working with Gilead on a single pill that would combine TMC278 with Truvada.
The company said it expects to file for regulatory approval of the new fixed-dose regimen later this year.

Gilead shares, which closed at $45.07 on the Nasdaq, fell to $43.60 in after-hours trading.

(Additional reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Andre Grenon, Richard Chang and Matthew Lewis)

Monday, April 19, 2010

House of Numbers CGI to screen at the Melbourne Int'l Animation Festival

The computer graphics created for House of Numbers has been invited to screen in the 10th annual Melbourne International Animation Festival.

CGI artist Scott Meador and graphics supervisor Jim Lockhart took us inside the body, creating moving imagery of the HIV replication cycle hypothesis. Click here to see a video simultaneously comparing the basic grey 3D model concept, the 3D render, and the final composite.

 Information about the Melbourne Int'l Animation Festival:

Get ready to strap yourselves in for a nine day blast of animation from around the world in the 10th edition of the Melbourne International Animation Festival! This will be your only opportunity in Australia to see such a comprehensive line-up of current animated short films in competition and specially curated programs, that highlight recent productions and absolute gems from the archive. MIAF aims to challenge and inspire audiences with thematic, visual and technical diversity from award winners, outstanding industry veterans and those wonderful newcomers who are exploring their talent on screen for the very first time.

In 2010 MIAF celebrates our 10th anniversary! Woohoo! As well as the regular avalanche of animated goodness covering the best recently released and historical animation, we have three special highlight programs:

10 Years of International Highlights
10 Years of Australian Highlights
10 Years of Late Night Bizarre 

We’ve received more than 12,000 entries, screened more than 2,500 films and had some of the most talented animators in the world come and hang with us! These programs will review some of the hits, misses and should-a-beens!! 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Expectant HIV/Aids women to start on ARV earlier - WHO

By Halima Abdallah
Posted Monday, April 19 2010 at 00:00

HIV-positive pregnant women will now start on antiretroviral in the 14th week of their pregnancy, according to World Health Organisation’s revised guideline on prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV.
The revised guidelines, based on those of 2006, recommend that all HIV-positive pregnant women be given ARVs starting at 14 weeks and continuing through the end of the breastfeeding, to reduce the risk of HIV transmission and improve the infant’s chance of survival. An earlier start to antiretroviral treatment boosts the immune system and reduces the risks of HIV-related diseases and deaths. 
The 2006 guidelines recommended antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the third trimester (beginning at 28 weeks). At the time, there was insufficient evidence on the protective effect of ARVs during breastfeeding. However since then, studies and trials have demonstrated that starting ARV earlier reduces rates of death and disease and increases the efficacy of ARVs in preventing transmission to the infant while breastfeeding.
The latest guideline issued in November 2009, recommends that mothers should continue breastfeeding even when they are positive as they take the drugs with their babies.
“We did a study in National Referral Hospital Mulago and found that the risks of death were higher in those children who were not breastfed because they were prone to diseases like diarrhoea,” Ministry of Health Principal Medical Officer in charge of Child Health Jessica Sabiti said.
The guidelines also recommend that once a mother has selected breastfeeding or providing formula milk, she should do so exclusively and not mix the two. She can choose to boil the breast milk up to 60 degrees, before feeding it to the baby.
“Mixing breast milk and other formula milk enhances transmission because formula feeds causes perforation in the baby’s digestive system when given too early. When the baby is breastfed, the mother’s milk that contains the virus infiltrates the baby’s body through the perforations,” Jessica said.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

United States pledges $2.7 billion for Kenya HIV battle

By Jeremy Clarke, Reuters

A health worker at the Kenyatta International Centre on December 1, 2009 during celebrations for World AIDS Day in Nairobi, Kenya. The United States has committed $2.7 billion to help fight HIV infection in Kenya where more than a million people are living with the disease.

Photograph by: Simon Maina, AFP/Getty Images

NAIROBI – The United States committed $2.7 billion on Wednesday to help fight HIV infection in Kenya where more than a million people are living with the disease.

The pledge is part of the largest U.S. foreign aid program devoted to a single disease -- the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief -- and has been lauded as a bright spot of former President George W. Bush's tenure.

The money, which is to be dispersed over the next five years, represents a 112 percent increase in funding for the program in Kenya, east Africa's largest economy. It is seen by the United States as an enhancement of a successful program.

"Kenya is now the biggest recipient of this program in the world, more than South Africa," U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger told reporters in Nairobi.

He said the agreement with Nairobi meant the government was expected to increase direct budget support for the fight against HIV/AIDS by a minimum of 10 percent annually.

Kenyan Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said the effect of the HIV virus and AIDS on the Kenyan economy was great.

"Studies done assessing the effect of HIV/AIDS on economic growth in Africa show that we lose about 2 percentage points in terms of growth. This is due to the negative impact of HIV/AIDS impact on productivity of labor," he said.

The program will include caring for more than 550,000 orphans and vulnerable children, as well as helping manage other related co-infections such as Tuberculosis, Kenyatta said.

Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 72 percent of the world's AIDS-related deaths with 1.4 million last year, while an estimated 1.9 million people in the region were newly infected with HIV.
In Kenya, AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 29 percent since 2002.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Groups Protest Segregation of Inmates With H.I.V.

Published: April 14, 2010 - NY Times

In Alabama, prisoners infected with H.I.V. must wear white armbands and live in special units. In South Carolina, infected men have blue dots on their badges and are housed in a maximum-security prison; female prisoners carry the name of the H.I.V./AIDS dorm on their uniforms. The two states are the last to segregate and put blanket restrictions on H.I.V.-positive inmates and on Wednesday, rights groups called for change, saying the policies violate federal and international guidelines. Infected prisoners’ chances of early release and help in re-entering society are harmed as well, according to a report issued by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch. South Carolina bars them from participating in work-release, for example, and Alabama limits such opportunities. Prison officials in the two states say that segregation is necessary to prevent the spread of H.I.V. and provide specialized medical care.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

H&M launches third Fashion Against AIDS! campaign

Inspired by the summer festival season, H&M is launching it's third Fashion Against AIDS! campaign with a collection of rock and roll summer styles, with 25% of the proceeds going to youth HIV/AIDS awareness projects.

"It is very important to make people aware of the problem with AIDS and HIV and we want to contribute in the fight against the disease by donating some of the sales from this collection,” says Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M’s head of design, in a press release.

Described as "a mix of rock with bohemia and glamour with added ethnic touches," the girls collection consists of ready-for-summer denim hotpants, patterned leggings, embellished tunic tops, maxi-dresses, leather jackets, gladiator shoes, chunky bracelets, wide belts , and beaded necklaces.

And for guys who want to look like they're in the band, the boy's collection offers slim blazers and jackets, faded and patched denim jeans and cropped shorts, embellished waistcoats, paisley vests and the "essential rocker’s hat."

Of course if your headed out to a summer music festival, your going to need supplies for camping out. For this reason the collection offers rocker-chic tents, sleeping bags and folding chairs, along with guys and gals themed toiletry kits.

Born to rock but sticking close to home this summer? The collection offers a quartet of headphones in vibrant patterns and colors so you can rock out even if your not at a hot concert.

Hitting stores May 20th and priced from just $2.95 to $79.95, the Fashion Against Aids! collection allows you to give back at a bargain price.

City Endorses New Policy for Treatment of H.I.V.

Published: April 2, 2010 - By SABIN RUSSELL - NY Times 

In a major shift of H.I.V. treatment policy, San Francisco public health doctors have begun to advise patients to start taking antiviral medicines as soon as they are found to be infected, rather than waiting — sometimes years — for signs that their immune systems have started to fail. 

The new, controversial city guidelines, to be announced next week by the Department of Public Health, may be the most forceful anywhere in their endorsement of early treatment against H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.

Ever since combinations of antiviral drugs were found to slow progression of the disease in the mid-1990s, doctors and patients have wrestled with the question of when to begin a lifetime regimen of costly and sometimes toxic medicines. The answer remains in dispute, but public health leaders here are now making a case for a change.

Behind the policy switch is mounting evidence that patients who start early are more likely to live longer, and less likely to suffer a variety of ailments — including heart disease, kidney failure and cancer — that plague long-term survivors. Studies suggest that in the early years of infection, when a patient may show few signs of immune system failure, the virus is in fact causing permanent damage that becomes evident later.

For instance, in older patients who finally start taking the drugs, the effects of chronic inflammation take their toll.

“The impact on health risk is comparable to that of diabetes,” said Dr. Steven G. Deeks, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. “Their immune system may look like that of someone 30 years older.”

Dr. Diane V. Havlir, chief of the H.I.V./AIDS division at San Francisco General Hospital, said the new policy was already in effect for her patients. Although a decision whether or not to take the medicine rests with the patient, all those testing positive for H.I.V. will be offered combination therapy, with advice to pursue it.
“The history of H.I.V. disease has always been about change,” she said. “We pride ourselves on working quickly with new data.”

At the public hospital’s H.I.V. clinic, a 30-year-old man is mulling advice from Dr. C. Bradley Hare to start on antiviral drugs. He was infected four years ago, but his T-cell count, a measure of infection-fighting white blood cells, is 735, comparable to that of an uninfected, healthy adult. He is buff and athletic and feels good.

The man has decided to keep waiting. “Once you start the drugs, you can’t stop,” he said. “You know how they say, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?’ ”

Dr. Hare has been following research on early treatment, and for the last several years he has asked his patients to think about it. Now, he is recommending it outright. He said most of his patients did not have serious problems with drug side effects. “A lot of times they have a sense of relief when they start the meds,” he said.

The turning point in San Francisco’s thinking may have been a study in The New England Journal of Medicine on April 1, 2009, that compared death rates among thousands of North American H.I.V. patients. Dr. Mari Kitahata, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington, and her team of researchers found that patients who put off therapy until their immune system showed signs of damage had a nearly twofold greater risk of dying — from any cause — than those who started treatment when their T-cell counts were above 500.

There is another motivation prompting the change. Reducing the level of virus in the population of infected people may reduce the spread of the disease.

“I do anticipate it will drive down the rates of new infections,” Dr. Mitchell H. Katz, San Francisco director of public health, said. “It’s a nice, secondary benefit of this new policy.”

Dr. Katz said that despite cuts in health budgets, a policy to add to the number of H.I.V. patients taking expensive drugs made economic sense. “H.I.V. medications have been continually proven to be cost effective,” he said, “and in this case, it is also the right thing to do.”

The program is being carried out without a clear picture of its cost to city and state health agencies. Antiviral drugs can cost $12,000 a year, consuming $350 million of the budget of California AIDS Drug Assistance Plan.

Dr. Michelle Roland, chief of the state’s Office of AIDS, said she and her counterparts across the country were working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to estimate the added cost of early treatment.

In San Francisco, up to 2,000 people know they are H.I.V. positive, have healthy T-cell counts and are not yet on treatment, according to the city. Cost estimates are complicated by unknowns, like the number of patients choosing to participate, how close they were to needing treatment under the previous system and whether they had private insurance.

When the first combinations of AIDS drugs came out in 1996, the thinking was “hit early, and hit hard.” But as patients battled nasty side effects, like diarrhea and disfiguring shifts in body fat, therapy was deferred until T-cell counts fell as low as 200.

Today, with safer drugs, quick viral suppression is back in fashion.

“The field is moving, inexorably, to earlier and earlier therapy,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He called San Francisco’s decision “an important step in that direction.”
But the proposal is highly controversial, even in San Francisco. “It’s just too risky,” said Dr. Jay Levy, the U.C.S.F. virologist who was among the first to identify the cause of AIDS. The new drugs may be less toxic, Dr. Levy said, but no one knows the effects of taking them for decades.

San Francisco’s decision follows a split vote in December by a 38-member federal panel on treatment guidelines. Only half of the H.I.V. experts gathered by the Department of Health and Human Services favored starting drugs in patients with healthy levels of more than 500 T-cells.

One panel member, James D. Neaton of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, contends that a rigorous, randomized clinical trial is needed to show whether early intervention works. The risks of early treatment — giving powerful drugs to people at low risk of disease — - could outweigh the “modest predicted benefit,” Dr. Neaton wrote in an e-mail message. “That is why we do randomized trials.”

In 2009, the University of Minnesota began a study to find that proof. Results are expected in 2015.
Dr. Lisa C. Capaldini, who runs an AIDS practice in the Castro district, also has strong reservations. “H.I.V. behaves differently in different people,” she said.

Although Dr. Capaldini recognizes that today’s drugs are a vast improvement over earlier therapies, the program, she said “is not ready for prime time.”

But the changes make sense to Dr. Stephen Follansbee, director of H.I.V. Services for Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco, who oversees a program that covers 2,100 people with the virus.
“The idea of living in happy symbiosis with this virus is delusional,” Dr. Follansbee said. “If you have a fire in one part of the house, but not in the living room, you don’t wait for it to reach the living room before you call the fire department.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Miami man admits guilt in $60 mln healthcare scam

* Scheme involved recruits from Cuban immigrant community

* Suspect spent nearly $3 million on luxury cars alone

MIAMI, April 13 (Reuters) - A Miami man has pleaded guilty to a Medicare fraud scheme that sought to cheat the U.S. healthcare system out of more $60 million, authorities said on Tuesday.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida said Ihosvany Marquez confessed to overseeing a criminal operation that submitted at least $61 million in false claims to Medicare for the treatment of patients with HIV, AIDS, cancer and a variety of other ailments at eight Miami and Orlando-area health clinics.

Medicare, the federal health insurer for more than 43 million elderly and disabled Americans, paid nearly $24 million of the bogus claims.

The returns were so good that Marquez -- a former high school pitching ace who went on to have a short-lived career in minor league baseball -- spent millions of dollars on jewelry, watches, luxury cars and race horses, according to court records.

As part of his plea agreement, he admitted to laundering the healthcare fraud proceeds through a Miami-area car dealership and through two Miami check cashing stores, Pelly Box Lunch and La Bamba Check Cashing, authorities said.

He and an unidentified number of co-conspirators, all of whom were indicted separately, concealed their involvement in the scheme by recruiting nominee or "straw" owners for each healthcare clinic they operated, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

It said the nominal owners, mostly from the closely knit Cuban immigrant community, were paid large sums of cash to sign corporate and bank records and other documents before fleeing the country to avoid arrest.

Florida, where healthcare fraud has replaced the drug trade as the crime of choice among many felons, has long been has long been known as the capital of Medicare fraud.

The cases often involve multimillion-dollar schemes featuring bogus suppliers of durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs and sham infusion therapies for the treatment of HIV and AIDS. (Reporting by Tom Brown; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Lady Gaga Says She's Celibate And Fans Should Be Too 'I can't believe I'm saying this — don't have sex,' singer says.

Forget that ride on the disco stick ... at least for now. That's the message Lady Gaga is sending to her fans, telling them that they should follow her example and live a celibate lifestyle.

The 24-year-old singer who's made a career with songs that glorify carnal pleasures told London's that she is currently under a self-imposed sex ban and that others should consider a similar posture. "I can't believe I'm saying this — don't have sex. I'm single right now and I've chosen to be single because I don't have the time to get to know anybody," she said while visiting England to help promote MAC's Viva Glam campaign, which supports global HIV and AIDS projects. "So it's OK not to have sex, it's OK to get to know people. I'm celibate, celibacy's fine." 

Gaga said her celibacy is something she wants to "celebrate" with her fans, extending her oft-repeated message to her "little monsters" that they should be secure in their own skin and not shy away from being different.

"It's OK to be whomever it is that you want to be," she said. "You don't have to have sex to feel good about yourself, and if you're not ready, don't do it. And if you are ready, there are free condoms given away at my concerts when you're leaving! ... I remember the cool girls when I was growing up. Everyone started to have sex. But it's not really cool anymore to have sex all the time. It's cooler to be strong and independent."

Part of the reason Gaga said she was sending the celibacy message was because of the steady rise in the rate of HIV infection among women worldwide, which has grown while the overall rate among men has continued to decline.

"The rate of infection worldwide is higher than ever for women in our particular demographic," said the singer, referring to women aged 17-24 and 38-56, the bracket of her partner in the campaign, 56-year-old '80s pop star Cyndi Lauper. "Part of the problem is that women in those groups are not getting tested. ... This is a disease that affects everyone, not just the gay community, and right now it's mostly affecting women."

Gaga realizes that her fans idolize her, as evidenced by the legion who arrive for her concerts dressed in Gaga drag and who post countless homages to her high-concept videos online. "When you're in the public eye, you're a role model whether you want to be or not. And I want to be," she said. "I'm not one of those self-obsessed artists who don't care about their fans. It's not just about the music."

Monday, April 12, 2010

House of Numbers: The seventeenth annual Cinema Against AIDS, held during the Cannes Film Festival, is a black-tie event

Over the years, Cinema Against AIDS has become the most eagerly anticipated and best-publicized party held during the Cannes Film Festival. Cinema Against AIDS events are always marked by unforgettable moments: from Sharon Stone dancing along to an impromptu performance by Sir Elton John and Ringo Starr, to George Clooney bestowing a kiss on a lucky auction bidder. The event consistently has the most exciting and diverse guest list of any party held during the festival. It includes many of the celebrities and personalities associated with the film festival, while also attracting familiar faces from the worlds of fashion, music, business, and international society. Since 1993, Cinema Against AIDS events around the world have raised more than $50 million for lifesaving AIDS research.


Co-Sponsor Package—$150,000

Grand Benefactor Package—$60,000
Benefactor Package—$40,000

Benefactor “Pair”—$30,000
Patron Ticket—$6,000
Supporter Ticket—$4,000*

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc
Cap d’Antibes, France

Thursday, April 8, 2010

AIDS ‘Next Big Thing’: Gilead Pill to Prevent Spread

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Gilead Sciences Inc. may learn this year whether its drugs for treating HIV can also stop people from catching the virus in the first place.
The approach may help curb the AIDS pandemic in poor countries and bring Gilead $1 billion a year in additional U.S. sales, said Josh Schimmer, an analyst at Leerink Swann & Co. in Boston. Most investors aren’t alert to the potential benefit, he said. Researchers are compiling the first data from 10 trials involving more than 20,000 people, and initial results may be available in July.

“This could be very meaningful for Gilead,” Schimmer said in a telephone interview. “You’re potentially treating 50 patients to prevent one. Commercially that’s very attractive. I don’t hear anybody talking about this, and I think all of us should be more aware.”

If the strategy works, the pills from Foster City, California-based Gilead may promise the world a powerful tool for fighting AIDS, the deadliest infectious disease, after scientists’ failure so far to develop an effective vaccine or virus-killing gel.

Skeptics say the approach, called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, may be too costly and impractical in sub-Saharan Africa, where 22 million people are infected with HIV -- putting millions of others at risk -- and per-capita income is $951 a year.

Side effects may also undermine the plan. While doctors regard Gilead’s drugs as relatively safe, nobody knows what the medicines do in people who are taking them for a disease they don’t have, or how eager these patients will be to put up with the diarrhea, dizziness and depression the pills may cause.

‘High Tolerance’

“People have a high tolerance for side effects if it’s saving their life,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of the New York-based AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group. “It may be harder for healthy people to accept the side effects that come with prevention.”
The trials involve giving Gilead’s Viread and Truvada, the world’s top-selling AIDS medicine, to HIV-negative people from groups most at risk of contracting the virus, such as gay men who have unsafe sex and drug users who share hypodermic needles. Results from five of the studies may be available this year, according to the researchers running them.

One trial, scheduled to report data at an AIDS conference in July, is testing Viread as a vaginal gel in women who apply it before sex. Another is measuring the preventive effect of a daily Truvada pill among 3,000 gay men in six nations.

A further three studies coordinated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Atlanta, are testing PrEP among gay men in the U.S., drug users in Thailand and heterosexuals in Botswana. Gilead, while donating drugs and technical advice, isn’t running the trials, the company said.

Behavior Monitored

The studies are also designed to measure whether people receiving the drugs become riskier in their behavior, in the belief they’re protected against the virus. Participants receive testing, condoms and counseling on ways to avoid infection.

If the tests are successful, PrEP distribution programs could begin in developing countries in 2012, said Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, both of Seattle. He spoke to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee about global health priorities on March 10. The Gates Foundation is sponsoring three PrEP trials.

The CDC would try to issue guidelines on the use of PrEP to health-care providers within six months of successful test results, said Jennifer Horvath, an agency spokeswoman, in an e-mail.

First Defense

“PrEP is the next big thing,” said Warren of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, in a telephone interview. “We have a level of biological plausibility and early data in animal studies that is stronger than anything we have seen in the other approaches.”

Gilead had revenue of $7.01 billion last year, including sales of $5.54 billion from its top three AIDS drugs -- Truvada, Atripla and Viread -- which are taken by 85 percent of HIV patients in the U.S. as a first defense against the virus.

Gilead rose 17 cents, or less than a percent, to $45.64 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. The shares have increased 1 percent in 12 months. Investors aren’t sure what to make of the PrEP trials, said Jason Kantor, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in San Francisco.

“This is not currently a focus for investors, and I have nothing in my estimates for this,” Kantor said an e-mail. “Positive data, if compelling, could be a small incremental benefit in the developed countries.”
Implications Unknown PrEP sales in the U.S. may range from “negligible” to as much as $1 billion annually, depending on the effectiveness of the drugs and how much patients and public-health agencies are willing to pay for prevention, Leerink’s Schimmer said.

Gilead itself doesn’t know what the commercial implications of PrEP might be, said Jim Rooney, the company’s director of clinical affairs.

“It’s going to depend upon the data,” Rooney said in a phone interview. “And it’s going to depend upon how the public- health officials evaluate the data and translate that into recommendations for clinical practice.”

Gilead will decide whether to seek regulatory approval of its drugs for prevention once results of the trials are known, Rooney said.
Doctors would be able to prescribe the medicines for prevention without the approval. A study published last year in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes found that among 277 gay men in Boston, one had used PrEP and 74 percent said they would use it if it were available.

Breast Milk

Drugs made by GlaxoSmithKline Plc of London and Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH of Ingelheim, Germany, are already used to prevent infected mothers from passing the virus to their babies in the womb or through breast milk. Glaxo’s Combivir is prescribed to prevent infections in men who take it after unprotected sex with an HIV-positive partner.

Those medicines show that using treatments as prevention can work, said Dawn Smith, a CDC researcher who is devising the agency’s plans to implement PrEP if the clinical trials succeed.
“I’m very hopeful that this approach will help to reduce HIV infection rates,” Smith said in a telephone interview. “But I’m enough of a scientist to be skeptical as well, and to want to see the trial results before I call myself a believer.”

Gilead’s drugs subdue HIV in infected patients by blocking an enzyme the virus needs to hijack cells in order to reproduce. Taken preemptively, the pills may prevent HIV from gaining a foothold when it first enters the body.

‘Good Reason’

A study presented at the Conference on Retroviruses & Opportunistic Infections, in Montreal last year, found Truvada cut the risk of infection almost 16-fold in monkeys. A 2007 trial of PrEP among 936 women in Africa concluded that a daily Viread pill cut the risk of infection by 65 percent, though the researchers said the trial didn’t produce enough data to prove conclusively that PrEP worked.
“From a scientific standpoint, there really is a good reason to believe that if properly done, it will work,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, based in Bethesda, Maryland, said at this year’s retroviruses conference, held in San Francisco in February.
There may be less reason to think PrEP is feasible, Fauci said.

“If we can’t get 70 percent of the people who are infected in low- and middle-income countries on therapy, how are we going to get people who aren’t even infected on therapy?” Fauci said.
If it does work, PrEP won’t come cheap. Giving Truvada to the 100,000 most at-risk gay men in the U.S. would cost more than $1 billion a year, the CDC said on its Web site. That sum covers only the cost of the pills, and doesn’t include marketing, HIV testing, and doctors’ visits.

‘Deep Down Horror’

Identifying people who are at sufficient risk of contracting HIV to receive PrEP will most likely be too difficult in Africa, where everyone who is sexually active is at risk, said Francois Venter, president of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society, a professional group based in Johannesburg.
“Deep down I have this horror that we’ll have an effective intervention very few people are going to use,” Venter said in a telephone interview. “In America and Europe it’s probably going to be one of several interventions which are going to work. I worry that there hasn’t been enough focus on who’s going to take these drugs in my environment.”

To justify the expense of handing out drugs to people who don’t have HIV, the trials need to show that PrEP lowers the chances of infection by at least half, said Francoise Barre- Sinoussi, a French researcher who shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in medicine after helping to discover that HIV causes AIDS.

‘Little Bit Concerned’

“We will have encouraging information from those trials,” Barre-Sinoussi said in an interview in Singapore. “I’m just a little bit concerned about how to apply it at large scale.”
About 33 million people live with HIV, according to UNAIDS, the coalition of United Nations agencies formed to fight HIV. In 2008, 2.7 million people were newly infected with the virus and 2 million died from AIDS-related complications. Africa has 7 in every 10 of the world’s cases.
Assuming PrEP could prevent 50 percent of infections, it would almost cut in half the lifetime risk of catching HIV among high-risk gay men in the U.S., and almost triple the lifetime treatment costs, according to a computer simulation published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in March 2009.

PrEP is “unlikely to confer sufficient benefits to justify the current costs” of Truvada in the U.S., researchers from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and Harvard Medical School in Boston wrote in the study. The model assumed a drug cost of $753 a month for each patient.

Drug Costs Gilead sells a month’s supply of Viread to U.S. wholesalers for about $643. A month of Truvada costs about $930, said Cara Miller, a company spokeswoman, in an e-mail. The company charges people in poor countries about $17 a month for Viread and $26 for Truvada, she said. About 700,000 people worldwide take brand-name or generic versions of Gilead’s AIDS drugs, Miller said.
When the first AIDS drugs were approved in the U.S. in 1987, critics said they weren’t affordable in poor nations, the CDC’s Smith said. Now, about 40 percent of the patients who need them are getting the medicines, according to UNAIDS. PrEP may also prove more adoptable than its critics think, Smith said.

“If it’s highly efficacious, and if countries and UNAIDS and WHO and other public health agencies believe that it has a role to play in reducing new HIV infections, then we will find a way to make it available,” Smith said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Simeon Bennett in Singapore at; Tom Randall in New York at