AIDS Daily Summary, October 21, 1994

National AIDS Info Clearinghouse
Copyright 1994, Information, Inc., Bethesda, MD

AIDS Daily Summary
October 21, 1994

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National AIDS
Clearinghouse makes available the following information as a public
service only. Providing this information does not constitute endorsement
by the CDC, the CDC Clearinghouse, or any other organization. Reproduction
of this text is encouraged; however, copies may not be sold, and the CDC
Clearinghouse should be cited as the source of this information.
Copyright 1994, Information, Inc., Bethesda, MD

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“Lifeline: Cause Celeb”
“Deaths: Cleews Vellay”
“Poverty Increases Risk of Death from AIDS–Study”
“Massie a Hit at HIV Conference with Lessons of Being Positive”
“Agouron Begins Clinical Testing of Anti-HIV Drug”
“Trinity Biotech PLC Reports 6 Month Financial Results”
“Soap Summit to Discuss Development of Storylines Affecting U.S.
Attitudes Toward Reproductive Behavior”
“Assisted Suicide Court Battles Intensify”
“Homosexuality”
“Gene Therapy Leaves the Lab, Faces Big Hurdles in the Clinic”
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“Lifeline: Cause Celeb”
USA Today (10/21/94) P. 1D; Vigoda, Arlene
On Dec. 21–World AIDS Day–20 country music stars will
participate in a benefit concert for a Nashville AIDS
organization. Scheduled to perform at the event, being held at
the Grand Ole Opry House, are Kathy Mattea, Billy Ray Cyrus, the
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, David Ball, and others. Tickets for the
event will go on sale Oct. 29.

“Deaths: Cleews Vellay”
Washington Post (10/21/94) P. D5
Cleews Vellay, a cofounder and former president of the French
branch of ACT UP, died of AIDS on Oct. 18 in Paris. Vellay
lobbied to raise public awareness of AIDS-related problems that
AIDS patients experience. He also condemned the French
government for laxity in developing AIDS prevention and education
programs. Related Story: Philadelphia Inquirer (10/21) P. B7

“Poverty Increases Risk of Death from AIDS–Study”
Reuters (10/21/94)
A Canadian study has found that poverty reduces the survival rate
of AIDS patients. Professor Martin Schechter of the University
of British Columbia in Vancouver led a research team that
followed the lives of 364 gay men for 10 years beginning in
November 1982. “Men on low incomes had a 63 percent greater
chance of death from AIDS by December 1993 (the end of the study)
than those on higher incomes,” said the study. Low income was
defined as less than US$7,500 a year. The study offered no
conclusions as to why low-income patients may be more susceptible
to death, but suggested that nutrition may be partially
responsible.

“Massie a Hit at HIV Conference with Lessons of Being Positive”
Boston Globe (10/20/94) P. 38; Howe, Peter
Robert K. Massie, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant
governor of Massachusetts, discussed his struggle with hemophilia
and HIV on Wednesday at a meeting of the AIDS Action Committee.
Massie received sustained applause and support when introduced as
the first HIV-positive person in the country to run for a
statewide office. “I step forward because I am proud of my life
and all the help that I have received from others and what I have
become as a result…,” said Massie. He has frequently spoken
during his campaign about the spiritual and practical lessons of
HIV. Robert Greenwald, director of public policy for the
committee, said that one of the reasons that Massie is an
inspiration to Massachusetts residents with HIV or AIDS is
because of “the fact that he is a person with HIV is not central
to his campaign.”

“Agouron Begins Clinical Testing of Anti-HIV Drug”
PR Newswire (10/20/94)
Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc. has started human clinical trials of
AG1343, its anti-HIV drug. The safety and pharmocokinetic
parameters of single and multiple oral doses of the drug will be
assessed in phase I studies during the next 60 days. AG1343
demonstrated potent inhibition of HIV replication in vitro in
preclinical trials. “If AG1343 displays the same pharmacological
profile in humans that it has in test animals, this compound
could ultimately play an important role in anti-HIV
chemotherapy,” said Peter Johnson, president and chief executive
officer of Agouron. AG1343 is a synthetic compound engineered to
inhibit HIV protease–a key enzyme in the replication of
infectious HIV particles.

“Trinity Biotech PLC Reports 6 Month Financial Results”
PR Newswire (10/20/94)
Trinity Biotech plc, an Ireland-based diagnostics company, has
reported more than a 30-fold increase in both its second quarter
and half-year revenues over the same periods in fiscal year 1993.
“Revenues continue to be derived chiefly from pregnancy sales,
but HIV test sales are now coming on stream,” said CEO, Ronan
O’Caoimh. The company is also involved in the development of a
new single-step HIV test.

“Soap Summit to Discuss Development of Storylines Affecting U.S.
Attitudes Toward Reproductive Behavior”
PR Newswire (10/20/94)
The first “Soap Summit,” sponsored by Population Communications
International, will feature discussion on how to incorporate
American attitudes toward reproductive behavior into the plots of
soap operas. More than 45 leading health experts, television
executives, and top soap opera creative talents will attend the
meeting. Global and U.S. population issues will be addressed, as
well as the role of television soaps in influencing reproductive
behavior. Dr. Bradley Greenberg, professor of Telecommunications
and Communications at Michigan State University, will discuss
whether and how five soaps that he studied deal with reproductive
issues–including safe sex and AIDS. His findings will be
compared to the results of a similar study conducted 10 years
ago.

“Assisted Suicide Court Battles Intensify”
Reuters (10/19/94); Appleson, Gail
Lawyers in New York on Wednesday urged U.S. District Court Judge
Thomas Griesa to overturn the state’s ban on doctor-assisted
suicide. The suit–funded by Compassion in Dying–was filed on
behalf of three people with AIDS, two of whom have already died.
Compassion in Dying claims the ban is unconstitutional, and
alleges that the law denies people “the liberty and privacy to
decide what to do with their own bodies and forces them to endure
pain, anguish and loss of dignity.” The organization provides
advice to people who wish to commit suicide; Instead of
administering lethal drugs, however, they refer the individuals
to doctors for prescriptions of drugs that can be fatal when
taken in large doses. Approximately 30 states have laws that
prohibit assisted suicide.

“Homosexuality”
New England Journal of Medicine (10/06/94) Vol. 331, No. 14, P.
923; Friedman, Richard C.; Downey, Jennifer I.
Although the AIDS epidemic is not confined to homosexuals, it has
increased the stigmatization of gay men because they account for
such a large number of AIDS cases in the United States. The
epidemic has also intensified stigma against lesbians –who
actually are at no increased risk of AIDS, but are often assumed
to be at high risk because they are homosexual. Homosexuals that
have AIDS are often discriminated against by employers, social
service agencies, insurance carriers, and health care providers.
Fear of homophobia and stigmatization may lead a homosexual who
is HIV-positive or being tested for HIV to internalize negative
attitudes and isolate himself or herself from others. While one
showed an increased frequency in the rate of completed suicides
among gay men with AIDS, studies of people with AIDS and those
tested for HIV have not demonstrated an increase in suicidality.
HIV-positive individuals often cope with the disease by remaining
involved in life’s activities, keeping in touch with others, and
maintaining hope.

“Gene Therapy Leaves the Lab, Faces Big Hurdles in the Clinic”
AIDS Alert (10/94) Vol. 9, No. 10, P. 140
Researchers in gene therapy are initiating small trials in mice
and humans that could yield a new approach to fighting HIV by
boosting or possibly restoring the immune system. Researchers at
the University of Washington have been encouraged by the
reconstituted immune systems in patients given escalating doses
of CD8 T cell clones and by the fact that none of the patients
developed life-threatening cytomegalovirus. A University of
California at San Diego-developed and FDA-approved process for an
ex vivo Phase I clinical trial uses a ribosome molecule derived
from the tobacco ringspot virus. Designed to resemble antisense
RNA, the ribosome has been shown in vitro to inactivate HIV
expression in target cells, resulting in an antiviral effect.
Finally, researchers at the University of California in Los
Angeles have found a way to test the safety and validity of
treatments by introducing genetically altered human cells into
mice. It was determined that mice infected with HIV showed a
decline in human immune cells implanted into their system. By
using the animal model, tests of gene therapies can be performed
in as little as three months and the mice may be used in gene
therapy tests for other diseases.

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