Johns Hopkins Establishes New Center for AIDS Research

 Johns Hopkins University has been awarded $15 million over the next five years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish the new Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). CFAR will support more than 180 HIV investigators from the University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and other schools. A major priority for CFAR will be to address Baltimore’s HIV epidemic in addition to training new investigators and conducting international research. “HIV/AIDS is a major threat to global health and urban America, particularly here in Baltimore,” said Richard Chaisson, MD, lead investigator of CFAR and professor with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “While we’ve made great improvements in HIV treatment and prevention, much more needs to be done to control the pandemic. CFAR will mobilize the substantial scientific, clinical and public health resources at Johns Hopkins to generate the knowledge necessary to tackle the HIV pandemic.” CFAR will be comprised of six core initiatives and three scientific working groups to promote collaboration and synergy across the Johns Hopkins HIV research community. These areas will include an administrative core, a developmental core to support pilot research grants, mentoring, and recruitment, a clinical core to focus on co-infections and co-morbidities, a prevention core targeting comprehensive approaches to prevention research, a biostatistics and epidemiology methods core, and a laboratory core to facilitate access to laboratory services. The three scientific working groups will promote new collaborations to address issues related to substance abuse, bioethics and human rights, and eradication of HIV. “CFAR represents a major commitment toward promoting excellence, productivity and growth of HIV research and control efforts at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore and globally,” said CFAR Co-director Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH, professor with the Bloomberg School of Public Health and associate director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health.




Time Now for All Parties in Washington and in the States to Turn to Implementation
Washington DC – “We are extremely pleased that health reform will proceed in the U.S. and millions of people, including many with HIV/AIDS, who have not had quality affordable health care will have access to care and treatment, along with preventative services, as a result of today’s Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act,” commented Carl Schmid, Deputy Executive Director of The AIDS Institute.
Comprehensive health reform will help people with HIV/AIDS in numerous ways.  About 60 percent of the nearly 1.2 million people with HIV in the United States are not in care, and even more are not accessing lifesaving medications.  The expansion of the Medicaid program and the creation of insurance exchanges, both of which were upheld by the Court, will help address this by providing greater access to health care coverage.
Many people with HIV/AIDS access their medications through Medicare Part D.  Closure of the “donut hole”, which has already been closed in part, will allow for continued drug coverage and reduce chances of medication interruption due to an inability to pay out-of-pocket expenses.
The law also includes numerous insurance reforms. People with HIV/AIDS, who have historically been denied coverage due to their condition, will no longer be discriminated against when seeking coverage.  People living with HIV and other chronic diseases are also protected as they will no longer be subject to annual and lifelong coverage caps, or risk being removed from their insurance plan.
Coverage of prevention services contained in the law will help many people access HIV testing without cost.  Free preventive services for women in private insurance plans, including an annual HIV test, are set to begin on August 1, 2012.
“We are enormously gratified by the Court’s Constitutional validation of the law. Passage of the Affordable Care Act was a historical step forward toward providing health care to all in the United States. We now call on all parties in Washington DC and in the states to focus on fully implementing the law to ensure that it works for all people, including those with HIV,”  added Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute.


Project Names Quilt 2012

Is Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death Higher for the HIV-Positive?

In a comprehensive, retrospective 10-year University of California,  San Francisco (UCSF) study, researchers found patients with HIV/AIDS suffered  sudden cardiac death at a rate four times higher than the general population.

“As part of my ongoing research in 2010, we were looking at  every instance of sudden death in San    Francisco,” said first author Zian H. Tseng,  MD, an electrophysiologist and an associate professor of medicine in the UCSF  Division of Cardiology. “I noticed that many of these cases involved  individuals with HIV infection who were dying suddenly. I wondered if there was  some sort of connection there.”

He began collaborating with Priscilla  Hsue, MD, a UCSF associate professor of medicine and the director of the  HIV Cardiology Clinic at San    Francisco General Hospital  and Trauma Center (SFGH), who is one of a few cardiologists in the country who  specializes in HIV. To her knowledge, no one had ever explored the link between  HIV and sudden death.

In a paper published May 15 in the Journal  of the American College of Cardiology, Tseng, Hsue, and other  researchers conducted a retrospective study of 2,860 HIV patients from April  2000 to August 2009 at San Francisco    General Hospital’s  Ward 86, the first HIV/AIDS-specialized clinic, to comprehensively characterize  all deaths. They studied medical records, death certificates, paramedic  reports, and interviews with family members, doctors, and other clinicians.

During that period, cardiac-related deaths accounted for 15%  of overall mortality. Of that group, 86% died of sudden cardiac death.

To put that in context, we’re able to compare the rate of  sudden death in this population with the overall San Francisco population,” Tseng said. “So  adjusted for age, race, demographics, and other variables, the rate of sudden  death in the HIV population is more than four times higher than the general  population.”

“The fact that the vast majority of cardiac deaths were  sudden is surprising and implies that we, as clinicians, need to be aware  of this potential health issue among patients with HIV,” Hsue added. “Our  findings also highlight many things that we still don’t know about HIV and  sudden death. Did these individuals die of unrecognized coronary artery  disease? What can we be doing as clinicians to identify patients at risk and to  intervene beforehand?”

Researchers believe HIV changes the electrophysiology of the  heart in a way so pronounced that it causes conduction abnormalities. And some  HIV medications can throw off the heart’s electrical cycle, which increases the  risk of sudden death. These and other variables could be contributing factors.

“Acknowledging the limitations of a retrospective  analysis, what’s interesting about this study is that it opens up many related  questions we can ask in future studies, such as which high-risk patients might  benefit from defibrillator implantation.” Tseng said.



APLA Condemns ADAP Cost-Sharing Plan

AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) again called on the California legislature  to roll back the governor’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) cost-sharing  proposal, which threatens access to life-saving HIV drugs for many of the  state’s poorest living with HIV/AIDS.

Governor Brown’s proposal would mean that ADAP clients  would, for the first time in the program’s history, be paying more into ADAP  than the state would contribute from its own General Fund coffers.

“The governor is asking people with no other means of  survival to bear the brunt of California’s  fiscal crisis,” says APLA Executive Director Craig E. Thompson. “We know what  that means: Cost-sharing co-pays drive low-income people out of care, and  tragically, that means higher rates of AIDS-related deaths. And those who are  HIV-positive would be forced to make unthinkable choices between life-saving  medications or other necessities, like food or rent.”

The governor’s proposal would charge low-income, uninsured  Californians who are HIV-positive on average between $813 to over $4,600 annually  to continue receiving drug regimens through ADAP. The fees would apply to all  Californians who are living with HIV/AIDS but whose earnings exceed the federal  poverty level—$10,890 per year for an individual.

“The California State Senate has already rejected the  governor’s cost-sharing proposal this year,” Thompson explains, “and now it is  up to the State Assembly to do the same. We will continue to work with the  legislature and the Brown administration to again defeat this senseless  proposal.

“If the state really wants to save money, then we should  prioritize and expand HIV prevention programs while guaranteeing access to HIV  care and treatment for those who cannot afford it. Any short-term savings  generated by this proposal,” Thompson adds, “would be quickly outpaced by a  rise in medical costs as more Californians fall ill and rates of new and  potentially preventable infections climb.”

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AIDS 2012 Comes to Washington

The 2012 International AIDS Conference, scheduled for July  22-27, will be held in Washington,   D.C. As a result of President  Obama ending the travel ban against HIV-positive people from outside the  country, this will be the first time since 1990 that the conference will be hosted  by the United States.

More than 20,000 people from over 200 countries who are  HIV/AIDS advocates, policy makers, and people living with HIV, along with 2,000  journalists, are expected to attend the conference. In addition to discussing  lessons learned over the many years of fighting the disease, many participants  are coming on a mission to move the world closer to a cure for AIDS. They also  will be looking for this country’s leaders to reaffirm to the world a  willingness and determination to fund HIV/AIDS medical research, testing  programs, treatment, prevention, and education around the globe at a time when  domestic HIV/AIDS funding is shrinking.

Washington,   D.C. is an appropriate location  for the biennial conference because of the major impact HIV is having on local  residents. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray believes the conference could not have come  at a better time and the event will allow world HIV advocates a critical view  of the local resources available to address the crisis in the District.

Positively Aware will be reporting live from the  conference via Facebook and Twitter and covering it in the September/October  issue.



Project Response Support Group Meeting 6/20/2012

Positive Mind & Body Support Group Network


Midway Immunology & Research Center (MIRC)

Cordially invites you to an

Evening Dinner

Amongst Friends

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Topic: Understanding Diagnostics & Laboratory Values

 Presented by – Dr. Noah Lee DO


Sponsor by – ViiV Healthcare– Melanie E. Hopkins

Regional Clinical Specialist

5:00 – 5:45pm Dinner

5:45pm – 6:45pm Presentation

7:00pm – 7:20pm – Conclusion     





Project Response

3501 Orange Avenue,

Fort Pierce, FL  34952



For additional details regarding this meeting you may also contact:

Positive Mind & Body Support Group Network

“A Positive Life is a Sound Mind & Body”


 (772) 563-2503 – (772)453-1067   

Project Response – 772-464-0420