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Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report

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  • Kaisernetwork.org
    KAISER DAILY HIV/AIDS REPORT A service of kaisernetwork.org http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ *** NEW HIV/AIDS
    Message 1 of 275 , Feb 3, 2003
      KAISER DAILY HIV/AIDS REPORT
      A service of kaisernetwork.org
      http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      *** NEW HIV/AIDS WEBCASTS***
      -- President Bush�s Speech on Domestic and
      Global HIV/AIDS
      http://www.kaisernetwork.org/healthcast/sotu/03
      -- Groups address financing the Global Fund
      and the Bush Administration�s new AIDS initiative
      http://www.kaisernetwork.org/healthcast/globalfund/31jan03
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      ________________________________________



      Monday, February 3, 2003

      POLITICS AND POLICY
      ========================================
      1. Bush Announces HHS Approval of Expanded Availability of Rapid HIV Test, $16B for Domestic HIV/AIDS Efforts in FY 2004 Budget

      2. Massachusetts Cuts HIV/AIDS, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Budgets

      3. Rhode Island Bill Aims To Ban State-Sponsored Needle-Exchange Program From Operating Near Parks, Schools and Churches

      4. Washington State Lawmakers Consider Bill Requiring 'Medically Accurate' Sex Education


      ACROSS THE NATION
      ========================================
      5. Number of New Syphilis Cases in New York City Increases 55%


      GLOBAL CHALLENGES
      ========================================
      6. Two-Day South Asia Conference To Focus on 'Boosting Fight' Against HIV/AIDS

      7. Boston Globe Begins Yearlong Series on Global Health Challenges, Including HIV/AIDS

      8. New York Times Publishes Photo Essay on Kenyans Affected by HIV/AIDS

      9. New York Times Examines Bush Administration's 'Moral Crusade' Against HIV/AIDS


      MEDIA & SOCIETY
      ========================================
      10. AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition Announces Appointment of Journalist Huntly Collins to Director of Science Communication and Advocacy

      ****************************************


      POLITICS AND POLICY

      1. Bush Announces HHS Approval of Expanded Availability of Rapid HIV Test, $16B for Domestic HIV/AIDS Efforts in FY 2004 Budget

      Access this story and related links online:
      http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=15813

      President Bush on Friday announced that HHS has approved expanded availability for a "rapid" HIV test, allowing health care workers to now use it in more than 100,000 doctors' offices and public health clinics across the country, Reuters/Washington Post reports. OraSure Technologies' OraQuick HIV test offers results that are 99.6% accurate within 20 minutes (Reuters/Washington Post, 2/1). The FDA in November 2002 approved the test, which uses blood taken from a finger prick, for use in only about 40,000 hospitals and clinics with laboratories. AIDS groups had advocated for making the test available at smaller outreach clinics and mobile testing sites in order to make the test more accessible to the general population (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/8/02). Bush said on Friday that HHS had "waived regulations so the test will soon be more readily available to doctors and public health facilities across the country." He added, "This waiver allows us to take this test where people need it most. ... This product can virtually go anywhere now" (Howard Price, Washington Times, 2/1). The test would also help to reduce mother-to-child HIV transmission by allowing health care workers to quickly test pregnant women who are in labor, Reuters/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. If the women tested positive for HIV, they could take antiretroviral drugs to help reduce the risk of HIV transmission to their infants (Reuters/Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/1). Clint Trout, AIDS Healthcare Foundation associate director for federal government affairs, said, "The elimination of the week-long waiting period will be the elimination of significant barriers to testing for many high-risk individuals. Now that the tests are widely available to family doctors, emergency rooms, and public health testing and counseling programs, they will play a critical role in curtailing the spread of the epidemic" (AHF release, 1/31). Daniel Montoya, director of government affairs for AIDS Project Los Angeles, said, "This expansion allows us to give immediate results and immediate information. If the results are negative, it is an opportunity for prevention education. If the test is positive the person has immediate access to counseling, care and treatment resources" (APLA release, 1/31).

      Domestic Funds


      Bush also announced on Friday that he would seek $16 billion for domestic HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment as part of his fiscal year 2004 budget proposal, the New York Times reports. The proposed funding represents a 7% increase over FY 2003 domestic HIV/AIDS spending (Gay Stolberg, New York Times, 2/1). The proposal will include a $93 million increase for HIV/AIDS research and a $100 million increase to purchase antiretroviral drugs for uninsured patients through AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Brown, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/1). Human Rights Campaign Executive Director Elizabeth Birch said, "We applaud President Bush for signaling a renewed commitment to increasing access to life-saving HIV medications in this country by requesting increased funding for the ADAP program -- a program that is currently not able to meet the need in many states due to depleted funds" (HRC release, 1/31). The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center said that Bush's proposal "still falls short of meeting domestic needs." However, Rebecca Isaacs, LAGLC interim executive director, said, "In view of the President's flat-funding proposals over the past two years ... this proposed increase suggests that the administration now is getting the message that domestic HIV programs must also be a priority issue" (LAGLC release, 1/31).

      'Sharp Turn'


      Last week during his State of the Union address, Bush announced the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a five-year, $15 billion plan to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean. The plan is designed to prevent seven million new infections; provide antiretroviral drugs, including generic formulations, for two million people; and provide care for 10 million HIV-positive people, including children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illness (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/30). These latest steps in the fight against AIDS signal a "sharp turn in policy" for the Bush administration, the Wall Street Journal reports. Bush had previously not given efforts to combat HIV/AIDS a "high priority," and he was criticized by some advocacy groups. Some advisers now say that the "broadly expanded" efforts offered by Bush "dovetail with his view of a compassionate government," according to the Wall Street Journal (Hitt et al., Wall Street Journal, 2/3). Bush is scheduled to submit his FY 2004 budget proposal to Congress today (New York Times, 2/1).

      Thompson Accepts Position as Head of Global Fund


      In related news, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Friday accepted the position of chair of the board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, saying, "We must bring care and hope as soon as possible to the millions of people around the world who are ravaged by these diseases" (HHS release, 1/31). Thompson, who was the only candidate for the position after Lennarth Hjelmaker of Sweden dropped out, will serve as the organization's "chief fundraiser," soliciting donations from wealthy nations throughout the world, including the United States. The current chair, Chrispus Kiyonga, a government minister from Uganda, on Jan. 28 announced that he would not seek reelection due to a "critical matter" in his country (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/31). In a statement to the Global Fund's board, Thompson said, "Ours is an enormous task and the world has placed an incredible burden on our shoulders. We must realize that only by investing wisely the resources in scientifically sound projects and by demanding financial accountability, can we demonstrate to the world that they should continue and expand on their commitments to the Global Fund" (Thompson statement, 1/31). Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute and an economic adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, called the Thompson announcement "bizarre," charging that the move said that "if American money was going to go for something, it needed to be under American control." However, Bush countered such criticism on Friday, saying, "I've been asked whether or not we're committed to the Global AIDS Fund. Well, first of all, I wouldn't put Tommy (Thompson) as the head of it if we weren't." Bush added, "It's more than money we bring. ... We bring expertise and compassion and love and the desire to develop a comprehensive system ... for diagnosis and treatment and prevention" (Garrett, Newsday, 2/1).

      2. Massachusetts Cuts HIV/AIDS, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Budgets

      Access this story and related links online:
      http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=15814

      Massachusetts health programs, including HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy prevention programs, are "taking hits" under state budget cuts announced on Thursday, the Boston Herald reports. Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) administration announced a $3 million cut in AIDS services, according to the Herald. "Outraged" HIV/AIDS advocates said that the new funding cut together with last year's budget cuts of $12 million represent a 30% reduction in the state's HIV/AIDS program budget. Mary Ann Hart of Project ABLE said the reduced funding, which would cut "hard-core services, like nutrition program and home-care visits" for individuals with HIV/AIDS, would cause "interruptions in care and support." Although funding for AIDS-related drugs was not cut, Hart said that some of the programs affected by the budget cut are ones that help HIV-positive patients adhere with "complicated drug regimens." Last year's funding cuts resulted in the administration of 5,000 fewer HIV tests in 2002 than in the previous year, according to Hart, who said that "thousands" of people in the state are HIV-positive and "don't know it." She added that "even fewer" HIV tests would be offered this year as a result of budget cuts. The adminstration also announced $1 million in cuts for the state's teen pregnancy prevention program, which primarily serves teens in low-income areas. Teen birth rates in Massachusetts are currently at a 30-year low, and a Massachusetts Department of Public Health report released last year credited teen pregnancy prevention programs for the 27% drop in teen pregnancies over the past 10 years (Lasalandra, Boston Herald, 1/31).

      3. Rhode Island Bill Aims To Ban State-Sponsored Needle-Exchange Program From Operating Near Parks, Schools and Churches

      Access this story and related links online:
      http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=15815

      Two Rhode Island lawmakers recently introduced a bill in the General Assembly that aims to ban the operation of a state-sponsored needle and syringe distribution program within 300 yards of parks, schools and churches, the Providence Journal reported. The needle-exchange program, which is administered by the state Department of Health to prevent the spread of bloodborne diseases such as HIV, operates for two hours a week near a city park in Woonsocket. The legislators, who are opposed to the program, said that it could lead to crime when conducted in areas such as parks. "We just don't want it in a place where they are in such close proximity to children and the elderly," bill cosponsor Rep. Todd Brien (D) said, adding, "This could lead to [drug users] attracted to the needle exchange to commit a crime, turning to prostitution or breaking and entering to support a habit. These people should be in treatment centers." Paul Fitzgerald, CEO of AIDS Care Ocean State, said that the needle-exchange program is essential both for preventing the spread of diseases and for outreach counselors to work to get existing drug users into treatment programs. "There is a wealth of evidence that the most effective way to prevent transmission of HIV and AIDS among drug users is to provide adequate syringe access," Dr. Josiah Rich, an infectious disease specialist with Miriam Hospital and Brown University, who played a leading role in getting the state's needle-exchange program started, said, "This is a tremendously successful intervention, and [it] has not led to any rise of drug use." However, Woonsocket Mayor Susan Menard was "emphatic" about having the needle-exchange van move elsewhere. "I don't want them in Woonsocket, and I will do whatever's necessary to get them out," Menard said (McFadden, Providence Journal, 1/30).

      4. Washington State Lawmakers Consider Bill Requiring 'Medically Accurate' Sex Education

      Access this story and related links online:
      http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=15816

      Washington state lawmakers are considering legislation that would require all schools with sex education programs to provide only "medically accurate" information, the Associated Press reports. The bill (HB 1178), sponsored by Rep. Shay Schual-Berke (D), would require all state-funded sex education classes to provide information "supported by scientific research and experts in the sexual health field," according to the Associated Press. At a House Health Care Committee hearing on Thursday, students testified that they had been given inaccurate information in sex education classes. Lindsay Scola, who attended Skyline High School in Sammamish, testified that in sex education classes that were conducted by Sexuality, Health, and Relationship Education -- an abstinence-only sex education program used in approximately 100 schools statewide -- she was told that women who have abortions "will probably die or become sterile" and that condoms are "not very effective" in preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, according to the Associated Press. She said that such information was "not only inaccurate" but also "dangerous," adding that many students chose not to use condoms because of the information they received about their effectiveness, the Associated Press reports. Scola added that SHARE was not the only sex education program in the state that offers incorrect information.

      'Absolute Lies'


      Kathy Taylor, SHARE executive director, said that the claims made by Scola and other students were "absolute lies." She added, "If those things were true, teachers, principals would be all over us." Robert Harkins, executive director of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Washington, who supports the legislation, indicated that he was disappointed that the bill did not "go further" and require all state schools to provide comprehensive sex education, according to the Associated Press. Washington state schools are currently not required to provide sex education at all. Harkins added, "The legislation falls short ... but it does set an important standard for medical accuracy in whatever information is presented in the classroom." LeAnna Benn, national director of Teen-Aid, a program that promotes abstinence-only sex education, said she opposed the bill, adding that the cost of reviewing all the sex education materials would be "enormous," according to the Associated Press. Judith Billings, chair of the Governor's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, said, "It's totally beyond my comprehension that anybody would object to providing medically accurate information to our young people." A similar Senate bill has been referred to the Education Committee for review (Gelineau, Associated Press, 1/30).


      ACROSS THE NATION

      5. Number of New Syphilis Cases in New York City Increases 55%

      Access this story and related links online:
      http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=15817

      The number of new syphilis cases in New York City increased 55% from 2001 to 2002, with the increase "primarily" among men who have sex with men, according to health department officials, the New York Times reports. Preliminary results of a recent health department survey indicated that 436 new cases of syphilis were diagnosed in 2002 in the city, compared with 282 new cases in 2001 and 117 new cases in 2000, according to Dr. Thomas Frieden, the city's health commissioner. The sharpest increase in newly reported cases was among white men living in Manhattan, but African-American and Hispanic men throughout the city continue to report high syphilis infection rates, according to Frieden. The survey also indicated that 230 of the men who were diagnosed with syphilis in 2002 also tested positive for HIV, the Times reports. Health officials said the findings could be a "troubling sign" that some cross-sections of the city's population are "ignoring warnings" about unprotected sex. Aaron Glatt, head of infectious disease for St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, said, "The numbers are still relatively small compared with other major health issues like AIDS. But it's extremely disconcerting that the cases are continuing to go up and not down." Ronald Johnson, associate executive director of Gay Men's Health Crisis, said the new information "shows the magnitude of the challenge of promoting safe sex and the message of prevention." He said that the "HIV safer sex message [that] worked in the late 80s and 90s ... has to be retailored to a new generation of gay and bisexual men." Similar increases in new syphilis cases have been seen in Los Angeles, Miami and Houston. "This is a very troubling multicity outbreak that is almost exclusive among men who have sex with men," Frieden said (Christian, New York Times, 1/31).


      GLOBAL CHALLENGES

      6. Two-Day South Asia Conference To Focus on 'Boosting Fight' Against HIV/AIDS

      Access this story and related links online:
      http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=15818

      Health officials from UNAIDS and UNICEF and the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan today met in Kathmandu, Nepal, for a two-day conference on "boosting the fight" against HIV/AIDS in the region, Agence France-Presse reports. Officials from Uganda and Thailand are expected to "share their experience" in preventing the spread of the disease in their countries (Agence France-Presse, 2/3). "There were 4.2 million people living with AIDS in South Asia in 2001, compared with two million in 1994. The number is growing every year and [is] getting worse," Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, said. Health officials attribute the rapid spread of the disease to migration, cross-border trafficking of women and girls and a lack of education, the Associated Press reports (Gurubacharya, Associated Press, 2/3). "The millions of children and young people affected by HIV/AIDS are living proof of the world's collective failure to protect them. This is the reality of South Asia: the tipping point has been reached, and the window of opportunity to act is closing rapidly," Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF, said. Bellamy called for increased access to education and an end to all gender-based discrimination, exploitation and abuse and the trafficking of women and girls (nepalnews.com, 2/3). While sub-Saharan Africa has more HIV and AIDS cases than the rest of the world, experts warn that the disease could "escalate" in South Asia. India, the largest country in the region, has four million HIV-positive people, more than any other country except South Africa, according to official estimates, and U.S. projections predict that that number could reach 20 million to 25 million by 2010 if prevention efforts are not expanded (Agence France-Presse, 2/3).

      7. Boston Globe Begins Yearlong Series on Global Health Challenges, Including HIV/AIDS

      Access this story and related links online:
      http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=15819

      The Boston Globe today begins a yearlong series that will focus on some of the biggest health challenges worldwide, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The series, which includes feature articles and photo essays, aims to illustrate the scope and origin of some of these health issues and present some attainable solutions to such challenges. Thousands of people in the world's poorest countries die daily from diseases that are easily treated in the United States, and 8.8 million people worldwide died last year due to preventable diseases, infections and complications from childbirth, the Globe reports (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 2/3). The series is available online.

      8. New York Times Publishes Photo Essay on Kenyans Affected by HIV/AIDS

      Access this story and related links online:
      http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=15820

      The New York Times yesterday ran a full-page photo essay featuring photos of and interviews with people in Nairobi, Kenya, who said they are HIV-negative. Jake Price, a freelance photographer for the Times, asked the photo subjects to discuss what they were doing to protect themselves and those around them from acquiring HIV (McNeil, New York Times, 2/2). The photos and subject responses can be viewed online.

      9. New York Times Examines Bush Administration's 'Moral Crusade' Against HIV/AIDS

      Access this story and related links online:
      http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=15821

      The New York Times yesterday examined how President Bush's religious beliefs affected his recent "turnabout" on funding for international efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. According to the Times, Bush's proposal to spend $15 billion over the next five years to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean represents a "moral crusade." Although any HIV/AIDS initiative is "tricky business" for conservatives like Bush who stress abstinence until marriage, Bush's HIV prevention initiative -- which would recommend abstinence first, faithfulness second and condom use third -- "dovetails neatly with Mr. Bush's conservative views," according to the Times (Gay Stolberg, New York Times, 2/2). The complete article is available online.


      MEDIA & SOCIETY

      10. AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition Announces Appointment of Journalist Huntly Collins to Director of Science Communication and Advocacy

      Access this story and related links online:
      http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=15822

      The AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition on Thursday announced the appointment of journalist Huntly Collins -- who from 1983 to 2001 covered public health issues, including AIDS, for the Philadelphia Inquirer -- as the coalition's first director of science communication and advocacy. "Huntly is an investigative journalist and science writer of the first rank," AVAC Executive Director Chris Collins, who is not related to Huntly Collins, said, adding, "She brings an ability to critically analyze scientific issues and clearly communicate on those issues. ... She will be an effective advocate for accelerated, ethical AIDS vaccine research." Huntly Collins said, "With money, politics and prestige influencing the quest for an AIDS vaccine, it's more important than ever that stakeholders and the general public have a reliable source of factual information about experimental vaccine candidates and issues surrounding their ethical testing in clinical trials both in the United States and abroad." Huntly Collins was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, a Ford Fellow in educational journalism and a Kaiser Teaching Fellow in South Africa, where she mentored reporters covering AIDS (AVAC release, 1/30).



      ________________________________________


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    • kaisernetwork
      KAISER DAILY HIV/AIDS REPORT A service of kaisernetwork.org http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv ________________________________________ Monday,
      Message 275 of 275 , Feb 9, 2004
        KAISER DAILY HIV/AIDS REPORT
        A service of kaisernetwork.org
        http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv
        ________________________________________


        Monday, February 9, 2004

        POLITICS AND POLICY
        ========================================
        1. Wilmington, Del., City Council Adopts Measure Supporting Bill
        That Would Create Pilot Needle-Exchange Program

        ACROSS THE NATION
        ========================================
        2. Illinois, New York Attorneys General Launch Investigations
        Into Abbott's Price Increase of AIDS Drug

        PUBLIC HEALTH & EDUCATION
        ========================================
        3. New York City Schools To Revise HIV/AIDS, Sex Education
        Curricula

        4. Newspapers Cover Local Events, AIDS Awareness Efforts on
        National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

        GLOBAL CHALLENGES
        ========================================
        5. Wealthy Nations Must Stop 'Decade of Financial Abstinence,'
        Increase International AIDS Spending, U.N. Envoy Lewis Says

        DRUG ACCESS
        ========================================
        6. Indiana University Program Receives $1.6M Federal Grant To
        Provide Treatment, Care to HIV-Positive Kenyans

        7. Los Angeles Times Examines Growing Concern Over Counterfeit
        Drugs, Including Some HIV/AIDS Medications

        HEALTH ON THE HILL FROM KAISERNETWORK.ORG AND CQ
        ========================================
        8. CQ's Schuler Discusses Bush FY 2005 Budget Proposal,
        Including AIDS Funding

        ****************************************

        POLITICS AND POLICY

        1. Wilmington, Del., City Council Adopts Measure Supporting Bill
        That Would Create Pilot Needle-Exchange Program

        Access this story and related links online:
        http://cme.kff.org/Key=1852.Cbg.C.D.6yRD1

        The Wilmington, Del., City Council on Thursday adopted 12-1 a
        resolution supporting a state Senate bill (SB 209) that would
        create a pilot needle-exchange program in Delaware, the
        Wilmington News Journal reports. The bill, which state Sen.
        Margaret Rose Henry (D) introduced last week in the General
        Assembly, would establish a five-year pilot program in which
        state health workers would distribute clean needles to drug
        users from a van in several locations throughout Wilmington.
        Henry has tried since the mid-1990s to pass a measure to allow a
        needle-exchange program, which would cost the state about
        $175,000 per year, according to the News Journal. Opponents of
        the program say that a needle-exchange program would condone
        drug use in the city, which they say already is a "hot spot" for
        injection drug use, the News Journal reports. Wilmington Police
        Chief Michael Szczerba said, "People say these programs get
        dirty needles off the street, but what it boils down to is
        putting clean needles into the hands of drug addicts so they can
        continue their illegal and dangerous activities." He added, "We
        need to strengthen, not weaken, drug laws. And we shouldn't send
        contradictory and harmful messages to our children." However,
        Wilmington Mayor James Baker (D) said that he supports a
        needle-exchange program because it would help the city reach its
        Health Wilmington 2010 goal of reducing HIV prevalence by 20%
        over the next six years. "We've got to do something," Baker
        said, adding, "We've got an epidemic on our hands, and so far
        just wringing our hands about it hasn't helped." The state
        Senate Health and Social Service Committee next will debate the
        bill (Taylor, Wilmington News Journal, 2/6).

        ACROSS THE NATION

        2. Illinois, New York Attorneys General Launch Investigations
        Into Abbott's Price Increase of AIDS Drug

        Access this story and related links online:
        http://cme.kff.org/Key=1852.Cbg.D.D.0nGgv

        Attorneys general for Illinois and New York have begun
        investigations into whether Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories
        violated antitrust laws when it increased by 400% the price of
        its antiretroviral drug Norvir, the Chicago Tribune reports
        (Japsen, Chicago Tribune, 2/8). In December, Abbott increased
        the wholesale price of Norvir -- which is known generically as
        ritonavir -- from $54 per month to $265 per month. Norvir is
        primarily used as a booster for other protease inhibitors, such
        as Bristol-Myers Squibb's Reyataz and Merck's Crixivan (Kaiser
        Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/30). On Friday, Illinois Attorney
        General Lisa Madigan (D) announced that her office has opened an
        investigation into whether the price increase of Norvir was
        designed to make antiretroviral drug combinations that use
        Norvir as a booster more expensive, steering patients toward
        Abbott's newer antiretroviral drug Kaletra. Kaletra, which does
        not need a booster for other protease inhibitors because it
        includes Norvir, costs about $18.78 per day, or $563.40 per
        month, and has a longer patent life, the Tribune reports.

        Reaction

        "Norvir is not like a hay fever medication that people take to
        lessen symptoms to be more comfortable," Madigan said, adding,
        "It is a drug they take to survive. This investigation is aimed
        at determining the real reason for the price increase and
        whether it violates Illinois law." Abbott officials said that
        the company "denies any wrongdoing" and will "vigorously defend
        its pricing" of Norvir because a price increase for the drug was
        "long overdue after years of being priced well below rivals,"
        the Tribune reports. "Many companies have known the value of
        Norvir to their drugs and priced their drugs at a premium
        despite this," Abbott spokesperson Melissa Brotz said. She
        added, "Competitors need to price their drugs based on their
        clinical value. Perhaps those concerned about the cost of
        therapy should look at the highest cost component of HIV
        regimens." Abbott officials also said that the company is
        "committed to ensuring that every patient has unrestricted
        access to" Norvir and has frozen the price of Norvir for
        government health insurers, community clinics and drug
        assistance programs. According to Illinois state prosecutors,
        about 40% of HIV-positive people who take Norvir are covered by
        private medical insurance and another 2% to 5% of people pay out
        of pocket. Madigan said, "Every consumer is affected by unfair
        or deceptive practices that drive up the cost of drugs." The
        investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D),
        which was confirmed by Abbott, also concerns whether the Norvir
        price increase was made in order to drive market share toward
        Kaletra. A spokesperson for Spitzer's office would not confirm
        or deny the investigation. However, officials for Abbott said
        that they were cooperating with and supplying information to the
        New York attorney general's antitrust bureau (Chicago Tribune,
        2/8).

        Editorial

        With its price increase of Norvir, Abbott is "playing by the
        rules, or lack of them," a Fresno Bee editorial states. To
        combat the "contemptible" price increase, consumers must "play
        just as tough in this market as" the drug companies, but that
        will "require the federal government to be more than a passive
        player in this game," the Bee contends. The editorial concludes
        that until President Bush changes his stance from what the drug
        industry wants, which is "to reduce the role of government in
        protecting the consumer," consumers will have to "pay up or go
        without" (Fresno Bee, 2/6).

        PUBLIC HEALTH & EDUCATION

        3. New York City Schools To Revise HIV/AIDS, Sex Education
        Curricula

        Access this story and related links online:
        http://cme.kff.org/Key=1852.Cbg.F.D.4N8w0

        New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's (R) administration on
        Thursday announced that city schools will revise their
        "outdated" HIV/AIDS and sex education curricula and likely begin
        teaching the subjects to students earlier than eighth grade, the
        New York Post reports. New York City schools currently teach sex
        education in eighth and 11th grades, according to the Post
        (Campanile, New York Post, 2/6). Dr. Roger Platt, director of
        the Office of School Health, said that the city schools' sex
        education curriculum has not been updated for 20 years and the
        AIDS curriculum has not been updated in 10 years (Yan, Long
        Island Newsday, 2/6). According to Planned Parenthood of New
        York City, the sex education curriculum still lists the Today
        Sponge as a contraceptive option even though the product has not
        been available since 1994. In addition, the AIDS curriculum
        states that gay, white men account for the "overwhelming
        majority" of AIDS cases, despite the fact that blacks and
        Latinos account for 82% of new HIV/AIDS cases among teenagers,
        the Post reports.

        Reaction

        Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said that in addition to the
        "inadequate" curricula, there is a shortage of high school
        health teachers and they do not have time to attend the required
        30 hours of training to teach the subjects (New York Post, 2/6).
        "It's pretty hard to justify to people to invest 30 hours of
        their time to learn a 20-year-old curriculum," Platt said,
        according to Newsday (Long Island Newsday, 2/6). Platt said that
        the new HIV/AIDS curriculum and information on preventing
        pregnancy will be based on "sound advice" from health
        professionals and education experts, according to the Post (New
        York Post, 2/6). Education officials said that the health
        curriculum could be complete by the end of the year, but they
        have not yet set a timeline for the new HIV/AIDS curriculum,
        which is a "more complicated process" because public comment is
        required, Newsday reports.

        Health Education Mandates

        The state Education Department requires schools to give general
        health and age-appropriate HIV/AIDS instruction in every grade,
        but the requirement is being met "unevenly at best," according
        to Newsday (Long Island Newsday, 2/6). According to state
        Assembly member Scott Stringer (D), who wrote a report titled
        "Failing Grade: Health Education in New York City Schools," at
        least 75% of schools in the city violate government health
        education requirements, according to the New York Sun. Platt
        said that in 2002, almost 10,000 city women younger than 18
        became pregnant and 3,000 became mothers, according to the Sun.
        In addition, teens represented 114 new HIV cases in the city
        (Lucadamo, New York Sun, 2/6). Last month, the New York AIDS
        Coalition released a report stating that New York City schools
        have violated state mandates on HIV/AIDS education. The report,
        titled "A Call for Reform: Strengthening HIV/AIDS Education in
        New York City's Public Schools," found that the schools have
        failed to meet guidelines requiring students in sixth through
        12th grades to receive six HIV/AIDS lessons per year and
        guidelines requiring students in kindergarten through fifth
        grade to receive five AIDS-related lessons per year. The report
        recommends that the school system update its HIV/AIDS lessons,
        employ well-trained personnel to teach the lessons and improve
        oversight and evaluation procedures to better ensure compliance.
        "Examining the stipulations of the mandate one by one reveals
        that the school system is not in full compliance," the report
        said, adding, "These grave inadequacies exist in the face of
        increasing HIV infections among youth" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS
        Report, 1/9).

        4. Newspapers Cover Local Events, AIDS Awareness Efforts on
        National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

        Access this story and related links online:
        http://cme.kff.org/Key=1852.Cbg.G.D.4l0BD

        Saturday marked the fourth annual National Black HIV/AIDS
        Awareness Day, which is sponsored by the Community Capacity
        Building Coalition, a consortium of national minority-focused
        groups supported by CDC through the National Minority AIDS
        Initiative. The CCBC includes: Concerned Black Men, the Health
        Watch Information and Promotion Service, the Jackson State
        University-Mississippi Urban Research Center, the National Black
        Alcoholism and Addictions Council and the National Black
        Leadership Commission on AIDS (National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness
        Day Web site, 2/8). The goal of National Black HIV/AIDS
        Awareness Day is to urge African Americans to "get educated, get
        tested and get involved" with HIV/AIDS in black communities
        (NBHAAD release, 1/20). Although African Americans represent
        about 12% of the U.S. population, more than 50% of all AIDS
        cases diagnosed in 2002 were among African Americans. HHS
        Secretary Tommy Thompson in a statement said that National Black
        HIV/AIDS Awareness Day "serves as a springboard for action
        against the devastating effects HIV/AIDS continues to have on
        the African-American community" and "is an important opportunity
        to understand and educate people nationwide about mobilizing in
        the fight against HIV/AIDS." Thompson added, "Together, we can
        make a difference" (HHS release, 2/6).

        Newspaper Coverage

        Newspapers around the country covered events taking place in
        honor of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Links to some of
        the articles published appear below:

        * AP/Charlotte Observer, "Health workers take aim at AIDS: In
        N.C. towns, focus is on stemming disease among minorities"
        (Holmes, AP/Charlotte Observer, 2/8).

        * Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Groups share facts about
        blacks, AIDS" (Guthrie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/7).

        * Austin American-Statesman, "Offer of free HIV testing draws
        few takers" (Brulliard, Austin American-Statesman, 2/8).

        * Cincinnati Enquirer, "Volunteers warn African Americans about
        AIDS threat" (Leingang, Cincinnati Enquirer, 2/8).

        * Daytona Beach News-Journal, "Groups to promote AIDS awareness"
        (Weiss, Daytona Beach News-Journal, 2/6).

        * Houston Chronicle, "Pop group brings message on HIV's
        prevalence" (Lezon, Houston Chronicle, 2/7).

        * New Orleans Times-Picayune, "AIDS program geared to African
        Americans" (Kaplinsky, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 2/8).

        * Omaha World-Herald, "Advocates say AIDS takes toll on blacks"
        (Grace, Omaha World-Herald, 2/7).

        * South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "HIV group stresses dangers for
        blacks" (LaMendola, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 2/7).

        Media Coverage

        The following broadcast programs reported on National Black
        HIV/AIDS Awareness Day:

        * CNN's "Live Sunday": The segment includes comments from former
        Surgeon General David Satcher (Whitfield, "Live Sunday," CNN,
        2/8). The complete transcript is available online.

        * CNN's "Saturday Night": The segment includes comments from
        Debra Fraser-Howze, president and CEO of the National Black
        Leadership Commission on AIDS; Zachary Jones, a bishop with the
        Unity Fellowship Church Movement; J.L. King, author of the book
        "No More Secrets, No More Lies"; and AIDS advocates Maria Davis
        and Michael Saunders (Udoji, "Saturday Night," CNN, 2/7). The
        complete transcript is available online.

        * NPR's "Tavis Smiley Show": The segment includes comments from
        Jacob Levenson, author of the book "The Secret Epidemic: The
        Story of AIDS and Black America," and Dr. Mindy Fullilove, a
        psychiatrist whose work is featured in the book (Smiley, "Tavis
        Smiley Show," NPR, 2/6). The complete segment is available
        online in RealPlayer.

        GLOBAL CHALLENGES

        5. Wealthy Nations Must Stop 'Decade of Financial Abstinence,'
        Increase International AIDS Spending, U.N. Envoy Lewis Says

        Access this story and related links online:
        http://cme.kff.org/Key=1852.Cbg.H.D.v6Fg

        U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis on
        Sunday at the opening of the 11th Conference on Retroviruses and
        Opportunistic Infections in San Francisco said that wealthy
        nations must contribute more money to the international fight
        against HIV/AIDS to make up for a "decade of financial
        abstinence," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. No country is
        "paying an adequate share" of money to finance the Global Fund
        to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Lewis said, adding that
        the fund needs $3.6 billion for 2005. The "fair share" for the
        United States would be $1.6 billion in 2005, Lewis said,
        according to the Chronicle (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle,
        2/9). However, President Bush in his proposed fiscal year 2005
        budget requests $200 million for the Global Fund. Congress
        appropriated $550 million for the fund in FY 2004 (Kaiser Daily
        HIV/AIDS Report, 1/29). Lewis said that although Bush has
        pledged $15 billion over five years to fight HIV/AIDS, most of
        the funding will go directly to programs in 12 African
        countries. However, programs such as the Global Fund are needed
        to address the epidemic in countries that are not included on
        the U.S. list, Lewis said. Lewis also highlighted the World
        Health Organization's goal of bringing antiretroviral drug
        treatment to three million people by 2005, calling it the
        "single most important and dramatic development that has
        happened in years" (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/9). WHO's $5.5
        billion plan calls for training 100,000 health care workers,
        refocusing 10,000 clinics in developing countries to treat
        HIV/AIDS and using some common antiretroviral drug combinations.
        However, the plan does not provide the drugs or subsidize their
        cost (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/21). Lewis said that an
        additional $200 million in funding is needed from developed
        countries to "get [the program] under way" this year, according
        to the Chronicle (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/9).

        DRUG ACCESS

        6. Indiana University Program Receives $1.6M Federal Grant To
        Provide Treatment, Care to HIV-Positive Kenyans

        Access this story and related links online:
        http://cme.kff.org/Key=1852.Cbg.J.D.LttJn

        A program established 14 years ago by Indiana University
        physicians to fight HIV/AIDS in Kenya has received a $1.6
        million grant from USAID that will allow the program to provide
        treatment to about 15,000 HIV-positive Kenyans, the
        AP/Indianapolis Star reports (AP/Indianapolis Star, 2/5). Sen.
        Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations
        Committee, made the announcement on Thursday (Indiana University
        School of Medicine release, 2/5). Over the past two years,
        doctors from the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Moi
        Teaching and Referral Hospital and the Moi University Faculty of
        Health Sciences have treated about 2,000 HIV-positive adults and
        children in Kenya through the Academic Model for the Prevention
        and Treatment for HIV/AIDS, or AMPATH program. Until now, the
        program has been financed largely by private donations, but the
        federal grant will allow a nearly eight-fold increase in the
        program's caseload, according to the AP/Star. With the new
        money, the doctors over the next five years plan to establish
        HIV prevention and treatment programs in two additional rural
        communities in Kenya. AMPATH Director Dr. Robert Einterz said
        that the "tireless efforts" of IU physicians and "years of
        support" from many private donors in Indiana have contributed to
        the success of the program. Since 1990, more than 600 IU
        students, residents and faculty members have worked in Kenya to
        care for HIV/AIDS patients, according to IU spokesperson Pamela
        Perry. The AMPATH program also operates a program that has
        trained more than 90 traditional birth attendants to care for
        HIV-positive pregnant women to help them reduce the risk of
        mother-to-child HIV transmission. In addition, the program
        provides AIDS education to community support groups and runs a
        10-acre farm to provide "high quality nutrition" to HIV-positive
        families, according to the AP/Star (AP/Indianapolis Star, 2/5).

        7. Los Angeles Times Examines Growing Concern Over Counterfeit
        Drugs, Including Some HIV/AIDS Medications

        Access this story and related links online:
        http://cme.kff.org/Key=1852.Cbg.K.D.GvG8X

        The Los Angeles Times on Monday examined the growing problem of
        counterfeit prescription drugs, including some medications used
        to treat people living with HIV/AIDS. Although the FDA says that
        the U.S. pharmaceutical supply is the "safest in the world,"
        recent seizures of counterfeit drugs raise concerns that
        consumers no longer can be certain that the drugs they receive
        are genuine and safe, the Times reports. One of the drugs
        counterfeiters have targeted is Serostim, which some
        HIV-positive people take to treat wasting, according to the
        Times. A 12-week course of Serostim costs approximately $21,000,
        and the labels and packaging needed to counterfeit the drug can
        be purchased over the Internet. In addition, officials in
        California in 2001 discovered a counterfeit shipment of the
        growth hormone Neupogen -- which is prescribed to some HIV/AIDS
        patients -- with drug bottles filled with salt water rather than
        medicine. Counterfeiting has increased with the emergence of
        more "unscrupulous" secondary drug wholesalers, according to the
        Times. Some HIV/AIDS clinics, which receive discounts on drugs,
        buy more drugs than they need and sell the remainder to
        wholesalers at a profit, according to the Times. With more
        secondary wholesalers in the market, it can be more difficult to
        trace the original source of drugs, the Times reports. To fight
        counterfeiting, Serostim's manufacturer, Swiss-based Serono, has
        stopped using wholesalers, authorizes only 100 pharmacies in the
        United States to sell the drug and tracks every shipment of the
        drug until it reaches a buyer, according to the Times (Jaret,
        Los Angeles Times, 2/9).

        HEALTH ON THE HILL FROM KAISERNETWORK.ORG AND CQ

        8. CQ's Schuler Discusses Bush FY 2005 Budget Proposal,
        Including AIDS Funding

        Access this story and related links online:
        http://cme.kff.org/Key=1852.Cbg.L.D.WCk2l

        Congressional Quarterly's Kate Schuler in this week's "Health
        on the Hill from kaisernetwork.org and CQ" discusses President
        Bush's fiscal year 2005 budget proposal released last week,
        including an increase in funding for international and domestic
        HIV/AIDS programs, which some critics say is "still not enough."
        The proposal includes $2.7 billion for international AIDS
        programs, which is an increase from FY 2004 spending but does
        not match the $3 billion authorized by Congress. According to
        Schuler, critics have said that the initiative is "moving too
        slowly," but Randall Tobias, head of the State Department's
        Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, said that the
        administration is "laying a foundation" for the program. Randall
        added that the full pledge of $15 billion over five years for
        the global AIDS initiative will be met. According to Schuler,
        Bush expects that by 2008 the initiative will have "prevented
        millions of new infections and treated and cared for millions"
        of HIV-positive people (Schuler, "Health on the Hill from
        kaisernetwork.org and CQ," 2/9).

        The report will be available online after noon on Monday.

        ________________________________________

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