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Alain Lafeuillade
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This blog is moderated: after posting your text goes to the administrator for approval

Posted on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 in General

Due to frequent use by people outside the community to promote or sell goods, this blog is now moderated. Once you have posted your text, it goes to the administrator for approval.

All posts having nothing to do with the purpose of this website will be discarted.

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Alain Lafeuillade
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Is the Recent Pledge by Governments to Eradicate HIV AIDS Really Enough?

Posted on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 in General

Recently, a group of government leaders met at a special United Nations summit that had the sole purpose of charting out the global response to AIDS over the next decade.  They made a pledge to eradicate HIV AIDS over the next ten years.  Technically, the pledge was to reach triple zero over the next decade.  The idea is to have zero new infections, zero AIDS related deaths, and to reduce the stigma associated with the disease to zero, all in the next ten years.  While it is an admirable pledge and goal, is making the pledge really enough?  It depends on who you ask.

Certain AIDS activists feel the document does not go far enough, noting that while most every one of the 3,000 heads of state, other political leaders, activists, and civil citizens attending the meeting were on board, no one brought a check book.  Paul De Lay, Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS acknowledged that reaching the goals laid out in the pledge was going to take money.  He stated that United Nations member states pledged to close the financial gap by increasing funding for AIDS by 2015 to between $22 and $24 billion.  However, no country made a specific financial commitment.

Some of the specific target areas of the pledge include more than doubling the amount of people receiving treatment in low- and middle- income countries, cutting the sexual transmission of HIV in half, ensuring no babies are born infected with the virus, and reducing the number of those infected through drug use, all by 2015.  While activists are pleased yet skeptical, UNAID's De Lay says he is pleased with the final declaration.  And it appears that no one is really unhappy with it since the 16-page document is, after all, a good thing.  But there are definitely those who feel that more could have been done.

Those are the ones who maintain that if the pledge is going to be met, then someone has to start showing the money at the upcoming G20 summit in November.   Some feel there were issues getting everything together due to certain conservatives fighting over wording, wanting to leave out references to sex education and homosexuals.  However, in the end, everyone does agree on one thing.  What the document accomplishes is a good thing, and everyone hopes the goals it sets forth are accomplished and more within the next decade. If this is the case, it will have served its purpose.

 

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Alain Lafeuillade
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Hope for a Cure Against HIV

Posted on Friday, 27 May 2011 in General

Alain Lafeuillade (France) and Mario Stevenson (USA) co-authored a paper on HIV reservoirs that claims these reservoirs are the main hurdle to achieving HIV eradication.  While antiretroviral therapy treatments have been successful in lengthening the life expectancy for HIV-infected individuals, a cure for HIV has not been found.  The cure is not within reach primarily because of HIV reservoirs.  While effective, antiretroviral therapy (ART) doesn't completely wipe out the HIV infection.  Persistent infection is the result of small pools of virulent material known as HIV reservoirs, and these reservoirs are preventing the progress toward an HIV cure.
HIV persistence remains, even with antiretroviral (ART) treatment.  Two critical questions arise when it comes to reservoirs.  The first question is figuring out how to determine the nature of non-lymphocytic HIV reservoirs; the second question is finding a possible "threshold" where the HIV reservoir is kept low enough for the body to effectively control it.  However, encouraging results were made in 2010 when the first person to ever be cured of HIV infection via a stem cell transplant.  While this is apparently an isolated incident, it does show that HIV is curable.  This development brought widespread optimism in the scientific community.
Therefore, the goal is to improve ART treatments to deal with latent HIV reservoirs, "purging" them in a way.  Research indicates that a cocktail of drugs are needed to deal with compartment of the reservoir, sterilizing the virus and making it unable to replicate.  These are the usual approaches to dealing with HIV—neutralizing the virus by taking away its ability to copy itself.   Gene therapy combined with stem cell research into zinc finger nucleases designed to disrupt CCR5 expression have also been useful research topics.  In fact, the stem cells implanted in the HIV-cured patient came from an individual with a rare CCR5 mutation.
HIV persistence via reservoirs is a top priority for researchers and health professionals throughout the globe.  This paper provides information on the mechanisms of HIV persistence and a discussion on the critical questions facing researchers in the field.  It also briefly discusses the need for better ART treatments and ends with a paragraph talking about the development of a task force dedicated to dealing with this subject.  While the improvements in technology and medicine have made things better for HIV patients and improved the quality of their lives, HIV persistence via reservoirs has prevented an outright cure from being developed.  The hope, as stated by the paper, is to turn the isolated HIV cure incident into a regular occurrence.
About the publication: The Search for a Cure for Persistent HIV Reservoirs. AIDS Rev. 2011; 13: 63-6

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Alain Lafeuillade
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General conditions

Posted on Friday, 15 October 2010 in General

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