Saturday, June 11, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Toward the end of the last decade, scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) made one of the most important discoveries regarding HIV: that the virus uses receptors other than CD4 to enter and infect T-cells. These coreceptors function somewhat like doorknobs, and HIV must first bind and attach to CD4, and then to one of two other coreceptors, either CCR5 or CXCR4, to enter cells.
After detecting these coreceptors, researchers made several other key discoveries. First, they found that people whose virus prefers to use CXCR4 tended to have lower CD4 counts and faster HIV disease progression than people whose virus prefers CCR5. Second, they found that those born without the ability to make the CCR5 coreceptor were highly resistant to HIV infection. This led to the development and approval of a drug to block CCR5, that drug being Selzentry. For Selzentry to work, however, a person must only carry CCR5-tropic virus and not CXCR4-tropic or mixed-tropic virus.
The participants in both groups were similar in most respects, and overall the study found that the two different regimens had similar efficacy. Seclén’s group, however, was interested not in how those treatments compared with one another, but in how a person’s HIV tropism would affect his or her response to starting either treatment.
Of the 482 participants in the study who were treated for at least 48 weeks, 14 percent had CXCR4-tropic virus at the start of the study. The rest had CCR5-tropic virus. Also, 22 percent had a strain of HIV (called a clade) other than clade B, the most common strain in Western Europe and the United States.
Seclén and his colleagues found that a person’s tropism significantly affected the response to treatment. Overall, while 92 percent of those with CCR5-tropic virus had an undetectable viral load after 48 weeks of treatment, this was true in only 77 percent of those with CXCR4-tropic virus. When multiple factors were considered, a person’s tropism remained significant until the 24-week point. In people with clade B virus, however, tropism was significant at both 24 and 48 weeks. Contrary to other studies, those with CXCR4-tropic virus had similar increases in CD4 counts as those with CCR5-tropic virus.
“In antiretroviral-naïve patients beginning antiretroviral therapy, baseline…tropism seems to be an independent predictor of virologic response,” conclude the authors, adding that “this observation may have important clinical implications for the monitoring of antiretroviral therapy and interpretation of comparative trials.”
How does tropism affect my treatment plan?
If your HIV tropism is CCR5, there’s a new kind of medicine that can help stop HIV from getting in.
Peace and tolerance
Monday, June 6, 2011
(taken from sister blog on wordpress, three tragic deaths in April 2011):
As the doleful expressions continue to pour out from the community following Wednesday April 6th’s stunning revelation on social networking sites and subsequent confirmatory phone calls and an impeccable police source that a former lgbt advocate who was associated with JFLAG at one point was found in his upper St. Andrew apartment after being dead for several days (it is surmised from as early as the Friday April the 1st). The man (name will be withheld for now) in his early twenties was found with several stab wounds. An on the spot post-mortem had to be carried out and my combined sources suggest that the body was ordered for immediate burial due to the state of decomposition.
Actual cause of death is not known clearly but reports suggest it may be related to his rocky relations he was having with another friend, the body was found by his partner who returned home after not seeing or hearing from the deceased for a short time as he was out of town on business he went to the home and was greeted by the offensive odour only to make the gruesome discovery, it is also surmised that more than one attackers may have been present to over power the deceased as his physical built would not permit one person to successfully over power him. As the investigations continue the police are tight lipped but it is strongly suspected that the deceased was lured to his home by his attackers when he met his untimely demise.
Even in death homophobic cruelty is so glaring the advocate who was known to many as a quiet dude with strong opinions some of which clashed with mine in the occasional debate over drinks or at socials also had his share of problems with his outing and subsequent temporary displacement and run ins with his father coupled with ostracism from the church flock of which he was a part, what is even more disturbing is the way in which the deceased father insisted on not taking the body after the pathologist ordered an immediate burial following the on the spot post mortem, the morgue attendants and funeral home representatives offered to do what they could to reshape the body for a proper closed casket service and burial despite the circumstances that prevailed but his father flatly refused and said he wanted no part in the burial while using the derogative anti gay remarks to castigate his son while his body laid mutilated at the scene, so upset were persons present that they could not help but vent their frustrations at his behaviour and the position taken. The police however who were on hand helped to calm the nerves of the parties so as to avoid any physical confrontation and contamination of the crime scene, The body was later removed and reportedly placed in a sufferer’s box as it is known in some circles and taken to the May Pen Cemetery where it was laid without any proper rights accorded much to the hurt and sorrow of many of his friends and associates.
He was with the advocacy group Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays (JFLAG) for a short time involved in Administration and some Crisis Interventions as well, he also hosted lymes and small parties at his home from time to time and also sat on the GLABCOM (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Community) Steering Committee associated with the Targeted Interventions of Jamaica AIDS for Life just over a year. He assisted many young turks who were coming out at the time in their late teens through his work with the performing arts for a short period of time as well. Sad that JFLAG was silent on the matter despite his short tenure there, they could have assisted in his burial.
RIP dear J
Reports also are coming in from another section of North Central Jamaica where a popular party figure was found with one stab wound and throat cut as well last Tuesday April 12th, again details were hazy as there are several theories and conflicting reports he was however said to have left home to meet with someone who was to have sold them some items but was missing for some time and was found in the state as described above. Confirmation soon came and a western based newspaper carried the story describing the speculation surrounding his death as strange circumstances, he was laid to rest at the end of April.
Known for his dancing style at parties he was given a particular nick name and frequented events mostly in central Jamaica but would make the occasional trek to Kingston to shake a leg. He too has been laid to rest as a close relative handled the issue quietly to avoid any backlash.
RIP Kelly K K
There are three other unconfirmed deaths said to have taken place in Kingston with one at the very spot where a previous murder of one of our family members took place December 2, 2010 by the National Works Agency building as more is available there will be adjustments to this post.
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Thanks for your Donations
thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venure that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG's blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part.
Activities & Plans: ongoing and future
- To continue this venture towards website development with an E-zine focus
- Work with other Non Governmental organizations old and new towards similar focus and objectives
- To find common ground on issues affecting GLBTQ and straight friendly persons in Jamaica towards tolerance and harmony
- Exposing homophobic activities and suggesting corrective solutions
- To formalise GLBTQ Jamaica's activities in the long term
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Information & Disclaimer
Individuals who are mentioned or whose photographs appear on this site are not necessarily Homosexual, HIV positive or have AIDS.
This blog contains pictures that may be disturbing. We have taken the liberty to present these images as evidence of the numerous accounts of homophobic violence meted out to alledged gays in Jamaica.
Faces and names witheld for the victims' protection.
This blog not only watches and covers LGBTQ issues in Jamaica and elsewhere but also general human rights and current affairs where applicable.
This blog contains HIV prevention messages that may not be appropriate for all audiences.
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Since HIV infection is spread primarily through sexual practices or by sharing needles, prevention messages and programs may address these topics.
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Recent Homophobic Incidents
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Steps to Take When Contronted or Arrested by Police
b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist
c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tensed) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation
e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports
f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)
g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible
h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violatedi) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions
j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it