Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The HIV Year in Review

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The HIV Year in Review

Article excerpt

Potential cures were touted in soy sauce and tobacco, AIDS researchers died in a plane crash, and a seventh grader uncovered a mystery that has been killing people with AIDS in California for two decades.

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January 29

German scientists reported that extracts of the geranium plant Pelargonium sidoides block HIV from entering human cells. Researchers say that if the extracts can be developed into an HIV therapy, it'll be easy and cheap to produce.

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February 3

AmfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, announced the launch of Countdown to a Cure for HIV/AIDS, a research initiative aimed at finding a cure by 2020. The group is planning to invest $100 million over the next six years.

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April 28

Soy sauce as HIV cure? Not quite. But researchers at the University of Missouri confirmed that EFdA, a molecule related to a component of soy sauce, could be used to develop HIV-fighting compounds. The medicine could be more powerful than tenofovir, but users wouldn't develop resistance to it the way they do with the popular drug. Scientists at Merck are now trying to turn it into a treatment.

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May 14

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came out in support of Truvada as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, for some sexually active gay and bi men, making the drug the first U.S. government-endorsed HIV prevention pill.

June 13

In a pivotal appeal litigated by Lambda Legal, the Iowa Supreme Court set aside the conviction of Nick Rhoades, an HIV-positive Iowan who had been sentenced to 25 years in prison and registration as a sex offender after a single sexual encounter with another man, during which they used a condom, A week before the conviction was set aside, Rhoades had his GPS monitoring bracelet removed in a ceremony at Iowa's Grinnell College during the groundbreaking HIV Is Not a Crime conference.

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July 1

Iowa became the first state in the nation to modernize its archaic HIV criminal statute, removing those convicted under the previous law from the sex offender registry.

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July 8

Hemispherx Biopharma announced it is seeking South African government approval to study Alferon N, the only FDA-approved natural interferon, to see if it can suppress HIV replication and eliminate latent HIV, A study released by the Wistar Institute at the University of Pennsylvania previously showed that interferon decreases HIV-1 viral levels and controls the virus after antiretroviral therapy is discontinued.

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July 10

Doctors reported that the Mississippi baby proclaimed to be cured of HIV (2013 news that spurred a National Institutes of Health study on aggressive antiretroviral treatment of newborns) wasn't cured after all. This leaves Timothy Ray Brown (above),.also known as the "Berlin Patient," as apparently the only person ever cured of HIV.

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July 11

The World Health Organization announced its support for gay and bi men taking PrEP as an additional method of preventing HIV infection alongside the use of condoms. Officials said that PrEP could prevent 20% to 25% of HIV infections in gay and bi men over the next 10 years, leading to 1 million fewer men with HIV.

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July 15

The U.S. Department of Justice called on states to eliminate or reform archaic HIV criminalization laws, marking what Scott Schoettes, the HIV project director for Lambda Legal and a new appointee to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, called "a watershed moment in the fight to decriminalize HIV. …

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