The Salvation Army Has Racial Issues This Holiday Season

Her name is Casses Craig and she is a resident living in Crystal Springs, Ms. She has four children and lives in Crystal Springs, low rate income housing project Cumberland Apartments. Casses signed her children up for the Angel Tree Program hosted by the Salvation Army, located in Jackson, Ms along with numerous other organizations. It was my understanding that the Angel Tree program was brought to life to help provide less fortunate children with toy's for Christmas. However, that wasn't the case this year in Mississippi.

Numerous residents within the town of Crystal Springs, Ms was shocked when they were given there date and time to stand in long lines and in freezing temperatures outside of the Salvation Army for help. I was shocked to here from Casses that they had to go and here a sermon from a preacher before receiving there kids Angel Tree gifts. Some of the things that were preached to them was about their ability to not be able to provide for their kids and the men that they call their man, boyfriend, and some husbands. It was reported that the whites were clearly treated better than the blacks.

In a story covered by channel 16 News, the founder was quoted in the headlines saying the "Salvation Army Goes Beyond it's Expectations". Mississippi had some 8000 kids that needed to be adopted and many weren't. Mothers such as Casses received a mere one gift from the Angel Tree Program and that's going beyond their expectations.

I know the economy is in a tough situation, but why was it that everyone that came back from getting their Angel Tree gifts in Crystal Springs, Ms only came back to tell the story of all the whites that got bikes and big toys for their kids. While the blacks only got one toy for four children. Hmmmmmmmmmmm, seems to me that the Salvation Army needs to rethink the Angel Tree Program, next year.

I seriously doubt it thought, because more and more people are going to be in need and they won't receive, just as they did this year. Blacks in Mississippi need to wake-up and pay attention to what is happening right in front of them. Racial inside trading is what I like to call it, but you decide what you want to call it.


Possible Insurance Coverage Option For HIV/AIDS Patients

I have been researching options for prescription assistance for those individuals who have higher incomes and are uninsured (or those who will be taken off ADAP due to the reduction of the income limit). It appears the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan(PCIP) is an option that we may be able to provide to some of our higher income uninsured clients. More health insurance options are supposed to become available to individuals beginning in 2014, however this PCIP is supposed to be a current option available in the interim. See more information at  https://www.pcip.gov/Default.html
It appears that in Florida the max someone would have to pay per month for this pre-existing condition insurance plan is $842/mo. (the cost depends on the person's age and the particular coverage plan they choose) https://www.pcip.gov/StatePlans.html
Each plan covers preventative care at 100% and office visits with a $25 copay. They do have deductables that have to be met and some out of pocket coinsurance and copays, but so do most commercial insurance plans. These plans also have no lifetime maximum (something that is a concern for those with HIV/AIDS due to this high cost of medical care). One of the most positive things is that all plans have prescription drug coverage. The cost of the medications depends on the plan chosen, however it appears that the max that would have to be paid for a specialty med (i.e. all antiretrovirals) would be $300 a month (or less depending on the chosen plan). This is understandably still a lot of money but it is definitely better than the alternative of paying full cost for meds.  https://www.pcip.gov/PCIP_%20pamphlet_benefits_summary.pdf
Eligibility is that the person must be a US citizen or be residing in the US legally, have been uninsured for at least 6 months, and have a pre-existing condition or have been denied coverage because of your health condition. The application itself seems relatively easy.
This would primarily benefit those individuals who make more money but simply cannot get insurance due to their pre-existing condition (**this is definitely not a viable option for individuals with low income). As of February 1, 2011 the income limit for ADAP is being reduced to 300%. This type of income will also make these individuals ineligible for PAP programs as well as Welvista. I worry that we do not have many solutions for these individuals and others who make too much money for Ryan White programs but not enough to pay for their medical care/prescriptions out of pocket. Perhaps we can provide these indivdiuals with information on this PCIP as a possible option for them.
Jennifer Findley, MSW, LCSW Intern
Social Services / HIV Care Center
Center for Prevention and Treatment of Infections
5153 N. 9th Ave Ste 305


National Low Income Housing Coalition

  • In 2008, the number of households spending more than 50 percent of their income on housing rose by one third, or 16 percent, to 18.6 million households. That’s 44.2 million Americans. If the homeless and those living in severely substandard conditions are included, roughly one in six Americans are in need of a decent, affordable place to live. (JCHS 2010).
  • One in three American homeowners spend more than 30 percent of income on housing (JCHS 2010).
  • There is not a single county in the U.S. where a full-time minimum wage worker can afford even a one-bedroom apartment at what HUD determines to be the Fair Market Rent. (NLIHC: 2006).
Research findings
Housing improves health
  • Studies show that 84% of U.S. homes have a bedroom with detectable levels of dust mite allergens. Many of these have levels that can contribute to allergies or asthma. (Arbes et al. 2003).
  • Exposure to dampness and mold in homes is estimated to contribute to approximately 21% of current asthma cases in the United States. Annual cost: $3.5 billion. (Mudarri and Fisk 2007).
  • Children in bad housing have increased risk of viral or bacterial infections and a greater chance of suffering mental health and behavioral problems. (Harker: 2006)
Housing has a positive impact on children
  • Owning a home leads to a higher quality home environment, improved test scores in children (9 percent in math and 7 percent in reading), and reduced behavioral problems (by 3 percent). (Haurin, Parcel, and Haurin: 2002)
  • Children who live in bad housing have lower educational attainment and a greater likelihood of being impoverished and unemployed as adults. (Harker: 2006)
Homeownership builds wealth
  • Owning a home, especially for lower-income households, is an important means of wealth accumulation. For low-income minority families, median average annual housing wealth appreciation is $1,712 whereas there is no non-housing wealth accumulation. This wealth is achieved both through equity and forced savings resulting from mortgage repayment. (Boehm and Schlottmann: 2004)
  • Homeownership increases intergenerational wealth accumulation through improved educational achievement in children, which leads to greater earnings when these children enter the workforce. (Boehm and Schlottmann: 2002)
  • Homeowners live in larger, higher quality units; they enjoy better housing services with costs that fall over time; and they stand to make considerable returns if they remain owners for a long time. (Rohe, Van Zandt, and McCarthy: 2001)
Housing strengthens communities
  • Owner-occupied housing has a beneficial effect on the local economy by increasing consumer spending, providing tax revenues and fees, and growing businesses and jobs. Building additional homes requires additional employees, goods, and services from the general economy (JCHS 2006)
  • Homeowners are more likely to be satisfied with their homes and neighborhoods, and are more likely to volunteer in civic and political activities. (Rohe, Van Zandt, and McCarthy: 2000)
  • Homeowners are more likely to know their U.S. representative (by 10 percent) and school board head by name (by 9 percent), and are more likely to vote in local elections (by 15 percent) and work to solve local problems (by 6 percent). (DiPasquale and Glaeser: 1998)
Learn more


Confusion as gays attempt to join military

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WASHINGTON | Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:50pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Dan Choi, a former Iraq war veteran discharged in July for being openly gay, returned to a New York City recruiting station on Wednesday to complete his application to re-enlist in the Army.

But at the Pentagon, U.S. officials are warning that Choi and other gay veterans now applying for the armed forces may never be called to duty.

Confusion has reigned since a federal judge struck down the military's 17-year-old ban on openly serving homosexuals a week ago, forcing the Pentagon to order recruiting stations to treat gay and lesbian applicants like anyone else.

But while U.S. officials say they must accept such applications, they also warn that the entire process could unravel if the Obama administration successfully overturns the judge's decision in court.

The path for applicants like Choi is also bedeviled by bureaucratic confusion.

"Things that recruiters have been doing for years has now been turned on its head because there's this uncertainty," said Colonel Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman.

The Obama administration wants to lift "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." But it says Congress, not the courts, should repeal the 1993 policy, which allows homosexuals to serve in secret but discharges them if their sexual orientation is revealed.

It asked a federal appeals court on Wednesday to let the Pentagon reinstate its ban while it appeals a lower-court ruling declaring the policy unconstitutional. Observers say the case might go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has warned it normally takes weeks or months to process an application to enlist -- enough time for a legal reversal that would void chances for Choi and others appearing at U.S. recruiting stations.

Attempts by openly gay veterans to re-enlist are complicated by unanswered questions about whether special waivers might be needed. More than 13,000 service members have been discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

It is unclear if all recruiting stations understand Pentagon guidance on gay applicants, which started trickling down through the system last week but was only publicly acknowledged on Tuesday.

For his part, Choi appeared triumphant. He said on his Twitter feed on Wednesday that he passed the skills test, although he missed three verbal and five math questions.

He also made a bold declaration on his written application, saying he would not lie again about his identity or that of his partner in order to serve in the United States military.

"I told the truth about my sexual orientation and refused to lie about my cherished lover and partner," he wrote.

"I do not intend to lie about my identity or family in any portion of my service."

(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington; Editing by Deborah Charles and Doina Chiacu)

(Sinatra Perryman-No Comments)

Drug companies pay 17,000 U.S. doctors, report finds

WASHINGTON | Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:09pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 17,000 doctors and other healthcare providers have taken money from seven major drug companies to talk to other doctors about their products, a joint investigation by news organizations and non-profit groups found.

More than 380 of the doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other professionals took in more than $100,000 in 2009 and 2010, according to the investigation released on Tuesday. The report said far more doctors are likely to have taken such payments, but it documented these based on information from seven drugmakers.

The payments are not illegal and usually not even considered improper. But the investigation by journalism group ProPublica, Consumer Reports magazine, NPR radio and several publications showed doctors were sometimes urged to recommend "off-label" prescriptions of drugs, meaning using them for conditions they are not approved for.

And the report points to several studies showing that even small gifts and payments to doctors can affect their attitudes, and many companies have stopped giving out once-common gifts such as pens, cups and other objects carrying drug brand names.

"Tens of thousands of U.S. physicians are paid to spread the word about pharma's favored pills and to advise the companies about research and marketing," the group says in its report, available here

The groups used information from seven drugmakers -- AstraZeneca, Cephalon, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Merck and Pfizer.

"Some of the companies were forced to disclose this information as a result of legal settlements; others released it voluntarily," Consumer Reports said.

It said more than 70 other pharmaceutical companies have not disclosed payments made to doctors, although the healthcare reform law passed in March will require them to do so by 2013.

"This investigation begins to pull back the shroud on these activities," Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, said in a statement.

"The amount of money involved is astounding, and the ProPublica report's account of the background of some of the physicians is disturbing."

Drug companies often say they pay expert physicians to educate their peers about drugs and conditions.

These sessions are often seminars held alongside major medical meetings but sometimes they involve briefings at vacation resorts.

ProPublica said a review of state medical board disciplinary records found more than 250 of the doctors paid to speak had been sanctioned for activities such as inappropriately prescribing drugs or having sex with patients.

It said 40 others had been warned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for research misconduct, had lost hospital privileges or were convicted of crimes.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Julie Steenhuysen and Eric Beech)

(Sinatra Perryman Comments on this story)---> This has been going on since the drug companies have been making drugs and doctors starting writing prescriptions. They finally got caught, hmmm....I wonder how long will it stop this practice.

Drug companies influence prescribing, study finds

SINGAPORE | Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:45pm EDT
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Doctors tend to prescribe drugs that pharmaceutical companies promote to them and patients end up paying more but not always getting the most suitable medicines, researchers reported on Wednesday.

An analysis of 58 studies in several countries found that information from drug companies influenced the decisions doctors made, and not necessarily in a positive way.

"You couldn't say that information from pharmaceutical companies benefited doctor's prescribing, which is what pharmaceutical companies claim," said Geoffrey Spurling of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, who led the study.

"Many doctors claim they are not influenced and having done the review, that is not supported. You have to say that at least some of the time, doctors are influenced," he said in a telephone interview.

Several of the researchers in the study are members of Healthy Skepticism, an international nonprofit research, education, and advocacy association set up to "reduce harm from misleading health information."

The report found that doctors who accepted briefings or other information from drug companies were more likely to prescribe those products.

Thirty-eight studies showed that exposure to drug company information resulted in more frequent prescriptions, while 13 did not have such an association, Spurling and his colleagues wrote in their report published in the U.S.-based Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine, here%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000352.

None of the studies found that doctors prescribed a drug less often because of promotional or informational materials. More than half the studies were conducted in the United States. Other countries included the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, France, Estonia, Turkey and Australia.


"The companies don't spend this money with drug detail people if it doesn't work," said Dr. Sid Wolfe of the U.S. advocacy group Public Citizen, which has campaigned against such drug company activity.
"Most doctors get most of their information about drugs from the drug industry."

Such detailers often bring lunch to a doctor's office, or invite physicians to sporting events or other entertainment while they deliver their briefings.

Spurling singled out a study in Britain of more than 1,000 general practitioners that found that those who met drug salespeople more often tended to prescribe more costly drugs.

But that did not guarantee that patients got the most suitable drugs.

Spurling cited studies that found that doctors' prescriptions were of a lower quality when compared against standard guidelines and those recommended by expert panels.

For example, official U.S. guidelines in the United States advise doctors to use the oldest, cheapest generic drugs to treat high blood pressure and diabetes before turning to newer, patented and often more dangerous prescription drugs.

The researchers called for regulation on the amounts of money that pharmaceutical companies may spend on promoting their products. In 2004 alone, drug companies spent $57.5 billion on promotion in the United States, they said.

"We need more regulation on promotional information. We couldn't find any benefit," Spurling said.
Doctors also need more information from a variety of sources such as universities or accrediting organizations, he said.

"A good doctor keeps up with practicing medicine by reading the literature, peer-reviewed journals," Wolfe agreed.

"If they don't have time to do that, and rely on drug company detailers, they are not practicing good medicine."

On Tuesday, the investigative journalism group ProPublica, along with several news organizations, reported that seven big drug companies had paid more than 17,000 U.S. doctors many thousands of dollars to talk to other doctors about the companies' products [ID:nN19125956].

(Additional reporting by Maggie Fox in Washington; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

(Sinatra Perryman Comments on This Article)----> This happens everyday in free clinics all across America. Doctors forgetting the studies and side effects of medicines, but continue to treat patients with the next best thing. This form of treatment to the American people has to stop and doctors and drug makers need to be held accountable for the malice acts. 

1 in 5 gay, bisexual men in U.S. cities has HIV

An AIDS activist holds a sign while demonstrating near the site of
 the upcoming G20 Pittsburgh Summit against the policies of the world's 
wealthiest nations regarding AIDS research and treatment funding in 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania September 22, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Thayer
CHICAGO | Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:16pm EDT
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Nearly one in five gay and bisexual men in 21 major U.S. cities are infected with HIV, and nearly half of them do not know it, U.S. health officials said on Thursday.

Young men, and especially young black men, are least likely to know if they are infected with HIV, according to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We need to reinvigorate our response to preventing HIV among gay and bisexual men," Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said in a telephone interview.

"We can't allow HIV to continue its devastating toll among gay and bisexual men, and in particular, among young black men."

Mermin's comments echoed an AIDS policy rolled out in July by the White House that asked states and federal agencies to find ways to cut new HIV infections by 25 percent.

Researchers at the CDC studied 8,153 men who have sex with men in 21 U.S. cities. The men were taking part in the 2008 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System, which looked at prevalence and awareness of the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Overall, they found that 19 percent of gay men are infected with HIV.

The study found that 28 percent of gay black men infected with HIV, compared with 18 percent of Hispanic men and 16 percent of white men.

Black men in the study were also least likely to be aware of their infection, with 59 percent unaware of their infection compared with 46 percent of Hispanic men and 26 percent of white men.

Age also plays a role. Among 18 to 29-year-old men, 63 percent did not know they were infected with HIV, compared with 37 percent of men aged 30 and older, the team reported in the CDC's weekly report on death and disease.

The CDC recommends that gay and bisexual men of all ages get an HIV test each year, and men at highest risk -- those who have multiple sex partners or use drugs during sex -- get tested every three to six months.

"This alarming new data provides further evidence that prevention efforts for gay men have not been adequate to meet the growing epidemic and should be dramatically scaled up," said Carl Schmid of the nonprofit AIDS Institute.

"The severity of the impact of HIV in the gay community is nothing new. What has been missing is an appropriate response by our government, at the federal, state and local levels, and the gay community itself," he said in a statement.

Mermin said some studies had shown that there was less urgency and fear associated with HIV infections than in the past, which may be due to the effectiveness of AIDS treatment.

While not a cure, drug cocktails can keep patients healthy and can reduce the risk that they will infect other people. Companies that make HIV drugs include Gilead Sciences Inc, Bristol-Myers and Abbott Labs.

(Sinatra Perryman -Comments On Story)----> This is a story by far that many have taken out of context and used to persecute many suffering from this killer (HIV/AIDS). When are we going to stop putting labels on people and start taking responsibility for our own actions. Prevention is Key, Lies are only making the problem worst. 


Press Release

Race Still Matters: Race, Poverty and AIDS in Black America

Vienna, Austria - July 19, 2010 - The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a study today looking at race, poverty and HIV among heterosexuals in 23 poor inner-city neighborhoods in the United States. The study found that when other racial ethnic groups are confronted with the same social determinants faced by Black Americans their risk for HIV rises.

Some media organizations are erroneously concluding that race is not a factor in HIV transmission in this population. This is a false choice and an absurd and dangerous conclusion. The point is not whether race or poverty matters, the point is race and poverty matter. Black people are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. One of the reasons this is so is because we are poor. Seventy-seven percent of the participants in the study were Black and the majority of the residents in the communities surveyed were Black.

According to a study by U.S. Department of Agriculture, nine out of every 10 Black Americans who reach the age of 75 spend at least one of their adult years in poverty. By the age of 25, the findings show, 48.1 percent of black Americans will have experienced at least one year in poverty. By age 40, the number grows to two-thirds and to more than three-fourths by age 50. More than 90 percent will have lived below the poverty line by age 75.

The researchers say that by age 28, the Black population will have reached the cumulative level of lifetime poverty that the white population arrives at by age 75. "In other words, Blacks have experienced in nine years the same risk of poverty that whites experience in 56 years," the report stated.

"Does poverty matter? Of course, but to pretend that race is not a huge factor in who is poor in America is naïve at best and maliciously racist at worst. The fact that virtually every Black American will experience poverty at some point during their adulthood speaks volumes about AIDS in America," says Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. "Poor people get AIDS. Black people are poor."

Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, is available for interviews and press inquiries. Contact Mondella Jones at Mondellaj@blackAIDS.org or (323) 681-4297. In Vienna call 0681-2048-3398. www.BlackAIDS.org


Haley Barbour, On Slavery "Who Is This Man Really"


Haley Barbour, is this man really for African Americans NO! This is a man that is allowing the state of Mississippi go without in the fight against STD's and other pressing needs for the oppressed. African Americans need to stick together and fight to save their lives. Slavery is still alive in Mississippi and they have not fully left the African Americans aware of the epidemic that is killing them (HIV/AIDS).


National Cry For HIV/AIDS Funding, In The United States of America- Not Haiti

I am proud to be a American, but lately this statement is becoming a lie. Today, after attending the conference call being held on the cry for (HIV/AIDS Medications for the Southern States). I finally realized, that people have lost their way. We live in the Richest Country, we have the most powerful weapon's or so we think, and we can do a National Cry for a country that was already dead (Haiti).

Why in the hell do the people in the United States of America have to suffer right at home.

The current HIV/AIDS, situation in Mississippi, wouldn't be this way if this state would just do it's fucking job. I am so tired of people asking me dumb ass questions, when going in the public agencies for services.

If your a dam college student at 34 years old, and need fucking food stamps to get medications, what is wrong with that picture?

If your a homeless man and you get food stamps, but you sell them to get you a bottle of wine, what is wrong with this picture?

These agencies are collecting data that is just all wrong, they asking the wrong questions, using the wrong people and quite frankly, need to hang up they funking hat.

Sinatra Perryman, will fight to make sure that Mississippi, step the game up when it comes to protecting it's residents from this killer (HIV/AIDS). We live in a world of abundance and this is got to stop. For the people that are fighting, and truly fighting, I SALUTE YOU!

However, for all of you lieing and getting this dam money and playing GOD as one of the conference call participants stated.

My name is Sinatra Perryman and I SERVE ONLY ONE GOD, AND THAT IS THE GOD THAT WE ALL SHOULD SERVE. I will have no other play with what little life I have left. Today, their is a new person that has emerged and if you fuck with me you will get burned. I will not tolerate people playing GOD, and for the legislators of Mississippi, I just formally introduced myself, and as for congress "Greetings", as-well.....

Mr. President. Hmmmm, I thought you were going to be the man, but it seems that your becoming one of them. However, I still support your efforts, but you need to understand that their is still Those Out There; That Will Never Serve The GOD We Serve. Open the Flood gates, and release some of what we as a nation of abundance need.

Oprah, I'm calling you out too...GIRL you are still black you need to remember your root's! Fight for what is right, because "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above..." James 1:17

Mississippi, I am here now to make sure that I will hold the Heritage, not in the sense of being one of the racist states in America, but that I live in the "Great State Of Mississippi". Craig Thompson stated to me when I first meet him that their was no Gucci, in HIV/AIDS! Thanks Craig, I needed that.

Yours Truly,


HIV-AIDS - Immunity, Eradication and Its Disappearing Victims

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the retrovirus responsible for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has been around since between 1884 and 1924 (while lentiviruses, the genus to which HIV belongs, have existed for over 14 million years) when it entered the human population from a chimpanzee in southeastern Cameroon during a period of rapid urbanization. At the time, no one noticed nor knew that it would result in one of the deadliest pandemics. Nor was anyone aware that some would possess a natural immunity, a cure would remain elusive a decade into the 21st century, and a significant number of deceased victims would be purged from mortality statistics distorting the pandemic's severity.

As the number of cases spread from Cameroon to neighboring countries, namely the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and the Central African Republic, they drew little attention even as victims died in scattered numbers from a series of complications (e.g. Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), Kaposi's sarcoma, etc.) later attributed to AIDS. This was likely because of Africa's limited interaction with the developed world until the widespread use of air travel, the isolated, low incidence of cases, HIV's long incubation period (up to 10 years) before the onset of AIDS, and the absence of technology, reliable testing methods and knowledge surrounding the virus. The earliest confirmed case based on ZR59, a blood sample taken from a patient in Kinshasha, DRC dates back to 1959.

The outbreak of AIDS finally gained attention on June 5, 1981 after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) detected a cluster of deaths from PCP in Los Angeles and New York City. By August 1982, as the incidence of cases spread, the CDC referred to the outbreak as AIDS. The responsible retrovirus, HIV, was isolated nearly a year later (May 1983) by researchers from the Pasteur Institute in France and given its official name in May 1986 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. During this period, HIV-related mortality rates rose steadily in the United States peaking in 1994-1995.


HIV is spherical in shape and approximately 120 nanometers (nm) in diameter (or 60 times smaller than a red blood cell). It is composed of two copies of single-stranded convoluted RNA surrounded by a conical capsid and lipid membrane that prevents antibodies from binding to it. HIV also consists of glycoprotein (gp120 and gp41) spikes and is a highly mutating virus. Its genome changes by as much as 1% each year, significantly faster than "killer" cytotoxic T-Cells (CD8+) can adapt. It is transmitted through bodily fluids.

Per CD4 Cell Tests (Fact Sheet Number 124, AIDS InfoNet, 21 March 2009), when "HIV infects humans" it infects "helper" T-4 (CD4) cells that are critical in resisting infections. HIV does so by merging its genetic code with that of T-4 (CD4) cells. HIV's spikes stick to the surface of T-4 (CD4) cells enabling its viral envelope to fuse with their membrane. Once fused, HIV pastes its contents into the DNA of T-4 (CD4) cells with the enzyme, integrase, so that each time T-4 (CD4) cells replicate, they produce additional "copies of HIV," reducing the count of healthy T-4 (CD4) cells. Then as healthy T-4 (CD4) cells, which come in millions of families geared towards specific pathogens are eliminated, the body is rendered defenseless against the pathogens "they were designed" to fight until ultimately, the immune system is overwhelmed.

When the T-4 (CD4) cell count drops below 200 cells per cubic mm of blood (or a percentage of? 14% of total lymphocytes; normal counts range from 500-1600 or 30%-60% of lymphocytes), indicative of serious immune system damage, the victim is deemed to have AIDS ("the end point of an infection that is continuous, progressive and pathogenic per Richard Hunt, MD (Human Immunodeficiency Virus And AIDS Statistics, Virology - Chapter 7, Microbiology and Immunology On-line (University of South Carolina School of Medicine, 23 February 2010)) and is vulnerable to a multitude of opportunistic infections. Examples are PCP, a fungal infection that is a major killer of HIV-positive persons, Kaposi's sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that attacks the brain and other parts of the body and cryptococcosis, a fungal infection that attacks the brain and spinal cord (both usually occur when the T-4 (CD4) cell count drops below 100), and mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), a bacterial infection that can be localized to a specific organ (usually the bone marrow, intestines, liver, or lungs) or widespread, in which case it is referred to as disseminated mycobacterium avium complex (DMAC) (which often occurs when the T-4 (CD4) cell count drops below 50).

Natural Immunity:

Since the onset of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in 1981 cases of people with a natural immunity to HIV have been documented. Although these persons, called long-term non-progressors (LTNPs) are infected with HIV, they never develop AIDS. When LTNPs are infected, some suffer an initial drop in their T-4 (CD4) cell count. However, when their T-4 (CD4) cell count reaches around 500 it stabilizes and never drops again preventing the onset of AIDS. Furthermore, while CD8+ T-Cells (even in large numbers) are ineffective against HIV-infected T-4 (CD4) cells in progressors (persons without a natural immunity to HIV), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported in a December 4, 2008 press release that "CD8+ T-Cells taken from LTNPs [can efficiently] kill HIV-infected cells in less than [an] hour" in which "a protein, perforin (produced only in negligible amounts in progressors), manufactured by their CD8+ T-Cells punches holes in the infected cells" enabling a second protein, "granzyme B" to penetrate and kill them.

Per Genetic HIV Resistance Deciphered (Med-Tech, 7 January 2005) the roots of this immunity dates back a thousand years due to "a pair of mutated genes - one in each chromosome - that prevent their immune cells from developing [Chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 5 (CCR5) receptors] that let [HIV penetrate]." This mutation likely evolved to provide added protection against smallpox according to Alison Galvani, professor of epidemiology at Yale University. Based on the latest scientific evidence, the mutated CCR5 gene (also called delta 32 because of the absence or deletion of 32 amino acids from its cytokine receptor) located in Th2 cells, developed in Scandinavia and progressed southward to central Asia as the Vikings expanded their influence. Consequently up to 1% of Northern Europeans (with Swedes being in the majority) followed by a similar percentage of Central Asians have this mutation, which if inherited from both parents provides them total immunity while another 10-15% of Northern Europeans and Central Asians having inherited the mutation from one parent exhibit greater resistance in lieu of complete immunity to HIV.

At the same time, even though the CCR5 mutation is absent in Africans, a small also exhibit percentage natural immunity (possibly developed through exposure) to HIV/AIDS - CD8+ T-Cell generation that effectively kills HIV-infected cells and mutated human leukocyte group A (HLA) antigens that coat the surface of their T-4 (CD4) cells to prevent HIV from penetrating based on an intensive study of 25 Nairobi prostitutes who per The Amazing Cases of People with Natural Immunity against HIV (Softpedia, 27 June 2007) have "had sex with hundreds, perhaps thousands of HIV-positive clients" and shown no sign of contracting HIV.

In addition, people with larger numbers of the CCL3L1 gene that produces cytokines (proteins that "gum" up CCR5 receptors) to prevent HIV from entering their T-4 (CD4) cells, per Genetic HIV Resistance Deciphered have greater resistance to HIV in comparison to others within their ethnic group that possess lesser quantities of the CCL3L1 gene and get "sick as much as 2.6 times faster."

At the same time, up to 75% of newborn babies also possess natural immunity (for reasons still not known) when exposed to HIV-positive blood. Although born with HIV antibodies - thus HIV-positive, newborns "usually lose HIV antibodies acquired from their HIV-positive mothers within 12-16 - maximum 18 months," in which their "spontaneous loss of [HIV] antibodies" without medical intervention is called seroreversion. "However, with the exception of very few instances, these infants are not HIV-infected" conclusive proof of a natural immunity to HIV.[1] Furthermore, when pregnant HIV-positive women are administered highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which lowers the viral concentration of HIV in their blood, an astonishing 97% of their newborns lose their HIV antibodies through seroreversion to become HIV-free per the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) as posted under Surveillance Monitoring for ART Toxicities Study in HIV-Uninfected Children Born to HIV-Infected Mothers (SMARTT) (Clinical Trials.gov, 29 March 2008). However, at this time, it is not known if these newborns retain their natural immunity throughout their lives.


With a cure perhaps unattainable, eradication of HIV/AIDS in the same way as smallpox (with no cure) was eliminated, may be the most feasible option. According to Dr. Brian Williams of the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis, eradication of HIV/AIDS is an achievable goal that could be attained by 2050 if the current HIV/AIDS research paradigm is changed from focus on finding a cure to stopping transmission.

Per Dr. Williams such an effort would require testing billions of people annually. Though costly, the benefits would exceed the costs "from day one" according to the South African epidemiologist. Anyone found with HIV antibodies would immediately be administered antiretroviral therapy (which reduces HIV concentration 10,000-fold and infectiousness 25-fold) to halt transmission, effectively ending such transmission by 2015 and eliminating the disease by 2050 as most carriers die out, according to his estimate. The reason for this optimism, per Steve Connor, Aids: is the end in sight? (The Independent, 22 February 2010), is a "study published in 2008 [that] showed it is theoretically possible to cut new HIV cases by 95%, from a prevalence of 20 per 1,000 to 1 per 1,000, within 10 years of implementing a programme [sic] of universal testing and prescription of [HA]ART drugs."

Even though clinical trials to test Dr. Williams' vision will start in 2010 in Somkhele, South Africa, access to HAART still needs to be improved greatly to purge the disease. Presently only about 42% of HIV-positive people have access to HAART.

Furthermore, for eradication efforts to succeed, prevention programs (which currently reach fewer than 1 in 5 in sub-Saharan Africa, the epicenter of the pandemic where the average life-expectancy has fallen below 40 leaving about 15 million children orphaned) will have to continue to play an essential role in stopping transmission. Such programs though not limited to, must include abstinence, condom distribution, education re: transmission, safe sex, etc., and needle distribution to drug users (the latter which is badly lacking according to Kate Kelland, Failure to aid drug users drives HIV spread: study (Reuters, 1 March 2010) with "more than 90% of the world's 16 million injecting drug users offered no help to avoid contracting AIDS" despite the fact that such users often share needles and approximately 18.75% are believed to be HIV-positive).

Proof that such efforts can work is evident when the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) created in 2003 for Africa that provides funding focused on HAART and palliative care for HIV/AIDS patients, HIV/AIDS awareness education and prevention programs (condoms, needle-exchanges, and abstinence) and financial assistance to care for the pandemic's orphans and other vulnerable children, is considered. Per Michael Smith, PEPFAR Cut AIDS Death Rate in African Nations (Med Page Today, 6 April 2009), the program "averted about 1.1 million deaths [from 2004-2007]... a 10% reduction compared to neighboring African countries."

The "Disappearing" Victims:

Despite reason for optimism based on Dr. Williams' vision of eradication, the "disappearance" of HIV/AIDS victims is highly disturbing. In fact, when current statistics are compared to past statistics, more than 19 million victims or triple the number of murdered Holocaust victims (1933-1945) have been purged from the official record (effectively minimizing the severity of the pandemic) without as much as a whimper of protest, possibly because demographically speaking, a statistically-significant number of the deceased fall into groups that have been and continue to be the subjects of racial, gender, cultural, and even religious discrimination. In the words of Charles King, an activist who spoke in San Francisco on World AIDS Day in 2007, it is likely because HIV/AIDS has mainly "taken the lives of people deemed expendable"[2] the same mentality used to justify Hitler's "Final Solution" and other pogroms.

Back on January 25, 2002 in AIDS Death Toll 'Likely' to Surpass That of Bubonic Plague, Expert Says in British Medical Journal Special Issue on HIV/AIDS (Kaiser Network), it was written, "AIDS - which has already killed 25 million people worldwide - will overtake the bubonic plague as the 'world's worst pandemic' if the 40 million people currently infected with HIV do not get access to life-prolonging drugs..."

A year earlier, UNAIDS listed the global death toll as 21.8 million with an increase of 3.2 million in 2002. By 2003, based on statistics reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, and U.S. Census Bureau as tabulated in The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Current & Future Challenges by Jennifer Kates, M.A., M.P.A., Director HIV Policy, Kaiser Family Foundation the global death toll had risen to 28 million by February 2003. Add annual mortality statistics of 3 million (2003), 3.1 million (2004 and 2005), 2.9 million (2006), 2.1 million (2007), and 2 million (2008, the most recent complete year of reporting) per UNAIDS, and an estimated, conservative total of 1.4 million (if another 28% decline as occurred between 2006 and 2007 took place between 2008 and 2009) the global death toll for year-end 2009 would be roughly 45.6 million. Yet, when UNAIDS released its latest report in November 2009 as reported in the Mail & Guardian (South Africa, 24 November 2009) the worldwide death toll through 2008 was listed as "passing 25 million," approximately 19.2 million below the actual mark.

Per AIDS cases drop due to revised data (MSNBC, 19 November 2007), the "disappearing" victims can be attributed to "a new methodology." While this may make sense with regard to prevalence since "[p]revious AIDS numbers were largely based on the numbers of infected pregnant women at clinics, as well as projecting the AIDS rates of certain high-risk groups like drug users to the entire population at risk" versus the new methodology that incorporates data from "national household surveys," it does not with regard to mortality figures which are calculated primarily from national AIDS registries and/or death certificates based on the presence of HIV, T-4 (CD4) cell counts below 200, and death caused by opportunistic AIDS-related infections resulting from such low T-4 (CD4) cell counts.

In retrospect, when viewing the approximate 45.6 million figure, few pandemics have killed more than HIV/AIDS - Smallpox (which had come in waves since 430 BC until the World Health Organization (WHO) certified its eradication in 1979), killed 300-500 million, Black Death/Bubonic Plague killed approximately 75 million from 1340-1771, and Spanish Influenza killed between 40-50 million from 1918-1919.

Optimism for the Future:

Until HIV/AIDS can be certified as eradicated by the WHO, despite the terrible economic toll it has taken, especially on sub-Saharan Africa (due to lost skills, shrinking workforces, rising medical costs) and other developing regions and its devastating toll in human lives and on families, there is reason for optimism.

As of December 2008, per UNAIDS, 33.4 million people are infected with HIV, a 1.2% increase from a year earlier with much of the rise attributed to a declining mortality rate due to a 10-fold increase in availability of HAART since 2004. About 2.7 million persons were newly infected in 2008, 18% and 30% decreases in new HIV infections globally since 2001 and 1996, respectively. In another promising sign, new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa, responsible for about 70% of all HIV/AIDS-related deaths in 2008, has fallen by 15% since 2001. At the same time, there were approximately 2 million HIV/AIDS-related deaths in 2008, a 35% reduction from 2004 levels when the global mortality rate peaked.

Presently, the HIV/AIDS pandemic has begun to decline or stabilize in most parts of the world. Declines have been recorded in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia (although the mortality rate is increasing in East Asia) while the pandemic has stabilized in the Caribbean, Latin America, North America and Western and Central Europe. The only part of the world where the HIV/AIDS pandemic is worsening is the Eastern European (especially in Ukraine and Russia) and Central Asian region.

The declines should continue as new methods of prevention and treatment are developed. Based on studies of NLTPs, a new class of treatments focused on genetic therapy to delete the necessary 32 amino acids from CCR5 receptors, elicit perforin and granzyme B production, and develop protease inhibitors to provide immunity to HIV and halt its spread may be developed in the future.

Though still a long way off and potentially very expensive (up to $20,000 per treatment), Drugs.com Med News reported in Gene Therapy Shows Promise Against HIV (19 February 2010) that when researchers removed immune cells from eight HIV-infected persons, modified their genetic code and reinserted them, the "levels of HIV fell below the expected levels in seven of the eight patients [with] signs of the virus disappear[ing] altogether in one" even though HAART treatment was halted. A study by UCLA AIDS Institute researchers, which removed CCR5 receptors by "transplanting a small RNA molecule known as short hairpin RNA (shRNA), which induced RNA interference into human stem cells to inhibit the expression of CCR5 in human immune cells" mimicking those of LTNPs through the use of "a humanized mouse model," as reported on February 26, 2010 in Medical News Today in Gene-Based Stem Cell Therapy Specifically Removes Cell Receptor That Attracts HIV, showed similar success in that it resulted in a "stable, long-term reduction of CCR5."

At the same time, as announced in HIV/AIDS drug puzzle cracked (Kate Kelland, Reuters, 1 February 2010), British and U.S. scientists succeeded (after 40,000 unsuccessful attempts) in growing a crystal to decipher the structure of integrase, an enzyme found in HIV and other retroviruses. This will lead to a better understanding how integrase-inhibitor drugs work and perhaps to a more effective generation of treatments that could impede HIV from pasting a copy of its genetic code in the DNA of victims' T-4(CD4) cells.

Likewise, per Structure of HIV coat may help develop new drugs (Health News, 13 November 2009) scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine "unraveled the complex structure" of the capsid coat (viewing its "overall shape and atomic details") "surrounding HIV" that could enable "scientists to design therapeutic compounds" to block infection.

At the same time, researchers at the University of Texas Medical School may have finally discovered HIV's vulnerability, per Achilles Heel of HIV Uncovered (Ani, July 2008) - "a tiny stretch of amino acids numbered 421-433 on gp120" that must remain constant to attach to T-4 (CD4) cells. To conceal its weakness and evade an effective immune response, HIV tricks the body into attacking its mutating regions, which change so rapidly, ineffective antibodies are produced until the immune system is overwhelmed. Based on this finding, the researchers have created an abzyme (an antibody with catalytic or helpful enzymatic activity) derived from blood samples taken from HIV-negative people with lupus (a chronic autoimmune disease that can attack any part of the body - skin, joints, and/or organs) and HIV-positive LTNPs, which has proven potent in neutralizing HIV in lab tests, thus offering promise of developing an effective vaccine or microbicide (gel to protect against sexual transmission). Although human clinical trials are to follow, it might not be until 2015 or 2020 before abzymatic treatments are available.

Elsewhere, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) scientists recently isolated two antibodies from a NLTP HIV-positive African patient - PG9 and PG16 (called broadly neutralizing antibodies (BNAbs) that bind to HIV's viral spike composed of gp120 and gp41 to block the virus from infecting T-4 (CD4) cells. Per Monica Hoyos Flight, A new starting point for HIV vaccine design (Nature Reviews, MacMillan Publishers Limited, November 2009) "PG9 and PG16, when tested against a larger panel of viruses [HIV] neutralized 127 and 116 viruses, respectively" providing additional hopes for developing an effective vaccine and novel treatment regimens that induce the body to produce BNAbs, which currently only the immune system of NLTPs can create.

At the same time, studies of newborn seroreversion and medically induced production of human leukocyte group A (HLA) antigens that coat the surface of T-4 (CD4) cells could also eventually lead to anti-HIV vaccine that could protect billions of people.

In the meantime until such developments bear fruit, HAART (despite its mild side effects such as nausea and headaches in some and serious to life-threatening side effects in others) has proven to be highly effective in containing HIV with, per Gerald Pierone Jr., MD in The End of HIV Drug Development as We Know It? (The Body Pro: The HIV Resource for Health Professionals, 18 February 2010) reporting, "about 80% of patients [receiving HAART] reach an undetectable viral load." Furthermore, greater access to antiretrovirals, per Drop in HIV infections and deaths (BBC News, 24 November 2009) "has helped cut the death toll from HIV by more than 10%" from 2004-2008 and saved more than 3 million lives based on UNAIDS and WHO statistics. HAART has also cut the age-adjusted mortality rate by more than 70% according to Kaiser Family Foundation's July 2007 HIV/AIDS Policy Fact Sheet, because of its effectiveness in delaying and even preventing the onset of AIDS.

Despite HAART's cost ($10,000-$15,000 per patient per year), the State of California in a report titled, HIV/AIDS in California, 1981-2008 called it "dramatic and life-saving" especially since early intervention results in greater mean T-4 (CD4) cell counts translating into fewer opportunistic infections and deaths. It also results in real cost savings because of the strong inverse relationship between T-4 (CD4) cell counts and associated medical expenses.

In conclusion, despite HIV/AIDS' "disappearing" victims, there is reason for optimism. Research over the last year has offered several promising leads - the underlying cause of NLTPs' immunity has been discovered, the structure of the HIV virus solved, and its weak point found - while improved access to HAART and HIV/AIDS education and prevention measures (with the exception of addressing intravenous drug users) have made significant inroads in reducing infection and mortality rates buying victims additional years and an enhanced quality of life.


[1] Orapun Metadilogkul, Vichai Jirathitikal, and Aldar S. Bourinbalar. Serodeconversion of HIV Antibody-Positive AIDS Patients Following Treatment with V-1 Immunitor. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology. 7 September 2008.

[2] Michael Crawford. AIDS: Where is Our Rage? The Bilerico Project. 2 December 2007. 28 February 2010. http://www.bilerico.com/2007/12/aids_where_is_our_rage.php

Additional Source:

Wikipedia. 24-28 February 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/

William Sutherland is a published poet and writer. He is the author of three books, "Poetry, Prayers & Haiku" (1999), "Russian Spring" (2003) and "Aaliyah Remembered: Her Life & The Person behind the Mystique" (2005) and has been published in poetry anthologies around the world. He has been featured in "Who's Who in New Poets" (1996), "The International Who's Who in Poetry" (2004), and is a member of the "International Poetry Hall of Fame." He is also a contributor to Wikipedia, the number one online encyclopedia and has had an article featured in "Genetic Disorders" Greenhaven Press (2009).

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=William_Sutherland

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