Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

Posts for November, 2008

Hope for a Cure

Timothy Kincaid

November 10th, 2008

1990′s Longtime Companion ends with an imagined day in which AIDS and the HIV virus is overcome, a day of celebration. Now there is a story that hints that such a day may come.

It has been long known – and seldom discussed – that some persons are immune to most strains of the HIV virus. I’ve wondered whether there couldn’t be a way of using that immunity to kill the virus in those who are infected. Now it seems that a German doctor has done just that. (WSJ)

The breakthrough appears to be that Dr. Hütter, a soft-spoken hematologist who isn’t an AIDS specialist, deliberately replaced the patient’s bone marrow cells with those from a donor who has a naturally occurring genetic mutation that renders his cells immune to almost all strains of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

This treatment for leukemia yielded an unexpected result

The patient, a 42-year-old American living in Berlin, is still recovering from his leukemia therapy, but he appears to have won his battle with AIDS. Doctors have not been able to detect the virus in his blood for more than 600 days, despite his having ceased all conventional AIDS medication. Normally when a patient stops taking AIDS drugs, the virus stampedes through the body within weeks, or days.

This case may be a fluke. And this bone marrow procedure is so risky, and has such a high death rate, that this cannot become a method for treating HIV infected persons. And we have seen many promising treatments turn out to be failures later.

Nonetheless it is stories like this one that give us continued hope for a cure. It certainly provided hope to this patient.

Nearly two years later, standard tests haven’t detected virus in his blood, or in the brain and rectal tissues where it often hides.

Circumcision Less Helpful in Reducing HIV in Gay Sex

Timothy Kincaid

October 7th, 2008

JAMA is reporting that circumcision, which may eliminate HIV transmission in heterosexual sex by up to 50%, is less helpful in male-male anal sex.

The study’s authors wrote that circumcision appears to provide “not statistically significant” protection from HIV in men who engage in anal sex with other men. The researchers said however that more research may be necessary to quantify the amount of protection — or lack thereof — provided by circumcision.

It seems counter-intuitive that a virus’ ability to infect a man would be impacted by the gender of his partner, assuming penetrative-only sex. Somehow I suspect some relevant questions were not addressed.

Newer Posts