#Health

Bone and Muscle Frailty Twice As Common in Men Who Are HIV-Positive, Study Shows

Bone and muscle frailty is twice as common in middle-aged and elderly men living with HIV as HIV-negative men, says a report in the June issue journal AIDS. 

Conducted by the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, research involved 399 men, 200 HIV-negative and 199 HIV-positive. All men were between the ages of 50 and 69. All HIV-positive men were med compliant and had normal CD4 counts. 

The study showed prevalence of frailty in HIV-positive men versus in prevalence of frailty in HIV negative men at 16 percent and eight percent, respectively.

Many researchers have christened frailty “The Silent Epidemic.” It causes exhaustion, slow speed and physical weakness. It can greatly impact one’s ability to carry out everyday tasks. 

Risk factors don’t vary by HIV status, and they include abdominal obesity, loss of skeletal mass and osteoporosis. 

According to the study, frailty is seven times more prevalent in HIV-positive men with larger waistlines than those with smaller waistlines. Watching your weight, taking vitamin D tablets and eating mindfully are helpful in prevention and management.

Read more here: https://www.hivplusmag.com/treatment/2018/6/20/bone-and-muscle-frailty-twice-prevalent-men-living-hiv

High-Protein Diets Can Lead To Heart Failure, New Study Shows

Eating a balanced diet isn’t always easy, but after reading a new study by the American Heart Association, you really and truly might think twice before stocking up on protein.

Published in Circulation: Heart Failure, an AHA journal, the study shows that middle-aged men who ate a high-protein diet had up to 49% higher chance of developing heart failure (meaning the body is unable to pump enough blood and oxygen to remain healthy).

Circulation: Heart Failure surveyed 2,441 men aged between 42 and 60 for an average period of 22 years. Over the course of the study, 334 cases of heart failure were diagnosed.

Researchers divided the men into four groups based on what kind of protein they consumed daily:

Men who ate dairy protein had a 49% higher risk of developing heart failure than those who ate the least. Those who ate the most animal protein had a 43% higher risk.

The men who ate all sources of protein were at a 33% higher risk, while those who consumed plant protein had a 17% risk. 

Only proteins from fish and eggs were not associated with heart failure risk in this study.

The high-protein diet was made hugely popular by Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution author Dr. Robert Atkins, whose influence landed him a spot on the Time 100 in 2002—the same year he suffered a heart attack and gave his critics fuel to point out the dangers of consuming the high amounts of saturated fat associated with his books (his early books promoted unlimited consumption of fatty red meats and cheeses).

Atkins died in April 2003 after sliding on frozen New York City pavement and striking his head. His widow refused to have an autopsy, but a medical report issued by the New York medical examiner's office one year later showed that Atkins had a history of heart attack, congestive heart failure and hypertension.

h/t: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/aha-hpd052418.php

Crystal Meth Use Accelerates HIV Even With Medication, Study Shows

Many have long assumed use of stimulants like crystal methamphetamine can accelerate HIV progression. Thanks to a new study published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity there is scientific evidence to back that up. 

Adam Carrico, Ph. D., associate professor of Public Health Sciences and Psychology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, was lead author on the study, "Recent Stimulant Use and Leukocyte Gene Expression in Methamphetamine Users with Treated HIV Infection."

"Stimulant use may accelerate HIV disease progression through biological and behavioral pathways," says Carrico. "But if we can identify the biological pathways, then we can develop new approaches to optimize the health of active stimulant users who are living with HIV."

The study was a collaboration between researchers at the University of California San Francisco, University of California Los Angeles, and New York University, and involved studying changes in gene expression of samples from 55 HIV-positive, meth-using men receiving effective anti-retroviral therapy.

"We found a differential expression of 32 genes and perturbation of 168 pathways in recent stimulant users, including genes previously associated with the HIV reservoir, immune activation, and inflammation," says Carrico. "Anti-retroviral therapy is often successful in suppressing HIV in the blood, however, the virus typically remains in reservoirs, such as the lymph nodes and inside some immune cells."

Carrico believes these findings could be helpful in finding a cure for the virus. “Maybe these pathways can help us to understand how we can ‘wake up’ the virus and pull it out of hiding; some of these pathways could become targets for potential biomedical treatments targeting the HIV reservoir,” he says.

"We are now testing behavioral interventions in San Francisco and Miami that are designed to reduce stimulant use in people living with HIV," Carrico says. "Hopefully, decreasing the use of stimulants like methamphetamine will allow for better control of the HIV viral load and could even directly improve the immune system."

For further information, check out this press release about the study:  https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/uomm-urf050418.php  

 

U.S. Doctors Just Performed The First Penis And Scrotum Transplant

The world’s first penis and scrotum transplant was recently performed by US doctors.

The world’s first penis transplant happened back in 2015 in South Africa to a man who’d had a botched circumcision. Then, the U.S.’s first successful penis transplant happened in 2016 at Massachusetts General Hospital with more than 50 doctors being involved. Now, the world’s first penis and scrotum transplant happened in the United States for a man who deeply deserved it.

The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine conducted the surgery for around 14 hours on Tuesday and transplanted an entire penis, a scrotum, and parts of an abdominal wall from a deceased patient to a living one.

Though the surgery was a success and the patient is expected to have a mostly functional penis, the living patient will be unable to reproduce. Transplanting testicles were considered but ultimately voted against due to ethical concerns.

As for the living patient, he has asked to remain anonymous. That said, its been shared that he was an military soldier who survived an IED blast in Afghanistan.

The man is currently in recovery but is doing well. He should be released this week, according to a press release from the school.

 “It is our hope that such a life changing transplant will allow [the patient] to regain urinary and sexual function and lead a normal life,” said Dr. Richard Redett, an associate professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins, to the Baltimore Sun.

As for the patient himself, he says he’s incredibly grateful.

"It's a real mind-boggling injury to suffer; it is not an easy one to accept," he said, according to the press release. "When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal … [with] a level of confidence as well. Confidence … like finally I'm OK now."

h/t: The Independent

A Little Respect: Recognizing the Contributions of the Undetectable Community

HIV criminalization laws in the United States are outdated and archaic.  In 33 states, an HIV positive individual could be prosecuted and convicted of a felony for having unprotected sex with a partner if they do not disclose their status.  Even if undetectable and adhering to their treatment regimen the courts rarely require proof of intent to transmit HIV to another person.  HIV positive individuals are treated like criminals and their voices are rarely given credence. Hundreds of Americans were prosecuted last year under these laws.  In most cases, disclosure cannot be proven either way. It is a tale of ‘he said, she said’; more accurately, ‘he said, he said’. Just an accusation is enough to charge anyone who is HIV positive.  Simply put, it is a witch hunt.

Engaging in bareback sex is an act of personal responsibility.  Sole culpability should not be placed on an HIV positive partner.  Condomless sex is a choice made by all sex partners and each should be fully aware of their own sexual health risks.  One cannot assume they are negative for HIV if not regularly tested and practicing treatment as prevention. Placing blind trust in anyone who claims to be negative is a poor decision that substantially increases the risk of acquiring HIV.  It is a decision based on personal choice and no partner can take full responsibility.  Have lawmakers forgotten that HIV isn’t the only sexually transmitted infection?  Are we ignoring the fact that HPV, syphilis, hepatitis A, B, and C, meningitis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea are all transmitted in the same manner?  HIV criminalization laws are an injustice to all positive individuals and perpetuate the stigma of HIV automatically equating sexual predatory intent.  Take into consideration that situations involving drugs or alcohol only go to further show the importance of shared responsibility.

An unsettling trend within the LGBT community has began to emerge; the shaming of those who are openly HIV positive, but undetectable.  The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recently confirmed, through years of study, that those who have an undetectable viral load are incapable of passing the virus, even through unprotected sex.  Undetectable equals untransmittable. Condom only advocacy has been pitted against PrEP; treatment as prevention, leaving undetectable individuals in the crossfire. 1 out of every 10 HIV positive individuals are not aware of their status and are responsible for 90 percent of new infections.  Creating needless and distracting controversy, within the community, over the insinuation that undetectable presents the risk is lazy advocacy and needs to stop. Painting PrEP users as promiscuous party boys is a sad and shameful reflection on the community.

Those on PrEP, and stick to the strict regimen of use, are leading the charge when it comes to lowering HIV transmission rates in the United States and they deserve credit.  From this point on; attention should focus on getting more individuals tested, providing accessible care, and encouraging others to look into treatment as prevention. Condom use is a crucial safe sex practice and should continue to be encouraged and promoted.  It cannot be the lone method. Victimizing those who are undetectable and bullying PrEP users is never justifiable forms of advocacy.

There is this wild assumption that all an HIV positive person has to do is take a pill and they instantly become undetectable.  The misconception is that once on antiretroviral medication the fight against HIV is over and lives are free of struggle. These beliefs could not be further from the truth.  Of those diagnosed positive in the United States, only around 40 percent have access to life saving medications and treatment. Battling insurance companies, stigmas, and issues like workplace discrimination can all impare treatment and adherence.  It’s bittersweet to come to the realization that not only is the undetectable community saving their own lives, but they are saving the lives of others as well. Their daily fight to remain undetectable prevents an epidemic from becoming an apocalypse.  They deserve compassion and respect for their unsung service to the health of all LGBT.

 

HIV Outbreak In Milwaukee Breaks Records

HIV Outbreak In Milwaukee Breaks Records


Seriously, What Is Going On In Wisconsin?

YIKES! I know – talking about sexually transmitted infections – once known as diseases – is extremely heavy. It’s terrifying to constantly have to remind ourselves of the reality we live in, especially members of the LGBTQ community. I won’t lie, it is always pretty awkward when you’re speaking with someone through a dating app – potentially to just have a quick hook up – and then the talk of past sexual history comes up along with the last time someone was tested. Is it just me, or does it appear that everyone online has been tested “two weeks ago”. I just that answer so often that I now take it as a lie. Was there a line outside my local West Hollywood clinic or something?! Alas, we’re in the day and age of Prep – which is a daily pill that may prevent exposure to HIV. Thus, no one wants to use a condom anymore since people now seemingly believe they’re invincible. The next story I’m about to share with you proves to anyone you should still be using condoms.


According to NewNowNext, there’s a huge increase of HIV, syphilis, or both within the last 3 months in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At least 125 people have been infected this year – including high school students. Like, what the hell is going on in the Midwest?! At least 45% of the newly infected are men – and a dozen are high school students. Authorities believe the number of high school students will rise as more people come forward to get tested.


Well, this is absolutely disturbing and unsettling. Please everyone, stay aware and careful. The fact experts believe this number will increase is horrifying.