Specific HIV Prevention Policies Should be Implemented for Different High-Risk Groups, Peruvian AIDS Specialist Says
Specific HIV/AIDS prevention messages and policies should be crafted to target different groups of people who are at risk for contracting the disease, Peruvian AIDS specialist Carlos Caceres said on Wednesday at the Second Forum on HIV/AIDS/STIs in Latin America and the Caribbean in Havana, Xinhua News Agency reports. "It is important to say there is a difference between sex workers or users of injected drugs and the general population, so different approaches should be taken," he said. Caceres explained that prevention measures could include counseling, mass media campaigns, youth programs and information campaigns targeted at men who have sex with men, adding that efforts should be "a broad sweep" of individual, cultural and integral prevention messages, according to Xinhua. Caceres said that the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which affects more than two million people in Latin America and the Caribbean, is expanding due to poverty, the commercial sex trade, drug addiction, gender differences and ethnic and religious discrimination, according to Xinhua. About 1,300 AIDS experts from 30 countries are attending the forum, which ends tomorrow (Xinhua News Agency, 4/10).
Researchers Report Two HIV Epidemics in Argentina
Two HIV-1 epidemics -- one among heterosexuals and injection drug users and one among MSM -- seem to be occuring simultaneously in Argentina, researchers said on Wednesday at the conference, Reuters Health reports. MSM are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV-1 subtype B, whereas heterosexual men and women and injection drug users are more likely to be infected with HIV-1 subtype F or a combination of subtypes B and F, the researchers said. "From a molecular point of view, AIDS epidemics seem to run along two parallel lines: MSM patients on one side, and heterosexual and IDUs on the other," Maria de los Angeles Pando, lead researcher from the National Reference Center of AIDS at the University of Buenos Aires, said, adding, "There is an overlapping between heterosexual patients and IDUs, as long as almost all the IDUs studied reported being heterosexual." Although the researchers do not know why there are different types of HIV in certain populations, they speculated that it may be because of the different transmission routes or because the first HIV-positive individuals who introduced the virus to the populations had different strains of the virus. "Perhaps it is a combination of both factors, but we have to keep on investigating," Pando said (Loewy, Reuters Health, 4/9).