New research shows that HIV can hide in the bone marrow, where it can avoid drugs and treatment, and then later awaken to cause illness. Last month, Dr. Kathleen Collins of the University of Michigan reported in the Nature Medicine journal that HIV can hide in long-lived marrow cells that will eventually convert to blood cells.

Dr. Collins states that the virus itself is dormant in the bone marrow cells, but when those cells convert to blood cells, the virus can be reactivated and cause renewed infection. Once reactivated, the virus kills the blood cells and then moves on to infect other cells.


Want to see Inaction Is Not An Option (INO) in action? On Monday, Dec. 14, 2009, INO will be participating in the 2nd Annual MMHighlights Holiday Coat Drive and AIDS Awareness Event. MMHighlights (MMH) is an avant-garde of young marketers and business professionals who have translated their passion for and knowledge of marketing into an exceptional society & entertainment blog, in addition to multi-faceted marketing services. Guests will be able to donate coats while enjoying a Pre-Holiday celebration, which will feature live performances, a silent auction, and gift bags, courtesy of MMH affiliates. INO will be helping to sponsor this event, and will be proving free HIV/AIDS awareness literature and other materials. Click on the flyer below for more details.

As you remember, last year INO with MMHighlights hosted "The Face of AIDS" event at the St. Marks Methodist Church in Harlem, NY. The purpose of that event was to help commemorate December as AIDS Awareness Month by providing information, literature, and entertainment to members of the Harlem community. The proceeds from "The Face of AIDS" event were given to the Harlem 40 Youth program, which aids in helping Harlem youth strive for better futures through educational, professional, and social development initiatives. 

As always, even if you are unable to make it, please share this event with someone else. We want awareness and education to spread faster than the infection. Knowledge saves lives, so pass this on!

For further information about MMHighlights, visit http://www.mmhighlights.com


According to a statement issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday, HIV patients should begin treatment sooner than currently recommended. The new guidance issued advises doctors to begin giving patients AIDS medication a year or two earlier than usual. However, should all doctors take heed of this new advice, this would double the number of individuals globally who qualify for treatment, adding an incremental 3-5 million patients to the staggering 5 million already awaiting AIDS treatment.

Specifically, the guidance advises doctors to begin treatment when the level of their patients' CD4 cells reaches 350. Previously, the recommendation was to begin treatment when the CD4 level reached 200. But several studies have shown that when patients began treatment earlier, they had a much better chance of surviving. In fact, doctors in most Western countries begin treatment when their patients' CD4 cell level reaches 500.

One of the key benefits of beginning treatment earlier is the possibility of fending off opportunistic infections (OIs). According to David Ross, an AIDS expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said the following:

......there is compelling evidence HIV patients should start treatment sooner. People with HIV who aren't on AIDS drugs are more likely to catch a potentially fatal disease like tuberculosis or develop other complications when they do start the drugs.

However, there are some reservations about this new guidance. One of the main questions centers on how countries will be able to cover the costs for this extended treatment. Currently 4 million people are receiving AIDS medication worldwide, and as mentioned previously, there are another 5 million patients waiting in line, and this new guidance could tack on another 3-5 million patients to the waiting list.

In fact, many AIDS programs in Africa are already stretched thin, and Africa is home to most of the world's HIV+ patients. Mr. Ross also added that there were reports of African clinics turning away new patients eligible for treatment due to a lack of available drugs.

Another drawback to this guidance is that putting HIV patients on medication for a longer period of time may also lead to drug resistance in the immune system.

Source: MSNBC


Greetings everyone! Today marked the start of AIDS Awareness Month 2009 as we pause to remember all those we have lost in the fight against this epidemic and work hard to continue raising awareness and funds for this cause. There were several events buzzing to commemorate World AIDS Day, and here's a few:

1) Lights For Rights New York City Event - Washington Square Park, NYC - 6-7PM: This event featured such speakers as actress and UNAIDS Goodwill ambassador Naomi Watts, amFAR chairman Kenneth Cole, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. At 6:15, the lights on the Washington Square Park Memorial Arch were turned off for 5 minutes in remembrance of those we've lost to the epidemic. Other venues around NYC participated in this gesture, including all Broadway theaters, Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, the Chrysler Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

2) Waking Up to HIV: A Community Gathering - United Medical Center, Washington, D.C. - 5-7PM: This event marked the first annual World AIDS Day Commemoration held at this medical facility.

3) 24-Hour Vigil/Reading of the Names - City Hall Park, NYC - At midnight on Dec. 1, activists, volunteers, and individuals living with HIV/AIDS began continually reading names to remember loved ones lost, as well as raise awareness about the twin crises of HIV/AIDS and homelessness.

In addition to today's remembrance events around the country, we've learned that Chembio Diagnostics has donated 4,500 HIV rapid testing kits to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's 2009 Testing Millions Global Campaign to commemorate World AIDS Day. Chembio Diagnostics is an NY-based firm that develops, manufactures, licenses, and markets proprietary rapid diagnostic tests. Lawrence Siebert, chairman and CEO of Chembio said the following:

It's important to remember the need for routine testing so that AIDS patients can receive treatment....However, according to recent research, approximately one in five people who test positive for HIV fail to receive their results and post-test counseling. Some of these patients who are unaware that they are infected inadvertently delay the beginning of treatment while placing others at risk of exposure.

Events and actions like these let us know that HIV/AIDS is still a major issue and is still on the radar for many organizations. However, it's not enough that we get involved just for World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. We need to work tirelessly throughout the year to continue to raise awareness, to educate, to treat, and to act on the behalf of those who need help and caring most. This epidemic does NOT take a hiatus until December, and neither should we.

Looking for ways to get involved? Check out Lights For Rights at http://www.lightforrights.org/get_involved.php


According to a recent report by D.C. health officials, the number of HIV/AIDS cases jumped 22% in 2008 from the nearly 12,500 cases reported in 2006. In fact, at least 3% of residents in our nation's capital are living with HIV/AIDS.

Furthermore, almost 1 in 10 residents between ages 40 and 49 are living with HIV. Black men had the highest infection rate of 7%. Looking at African-Americans overall in our nation's capitals, Blacks make up 53% of the population, but account for 76% of all the infections.

What is even more distubing is that each mode of transmission is on the rise, making it more difficult to target those at highest risk. The virus is most often transmitted by men having sex with men (MSM) (37%), followed by heterosexual transmission (28%) and injection drug use (18%).

In an effort to combat the growing epidemic in Washington, D.C., officials say the city is ramping up its efforts.

The city said it raised the number of people in its AIDS drug assistance program by 50 percent from 2007 to 2008, while the number of young people getting HIV tests doubled in the same period. The city said it is one of two in the nation with a major condom distribution program, distributing 1.5 million in 2008."We want to make condoms widely available for free at a lot of easy-access points around the city," Dr. Shannon Hader, the city's HIV/AIDS Administration director, said, including beauty parlors, barber shops, liquor stores and bars.
Source: www.msnbc.com

NEWSFLASH: House Adopts AHF Stimulus Funding Proposal for HIV Testing and Prevention

The U.S. House of Representatives has adopted the proposal of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to appropriate $300 million for HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and services in the pending economic stimulus legislation.

Yesterday, the Democratic leadership of Congress proposed $355 million for domestic HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STD and prevention programs as part of a $3 billion Prevention and Wellness Fund to prevent diseases and to reduce future healthcare costs. The funding proposal is included in the House of Representatives’ American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009. The legislation is a cornerstone of the economic recovery efforts being championed by President-elect Obama who is working closely with Congress to implement an effective and durable program for economic recovery nationwide.

Earlier in the week, a coalition of AHF nurses, AIDS patients, and medical providers from Florida made their way to Washington to lobby Congress on Capitol Hill to include funding for HIV testing in the economic stimulus package. The specifics are as follows:

The visiting Florida delegation lobbied for funding for an expansion of the current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) HIV testing program to do over three million HIV tests in the next two years in order to find the 60,000 plus people currently infected with HIV but who don’t know it. AHF estimates that doing so will prevent at least 6,000 new infections, ultimately saving the government billions of dollars in medical costs.

This is a HUGE success in the fight against containing this infection, educating the public, and finding methods of prevention. As our previous post mentioned, the number of new STD cases has reached record levels. The CDC has also revised its estimate of new HIV infections in the U.S. to 56,000 per year, up from the previously reported 40,000 per year. It is important that we keep national and global focus on HIV/AIDS and other STDs and the need for increased education, testing, and assistance. It is a further step forward to have Congress sign off on new funding which can help meet those needs.

Source: AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)

NEWSFLASH: Cases of sexually spread diseases on the rise

This NewsFlash is not limited to HIV, but it is extremely important nonetheless.

On Tuesday, government officials stated that the cases of sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise after years of consistent decline. Cases of chlamydia, one of the more common sexually transmitted diseases, are at a record high. According to the CDC, 1.1 million cases of chlamydia were reported in 2007.

Chlamydia can be symptomless and lead to infertility in women. In fact, at least 15,000 women become infertile every year due to untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea infections, says Dr. John M. Douglas Jr., director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention.

Officials say that the increase in chlamydia can partly be explained by increased testing and better screening. But these current numbers translate to a rate of 370 cases per 100,000 people in 2007, which is an increase of 7.5% from 2006.

However, the reported cases are just a part of the picture. Health officials believe that approximately 2.8 million Americans get chlamydia each year.

Many people don't take chlamydia seriously because it is curable through a regimen of antibiotics. But contrary to popular belief, it is something to pay attention to. As mentioned above, it can cause infertility in women if left untreated. Also, when you have an STD/STI like chlamydia or gonorrhea, it makes you more susceptible to other infections, such as HIV. So if you are sexually active, please make sure that you are being tested for all STIs, not just HIV. Encourage your partner(s) to do the same. You want to ensure that both of you are maintaining physical and sexual health to avoid complications later on.