Ohio AIDS agencies call for Ryan White fund increases
Columbus--Presenting a united front, the five largest AIDS
agencies in Ohio on July 13 called for the federal government to
reauthorize the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act
with more money.
Their letter of recommendations was signed by executive directors
Aaron Riley of the Columbus AIDS Task Force, Bill Hardy of the AIDS
Resource Center Ohio, Earl Pike of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater
Cleveland, Victoria Brooks of AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati and Kevin
Sullivan of the Ohio AIDS Coalition.
The Ryan White CARE Act, named for a teenager who died of AIDS in
1990, helps fund services and treatment for people with the disease.
It must be reauthorized by Congress periodically; the current bill
runs out on September 1.
The House of Representatives has already approved a Ryan White act
with no funding increases. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on
Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies on July 12 approved only a
$10 million increase for the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, while
leaving all other funding the same.
AIDS service organization leaders note that an increase of hundreds
of millions of dollars is necessary for the ADAP program, especially
after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention increased their
estimates of the number of people with HIV in the nation to over
1.1 million earlier this year.
The statement by the Ohio AIDS organization directors laid out four
core principles that should be taken into account when re-authorizing
the Ryan White act.
First, the funding must be enough to accomplish its goals.
“Today’s funding does not account for the nearly 250,000 people
living with HIV in the United State who do not currently access any
services,” said Pike. “If we are going to continue to push to get
individuals into systems of care and treatment--which has been the
needed emphasis--we need to ensure that those services will be
In addition to securing enough funding for services, those services
must be available no matter where they are needed.
“The equity should be there across state lines, and within states,”
Hardy noted. “People living with HIV in San Francisco and in southern
U.S. cities, people living within rural areas and in major
metropolitan areas, should have the same access to critical services.”
“Paying for medication is not enough,” said Brooks, noting the need
for ancillary services like case management. “If individuals do not
have support services that will help them actually access medical
care, then we essentially have a full medicine cabinet in a locked
The final principle is that the legislation should not take away
the power of local organizations and municipalities to make decisions
based on their own needs.
The group pointed to abstinence-only-until-marriage support in the
federal government as something that could endanger the effectiveness
of local services.
“The strength of the CARE Act has been its unwillingness to impose
burdensome cookie-cutter mandates on state and local initiatives,”
Riley stated. “Even here in Ohio, there are vast differences across
the state, and we need to respect those differences.”
The National Association of People with AIDS six days later
released similar principles, urging that the Ryan White CARE Act not
“become a vehicle for legislating on controversial social issues
related to HIV/AIDS prevention.”
They also call for “supporting the dignity and independence of
people living with HIV/AIDS by enhancing their role in all aspects of
the CARE Act.”
Four Harvard Medical School researchers part of $300 million NIH
center for HIV research consortium
University Gazette Tuesday Thursday July 21, 2005
Four Harvard Medical School (HMS) faculty will serve in leadership
roles within the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI), a
consortium of universities and academic medical centers established
today (July 14) by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases (NIAD). The center's goal will be to solve major problems in
HIV vaccine development and design. Barton Haynes, a professor at Duke
University Medical Center, will head the initiative.
CHAVI will receive $15 million in its first year and may receive
more than $300 million in the next seven years, according to the
National Institutes of Health (NIH). CHAVI's mission is to address
major obstacles to HIV vaccine development and to design, develop, and
test novel HIV vaccine candidates. The award transforms HIV research
in the United States into a cooperative and collaborative system.
Two of the four senior scientific leadership positions will be
filled by Norman Letvin, HMS professor of medicine at Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center; and Joseph Sodroski, HMS professor of
pathology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Along with Haynes, these
leaders will be responsible for the overall scientific work conducted
by CHAVI. They will direct CHAVI research in their own labs and may
also form research partnerships between CHAVI and other academic and
industrial labs around the world.
Three of the five research core activities will be filled by
Stephen Harrison, HMS professor of biological chemistry and molecular
pharmacology and of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston and
Harvard Medical School; Raphael Dolin, HMS dean for academic and
clinical programs and professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's
Hospital and BIDMC; and Letvin. Stephen Harrison will lead the
structural biology core, Raphael Dolin will lead the clinical core,
and Letvin, also a scientific leader, will head the vaccine production
The NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health, established
CHAVI in response to recommendations of the Global HIV Vaccine
Enterprise, a virtual consortium endorsed by world leaders at a G-8
summit in June 2004. The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise was originally
proposed by NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, Haynes, and almost two dozen
other prominent HIV vaccine researchers and public health officials in
a June 2003 commentary in Science magazine.
CHAVI researchers will focus on solving several unanswered
questions about HIV, including how it infects the body in its earliest
stages; designing, developing, and testing improved vaccines; and
evaluating promising HIV vaccine candidates in small-scale clinical
trials. CHAVI will also fund a large-scale study to determine how the
immune system of the macaque monkey fends off SIV, the macaque
equivalent of HIV.
Approximately 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS globally,
and the rate of new HIV infections continues to exceed 13,000 per day,
according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. Although
AIDS drugs have extended the lives of many in wealthy nations,
according to global health experts an effective HIV vaccine would be
an extremely valuable addition to the comprehensive prevention
strategies necessary to halt the spread of HIV in Africa, Southeast
Asia, and Eastern Europe, as well as other parts of the world.
In addition to Haynes and the HMS researchers, the CHAVI senior
scientific leaders include George Shaw of the University of Alabama,
Birmingham, School of Medicine, and Andrew McMichael of Oxford
University. The two other core roles will be filled by David Goldstein
of Duke University and Myron Cohen of the University of North
Carolina, Chapel Hill.
CHAVI will be a "virtual consortium" consisting of a collaborative
group of scientists at multiple sites - research centers,
universities, and companies - around the world. In future years, CHAVI
may also solicit and support high-priority new ideas and discovery
efforts from the research community
Atlanta gay man accused of deliberately spreading HIV
Friday July 22,2005
Garry Wayne Carriker was a
fourth-year medical student with a charming style that he worked to
his advantage around Atlanta’s bustling gay scene. But just months
after he would have graduated from Emory University Medical School,
Carriker's career is on hold as he sits in jail, awaiting trial on
sex-crime charges that have put Atlanta's gay community on edge.
His crime? Police say the
26-year-old knew he was HIV-positive but went ahead with unprotected
consensual sex with another man without warning him. And then, when
Carriker was released on bond in March, he was twice arrested on
similar charges in a nearby county.
Carriker's case is one of the
first in Georgia prosecuted on charges of knowingly transmitting HIV
through consensual sex. It brings the state into the vortex of an
ongoing legal debate that pits a growing public health crisis against
the bounds of privacy. Prosecutors have dusted off a rarely used
Georgia law to charge Carriker with felony reckless misconduct, which
could keep him in prison for 10 years.
"It's like shooting bullets
into the crowd," said Atlanta attorney Adam Jaffe, who is arguing a
civil lawsuit against Carriker. "Eventually someone's going to get
Some activists argue that
criminalizing HIV discourages people at risk from being tested and
cripples prevention efforts. "From a public health perspective, the
most important thing is that both sexual partners, not just the
HIV-positive one, take responsibility for preventing infection," said
Joel Ginsberg, interim director of the San Francisco-based Gay and
Lesbian Medical Association. "Criminal prosecution could undermine
public health if it discourages testing."
Carriker had been dating John
Withrow for five months when he revealed to him in April 2004 that he
was HIV-positive, according to incident reports. Citing a little-known
statute that makes it a felony to not disclose one's HIV status, a
distraught Withrow was turned down by several reluctant attorneys
before prosecutors in tightly knit suburban Fayette County, where
Withrow lives, decided to press charges.
"The reason I came forward to
file a complaint was to stop him from victimizing someone else," said
Withrow, who said he has not yet tested positive for the virus.
Carriker posted bond, but
since then two other men, both in Atlanta's Fulton County, have
claimed Carriker had unprotected sex with them and failed to disclose
his HIV status. Superior court judge Johnnie Caldwell Jr. revoked
Carriker's $5,600 bond, and he now faces three counts of felony
reckless conduct. Prosecutors must now prove that Carriker knew he was
HIV-positive during the alleged relationships and did not warn his
partners he was infected.
Carriker, a 2001 graduate of
the U.S. Air Force Academy, could not be reached for comment. His
attorney in the Fayette charges, George Sparrow, did not return
repeated telephone calls over two weeks. Clay Collins, who is
representing Carriker in the Fulton cases, would not comment on the
case, aside from saying it is "on track" and could be tried in
Carriker's arrest sent a jolt
through Atlanta's vibrant gay community. The city's Midtown section,
with many gay clubs, is where two of the alleged victims say they met
Carriker. One concerned activist launched a Web site devoted to the
case that, until recently, posted Carriker's photo, listed the clubs
he frequented, and urged visitors to get tested if they were involved
Withrow's attorneys say the
case is a reminder that gay men who believe their sexual partners
knowingly exposed them to the virus have legal recourse. "They don't
want to go to police and tell them they had unprotected sex," said Tom
Nagel, one of Withrow's attorneys. "I'm sure it's happened many times
before, but people aren't comfortable going into a police department
telling a bunch of big burly guys with guns."
Nagel turned to a rarely used
statute in Georgia, one of 28 states with specific laws that make it a
crime for HIV-positive people to purposefully expose others to the
disease, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Between 1986
and 2001 there were only 316 criminal HIV prosecutions in the United
States, said Zita Lazzarini, who directs the health law division at
the University of Connecticut's School of Medicine. In contrast, tens
of thousands of sexual assault cases are filed every year.
Lazzarini and two other
scientists pored over HIV data for four years to try to link
legislation criminalizing HIV exposure to a decrease in incidents. The
result: "It is hard to say that these random prosecutions, which
happen somewhat rarely, are going to change what people do around the
country or in a particular state," she said. The culprits, she said,
"don't realize it's a law, they don't think they'll get caught, and
they don't think they'll get punished."
What irks some gay activists
is the tacit--and perhaps deadly--assumption that Carriker's case
brings to light. Many in the gay community, Ginsberg said, assume that
if one partner doesn't ask if the other is HIV-positive, then he is
willing to run the risk of infection.
HIV apathy is no news to
national gay groups, some of which have aggressively worked to compel
at-risk populations to be proactive in protecting themselves. The San
Francisco AIDS Foundation has run a series of ads targeting gays who
assume their partners aren't infected just because they aren't
volunteering their HIV status; the ads ask, "How do you know what you
Ginsberg said this kind of
attitude makes both parties culpable. "It's fuzzier than simply
walking into a crowded area and shooting a gun," he said. "The
infected should, of course, be responsible, but the partner shouldn't
be infallible either."
Others say forcibly disclosing
one's HIV status is a privacy breach. And the legislation's
one-size-fits-all nature, which in many states makes no distinction
between protected and unprotected sex, allows some prosecutors to
abuse the statute's intent, said Lazzarini, who coauthored the book
HIV and the Law.
To Al Dixon, the Fayette
assistant district attorney who is trying the Carriker case, it's a
clear-cut moral issue. "If you're going to have a sexual relationship
with someone, they have the right to know whether you have HIV," he
said. "That's the only privacy issue I can think of." (AP)