BTL Staff and Wire Reports
LANSING – Sources in the Ingham County Health Department confirmed there has been an unusual increase in the number of reported cases of new HIV infections in the county. The specific cause or connections of the increase have not yet been determined, and county health officials are working to track the situation.
The number of new infections is not yet tallied, but one source said there were “many.” Sources say that the department normally goes months between such reports.
Prevention workers from the Lansing Area AIDS Network are encouraging those who think they might be at risk to seek testing. Testing can be done anonymously through LAAN or confidentially through the health department. The difference between the two is that with confidential testing, the department or organization has all of your personal contact information ,Aei whereas anonymous means you are identified through the use of a unique number.
To schedule anonymous testing, call LAAN at 517-394-3560, or visit its Web site at LAANonline.org. To schedule a confidential test with the Ingham County Health Department, call 517-887-4302.
FDA approves new class of anti-HIV drugs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug in a new class of anti-HIV drugs that will interfere with the virus,Aeo ability to infect and destroy certain blood cells.
The first drug, Maraviroc, is produced by Pfizer and interferes with the virus,Aeo ability to use a specific cell location to infect blood cells. The location is called the CCR5, and Maraviroc prevents certain strains of the virus from using the site to infect new cells.
The drug may have limited use, however, in that some strains of the virus use a different pathway to infect cells. In addition to the new drug, the FDA approved an expensive blood test which will determine if the new medicine will be effective against the strain of virus infecting a person. Costs of the test have been reported at $2,000, and the drug itself could cost as much as $10,500 per year.
LAAN to offer Safer Sex workshops
LANSING – The Lansing Area AIDS Network is offering two, two day sessions about safer sex practices. The first session is Aug. 23 and 30, the second is August 25 and September 1. The program is free and directed towards gay identified men or men who have sex with men.
The program will explore making safe sex fun and exciting, will providing information on various condoms, proper use of a condom, how to put on a condom, and a chance to interact with other men interested in safer sex.
The program is funded by a grant from the state of Michigan HIV/AIDS prevention office.
To participate, call Andre or Matthew at LAAN at (517) 394-3719 ext. 30.