December 1st, 2010

World AIDS Day: See You in Kuala Lumpur

red ribbonA few random thoughts on this 2010 World AIDS Day.

  • Now you can mark your calendars for the next three International AIDS Society/World AIDS Meetings:  2011 in Rome, 2012 in Washington, DC — and now, 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  And what do all 3 of these cities have in common?  Extreme summer heat!  (For Kuala Lumpur, it’s actually just extreme heat, not just in the summer.)  Probably some sort of weird compensation for several frigid February’s at CROI.
  • Not mentioned in my discussion of the once- versus twice-daily raltegravir study was the study name — which was QDMRK.  Yes, the sponsors (can you guess who they were?) continued the self-referential theme that started with BENCHMRK, followed by STARTMRK and then SWITCHMRK.  Could a study of coffee be planned, “PERCMRK”? Of the Thanksgiving meal, “TURKMRK?” Or of how to avoid a task, called “SHIRKWORKMRK?”
  • On the topic of study names, this really has been a banner period for acronyms.  Here’s a partial list just from this year:  CAPRISA, CAMELIA, PROGRESS, SPARTAN, ECHO, THRIVE, SHIELD, VERXVE, VIKING, SPRING, SPIRAL, ODIS, ROCKET, SENSE, METABOLIK, ATLAS, ATLIS (yes, there’s both an ATLAS and an ATLIS). Trust me, I live and breathe this stuff daily, and still have trouble keeping all of them straight.
  • Some good news on the HIV testing front in this report from MMWR:  Compared with 2001, today more people are aware of their HIV status, and “late” diagnoses are declining.  However, it’s still striking that even though we’ve had effective HIV treatment for nearly 15 years, around one-third of people are still diagnosed with HIV when they’ve already had complications from AIDS or have severe immunodeficiency.

Anyway — what are your thoughts on these red ribbons?  Powerful awareness tool, helpful in keeping HIV on the radar screen?  Or over-commercialized, politically-correct, past-its-prime symbol?  You decide …

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HIV Information: Author Paul Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, MD

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NEJM Journal Watch
Infectious Diseases

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