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Federal grant enables HIV testing, treatment in the Augusta area
Date:3/7/2012

system and the virulence of the organism," the best partners are the Ryan White program that enables access, patients who take the improved medicines as prescribed and persistent, hitting-the-streets efforts to get people screened.

Today's drug therapies keep the virus at bay by attacking it from different directions to prevent it from multiplying, Rissing said. Most otherwise healthy patients require only a single pill that combines two or three of these drugs; more rigorous regimens are needed if symptoms such as severe diarrhea and weight loss suggest the virus has damaged the immune system, Rissing said. The virus can become similarly active if medicine isn't taken as prescribed, he noted.

Newman is currently studying a once-a-day pill that prevents the virus from inserting itself into the DNA of cells in the body where it can live and eventually multiply. "We say it takes three active drugs to knock out the virus," she said, optimistic that the drug she is studying will one day enhance the efficacy of one of the two-drug therapies on the market. MCG has participated in the clinical trials of most HIV drugs already in use.

Georgia Health Sciences Health System treats nearly 1,300 HIV-positive patients, most of whom are males age 45-64. The biggest patient increases in the past decade are at both ends of the spectrum. People younger than 23 are among the largest number of newly infected and the older population is increasing because patients are living much longer, said Larry Howell, Grant Manager.

Dorothy Stokes, a patient advocate, works with drug manufacturers and the state to ensure proper medication for uninsured or low-income patients. The state-run AIDS Drug Assistance Program is extremely helpful although new patients face a waiting list. Drug manufacturers are helpful as well, Stokes said.

The Ryan White Outreach Team frequents popular gathering places, including ice cream parlors, nightclubs and, starting wit
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@georgiahealth.edu
706-721-4421
Georgia Health Sciences University
Source:Eurekalert  

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