Tag Archives: environment

Bill to lift ban on HIV positive organ donation passes House committee


USA: A bill which could eventually allow the donation of HIV positive organs to HIV positive recipients has passed the House after having passed the US Senate back in June.

The HIV Organ Policy Equity Act (HOPE), which is sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans would allow organs from HIV positive people to be donated to HIV positive recipients, and more so would allow researchers to study the safety of such practice.

The Human Rights Campaign also commended the passage of the bill. Back in March, the HRC praised the passage of the bill in the Senate Committe, and in June it passed in the full Senate.

“The HOPE Act represents sound public health policy,” said HRC legislative director Allison Herwitt. “The action by the House Energy & Commerce Committee is a major step forward in removing an outdated barrier which impedes access to lifesaving transplants for persons living with HIV and AIDS.”

HIV-positive patients in the US have been lobbying for the right to receive HIV-infected transplant organs for some time. They argue that there are hundreds of HIV-infected organs available every year and that making the change would save lives and give more people the chance of a transplant.

There are more than 100,000 actively waiting for life-saving organs, and around 50,000 more are added annually, and lifting the ban could decrease waiting time for all.

Allowing organs from HIV positive donors to HIV positive recipients with liver or kidney failure could save up to 1,000 people each year.

The ban on HIV positive organ donation was put in place in 1988, and aruments for it being lifted come partly from the fact that the treatment of HIV and AIDS has advanced significantly since.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued draft Public Health Service Guidelines in September 2011, recommending research in this area, but said that in the US, federal law blocks it from taking place.

Over 40 medical and patient advocacy groups endorse the act, including the United Network for Organ Sharing, which manages the US’s organ transplant system.

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A History of HIV & AIDS – 1997

As we prepare to enter our 25th year, we are reflecting on the global HIVevents from the last three decades.  HIV has swept across the globe touching communities on every continent.  Here’s an introduction to some of the key moments in the early global history of HIV.  Catch up on the story using the ‘Recent Posts’ link to the right.

For the first time since the AIDS epidemic became visible in 1981, the number of deaths from AIDS had dropped substantially in the developed world due to the advances of anti HIV medicine and combination therapy.  Within two years, death rates due to AIDS will have plummeted in the developed world. (See 1996 for why)

In New York City the decline was even more dramatic, with the number of people dying from AIDS falling by about 50 per cent compared to the previous year. The number of babies being born HIV positive had also declined dramatically.

In May, President Clinton set a target for the USA to find an AIDS vaccine within ten years.

In August UNAIDS estimated HIV/AIDS cases in India, Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh and Nepal at 3 million, 350,000, 20,000, and 15,000 respectively.

Worldwide, 1 in 100 adults in the 15-49 age group were thought to be infected with HIV, and only 1 in 10 infected people were aware of their infection. It was estimated that by the year 2000 the number of people living with HIV/AIDS would have grown to 40 million.

September 2, “The most recent estimate of the number of Americans infected (with HIV), 750,000, is only half the total that government officials used to cite over a decade ago, at a time when experts believed that as many as 1.5 million people carried the virus.” article in the Washington Post.

Based on the Bangui definition the WHO’s cumulative number of reported AIDS cases from 1980 through 1997 for all of Africa is 620,000. For comparison, the cumulative total of AIDS cases in the USA through 1997 is 641,087.

December 7, “French President Jacques Chirac addressed Africa’s top AIDS conference and called on the world’s richest nations to create an AIDS therapy support fund to help Africa. According to Chirac, Africa struggles to care for two-thirds of the world’s persons with AIDS without the benefit of expensive AIDS therapies. Chirac invited other countries, especially European nations, to create a fund that would help increase the number of AIDS studies and experiments. AIDS workers welcomed Chirac’s speech and said they hoped France would promote the idea to the Group of Eight summit of the world’s richest nations.”

At the end of the year, UNAIDS reported that worldwide the HIV epidemic was far worse than had previously been thought. More accurate estimates suggested that 30 million people were infected with HIV. The previous year’s estimate had been 22 million infected people with an estimated 3.2 million cases of new HIV infections.

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A History of HIV & AIDS – 1995

As we prepare to enter our 25th year, we are reflecting on the global HIVevents from the last three decades.  HIV has swept across the globe touching communities on every continent.  Here’s an introduction to some of the key moments in the early global history of HIV.  Catch up on the story using the ‘Recent Posts’ link to the right.

By 1st January 1995, a cumulative total of a million cases of AIDS had been reported to the World Health Organisation Global Programme on AIDS.  Eighteen million adults and 1.5 million children were estimated to have been infected with HIV since the beginning of the epidemic.

AIDS had become the leading cause of death amongst all Americans aged 25 to 44.

Two research reports provided important new information about how HIV replicates in the body and how it affects the immune system.

The South African Ministry of Health announced that some 850,000 people – 2.1 percent of the 40 million population – were believed to be HIV positive. Among pregnant women the figure had reached 8 percent and was rising.

By the autumn of 1995, 7-8 million women of childbearing age were believed to have been infected with HIV.

By December 15th, the World Health Organisation had received reports of 1,291,810 cumulative cases of AIDS in adults and children from 193 countries or areas. The WHO estimated that the actual number of cases that had occurred was around 6 million. Eight countries in Africa had reported more than 20,000 cases.

Other organisations estimated that by the end of 1995, 9.2 million people worldwide had died from AIDS.

Worldwide during 1995, it was estimated that 4.7 million new HIV infections occurred. Of these, 2.5 million occurred in Southeast Asia and 1.9 million in sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately 500,000 children were born with HIV.

The WHO estimated that by the end of the century, 30 to 40 million people would have been affected by HIV.

British DJ and entertainer Kenny Everett dies from AIDS on 4 April 1995.

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A History of HIV & AIDS – 1993

As we prepare to enter our 25th year, we are reflecting on the global HIV events from the last three decades.  HIV has swept across the globe touching communities on every continent.  Here’s an introduction to some of the key moments in the early global history of HIV.  Catch up on the story using the ‘Recent Posts’ link to the right.

We focus on 1993 today.  During January, 116 new cases of AIDS were reported in the UK, bringing the cumulative total to 7,045. One in six of these new cases were acquired through heterosexual intercourse.

In March, the House of Representatives in the USA voted overwhelmingly to retain the ban on the entry into the country of HIV positive people.

In early April the Ministers of Health and Finance from 39 countries met in Riga, Latvia, and launched an initiative to contain the spread of HIV in Central and Eastern European countries.

On 7th April all French television networks broadcast ‘Tous contre le Sida’ (All against AIDS) simultaneously, a special 4-hour programme designed to heighten awareness about HIV/AIDS and to raise money. The estimated audience for the programme was 33 million. Some 32,000 cases of AIDS had been recorded in France, with 15 deaths each day, and an estimated 150,000 people were thought to be infected.

In Romania, the number of children infected with HIV had increased. There were an estimated 98,000 infected orphans.

China had reported one thousand cases of HIV infection, mostly in injecting drug users, but it was believed that this greatly understated the scale of the country’s HIV epidemic.

In South Africa, the National Health Department reported that the number of recorded HIV infections had grown by 60 percent in the previous two years and was expected to double in 1993. A survey of women attending health clinics indicated that nationally some 322,000 people were infected.

In mid-1993, it had been realised that HIV was also spreading rapidly in the Asia and Pacific regions, home to more than half the world’s population, where more than 700,000 people were already believed to be infected.

Official statistics for Brazil indicated that some 46,000 cases of AIDS had been recorded, but estimates put the actual number at anywhere between 450,000 and 3 million cases.  Two thirds of the known cases were in Sao Paulo state where AIDS was the leading cause of death of women aged 20-35.

Despite the overwhelming evidence and more importantly, the need that safer sex campaigns were needed, in 1994 In the UK, the Department of Health vetoed an AIDS campaign promoting safer sex and condoms which was already developed at a cost of £2m on the grounds that it was too explicit!

The campaign was developed by the Health Education Authority (a government funded body) who later in the year were banned by the Department of Health from distributing the book, ‘Your Pocket Guide to Sex’. It was aimed at 16 to 25 year olds, giving advice on contraception, HIV and safe sex. The media reacted hysterically, saying that it was encouraging young people to have sex, and the government panicked. They pulped the book and threatened to stop all of their AIDS and sexual health education programmes.

However, this author has just researched Amazon and found it’s available to buy online, here’s the link if you’re interested!

The World Bank reviewed its HIV and AIDS activities in Africa, and decided that AIDS should not dominate its agenda on population, health and nutrition issues.

In the UK the radio DJ and comedian Kenny Everett announced that he was HIV positive, as did Holly Johnson, former lead singer with the group Frankie goes to Hollywood.

During the summer, the AIDS Prevention Agency in Brussels, in collaboration with the European Union, launched a campaign whose central image was ‘the flying condom’.


On World AIDS Day, 1st December, Benetton in collaboration with ACT UP Paris placed a giant condom (22 metres high and 3.5 wide) on the obelisk in Place de la Concorde in Central Paris in an effort to waken the world to the reality of the disease. A symbolic monument to HIV prevention, it appeared on the covers of newspapers worldwide.

At the end of 1993 the estimated number of AIDS cases worldwide was 2.5 million.

But hope was on the horizon, if only for some, a large European study on mother-to-child transmission showed that Caesarean section halved the rate of HIV transmission, something of hope to expectant mothers and demonstrated that progress was being made in the field of HIV research.

Research indicated that Thailand had reduced its rate of HIV transmission. This was largely due to action by the government, which had distributed condoms to brothels and insisted that they were used consistently.

In face of opposition to HIV prevention programs it seemed that hope was near, in Leicester LASS moves to new premises, our current home.  The Michael Wood Centre and establishes a ‘company limited by Guarantee’, and gain charitable status.

Following the dissolution of Leicester Body Positive, a peer support development project is set up to develop opportunities for peer support, undertake and develop advocacy, and develop self-sustaining systems for people with HIV to influence the planning and provision of services in Leicestershire.


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LASS History Project

It’s been an exciting time for LASS recently, Archbishop Desmond Tutu recently became our international patron and as we countdown to our 25th anniversary, we are reflecting on the global HIV events from the last three decades by providing a historical overview of HIV and AIDS in world.

LASS has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop a history project to mark our  25th anniversary year.  The project will create an archive, publication and mobile exhibition materials to capture the stories and experiences of people involved in LASS’s work over the past 25 years.

In doing so, we hope to raise awareness of the changing issues in responding to HIV and to challenge persistent myths and stereotypes. The work will take place over the next nine months, with the publication launched for World AIDS Day 2012.

The LASS History Project will record the changing experiences of people affected by HIV over the years, while highlighting the extent to which HIV continues to disproportionately affect the most marginalised. It will document and celebrate the way people in Leicester came together to respond to the new virus and will capture changes in attitudes, demography and health outcomes over the past 25 years. It will highlight the distinctive characteristics of LASS, which include our location in the ethnically and culturally diverse city of Leicester and changes in our client group over the years.

While we will show that HIV remains a significant local issue – with Leicester experiencing the 6th highest rising rate of infection in the country – we will also celebrate the improved life expectancy of people with HIV, and show how LASS has evolved to meet changing needs and demands on our services.

There are three main aspects to the project, all of which will offer volunteers opportunities to become involved.  Working with the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, we will organise and digitise LASS’s records, documents and photographs – currently held in various filing cabinets – to create a coherent archive lodged with Leicestershire Record Office and available online.

We will produce a publication documenting the history of LASS. This will be based on interviews with those involved with LASS, including service users and their families/partners, staff and volunteers, health professionals and partner organisations – one interview for each of the 25 years – to provide a 360 degrees perspective.

These interviews will be placed in the context of local, national and global developments. Drawing on the archive and publication, we will create a set of mobile exhibition materials for use at different venues in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Throughout the project we will work with other organisations to ensure that the project and its outputs involves and reaches a wide range of people, including targeted specific groups such as young people, LGBT people and African communities.

The project will offer volunteers a range of different opportunities to take part, including helping create the archive, research, carrying out and transcribing or summarising the interviews, and promoting and publicising the project. Volunteers will receive training – for instance in archive work, oral history interviews or media skills – and, depending on their roles, will develop a range of skills including documentation and research, interviewing and sound recording, media and presentation skills, and use of a range of Microsoft packages such as Word and Excel.

If you would like to volunteer for the project, please email tom@lass.org.uk for more details

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A History of HIV & AIDS – 1989

As we prepare to enter our 25th year, we are reflecting on the global HIV events from the last three decades.  HIV has swept across the globe and support touching communities on every continent.  Here’s an introduction to some of the key moments in the early global history of HIV.  Catch up on the story using the ‘Recent Posts’ link to the right.

1989: On February 7th, the FDA announced that it was going to approve an aerosol form of the drug Pentamidine for the treatment of PCP (Pneumocystis Pneumonia) AIDS Patents.  It’s still in use today for some people with PCP.

By March 1st, 145 countries had reported 142,000 cases of AIDS to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO regarded this as under-reporting, and estimated the actual number of people with AIDS around the world to be over 400,000. It was predicted that this figure would rise to 1.1 million by 1991. It was also estimated that 5-10 million people were already infected with HIV.

Click to read Hans Paul’s letter to the US Government

A Dutch man, Hans Paul Verhoef, was imprisoned in Minnesota, USA because did not declare that he had HIV when he entered the country.  Mr. Verhoef landed at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport en route to a gay and lesbian health conference in San Francisco in April 1989.

After his medicine was found (AZT) in his luggage he was detained under a 1987 law that allows the Immigration and Naturalization Service to deny entry to visitors with AIDS or the AIDS virus. (sic)

Supporters intervened in his behalf, and Mr. Verhoef was released after five days and allowed to attend the conference.

In August, results from a major drug trial known as ACTG019 were announced.  The trial showed that AZT could slow progression to AIDS in HIV positive individuals with no symptoms.  These findings were thought to be extremely positive; on August 17th a press conference was held, at which the Health Secretary, Louis Sullivan said:

“Today we are witnessing a turning point in the battle to change AIDS from a fatal disease to a treatable one.”

The initial optimism was short-lived when the price of the drug was revealed. A year’s supply for one person would cost around $7,000, and many Americans did not have adequate health insurance to cover the cost.  Burroughs Wellcome, the makers of AZT, were accused of ‘price gouging and profiteering’.  In September, the cost of the drug was cut by 20 percent.

By this time, 100,000 people diagnosed with AIDS had been reported to the CDC.  The proportion of AIDS diagnoses among women had increased, and smaller cities and rural areas were increasingly affected.

The television movie “The Ryan White Story” aired. It starred Judith Light as Jeanne, Lukas Haas as Ryan and Nikki Cox as Sister Andrea. Ryan White had a small cameo appearance as Chad, a young patient with AIDS.

Another AIDS-themed film, The Littlest Victims, also debuted in 1989, biopic-ing James Oleske, the first U.S. physician to discover AIDS in new born children during the early years of AIDS when many thought it was only spread by homosexual sex and drug use.

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