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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Lecture to discuss HIV drug

Members of the public are invited to attend a lunchtime lecture hosted by the UA Institute for LGBT Studies to learn about and discuss the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of an antiretroviral drug to treat HIV. The lecture will take place at noon today at the McClelland Park building, Room 206.

Dr. Sean P. Elliott, a professor at the University of Arizona Medical Center and pediatric infectious disease specialist, said HIV patients can suffer from long-term adverse effects from the antiretroviral drug cocktail treatment for HIV. He said some challenges patients have from the long-term medications are liver or kidney failure and low survival rate of opportunistic infections. Elliott said these are routine infections for an average person with a healthy immune system, but they put somebody with HIV at risk of getting a severe disease.

Nafees Ahmad, professor for the department of immunobiology at the UAMC, said he has been working  for about a year on a research project asking about the effect of HIV on the aging of the immune system.

Ahmad said the research includes enrolling patients above 50 years of age into a study, determining how they are doing clinically and taking their blood samples.

“We try to determine the biological properties of the HIV virus to determine the immune response, and [we] try to determine the effect of the virus on the aging of the immune cells,” Ahmad said.

Lee Ann Hamilton, health educator at the Campus Health Service, said that because students living with HIV would not visit Campus Health for their regular care, Campus Health has not collected any current data regarding UA students with HIV.

“Students receiving HIV treatment are likely to utilize practitioners who specialize in HIV,” Hamilton said.

Elliott said patients have daily challenges from living with a chronic disease, and that there will be daily social issues like fear, anxiety, depression and potentially the challenges of being excluded from society.

“Over the last couple months, we’ve had several women who presented to a local hospital to deliver babies, and, as per protocol, they had rapid screening for HIV, and the initial screen tests were positive,” Elliott said. “Turns out those were false positives when we did the confirmatory tests, but all three of the women I had experiences with had been shunned by their family. One lost her job.”

Kate Freeman, graduate assistant at the Institute for LGBT Studies, said this discussion is one of many talks in the Deep Dish Lunchtime Speaker Series that have been held at the UA.

“The goal of Deep Dish talks in general,” Freeman said, “is to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and scholarship in order to better understand the social and political world at large.”


Follow Brandi Walker on Twitter.

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