Mail & Guardian, 02 January 2003, HIV/Aids barometer

Treatment for all: Doctors in
Iran received a government order on Monday not to turn away patients infected with HIV. The move is part of a new effort to control the spread of the disease, medical workers said.

The Health Ministry directive instructs doctors to catalogue all cases of people infected with HIV or suffering from Aids-related illnesses and to provide immediate treatment or face an undisclosed punishment.

“Any refusal to accept those infected with the Aids virus is against the law and because of the social problem that it creates any violation will be followed up,” the state news agency Irna quoted the directive, signed by Deputy Health Minister Mohammad Ismael Akbari.

A fighting chance: An experimental vaccine against SIV, the form of the Aids virus that affects monkeys, sharply reduced but did not eliminate the virus in the animals’ blood.

The virus in the blood cells of macaques dropped 50-fold and its evidence in plasma fell 1 000-fold in a test that lasted 10 months, said researcher Wei Lu of Rene Descartes University in
Paris, who led the team that studied the animals.

Unlike preventive vaccines used to keep people from catching a disease, this therapeutic vaccine is given to an infected person in the hope of helping them fight the disease by increasing their immune response.

“This study has opened the possibility of treating HIV infection using immune cells that have been exposed to a weakened form of virus,” Lu said.

Source: Sapa