THIS WEEK, a settlement between about 6,000 AIDS-infected
hemophiliacs and the makers of tainted blood-clotting products
is progressing after resolution of two appeals, a plaintiffs
Attorney David Schrager says payments of $100,000 to each
hemophiliac or surviving family members finally may go out
later this summer.
The companies had promised that checks would be mailed July 8,
but the settlement was thrown into question by a U.S. Supreme
Court decision questioning class-action procedures in an
unrelated case, and by two late appeals of the hemophiliac
Lawyers representing about 18 plaintiffs dropped their appeals
after being allowed to opt out of the settlement and pursue
individual lawsuits. That also removes the issue of the Supreme
Court case, Schrager says.
New web sites
Researchers at UC-San Francisco have created a Web site with
information on HIV. "HIV InSite" features articles on medicine,
prevention, social issues and epidemiology.
Federal HIV treatment guidelines are available at a CDC web
site and at the NIH site. Click here for more information about
Nine leading AIDS groups raise concerns about recent advances
in medical treatments at www.aidsquilt.org.
The International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care has
developed a web site for women with HIV, at www.iapac.org.
AIDS in children
At least a thousand children are contracting HIV each day,
according to a United Nations report. There were some 400,000
new HIV cases involving children under 18 last year, and some
350,000 children died of AIDS, said the Geneva-based group
In some regions of the world, infant mortality rates could
increase by as much as 75 percent by 2000 unless there is
immediate medical intervention. In Zambia, about half of infant
AIDS victims die by the age of 2. In Europe, by contrast, 80
percent of child AIDS victims are still alive by age 3.
The manufacturer of the experimental drug called "1592" says
children with advanced stages of AIDS who have not responded to
other treatments may be eligible for the drug. Glaxo Wellcome
Inc. announced that children who would be considered for
testing of the drug ranged in age from 2 weeks through 13
years. To enroll, call 1-800-501-4672.
Children with HIV are living longer and staying healthier,
which means more HIV-infected children can be expected to
attend school in the years to come, according to the American
Academy of Pediatrics. Many of the 1,600 HIV-infected U.S.
children born in 1993 -- next September's kindergartners --
will be expected to attend school, the group said. Children
with HIV have a life expectancy of more than nine years.
A man dying of AIDS may not legally receive a lethal dose of
drugs from his doctor, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled. The
justices overturned a lower-court ruling that a privacy
provision in Florida's constitution gave Charles Hall, 35, the
right to physician-assisted suicide. They ruled that the
state's interest in preserving life overshadowed the privacy
rights of the dying AIDS patient.
A capsule implanted in the eyes of AIDS patients helps them
fight off blindness three times longer than with earlier
therapy, according to a study published in the New England
Journal of Medicine. The medicine, a sustained-release version
of the drug ganciclovir, does not cure the infection but slows
its progression. The implant, called Vitrasert, delayed
progression for an average of 221 days, compared with 71 days
for the injected drug.
Scientists have identified two more footholds that HIV can use
to infect cells, a finding that might mean it will be harder
than once thought to block infection by covering up such entry
points. The report brings to six the reported total of HIV
"co-receptors," the footholds HIV uses to infect cells in
conjunction with the virus' main docking point.
The House Appropriations Committee's panel on labor and
education approved a bill that would increase AIDS spending to
nearly $1.8 billion next year, compared with $1.6 billion this
The funds -- about 7 percent more than President Clinton had
requested -- would allow spending on treatment to rise to $1.17
billion from $996 million. Funding for prevention programs
would be nearly $622 million, about $12 million less than
Under the bill, money for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program,
which provides medicine for poor AIDS patients who don't
qualify for Medicaid, would increase to $299 million from $167
million. Demand for anti-viral agents has left the program so
cash-strapped that 23 states have had to cut patients or
restrict their access to the drugs.
"People and Protease," a forum on the combination of anti-viral
therapy and holistic medicine, will be held Friday from 7 to
9:30 p.m., Davies Medical Center (Gazebo Room), Castro and
Duboce streets. Call (415) 284-6237.
"Moving Through Loss," a workshop for anger, grief, stress and
burnout for patients and caregivers, will be offered in Santa
Rosa from Friday through Sunday. Call (415) 263-4822.
Project Inform will hold a town meeting to discuss
"Introduction to HIV Treatment Options" on Aug. 6 from 6:30 to
8 p.m. at the Project Inform office, 1965 Market St., Suite
220. Call (415) 558-8669.
A free practical-skills training for partners, friends and
family members who are AIDS caregivers will be offered by Home
Care Companions on Sept. 17, 18, 19, 22 and 23 from 7 to 10
p.m. at Davies Medical Center. Call (415) 824-3269 to register.
Wilmer Weiss, 71, a noted fashion retail executive for more
than 50 years, died of cardiac disease. He was listed under
"The Toll" in last week's column.
Date Cases Deaths
S.F. 7/1 21,698 15,089
Calif. 7/1 100,912 64,832
U.S. 7/1 548,102 343,000
WHO 7/1 8.4 mil 6.4 mil
Figures are cumulative since June 1981.
Note: AIDS statistics can no longer be updated weekly due to a
decision by city, state and federal epidemiologists to release
new data only four times a year.
To contribute to AIDSWEEK, call (415) 777-7867.