MONTROSE VOICE/ FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9. 1990
New treatment Study: Positive test doesn't increase suicide ideas
"1 * "1 _ fHiPAnn <ac__ri . i ..._.._.
designed to boost
at'.the Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
said they are hopeful un experimental AIDS treatment will enable patients' own cells lo inhibit replication of the deadly HIV virus and
fight other infections that plague
The University of Pittsburgh has
begun clinical trials of u new therapy designed to boost the immune
system of AIDS patients, research
ers said Jan. 25. The treatment involves removing ihe virus-killing
white blood cells from AIDS patients, then activating the cells and
returning them to the patients.
"This is a completely novel approach to the treatment of HIV infection and AIDS, and to that extent
is scientifically very exciting," said
Ur. Monto Ho, chairperson of infec-
,d microbiology at
the University of Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh is the only site for the
trials, which will involve six patients with AIDS or AIDS-related
complex. They will receive six doses
of their own activated cells over lit
weeks, followed by 11 weeks ol tests.
AIDS disarms the body's natural
immune system by crippling helper
T-cells, which normally direct the virus-killing Cells, known us killer T-
cells, to multiply to disease-fighting
levels. The new therapy selectively
removes and amplifies killer T-cells
through the use of inter leu kin-2.
The six-month study, which began
in December, is sponsored by Applied Immune Sciences Inc. of San
Francisco and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Dis-
CHICAGO (AP)-Doctors need
not be overly concerned about doing AIDS-virus testing for fear
that patients might commit suicide if'they learn they areint'ected,
according to the author of a new
"Given the improved early treat
ments for HIV-rclated illnesses,
neither physicians nor patients
should avoid seeking the test for
fear they won't be able to deal with
the results," said Dr. Samuel Perry,
professor of clinical psychiatry at
Cornell University Medical College in New York.
"It is not an imminent death
sentence, as many people believe!'
With proper counseling, people
who learn they, are infected with
the AIDS virus are no more likely
to think about killing themselves
than those who learn they are virus-free, Perry and other researchers reported in a study published
in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.
But regardless of test results,
the rate of suicidal thoughts
among people who have traits
that put them at higher risk of get-
ling the infection is significantly
higher than the rate in the general
population, the study found.
Suicidal ideas persisted in about
15 percent of subjects at high risk
for AIDS, whether they were
found to be infected or not, re-
The study reported on 244 men
and 57 women who completed
flo gauge depression
at intervals two weeks before, and
one week and two months after notification of results of their AIDS-
virus tests, researchers said.
"There's both a reassuring part
of the study and a more worrisome
part of the study," said Perry, the
lead author of the study.
"The reassuring part is that if
people al risk for infection are given adequate pre—and post-lest
seling, notifying them of j
fection doesn't increase their risk
of suicidal (ideas)," hesaid in a telephone interview Thursday, Feb.
"At least not if they are
and over a short time," he added.
"The less reassuring part is that
people at risk seem to have a high
rate of depressive illness indepen
dent of whether they're infected
with the virus," he said, "When
people come in seeking a test, it
may be an opportunity to identify
depression and make an appropriate referral."
Doctors have been overly concerned about doing AIDS-virus
testing "for fear patients are going
to go totally out the window" if
they learn they are infected, Perry
said. "Wejust didn't find that to be
A previous study found the rate
of suicide in 1985 among men ages
20 to 59 who had AIDS—not just
the infection, which may take
years to cause symptoms, but the
actual disease—was 156 times the
rate of men without AIDS.
And another study, of 1986 California death certificates found the
relative suiciderate of men ages _0
to 39 who had AIDS was 21 times
that of men without AIDS, the researchers said.
In the new study, among the 49
subjects who were found lo be infected, rates of thinking about suicide were 28.6 percent at entry and
27.1 percent and 16.3 percent at
the lollow-ups, the researchers reported.
No subject reported increased
suicidal ideas at two months.
Among the 252 subjects informed they were virus-free, suicidal ideas decreased from SO.(j percent at entry to 17.1 percent and
15,9 percent at one week and two
months after notification, the
Report: Infections decline, risk lessens for heterosexuals
By DEBOHAH MESCE
WASHINGTON (AP)-A new report says the number of Americans becoming infected annually
with the virus that cau.es AIDS is
declining, although the number of
new AIDS cases will continue rising until 1995.
The report's author, Peter
Plumley, a consulting actuary in
Chicago, also says the chances
that a heterosexual not using
drugs intravenously will become
infected are remote and that AIDS
prevention efforts focus too much
on; this group.
Plumley writes in the January-
February issue of Contingencies
magazine that the number of new
annual infections with the human
immunodeficiency virus, or HIV,
peaked in 1986 and is going down.
However, he says the total number of HIV-infected Americans
will continue to rise until 1991,
when 1.4 million will he infected.
Also, the number of new AIDS
1995 and then begin to decline,
and the number of AIDS deaths
will peak at around 110,000 in
1997, Plum ley's projections show.
Years can elapse between the
time of infection with HIV and the
onset of AIDS. No one is known to
have recovered from AIDS.
He predicted that by the year
2000 there will have been a total of
1.3 million AIDS cases and about
1.1 million AIDS deaths.
His figures do not include HIV
infections and AIDS cases among
blood transfusion recipients,
hemophiliacs and children, which
account for about 5 percent of the
As of Dec. 31, 1989, AIDS had
been diagnosed in 117,781 Americans. Sixty percent, or 70,313, had
died since June 1, 1981, according
to the federal Centers for Disease
The CDC, which estimates that
about 1 million people in the Unit
ed States are HIV-infected now, is
revising its projections for future
spread of the disease.
A draft report released earlier
this month predicted that projections for the numbers of cases will
be about 15 percent lower than previous CDC estimates.
CDC spokesperson Gayle Lloyd
said until the agency issues new
projections, "no one here is interested in talking about anyone
Plumley said, "One of the most
disturbing aspects of the AIDS epidemic is the number of people who
have become concerned unnecessarily about tin- epidemic."
The virus is spread mainly
through contact with bodily
fluids, including sexual intercourse, partir ularly anal six, and
sharing of needles. Its chief vic
tims have been homosexual males
and intravenous drug users.
A homosexual male's risk of
contracting AIDS is about 1 in
500, according to Plumley. But the
risk for a heterosexual engaging
in vaginal sex is less than one in a
million, providing their sex partners are not from a high-risk
Prevention efforts within the homosexual, bisexual and intravenous drug user communities
should continue, but "valid reasons exist to attempt to temper
warnings issued to people whose
risks are as remote as one in a mil-
"Hyperbole could divert the focus from the truly serious areas of
risk, damage credibility ofthe prevention efforts and create paranoi-
ii among those who don't understand and jeopardize their chanc-
es of forming the kinds of relationships necessary to health and
well-being," he wrote.
files suit against
CHICAGO !AP)-State authorities are suing to stop what they
say is a "ripoff charity, preying
on people's sympathy for children
The lawsuit, filed Jan. 25, accused the National AIDS Prevention Institute of Culpeper, Va,; Apple Marketing of Houston; and
three Cook County, 111., businessmen of "fraudulent solicitation of
charitable donations for private
According to the lawsuit, for
$6,000, Apple Marketing sells yellow plastic funnels called wishing
wells to individuals. Those individuals then pay $2.50 a month to
the Children With AIDS Foundation to use the foundation's name,
while any remaining money goes
to the "well operators," the lawsuit
Edward Rowe, president of the
National AIDS Prevention Institute, said Jan. 2b' in a telephone interview that his organization was
"in the position now of arranging
counsel" and that any further
comment would be inappropriate.
Rowe said, however, "there's a
lot of falsehood" in the lawsuit.
Illinois Attorney General Neil
Hartigan, who filed the lawsuit,
said the "ripoff participants had
"preyed on the sympathy of the
public for the plight of children
"What they failed to tell contributors was that only nine cents a
day would go to the charity,"
Hartigan said. "The rest of the
money put in the 'wishing well'
went directly into the pockets of
Rttet>urgh to host Softball World Series
The 1990 softball season for plajrers Aspa_tcrfatr_-iuonaJgesture,_el-
and officials of the North American egates from Atlanta, host city for the
Gay Amateur Athletics Association 1959 Gajr Softball World Series, are
(NADAAA) will kick off in mid-Feb- expected to formally present "The
ruary In Pittsburgh, host series for NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series"
this year's HAGAAA Gay World Se- to members ofthe Pittsburgh delega-
rles. The Steel City Softball League oon in separate ceremonies
will welcome delegates to the aseocl- g^^ p)a_ ^ expgataa M ^gtii In
atlon-s annual spring meetings. j--^ NAGAAA-afi-liated leagues in
At the meetings, delegates will dis- the last few weeks of April and culmi-
cuss several subjects, ranging from rule changes tor the
1990 softball series to a routine review of the current bylaws. The delegates will also
take agulded tour ofthe facilities to be used In Pittsburgh
during world series play.
ber leagues send teams
to Pittsburgh In late
August to compete In
the 1990 Gay World Se-
Thls year's event is expected to be
the largest gay world series, as well
as the first to be sponsored by one of
the smaller NAGAAA-afflliated
leagues. Members of the Steel City
Softball League, under the auspices of
Nancy Prlbioh, haven't let that fact
hinder them, as they have lined up
such sponsors as Strohs beer (.the official beer sponsor), USAlr (the official airline) and American Express
Travel (the official travel agent).
Talks are also going on with other potential large corporate sponsors,
Prlbich said. Sponsorship is also being augmented by efforts of Pittsburgh Tavern Guild and the Lambda
Foundation, organizers said.
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Violence in Oregon prompts meeting
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—A new
wave of violence against homosexuals has leaders of the city's
gay community concerned.
The latest targets have been
men who have gone alone to
Laurelhurst Park, a meeting spot
for gay men on the city's southeast
A group of four men attacked a
man with a broken bottle and a
knife on Jan. 20, causing injuries
that required 40 stitches.
And a Portland State University student suffered injuries requiring 35 stitches in a beating on
Christmas Day at the park.
The violence spread downtown
on Dec. 14 when two women were
attacked and beaten by three men
in a parking lot.
The violence prompted a neighborhood meeting in the area
around Laurelhurst Park.
"My main concern is people's
welfare and safety," said Mike
Knowles, a neighborhood resident
who organized the meeting.
"No matter what a person's sexual orientation is, he doesn't deserve to be severely beaten up or
A national gay leader, Kevin
Berrill of the National Gay and
Lesbian Task Force, said the Oregon reports were part of a growing
"Visibility has allowed us to organize, educate and challenge bigotry!' Berrill said. "However, it has
also made us more of a target."
Georgia Owens, a staff assistant to the Metropolitan Human
Rights Commission, said the number of official reports of violence do
not reveal the real frequency of violence against lesbians and gay
men in Portland.
She said many victims are
afraid to report violence because
the notoriety might cause them to
lose their housing or jobs.
Professional instincts are aroused within
housing inspector Jennings.
Heart Strings raises $691,000
The Houston production of "Heart
Strings: The National Tour" raised
at least $691,000, making the show
the largest AIDS fund raising event
in the city to date, according to
Randall Shields, a member of the
steering committee. The musical
montage, sponsored by the Design
Industries Foundation for AIDS
(DIFFA/Houston) and Bering Community Service Foundation for ihe
local presentation, opened for a single performance Saturday, Feb. 3 at
Billed as "Evenings of Hope for
the Healing of AIDS," Heart Strings,
a national touring show which spotlights local talent in each stop on ita
30-city tour, was designed to educate
audiences about AIDS and inspire
community involvement. The local
show featured former Houstonian
Tommy Tune as announcer. Local
performers in the cast included
Alexandra Haas, June Terry, students from the Humphrey School of
Music the Bering United Methodist
Church Choir and the Montrose
Shields said the production is still
receiving checks from people who either did not make it to see the show,
or wanted to give more money. The
figures are "changing every day."
but a final total will be known by
Feb. lfi, he said.
The show did pass up the local organizers' goal of raising $500,000
here, Shields said. Eighty percent of
the money will stay in Houston to
help local AIDS programs, while 15
percent will go into a national pool
to benefit cities not included in the
tour. The national goal of "Heart
Strings" is $4 million.
"Hear! Strings" was originally
produced in Atlanta in 1986. The national tour began in September,
While the Houston show did not
play to a full house, Sheilds said the
audience came within 300 seals of
Jones Hall's capacity.