MARCH 20, 1987 / MONTROSE VOICE 17
Anti-Viral Drug Fights AIDS-Related Infection
By Larry Doyle
UPI Science Writer
CHICAGO (UPI)—An anti-viral drug
appears effective in controlling an
unusual oral infection associated with
the AIDS virus and could also lead to
therapy for people chronically infected
with a form of mononucleosis,
researchers reported March 13.
The drug, called desiclovir, is not
likely to be a treatment for acquired
immune deficiency syndrome, but Dr.
Deborah Greenspan ofthe University of
California-San Francisco said
researchers want to see if it could help
prevent someone with the AIDS virus
from developing the deadly disease.
"All of this is quite speculative, but I
think you could say we're opening up
some very promising avenues for
research," Greenspan said at a meeting
of the International Association for
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (UPI)—The
scene is the same—college students
from the North soaking up sun and suds
on Florida's beaches—but the fear of
AIDS apparently has ushered in a time
of less sexual promiscuity.
Although the collegians said in a
recent poll that warnings about
acquired immune deficiency syndrome
had not dampened the party atmosphere of the annual 350,000-student pilgrimage to Daytona Beach, most
admitted the AIDS epidemic has made
them less promiscuous this year.
"You don't go around jumping
anyone you want to, like last year," said
Ric Arcadi, a sophomore at Mercyhurst
College in Erie, Pa.
To help combat the spread of AIDS
during spring break, a Catholic priest in
the spring break mecca of Fort Lauderdale undertook a beachfront "safe sex"
campaign to distribute condoms and
pamphlets to college students. This
action followed Surgeon General C.
Everett Koop support of the use of condoms to fight the disease.
The makers of Trojan condoms, in a
stepped-up promotional campaign following Koop's report, said they also
planned to pass out samples and literature this week at Daytona Beach.
Students surveyed by The Orlando
Sentinel seemed to agree with Koop.
"We're worried about it," said Gina
Johnson, a sophomore at Old Dominion
University in Norfolk, Va. "You can get
it so many ways."
"We've heard it over and over, 'If you
go to Florida (for spring break), don't
pick up any diseases,'" said Nancy Neil-
son, another sophomore at Old Dominion.
Brian Fierro, a junior at the State University of New York Maritime College,
the Bronx, said it was tougher this year
to get women to dance in bars. But he
also said he and his friends were being
more selective in seeking dates.
As an alternative to using condoms to
fight AIDS, a Volusia County Chrislian
group called The Spring Break Challenge is promoting the idea to students
that abstention from sex before marriage is the best precaution against
Challenge spokesman Bernie Yan-
dura said the students need religion
instead of sun, sex and beer, and that
providing a birth control tool—such as
condoms—to students only encourages
Greenspan, an associate clinical professor of oral medicine, and her colleagues have been working with patient
afflicted with hairy leukoplakia (HL), a
whitish patch that appears on the
tongues of people who are infected with
the AIDS virus but who have not been
diagnosed with the disease.
HL is technically considered a form of
AIDS-related complex, and is considered a marker for later progression to a
full-scale case of AIDS.
ARLINGTON, Texas (UPI)—Health
counselors and gay community leaders
fear that cards being sold by a Michigan
company, which guarantees that the
bearer has tested free of AIDS and
serious venereal disease, will impart a
false sense of security to those being
Peace of Mind Inc. earlier this month
said it planned to open an office in the
I )allas and Fort Worth area to perform a
range of tests and sell the warranty
cards at prices between $99 to $649.
AIDS educator Dianne Garcia, who
works with the Oak Lawn Counseling
Center in Dallas, said the program
could give those tested the wrong idea.
She said it takes four weeks to six
months before a person exposed to
AIDS, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, tests positive.
"If you don't tell people that, they
may not be aware there is a window of
time where it may actually be just forming the antibodies, but not be detectable," Garcia said.
Daniel T. Michaud, co-founder of
Peace of Mind Inc., said the card indicates only that the bearer was free of
disease when tested.
"Now, they must be concerned with
(those sexual partners) they meet since
the date of the test," he said.
The company will test customers at
regular intervals. If results are negative, the clients will be issued plastic
cards with their photographs, descriptive information and the date of testing,
Private physicians and local health
centers offer the same battery of tests.
Michaud said Peace of Mind will perform two AIDS tests every six months
for $99. The next plan, for $225, tests for
AIDS, genital herpes, gonorrhea and
yeast infections on the first visit, and
then again for AIDS six months later.
The deluxe package, for $649,
includes tests for venereal disease every
Bruce Bernard, director of the hospital laboratory and vice president of Harris Methodist-Fort Worth, said tests
alone are worth little without interpretation by a physician.
"Without the presence of a clinical
confirmation, lab tests are pretty much
a useless venture and a waste of
money," he said.
Craig Hess, volunteer coordinator for
the Dallas Gay Alliance AIDS resource
center, also is skeptical about the program's worth.
"I question the accuracy of it (testing)
and what people are going to do with the
information once they receive it," Hess
In a recent experiment, Hpeoplewith
HL were either given desiclovir or a
dummy drug. All eight people treated
with desiclovir experienced completely
or dramatically reduced lesions. No
change was seen in the control group.
Greenspan said the finding was particularly interesting because HL
appears to be caused by the Epstein-
Barr virus, the agent responsible for
infectious mononucleosis and which is
linked to several cancers. Tissue samples taken from the patients showed no
presence of EBV after the drug was
"What is exciting about this study is
that this drug is clearly effective
against Epstein-Barr virus," she said.
"What role, if any, this will have in
AIDS I really don't know at this point."
Scientists have speculated that EBV,
as well as other viruses, may be necessary to cause a person infected with the
AIDS virus to develop the disease.
Greenspan said that if this is the case,
desiclovir may help prevent progression
to AIDS in some patients.
About 90 to 95 percent of adults carry
the EBV virus without becoming ill, but
some apparently develop an unusual
chronic mononucleosis-like syndrome,
in which they experience depression,
lethargy and an inability to concentrate.
Dr. Gary Holmes, epidemiologist with
the CDC, said he had not seen Greenspan's research, "but if she's got something that controls EBV, she's really
got something." He added, however,
that acyclovir, a drug related to desiclovir, has been shown to be ineffective
in controlling EBV.
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