Positive Pinoy: my personal journey with HIV.

I was diagnosed last March 29, 2012 in a time that I was supposed to leave the country in a couple more weeks. I had my medical exam, and the result returned POSITIVE. From then on, my journey with HIV began.

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What's New?: gateway to useful links on local and international news and updates about HIV.

A summary collection of medical articles, research news, and science breakthroughs on HIV/AIDS, STIs, and other related diseases.

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HIV 101: Basic information for the newly-diagnosed.

Understand the basics, know the facts, and take care of yourself. This section contains basic information about HIV/AIDS.

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Social Media: going viral against HIV/AIDS and other STIs.

The entrance of social media in spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS has gone viral. Famous personalities and the common man alike showed their support not just to HIV education but also with regards to the lives and struggles of the LGBT community.

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Health Events: listing of wellness and advocacy events for HIV-positive individuals and friends.

This section contains a summary listing of knowledge-sharing events on HIV, mass HIV testing, and other wellness events that will strengthen the overall health of HIV-positive individuals.

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51) Inactive HIV may provide HIV patients with immune protection, according to study (GMA News)

A group of researchers from Spain, France and the United States has found a way to offer some protection against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): with inactivated HIV.

The study, led by Dr. Felipe Garcia of the University of Barcelona, showed that patients vaccinated with heat-inactivated HIV may not need to take medication for a few weeks or months.

Science News reported that disabled HIV "can awaken immune protection in some patients."

The study, published Jan. 2 in the journal Science Translational Medicine, said, "Inducing HIV-1–specific immune responses with a therapeutic immunization has been proposed to control viral replication after discontinuation of Combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) as an alternative to "cART for life."

Combination antiretroviral therapy entails taking two or more drugs to prevent the replication of retroviruses like HIV.

In the study, scientists and medical researchers took blood samples from 36 patients. They extracted each person's HIV and took samples of dendritic cells—immune system cells.

The researchers blasted the HIV from 22 randomly selected patients with heat to inactivate it. Later on, the patients received a vaccine from their own dendritic cells and inactivated HIV.

Within 12 weeks, virus levels went down by at least 90 percent in 12 of the 22 patients, Science News reported.

But most of the treated patients lost their immunity to HIV over time and their virus levels rose once more.

Science News also reported that after 11 months, only three of the recipients of the vaccine maintained the 90 percent drop in virus levels.

The volunteers of the study have been taking standard antiretroviral therapy before the trials started.

"It is likely that the person’s immune system is already damaged, and so they cannot mount a sufficiently efficient functional antiviral response [to a vaccine]," Science News quoted Statens Serm Institute in Copenhagen physician Anders Fomsgaard as saying.

"It may be more optimal to vaccinate during antiretroviral therapy," he also said.

Fomsgaard recognizes the potential for development of the new study.

Meanwhile, Garcia said that even if their study failed in knocking down HIV  completely, it "would still be beneficial if it proves to be long-lasting."

related study, published in 2010, showed that the "elite controllers"—one percent of the HIV-positive population who do not develop AIDS symptoms—could be the key to eradicating HIV.

Shaira Panela/BM, GMA News