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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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59) Another Reason Marijuana is Illegal: It Prevents the Spread of HIV



The overwhelming evidence of the curative powers of marijuana and cannabinoids leaves little doubt that the pharmaceutical industry is behind marijuana prohibition laws. The amount of research now validating the truly remarkable nature of this healing plant is simply enormous. According to new findings published in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers have now discovered that marijuana-like chemicals trigger receptors in on human immune cells that can directly inhibit a type of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) found in late-stage AIDS.

The U.S. Patent 6630507 was specifically initiated when researchers found that cannabinoids had specific antioxidant properties making them useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation-associated diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and HIV dementia.

The Netherlands became the world's first country to make cannabis available as a prescription drug in pharmacies to treat cancer, HIV, and multiple sclerosis patients.

Medical marijuana is prescribed to treat pain, debilitating weight loss, and appetite suppression, side effects that are common in advanced AIDS. This is the first study to reveal how the marijuana receptors found on immune cells --- called cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 --- can influence the spread of the virus. Understanding the effect of these receptors on the virus could help scientists develop new drugs to slow the progression of AIDS.

Unfortunately, the researchers will use the research on the effects of these receptors to develop new drugs to benefit the pharmaceutical industry.




Marijuana researcher and activist Jason Mihaldas says the studies finally justify what the pro-marijuana community has always know. "Decades of anecdotal and empirical evidence are now being validated by the scientific community, but it's unfortunate they are using this research for their own selfish motives --- to take marijuana from its raw medically effective form to one where it will be medically ineffective with processing agents, altering what it is designed to do... heal," proclaimed Mihaldas.

"We knew that cannabinoid drugs like marijuana can have a therapeutic effect in AIDS patients, but did not understand how they influence the spread of the virus itself," said study author Cristina Constantino, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "We wanted to explore cannabinoid receptors as a target for pharmaceutical interventions that treat the symptoms of late-stage AIDS and prevent further progression of the disease without the undesirable side effects of medical marijuana."

HIV infects active immune cells that carry the viral receptor CD4 which makes these cells unable to fight off the infection. In order to spread, the virus requires that "resting" immune cells be activated. In advanced AIDS, HIV mutates so it can infect these resting cells, gaining entry into the cell by using a signaling receptor called CXCR4. By treating the cells with a cannabinoid agonist that triggers CB2, Dr. Constantino and the Mount Sinai team found that CB2 blocked the signaling process, and suppressed infection in resting immune cells. 

The Mount Sinai team infected healthy immune cell with HIV, then treated them with a chemical that triggers CB2 called an agonist. They found that the drug reduced the infection of the remaining cells. 

Developing a drug that triggers only CB2 as an adjunctive treatment to standard antiviral medication may hellp alleviate the symptoms of late-stage AIDS and prevent the virus from spreading, said Dr. Constantino. Because HIV does not use CXCR4 to enhance immune cell infection in the early stages of infection, CB2 agonists appear to be an effective antiviral drug only in late-stage disease.

As a result of this discovery, the research team led by Benjamin Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases, and Lakshmi Devi, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, plans to develop a mouse model of late-stage AIDS in order to test the efficacy of a drug that triggers CB2 in vivo.

Now that the scientific evidence is being made public, a concerted effort must be made from all nations to end marijuana-prohibition laws . Holding or possessing a plant should never be a criminal offense and the origins and source for these laws are now coming to light.


Sources:
www.thehealthyarchive.info/2013/05/another-reason-marijuana-is-illegal-it.html 
May 4, 2013

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120320195252.htm
March 20, 2012