Johns Hopkins Gazette: September 25, 1995


Medical News

Care, not social factors, 
key to AIDS survival

     Access to good medical care is more important than sex,
race, injection-drug use or socioeconomic status in determining
how soon individuals infected with HIV will develop AIDS, and how
long they will survive, according to a Hopkins study.

     The finding contradicts several previous studies suggesting
that demographic factors, such as sex and race, may determine how
well a person responds to treatment for HIV infection or AIDS.
The results were published in the Sept. 21 issue of "The New
England Journal of Medicine." 

     The study, directed by Richard E. Chaisson, associate
professor of medicine and director of the Hopkins AIDS Service,
found that regardless of demographic factors, patients were more
likely to die if the level of immune system cells called CD4
lymphocytes was below 200 (the normal level is about 1,000) or if
they had symptoms of AIDS at the beginning of the study. 
People who took AZT or received preventive therapy for
Pneumocystis pneumonia, a disease that commonly strikes people
with AIDS, tended to live longer than those who did not receive
such treatment.

     However, those patients who had already taken AZT before
they enrolled in the Hopkins clinic did not survive as long as
those who began the drug after enrolling in the study. 

     "This difference reflects the fact that AZT's beneficial
effect is time-limited," said Chaisson. "AZT benefits patients
only for a year or two. Patients who had begun taking AZT before
they entered our study had already enjoyed the benefits of the
drug for some time. Those who began AZT therapy at the start of
our study had more time during the study to benefit from the
drug," he said.

Home HIV test found      
to be reliable, effective

     Hopkins researchers have shown that a home test kit for HIV
infection that requires individuals to obtain a small sample of
their own blood is accurate and reliable. 

     "Our findings are important," said Judith Feinberg,
associate professor of medicine, because the future availability
of such a kit may provide privacy to people who might otherwise
not get themselves tested. And availability of the home test kit
may encourage people who have limited access to health care to be
tested," she said.  

     In order to provide a sample for the home test, called a
dried blood spot test, individuals pricked a fingertip with a
sterile lancet and put a drop of blood on a small piece of
blotting paper. The kit was then sent by mail to a laboratory to
test for evidence of HIV. Eighty-five percent of the blood spots
were adequate to provide a test result.

Other News

ERC expands hours 
at Eisenhower Library

     The Electronic Resources Center, located on the A-Level of
the Milton S. Eisenhower Library on the Homewood campus, has
expanded its hours and services. The center now will be open from
9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on
Fridays, 1 to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on

     The ERC offers primary access to full-text and image data
bases in philosophy, literature, drama, classics, history,
contemporary culture and art, as well as to bibliographic data
bases in science and the social sciences that are available on
the library network. Telnet access to sites on the World Wide Web
is also available; however, the ERC cannot be used for word
processing or e-mail.

HAC, MSEL sponsoring 
Internet Fair in October

     The Milton S. Eisenhower Library and Homewood Academic
Computing are sponsoring an Internet/Information Fair, 10 a.m. to
4 p.m., Oct. 3 to 5 in the library's Electronic Resources Center. 
Those attending can learn how to surf the Internet for a wide
range of interesting and usable Web sites, how to set up an
Internet account, how to FTP, how to use EndNote (a personal
information management system) and how to access data bases both
on the Internet and in the library.

     Computing specialists for various academic disciplines will
join resource services librarians to walk participants through
the electronic offerings and to answer questions. There is no
cost to attend, and no appointment is necessary. For more
information, call Karla Pearce at (410) 516-4153.

Women's Board to hold 
31st Best Dressed Sale 

     A Hopkins tradition for 31 years, the Best Dressed Sale and
Boutique fund-raising event will be held this year from 9 a.m. to
7 p.m. on Sept. 28 and 29 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 30
at the Evergreen Carriage House, 4545 N. Charles St. Surprise
specials will be held on the first two days, and everything will
be half-price on the last day.

     The sale, sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Women's Board,
features "gently used" clothing and accessories for women, men
and children including furs, evening gowns, tuxedos, suits,
sports coats, ties, shoes, casual wear, lingerie and maternity

     "Imagine buying Chanels, Louis Ferrauds, Ungaros, Escadas
and Fabrakants at a fraction of their original price," said the
sale's co-chair, Mary J. Moses. "It's a shopper's delight."
The Hopkins Women's Board holds a wide range of events throughout
the year, raising money for patient-care programs at the
hospital. Last year's sale raised $115,000. The board has pledged
$1 million to the new cancer center.  

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