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HIV/AIDS Lipoatrophy: Procedures Better Than Badge of Courage

by Bradford Mcintyre

June 22, 2005

     Lipoatrophy, or what is commonly referred to as facial wasting, has been reported in individuals who are not taking HIV/AIDS medications , but up to 80% of people on antiretroviral combination therapies are developing it- p rompting science, medical, pharmaceutical and individuals infected with HIV to find solutions.

Today there are many types of injectables (facial fillers) for facial reconstruction procedures used to address lipoatrophy. Individuals with facial wasting often become socially withdrawn due to stigma and discrimination. Because of their appearance many suffer from anxiety and depression - affecting adherence to treatment! Many voice being treated as though they were sick or worse, treated as though they were drug addicts or street people.

In the fall of 2004,  Health Canada approved Bio-Alcamid (a synthetic gel made up of 96% water and 4% synthetic reticulate polymer) on a patient by patient basis. A subsidy programme is now available through the Face Forward Foundation (www.faceforward.ca) in Toronto .

At the 14th Annual Canadian AIDS Conference on Research, May 14-15, 2005, held at the Hyatt Hotel here in Vancouver, the seriousness of facial wasing was highlighted by reseachers, studies, poster presentations and exhibitors.

Individuals suffering with facial wasting need understanding, support and procedures covered under health care. Not a badge of courage!

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