WASHINGTON

Obama vows to help states buy needy patients AIDS drugs

President Obama told activists, patients, scientists and business leaders gathered Thursday to mark World AIDS Day that his administration will do more to get life-extending antiretroviral drugs for those infected with HIV, both in the United States and in low-income countries.

The administration will provide an additional $35 million to states to help them buy AIDS drugs for people who can’t afford them and $15 million to clinics that care for those patients, the president said in a speech at George Washington University.

About 6,600 low-income HIV-positive people are on drug waiting lists in 12 states. The new money would pay for medication for about 3,000 people. The cost of medicine for people using state-sponsored AIDS drug assistance programs was $11,388 per person last year.

MANCHESTER, N.H.

Cain claims he gave woman money but didn’t have affair

Herman Cain said Thursday that he was helping Ginger White with her “month-to-month bills and expenses” and that his wife did not know about the payments or the friendship with the woman, who has alleged that the two had an extramarital affair.

In an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader, Cain, a Republican presidential hopeful, repeated his assertion that his relationship with White was platonic, despite the Atlanta businesswoman’s claim this week that she had a 13-year affair with him.

Cain said White reached out to him this fall, sending him about 70 text messages from Oct. 22 through Nov. 18 asking for financial assistance.

“She was out of work and had trouble paying her bills and I had known her as a friend,” Cain told the newspaper. “She wasn’t the only friend who I had helped in these tough economic times, and so her messages to me were relating to ‘need money for rent’ or whatever the case may be. I don’t remember all the specifics.”

SAN FRANCISCO

Bone marrow donors who use new procedure can be paid

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that most bone marrow donors can be paid, overturning the government’s interpretation of a decades-old law making such compensation a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

In its ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a technological breakthrough makes donating bone marrow a process nearly identical to giving blood plasma. It’s legal — and common — to pay plasma donors. Therefore, the court ruled, bone marrow donors undergoing the new procedure can be paid as well and are exempt from a law making it a felony to sell human organs for transplants.

The unanimous, three-judge panel of the court did say it remains a felony to compensate donors for undergoing an older transplant method, which extracts the marrow from the donors’ bones.

WASHINGTON

Sugar content, not arsenic, makes apple juice unhealthy

It’s true: Apple juice can pose a risk to your health. But not necessarily from the trace amounts of arsenic that people are arguing about.

Despite the government’s consideration of new limits on arsenic, nutrition experts say apple juice’s real danger is to waistlines and children’s teeth. Apple juice has few natural nutrients, lots of calories and, in some cases, more sugar than soda. It trains a child to like very sweet things, displaces better beverages and foods and adds to the obesity problem, its critics say.

“It’s like sugar water,” said Judith Stern, a nutrition professor at the University of California, Davis.

Many juices are fortified with vitamins, so they’re not just empty calories. But that doesn’t appease some nutritionists.

“If it wasn’t healthy in the first place, adding vitamins doesn’t make it into a health food,” said Karen Ansel, a dietitian in New York and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

— From news service reports