Archive for the ‘HIV/AIDS’ Category

Tuesday, September 18, is the fifth annual National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAAD). Led by The AIDS Institute and other national partners, NHAAAD focuses attention on the needs of people ages 50 and older living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS, from prevention and testing to treatment and care. Related events will take place nationwide to promote this awareness day.

For more information,CLICK HERE

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On Thursday, the Milton Hershey School agreed to pay a 14-year-old Philadelphia boy and his mother $700,000 to settle their federal lawsuit against the Derry Twp.-based boarding school, which had initially refused him enrollment because he’s HIV-positive.

“I thought we had moved beyond this with the amount of education people have received regarding HIV and AIDS and how it’s contracted and transmitted to others,”


To read full article CLICK HERE

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High Viral Loads Linked to HIV Risk Among Black MSM

The high HIV incidence among black men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States may be explained, at least in part, by the finding that HIV-negative black MSM, compared with white MSM, are more than twice as likely to encounter a sex partner who can transmit HIV if safer sex practices are not followed.

The incidence and prevalence of HIV among black MSM, particularly young black MSM, continue to be disproportionately high compared with those among MSM of other races or ethnicities. Yet in studies, black MSM consistently report the same or lower levels of sexual- or drug-using risk behaviors as other MSM.

The researchers created a tool—transmission potential prevalence, or TPP—to calculate how many black and white MSM participating in the study were both HIV positive and had viral loads high enough to pass it on to others.

HIV prevalence was 42 percent in the black group compared with 14 percent among the white MSM.

Incidence (new HIV cases) in the study was found to be 6.4 cases per 100 person-years among those in the black MSM group, compared with 1 case per 100 person-years in the white MSM group. “In other words, if we had 100 HIV-negative black MSM, one year later we would see six cases develop, while among 100 white [MSM] we would see one case develop over the course of a year.”

By expanding the parameters to include everyone—undiagnosed as well as diagnosed—the researchers found 25 percent of the black MSM were both HIV positive and had viral loads above 400, as compared with 8 percent among the white participants.

Translating these data into the probability of encountering a sex partner who is capable of transmitting HIV, the study found that black MSM faced a 39 percent chance that at least one partner has transmission potential, compared to 18 percent among white men at the same risk behavior level.
Rosenberg explained what this means: “To have a 50 percent chance of acquiring HIV, a black MSM needs just three partners, compared to seven for white MSM. To reach a 90 percent risk of HIV, a black man would need 10 partners, compared to 25 for white MSM.”

The researchers conclude that HIV prevention approaches that rely solely on changing risk behavior will not work to eliminate racial disparities.

They recommend that new resources aimed at preventing transmission be focused on communities with a high TPP, and that viral load measurements be incorporated into HIV surveillance measures in a manner that accounts for TPP.

To read full article CLICK HERE

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“the AIDS epidemic in Washington, D.C., is worse than the AIDS epidemic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti,” said Phill Wilson, president of the Black AIDS Institute.

Wilson noted that the proportion of Washington’s population living with HIV/AIDS is almost 3 percent, markedly higher than the 0.4 percent for the U.S. as a whole. The World Health Organization considers a 1 percent prevalence to be a “severe and generalized epidemic.”

But it gets worse.

  • Among blacks in D.C., the rate is 4.3 percent, while among black men,    it is 6.3 percent — about one in 16.
  • The D.C. Department of Health estimates that 20 percent to 40 percent of residents infected with HIV don’t know it yet.
  • Among the 4,879 patients diagnosed with HIV from 2005 through 2009, just a little over one in four (1,391) had the virus under control and fewer than half stayed in continuous care (2,163).

In Washington, men who have sex with men accounted for 40.5 percent of HIV infections in 2010. By comparison, heterosexual contact was responsible for 28 percent of infections, and injection drug use caused 15.1 percent.

But good news is found in the following numbers:

  • Newly diagnosed HIV cases in the region declined from 1,103 cases in    2006 to 853 cases in 2009, and again to 835 in 2010.
  • New AIDS cases fell 32 percent from 700 in 2006 to 477 in    2010.
  • Deaths among HIV patients dropped roughly in half from 2006 —    with 399 deaths — to 2010 — with 207.
  • Publicly supported HIV tests in the District of Columbia have nearly    tripled since 2007 — from 43,000 to 122,000 in 2011.

The shifts came as a result of a partnership between the D.C. Department of Health, the National Institutes of Health, and a number of research universities, including George Washington University,

The district didn’t have the money, the resources, or the research required to tackle the epidemic levels of HIV that engulfed the region before 2006, Young added.

To read full article CLICK HERE

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Truvada as the first prescription drug—to be used daily and in conjunction with condoms and other safer-sex measures—to prevent HIV among those at high risk for the infection.

Truvada’s approval as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was announced via statements from both the FDA and Truvada’s manufacturer, Gilead Sciences.

“As part of PrEP, HIV-uninfected individuals who are at high risk will need to take Truvada daily to lower their chances of becoming infected with HIV should they be exposed to the virus,” the FDA said.

“Truvada for PrEP is meant to be used as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention plan that includes risk reduction counseling consistent and correct condom use, regular HIV testing, and screening for and treatment of other sexually-transmitted infections.

Truvada is not a substitute for safer sex practices.”

To read the full article CLICK HERE

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Miami-Dade County is the epicenter of new HIV/AIDS cases being reported

Miami-Dade County (M-DC) currently ranks number one in the U.S. in the number of new AIDS cases.

Not far behind is Broward County that recently posted the second highest number of new AIDS cases in the country.

Blacks should be even more concerned given the newest data. While they make up 20 percent of the population in M-DC, they account for 51.5 percent of AIDS cases;

In Broward, Blacks are 25 percent of the population but 57.6 percent of the AIDS cumulative cases.

Palm Beach County ranks sixth. The numbers suggest that Blacks are in a state of crisis.

Magic Johnson who was in Miami to announce a new collaborative effort aimed at providing high quality medical services to the growing HIV/AIDS population in South Florida, many of whom are Blacks stated  “We need to educate the urban areas and underserved communities about HIV/AIDS, get them tested, get them to come back for their results, get them on a treatment program and then make sure they stay on the program and are compliant. This is all about people. I’m raring to go.”

Johnson, 53, tested positive for HIV 20 years ago and stunned the world with his early retirement from the L.A. Lakers. Today, under medical supervision, he is healthy, managing his HIV with a daily regimen of drugs and exercise. And he’s become a leading advocate for worldwide HIV awareness and testing.

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On Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm, PBS will air a new Frontline documentary;

“Endgame: AIDS in Black America,

which explores why the HIV epidemic is so much more prevalent in the African-American community than among whites.









Every 10 minutes, someone in the U.S. contracts HIV. Half are black. Thirty years after the discovery of the AIDS virus among gay white men, nearly half of the 1 million people in the United States infected with HIV are black men, women and children. “If black America was a country unto itself, it would have the 16th worst epidemic in the world,” says Phill Wilson, head of the Black AIDS Institute.   Nearly half of the 1 million people in the United States infected with HIV are black men, women and children; even though blacks make up just 12.6 percent of the population.

A FRONTLINE special presentation, ENDGAME: AIDS in Black America, is a groundbreaking two-hour exploration of one of the country’s most urgent, preventable health crises. The film traces the history of the epidemic through the experiences of extraordinary individuals who tell their stories: people like Nel, a 63-year-old grandmother who married a deacon in her church and later found an HIV diagnosis tucked into his Bible; Tom and Keith, survivors who were children born with the virus in the early 1990s; and Jovanté, a high school football player who didn’t realize what HIV meant until it was too late. From Magic Johnson to civil rights pioneer Julian Bond, from pastors to health workers, people on the front lines tell moving stories of the battle to contain the spread of the virus, and the opportunity to finally turn the tide of the epidemic.

The film is produced, written, and directed by Renata Simone, whose series, “The Age of AIDS” appeared on Frontline in 2006.  Dr. Marsha Martin, who has worked with the BCHD HIV Prevention Program appears in the documentary

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HIV in the South

From slavery to segregation to HIV, the Southern United States sadly has traded one societal ill for another. The documentary Deep South sheds new light on why the region has not overcome its struggle to break free of AIDS.

Deep South

Biagiotti’s film focuses on the American South—where HIV prevalence in some places is comparable to that in sub-Saharan Africa. As the AIDS world convenes in Washington, DC, this summer for the XIX International AIDS Conference, conversations about how we better battle AIDS in the Southern United States will undoubtedly be informed by how we are doing so abroad, in the Global South.
Though the regions are oceans apart, they share much in common. People in both places face deep-rooted issues like poverty, racism and homophobia. In both places, there are also practical and logistical challenges such as a lack of health care infrastructure, limited funds for medicine and the vast distances people must travel for services, as well as the more immediate needs of food, shelter and personal safety from violence at home or in one’s community.
Although only 36 percent of the U.S. population lives in the South, about half of all people living with HIV/AIDS in the country live there. Of the 17 states considered “Southern” by the U.S. Census Bureau, 13 of them have poverty rates of 16 percent or more. In Mississippi, the poorest of the poor states, the poverty rate rises to 21 percent.
In the film, Kathie Hiers, CEO of AIDS Alabama, best sums up the facts: “[In the United States, the South has] the most people living with HIV/AIDS, the most poverty, the most sexually transmitted infections, the most people without health insurance, the most vulnerable populations, the fastest growing epidemic, the least access to health care, the highest mortality rates and the least resources to deal with this crisis.”
By making a film about the known drivers of the U.S. epidemic, Biagiotti helps us to have a deeper understanding of how those drivers intersect, why they persist and what can be done to overcome them.
How do you tell a story about an invisible population? How do you tell a story that no one really wants you to tell? [Sentiments such as] “Here’s another Northerner coming down and exposing us” were definite challenges.
The film follows three story lines broken up by mini stories that look at broader political, social issues in the South.
One of the main subjects is a young gay black man named Josh. He is 24 years old. He leaves the isolation of his traditional home in the Mississippi Delta to visit his “gay family” in Jackson for a barbecue. We meet his gay “father,” who’s not really his father but acts as a father figure, and all of his gay “brothers.”
Josh was at a crossroads in his life where he was wondering if he should finish school or move to the city. He felt really alone in his hometown. I found that a lot among young gay black men in the South.
Many of them experienced some sort of trauma that led to a period of sexual ambiguity that in turn led to HIV infection, attempted suicide and a life of isolation, except for those who had access to the cities. In the cities young gay men can connect with [others in] the gay community.

I thought the retreat would focus on drug regimens. It didn’t. It was more like the support groups we see in urban areas. They did a bunch of exercises and activities to break down the tension. By the end of the retreat, [most participants] got to the point where they felt it was OK to talk about HIV.
I documented how all of their friends and their sons helped out, whether cooking or setting up tables. For small agencies across the South, the funding isn’t there [to have large staffs].

A perfect storm of factors drive HIV in the South. You have a crumbling health system and a repressive society. In general, the South is not the healthiest place in the country, and HIV is just one of the many health issues affecting the region.

Couple that with a culture of denial where you can’t be gay, you can’t have HIV and you can’t go against this really rich and beautiful and complicated culture. In the end, if you can’t fit in, what you really have to do is leave. You have to leave for services, you have to leave to be who you are. But not everybody can leave.

Stigma also contributes. Although there may be a health clinic around the corner from you, if you don’t want people to see you go into that clinic you’re going to drive 70 miles away to go to the next one. It’s exhausting [and expensive].

I met an infectious disease doctor in Mississippi, and he said something that was really telling. He said when he started as an infectious disease doctor he never thought that prescribing the cocktail of drugs would be the easiest part of his job. He has to make sure that his patients show up for their appointments, that they are refrigerating their medicine and that they have electricity.
What did you learn making this film?  The South is a really interesting place. Southerners love family and community. Every time you show up, people are genuinely excited to see you again.
The American South is such a beautiful but fragile place. The people there are just slogging it out day in and day out. They’re doing the best that they can with limited resources. It’s inspiring.
If I were from the South and I was exposed to the environmental risks surrounding this disease there, I would be just like the people in the film. This disease shouldn’t be a matter of geography. But it is.
Across the South I saw small organizations resigned to the fact that they’ve always been poor, always had to do it themselves. [There is a sense of] “This is just how we live.” There’s a sense of real resignation across the South.
“The South does not have the activist movements like those in San Francisco and New York. We’re quieter, we’re polite, we’re not rude.” People are not screaming, not marching on Washington. They’re just making do, they’re just getting by because HIV is not their only problem.
“Am I going to be able to feed my kids?” “Is my job going to be there next week?” These are the kinds of things that people have on their minds.
To read full article: CLICK HERE

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WASHINGTON — More than 20,000 international HIV researchers and activists will gather in the nation’s capital later this month as the International AIDS Conference returns to the U.S. for the first time in 22 years.

An AIDS-free generation: It seems an audacious goal, considering how the HIV epidemic still is raging around the world.

“We want to make sure we don’t overpromise,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institutes of Health’s infectious disease chief, told The Associated Press. But, he said, “I think we are at a turning point.”

The big new focus is on trying to get more people with HIV treated early, when they’re first infected, instead of waiting until they’re weakened or sick, as the world largely has done until now. Staying healthier also makes them less likely to infect others.

That’s a tall order. But studies over the past two years have shown what Fauci calls “striking, sometimes breathtaking results,” in preventing people at high risk of HIV from getting it in some of the hardest-hit countries, using this treatment-as-prevention and some other protections.

In the U.S., part of that challenge is complacency. Despite 50,000 new HIV infections here every year, an AP poll finds that very few people in the United States worry about getting the virus.

About 34 million people worldwide have HIV, including almost 1.2 million Americans. It’s a very different epidemic from the last time the International AIDS Conference came to the United States, in 1990. Life-saving drugs emerged a few years later, turning HIV from a death sentence into a manageable chronic disease for people and countries that can afford the medications.

Yet for all the improvements in HIV treatment, the rate of new infections in the U.S. has held steady for about a decade. About 1 in 5 Americans with HIV don’t know they have it, more than 200,000 people who unwittingly can spread the virus.

Government figures show most new U.S. infections are among gay and bisexual men, followed by heterosexual black women. Of particular concern, African-Americans account for about 14 percent of the population but 44 percent of new HIV infections.

Your ZIP code plays a role in your risk, too. Twelve cities account for more than 40 percent of the nation’s AIDS cases: New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia, Houston, San Francisco, Baltimore, Dallas and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Testing is a key step in improving prevention. The AP-GfK poll found 57 percent of adults say they’ve been tested at some point, a bit higher than federal estimates, but not enough. The government recommends at least one test for adults, and that populations at higher risk get tested at least once a year.

Following those recommendations depends in part on people’s concern about AIDS. The poll found just over half of Americans consider HIV as much or more of a problem now than two decades ago. But less than 20 percent are worried about getting it themselves, and even populations at higher risk don’t consider HIV a big threat. Some 16 percent of black respondents said they’re very worried about HIV, compared with 4 percent of whites.

“We’ve become complacent about HIV in America, and it’s a real tragedy because hundreds of thousands of people in our own country aren’t getting the care they need,” said Chris Collins of amFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.

The drugs can cost up to $15,000 a year in the U.S., and overall treatment costs are rising as people with HIV live longer.

In developing countries, those drugs can cost less than $400 a year.

To read full story: CLICK HERE

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From article in POZ Magazine:  Click Here

Rapper will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas was interviewed in 2011 by Elle magazine.

He shares various quirks and pet peeves, but this one stands out:

The-Voice-UK-William-BBC.jpgELLE:  If you walked into a woman’s house, what one item would convince you that you weren’t compatible?
W:  If she had condoms in her house, that would just fuckin’ throw me off. That’s just tacky.
ELLE: Well, okay, I could see if she had a candy bowl full of them on the coffee table. But if she’s got a few in a drawer, wouldn’t that simply suggest she’s health-conscious?
W: I just think, like, if you’re into someone and you guys get to that level, then that’s something you should converse about together and say, “Hey, maybe we should get some.”

Did will.i.am just say that women need permission from men before they can have condoms?

Having condoms is healthy and sexy. Having condoms is not immoral.  Does having condoms mean you’re a slut?


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