Candace Y.A. Montague
D.C. HIV/AIDS Examiner
Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive: On the Van -- Part One
December 27, 2010
This article is a three part journal entry of sorts. A first hand glimpse at how a small-scale organization called HIPS (Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive) goes out into the red light district of DC after hours and distributes the tools that sex workers need to stay safe and stop the spread of HIV. The van goes out on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 11 pm until 5 am.
Three Reasons Why Criminalizing HIV Is So Wrong
December 19, 2010
Ok. So there's been a lot of talk about the criminalization of HIV lately and this article is a late addition to the debate. For those who are not aware of what criminalizing HIV means, here's a simple explanation. It means that when people who are HIV positive perform an unprotected sex act, or try to expose another person to the virus by biting, spitting or purposely cutting themselves, they should be given the harshest punishment by law. For some, this seems reasonable given the fact that the person has a potentially deadly and incurable disease. However, activists and advocates in the AIDS education field feel that this is over the top and completely unnecessary. The Positive Justice Project summed it up best by stating, "The use of criminal law as a way to stop or slow HIV transmission invariably is ineffective. The reasons why individuals take risks with their health, and how they assess risk, are many and complex. Arresting and prosecuting people with HIV for consensual sexual relationships or no-risk conduct, such as spitting, does nothing to take these reasons into account, or to assess risks based on the specific circumstances of the case at hand, such as viral load or even basic issues of intent or mutual responsibility."
Tentative HIV "Cure" Presents a Guarded Sense of Hope
December 15, 2010
On the heels of two major medical breakthroughs in HIV research this year (vaginal gel Tenofovir and the antiretroviral Truvada pill) comes a third development. Scientists in Germany have declared that they have found a potential cure for HIV and leukemia simultaneously. The announcement, originally published in a peer-reviewed journal called Blood, broke yesterday. In the journal, doctors in Berlin say they have found an agressive yet effective treatment that would restore a patient's T-cell count to one that would equal a person who is HIV negative. American scientists, while pleased, are very cautious about celebrating the news just yet.
HIV-Positive Adult Film Star's Identity Revealed
December 8, 2010
Derrick Burts, aka Patient Zeta, regrets not demanding condoms. Photo: LA Times.com.
A Look in the Rearview Mirror: Washington, D.C., and HIV/AIDS in 2010
December 6, 2010
As an action-packed year for the HIV/AIDS community draws to a close, TheBody.com takes stock of 2010 in a new series of articles, "HIV/AIDS Year in Review: Looking Back on 2010 (and Ahead to 2011)." Read the entire series here.
Prayer Breakfast Urges Participants to Combat HIV
December 5, 2010
The Community Church of Washington DC recognized World AIDS Day with a prayer breakfast on Saturday morning. The breakfast, held at Howard University's School of Divinity, was a collaborative effort between Beloved Community Church, Bethel Christian Church of DC, City of Refuge DC, Covenant Baptist-UCC Conversation Center, Inner Light Ministry and Isreal Baptist Church to keep the faith community involved in fighting HIV. The breakfast offered songs, testimonials, scriptures and liturgical dance to create an atmosphere of hope and strength among those who are infected and affected by HIV. Community Church of Washington is a newly established church headed by Reverend Aaron Wade.
Home Is Life Rally Leaves a Message at the Wilson Building
November 30, 2010
Undeterred by rain and a possible tornado, DC Fights Back and other AIDS activists took to Freedom Plaza Wednesday in a rally to remind Mayor-Elect Gray to keep to his promise and implement a solid, comprehensive strategy to address AIDS and to solve the reprehensible housing crisis in the District.
Can Talking Defeat AIDS? The International Conference on Stigma Says "Yes"
November 30, 2010
Would you rather die than know your HIV status? Some people say 'yes'. That answer is generally brought on by one word: stigma. At Howard University's Cramton Auditorium on Wednesday, AIDS experts, advocates and health educators examined stigma at the first International Conference on Stigma. The conference was sponsored by Howard University Hospital, Howard University's Health Sciences, and the Coalition to End AIDS-related Stigma. Speakers included Dr. Sohail Rana, an HIV/AIDS specialist with Department of Pediatrics, Howard University College of Medicine, U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) Gregorio Millet of the White House Office on National AIDS Policy and Miss America Caressa Cameron. The day long conference was designed to address the stigma that fuels poor responses towards AIDS.
Hold the Celebrations: Antiretroviral Drugs Not Promised to Prevent HIV
November 28, 2010
The news broke last week about the drug called Truvada, a blue pill that is a combination of two antiretroviral drugs, having shown to be effective in preventing the spread of HIV among men who have sex with men. It was presented in the New England Journal of Medicine and announced by the National Institutes of Health. The study found that if the pill is taken consistently (meaning 90% of the time) it can be up to 73% effective in the reduction in new HIV infections. This is the first medical breakthrough since the announcement of the vaginal gel Tenofovir at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna this summer. The Washington Post quoted Mitchell Warren, director of the AIDS advocacy group AVAC, as saying "This is a great day in the fight against AIDS. It's a result that requires immediate action." Before Mr. Warren runs amuck let's think about a couple of items.
Condoms Are Tolerable With the Pope but Fine With Local Clergy
November 23, 2010
Recently, HAHSTA hosted a One in the Spirit Symposium where local church leaders came together to discuss AIDS, stigma and sexuality in the church. Many of the leaders in attendance expressed sincere concern about the spread of the virus and stressed the importance of discussing it within the church. Condoms were also discussed as a means of preventing the virus. The key to getting more clergy members on board with condoms is first talking about sexuality (including homosexuality) among youth, adults, and even seniors in the church. Condom use is just one aspect of the discussion that needs to occur sooner rather than later.
D.C. HIV/AIDS Examiner
Candace Y.A. Montague
Candace Y.A. Montague has been learning about HIV since 1988 (and she has the certificates from the American Red Cross to prove it). Health is a high priority to Candace because she believes that nothing can come of your life if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it. One of her two master's degrees is in Community Health Promotion and Education. Candace was inspired to act against HIV after seeing a documentary in 2008 about African-American women and HIV. She knew that writing was the best way for her to make a difference and help inform others. Candace is a native Washingtonian and covers HIV news all around D.C. She has covered fundraisers, motorcycle rides, town hall meetings, house balls, Capitol Hill press conferences, election campaigns and protests for The DC Examiner.com and emPower News Magazine.
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April 18, 2014 - Three Things You Still Need to Know About Sexually Transmitted Diseases: A Blog Entry by Candace Y.A. Montague
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December 6, 2013 - Three Ways Nelson Mandela Fought AIDS: A Blog Entry by Candace Y.A. Montague
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