Health messages can sometimes fall on deaf ears. But when an artist sends the message, it can add some serious bump to it and makes a better impression on an audience. At a recent event at The Park on Fourteenth, Grammy-nominated R&B artist Luke James performed songs about love. The event was a fundraiser for the Reed For Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises funds for HIV/AIDS awareness. RFHF teamed up with OraSure Technologies to present selected events that spotlight the importance of knowing your HIV status and getting tested. When it was time to host an event in DC, RFHF founder and CEO Robi Reed tapped Mr. James to come perform some of his hits. After his performance, Luke humbly answered questions about health and HIV among young people in an exclusive interview.
April is Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness month. Many awareness months come and go but this one is particularly interesting because even though most sexually transmitted diseases aren't fatal they tend to add a cloud over the heads of many people due to stigma and ignorance. You don't have to contract one. But if you do, life can still be good. Here are three things you need to know.
Mitchell Kapor once said "Getting information off the Internet is like drinking from a fire hydrant." When you want to know more about a topic, there are so many user-friendly options. There was a time when sexually transmitted diseases were mysterious to the general public. People would discover something unusual on their body, get a diagnosis and medication from a physician, and then go home with just a pamphlet or two about their "disease." There wasn't much concern about whether or not the patient had follow up questions or wanted to talk to someone who had been through the same experience. Most of all, their diagnosis was kept uber quiet for fear of isolation.
Safer sex is everything. It really is. And in the age where people are unknowingly being infected with STDs and HIV, safer sex is the only thing. To prove my point I have enlisted the help of a "sexpert" to explain how safer sex eases the mind and makes intimacy ten times more fun. Enter Dr. Rachael Ross. I call her Ross the Sex Boss in my mind because of her no holds barred, Sistah girl delivery of sexual health education. She's very blunt and direct and that's just what you need in health education. You may have seen her on the television show The Doctors giving advice about a number of health topics (she has a medical degree from Meharry Medical College). She is also a frequent panelist for the Ora Quick "Life. As We Know It" discussion series. Now she is giving advice on this Examiner's page about how to think differently about sex, protection, and how to make life more interesting in the bedroom.
So you hear health experts say all the time that knowing your status and disclosure are a few of the best ways to help stop the spread of HIV and other STDs. OK. You get that. What they don't address is how to overcome challenges that may come with having "the talk" with partners.
Did you know that Nelson Mandela was, at first, very quiet about AIDS? Yes, Nelson Mandela. The same man who spent 27 years in prison for essentially fighting for justice for the oppressed. But he turned things around as great leaders are known to do. He became a well-known advocate for AIDS causes. Today, as we mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela, the uber advocate, this Examiner reflects on three major ways he waged an international war against AIDS.
Basketball legend and entrepreneur Earvin "Magic" Johnson collaborated with OraSure Technologies and the Reed For Hope Foundation on Tuesday to present "life. as we know it," a forum about HIV and healthy relationships within the African-American community. The panelists included Magic Johnson, reality television star Lala Anthony, author Demetria Lucas, Reverend Touré Roberts from One Church in Los Angeles, and sexologist Rachael Ross, M.D.. The lively and colorful dialog took place at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York (yes I know this is a D.C. blog. Stay with me on this one). While discussions happen all the time and all over the place, there where four notable points that were brought to the forefront. I call these the takeaways.
A new web portal has just launched to help people with HIV navigate through the new healthcare law. Obamacare and You is an on-line resource dedicated to the specific needs of people with HIV and AIDS looking for health care coverage. Supported by Gilead Sciences, Inc., the site is presented as a part of the Greater Than AIDS initiative in conjunction with Kaiser Family Foundation and the Black AIDS Institute.
So Michael Douglas got throat cancer from performing oral sex. Or not. Or maybe. It's debateable right now. The first report revealed that his battle with throat cancer nearly three years ago spurred from possible exposure to human papilloma virus (HPV). He stated in an interview with the Guardian that oral sex caused throat cancer. More recent reports claim that the 68 year-old actor did not say that oral sex caused his cancer specifically but was a potential cause of it. Semantics aside, the mere mention of HPV, cancer, and a famous movie star in the same sentence causesthe media circuit to light up and presents a time for a teachable moment. Now before everyone freaks out and temporarily swears off oral sex, let's examine what HPV is and how it relates to throat cancer.
Where do I begin? I have had many chats with my girlfriends, fellow advocates and the Lord before I decided exactly what I wanted to say about Tyler Perry's Temptation. I am not a movie reviewer so I will not comment on the cinematography side of this film. I know what I like as a movie-goer and as an HIV advocate so that is what I zero in on when watching cinema. This movie was not a good look from my perspective. Aside from a bad script, choppy pacing, weak story line and a sucky ending I found this movie to be an insult to those of us who are fighting to be an AIDS free generation. I'm not sure what Tyler's intentions were with this film but I wish he would consult someone before going to print.