June 7, 2011
Here is a quick look at a few HIV/AIDS stories recently reported in the media:
In the June 3 edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers suggested all sexually active MSM might warrant HIV testing every three to six months as opposed to prior recommendations that recommended testing once a year for sexually active low-risk MSM.
The researchers examined HIV prevalence and risk behavior in more than 7000 gay men who believed that they were HIV negative. Researchers found that 9 percent of those men were actually HIV positive, and among those who tested positive, there was no difference in HIV prevalence rates among high-risk and low-risk MSM.
High-risk behavior is identified as having multiple sex partners, or engaging in unprotected sex, as well as use of methamphetamines or other drugs during sex.
Researchers wrote that "self-reported risk behaviors might not determine which MSM should be tested more frequently ... more frequent testing, perhaps as often as every 3 to 6 months, might be warranted among all sexually active MSM, regardless of their risk behaviors."
U.S. Government Offers Expanded HIV/AIDS Funds to States (From Internal Medicine News)
On June 6, the federal government announced a series of initiatives designed to help states pay for better-coordinated care for HIV/AIDS patients, including expanded testing and antiretroviral medications.
During this briefing, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), claimed that the CDC is taking a close look at the resources it devotes to HIV/AIDS and restructuring how that money is spent. He and other advocates stated that they plan on making more funds available to states to expand access to testing, especially for MSM; redirecting funds to help providers link HIV-positive patients to care and to help keep them in care; adding more money to ADAP; and giving states more flexibility to care for people living with HIV/AIDS who are on Medicaid.
The Smithsonian Chronicles Early Years of AIDS (From The Washington Post)
One June 3, the National Museum of American History, an extension of the historic Smithsonian museum, opened a special exhibit for the 30th anniversary of HIV/AIDS.
The exhibit, "HIV and AIDS 30 Years Ago," boasts collected items from three decades that represent different facets of the epidemic. Items include a mailbox-like receptacle for needles; education panels that Planned Parenthood used for lectures in schools; anti-gay articles that called AIDS a "gay plague"; interview tapes and photographs; movie posters from AIDS-related films such as Long Time Companion and Philadelphia; and even a videotaped discussion between basketball star Magic Johnson and television host Arsenio Hall.
"The 30th anniversary is resonating more because we are two generations later. And in HIV years, that's five generations," said Katherine Ott, a curator with the museum's science and medicine division, who has been collecting items since the beginning of the epidemic.
How to Talk to Your Partner About HIV and STDs (From The Huffington Post)
Safer Sex: Study Examines Sexual Communication in Transgender Community (From EurekaAlert!)
Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
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