ON THE PERSONAL SIDE
HIV-Positive Bikers Begin the Ultimate Trek
If you doubt an HIV-positive person's ability to stand up to the most grueling tests of a body's strength and endurance, then Team4HIVHope has something to show you. The group is in the midst of a 3,000-mile, 24-hour-a-day bicycle race across the U.S. -- and in this new blog at TheBody.com, you can follow and support the bikers' journey as they ride from California to Maryland this month, breaking down HIV stigma and advocating for expanded HIV treatment access as they go.
A Note on Pride From Brandon Lacy Campos: GP(oz)S
"I am not a perfect driver; I sometimes still make slight detours," Brandon Lacy Campos writes about how he has navigated the road to self-acceptance as a gay, HIV-positive man. "I signal before all turns, I consult my GPS, and I pay attention to the road signs." In this blog, Brandon talks about living with HIV for the past eight years and how much has changed in his life (good and bad) over that time.
River Huston: "When Will I Learn?"
River Huston is a rare breed: She likes to blend her HIV/sexual education with comedy (and vice versa). This combination doesn't always sit well with her audience -- as she learned once again at a recent "women empowerment evening." River writes, "I have been here before; but I am still shocked and amazed that the adults of the world feel that speaking positively, openly and with humor about how to protect yourself will permanently damage their offspring."
David Fawcett: Gay Pride Is an Inside Job
Therapist and longtime HIV survivor David Fawcett wasn't always as out and proud as he is nowadays. In college in the mid-'70s he sat, red-faced and closeted, through classes that taught homosexuality as a form of social deviance. A lot has changed since then. "That old internalized fear of being devastatingly flawed is gone," he writes. "Today, my gay pride is rooted in a balance of giving to our community and receiving the positive energy that comes back to me."
More Headlines From the Personal Side:
Chris (From Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) on "Baby I Was Born This Way, But Should it Matter?"
"Religion is a choice that is mostly taught. Jews tend to have Jewish children, Christians have Christian children because they are taught to be Christian, etc. etc. And people sometimes change (i.e., choose) religions. Yet human rights laws (in both Canada and the U.S.) have freedom of religion as one of the core concepts. Whether I can choose to be gay or not should be irrelevant to whether someone else can deny me of human rights. HUMAN rights -- not gay rights, or woman's rights, whatever!"
Read the rest of Chris's comment and join the discussion on this article!
HIV NEWS & VIEWS
LGBT Bullying, HIV and the "Don't Say Gay" Bill
Last month, the Journal of School Health published a study that linked LGBT bullying among adolescents with health risks later in life, including depression, suicide, and the acquisition of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. But despite studies like these, many parts of the U.S. still haven't gotten the message -- and in few places is that dissonance clearer than in the Tennessee State Senate.
Kevin Maloney: Don't You Forget About the ADAP Crisis
"As we are being told in numerous state- and nationally sponsored campaigns, 'Get tested, know your status,' we are also being told (if testing positive) that we cannot help you," blogger Kevin Maloney laments. In this blog entry, he urges us not to stay silent over the funding crisis within U.S. AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs): "Until there is a cure our government MUST not remain complacent and must make sure that EVERY American living with HIV/AIDS has access to lifesaving and life-sustaining medications that keep people alive and healthy."
Paul Kawata: What the Current U.S. HIV/AIDS Numbers Mean to HIV/AIDS Organizations
"Is the HIV/AIDS community ready for a potentially significant reallocation of resources? What do these numbers mean to your agency?" In his latest missive to HIV/AIDS service providers in the U.S., Paul Kawata, the executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council, continues his examination of how local organizations are likely to be impacted by major upcoming changes in HIV/AIDS funding.
More News & Views Headlines:
HIV and Heart Disease
Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death in HIV patients. Visit www.HIVandYourHeart.org to make changes to improve your heart health and overall wellness. You can live a longer, stronger life with HIV and keep your heart healthy, too. Did you know people living with HIV often share some common issues that affect cardiovascular health? They include higher triglyceride levels, not enough good cholesterol, chronic inflammation, smoking, atherosclerosis, kidney failure and diabetes.
HIV TREATMENT & HEALTH ISSUES
Maria T. Mejia: Keys to a Good Doctor/Patient Relationship (Video)
"It's like a marriage," Maria T. Mejia says. "If there is no communication or respect, there will be a divorce!" She's talking, of course, about the relationship between an HIV-positive person and his or her doctor. Because so much about health care comes down to blood tests and medications, it's easy to overlook how important it is that you educate yourself and have a doctor who treats you like a partner. But as Maria explains in this video blog, it's extremely important.
Tips and Facts on Becoming Pregnant When You're HIV Positive
Living with HIV and considering having a baby? "The good news is that advances in HIV treatment have also greatly lowered the chances that a mother will pass HIV on to her baby," The Well Project reports. Read this article to learn more about what to do before, during and after pregnancy to ensure the health of you, your partner and your baby-to-be.
This article is also available in Spanish!
More Headlines on HIV Treatment and Health Issues:
My Partner and I Have Undetectable Viral Loads. Can We Have Unprotected Sex?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)
"OK, so I'm about to start a relationship with a guy who is also HIV positive. He and I are both on meds, both undetectable. Do we still need to use protection during sex? What are the risks? I feel like this is a stupid question, but I really need to know."
Click here to join this discussion, or to start your own!
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HIV/STD TRANSMISSION & EDUCATION
Large Trial of Tenofovir Gel for Women Set to Begin in South Africa
A new clinical trial looking at the effectiveness of a tenofovir (Viread)-based gel among women to reduce the risk of HIV infection is set to begin in South Africa this summer. The study aims to confirm the findings of the landmark CAPRISA 004 trial, which two years ago found that such a gel, if used correctly and consistently, could reduce a woman's risk of HIV infection during unprotected sex by as much as 39 percent.
More HIV/STD Transmission & Education Headlines:
FEATURED ON THEBODYPRO.COM
What TheBody.com is to HIV-positive people, HIV-affected people, activists and the general public, TheBodyPRO.com is to HIV health care professionals. TheBodyPRO.com seeks to inform and educate doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, prevention/treatment educators, mental health professionals and others who work on the frontlines of the fight against HIV/AIDS. Here's a sampling of articles we've recently added to the site.
Do No Harm: Tips on Connecting With, and Helping, Drug-Using Patients or Clients
"If your patient population is anything like mine, then you see a lot of active drug users," writes Bethsheba Johnson, G.N.P.-B.C., A.A.H.I.V.S., a nurse practitioner and the former head of the Luck Care Center in Chicago, Ill. In this blog entry, Johnson recounts wise advice from a colleague on how to help people either stop using drugs or ensure their drug use harms their health (and others') as little as possible.
The Endangered Wonder of the Positive Living Conference
"Too often we allow ourselves to focus on the objective data of HIV: CD4 counts, viral loads and years since diagnosis," David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., writes. "Events such as Positive Living heal at a deeper, more subjective level." In this entry, he extols the virtues of the annual Positive Living conference -- a critical gathering of HIV-positive people and community members, but one whose existence may be in jeopardy.
HIV Epidemiology and Something Even Many Smart Medical Students Don't Know
If you ask a group of highly intelligent medical school students which group in the U.S. is experiencing the highest rise in its HIV infection rate, how many would know the answer is men who have sex with men? Not nearly as many as you might think, explains Paul Sax, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass.