HIV News & Views, June 30, 2011
June 30, 2011
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Team4HIVHope Steven Berveling: "We Finished the Race Across America!"
"We took 6 days, 6 hours, 34 minutes to race from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md., a distance of 3,000 miles. ... I learnt the hard way that I could not ride for about 2-1/2 hours after taking my HIV tablets." Steven Berveling, one of four daring cyclists on Team4HIVHope, provides this entertaining recap of last week's Race Across America -- in which his team placed eighth out of 30!

handholding  "Am I Undatable Because I'm HIV+?"
"How do I deal with HIV stigma and dating without giving up hope?" asks a reader of the HIV/AIDS newsletter Being Alive. Relationship therapist Joe Kort, Ph.D., responds with practical advice and some tough love: "Using one's status as an excuse or feeling victimized by it is a recipe for poor self-esteem and bad dating experiences."

Aless Piper Aless Piper: I Am What I Am
People are always asking Aless Piper why she's so into LGBT issues. "Because I'm interested in LGBT rights and AIDS -- both inexorably linked, in the public mind anyway, to sex -- there has to be something there; I have to be a closeted lesbian, or something," she writes. Her response to people who ask why she's an advocate? "Because it is the right thing to do."

Glenn Glenn: Just a Small Town Guy Living With HIV (Video)
"It's been like life would be anywhere else in the United States. ... I'm just living life, and that's it," says Glenn, who is HIV positive and living in a very small, rural community. In this interview from the Positive Project, he shares his experience around getting access to HIV care, and gives advice to others in small towns who may be afraid to get tested or disclose their status.

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TC (From New Jersey) on "New Regimen of Meds, and My Comments on My Speech on the Doctor/Patient Relationship"

"[My doctor] currently has me on a cocktail that has been causing pain in my feet, fatigue, and impotence for approximately 1.5 years. She never addressed these side effects and was only interested in viral load and CD4 count. ... It goes without saying that I will be switching doctors once a new cocktail is prescribed. Yes, be proactive: Many doctors don't care if you have a third arm growing out of your forehead as long as the viral load and the CD4s are OK."

Read the rest of TC's comment and join the discussion on this article!


 HIV/AIDS Organization Spotlight: AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts
More than 30,000 people in Massachusetts were (officially) living with HIV at the end of 2009, far higher than the number a decade earlier. HIV/AIDS organizations increasingly struggle to provide services to that growing number of HIVers. We spoke with Rebecca Haag, the president and CEO of AIDS Action Committee, about what her organization -- one of the largest HIV advocacy groups and service providers in Massachusetts -- does and the challenges it faces.

fogcityjohn HIV/AIDS and the LGBT Community: A Question of Priorities
Why has HIV/AIDS fallen off the agendas of most mainstream LGBTQ advocacy organizations? "HIV/AIDS used to be an existential threat to our community, and we treated it as such," fogcityjohn laments. In this article, he looks at what several organizations have to say about HIV/AIDS, and takes them to task for their blatant neglect of HIV-related issues in recent years.

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Nelson Vergel Nelson Vergel's Top 10 Tricks for Fat Loss
Who doesn't love a top 10 list? In this blog entry, our health and fitness expert Nelson Vergel gives his top 10 tricks for losing weight when you're living with HIV. Read about how to eliminate what's standing in the way of your improved health; the importance of adding more fiber to your diet; and why strength training is the key to a slimmer, fit figure.

social security Filing for Social Security Disability on Your Own
"If you are considering filing for Social Security Disability, you will often be told to hire an attorney or non-attorney advocate ... however, in many cases, it is easier said than done." This article from Being Alive reveals why it may be better to file for Social Security benefits on your own, and teaches what you'll need to know in order to apply.

More Headlines on HIV Treatment and Health Issues:

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Any Tips on How I Can Slow My Mind Down After Taking Atripla?
(A recent post from the "Treatment & Side Effects" board)

"I've been taking Atripla since Nov. 2010. ... I am usually more than ready for bed when I do take it, but after about a half hour I feel wide awake mentally. My mind starts racing with all sorts of ideas that are somewhat weird and extraordinary. I have trouble focusing it onto one set idea and the ideas/thoughts aren't bad, just kinda like being awake and daydreaming. The second is that when I do finally get to sleep, the dreams are nightmarish and epic. I have actually resorted to sleeping with a night light on so I know when I am back in reality. I've tried sedatives and they help me fall asleep and the dreams don't start as fast, but they eventually do come. Plus I wake up feeling like crap and anxious. ... Anyone have any tricks they use to combat this?"

 -- kicker

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AIDS Turns 30June 5, 1981: That's the day that a medical publication reported an outbreak of Pneumocystis pneumonia among five young, gay men in Los Angeles, Calif. That nondescript, two-page article was the first published report on what we now know all too well as AIDS and the virus that causes it, HIV.

Throughout 2011, will write and collect articles, reflections, and blog entries looking back at the past three decades. Here are some of the latest:

Beny Primm Beny J. Primm: There in the Beginning, Still Here Now
Beny J. Primm, M.D., was a staunch HIV advocate before HIV even had a name. In this article from Black AIDS Institute, Primm opens up about the early days (including his stint on Ronald Reagan's Presidential Commission on the HIV Epidemic), how far the fight against HIV has come and what he feels needs to be done to move forward.

Elizabeth Lombino Hope for the Future: The 30th Anniversary of AIDS
"The 30th anniversary of HIV/AIDS is a bittersweet milestone for this medical phenomenon that changed our world forever," writes Elizabeth Lombino. In this entry, she shares her perspective on both the bitter aspects and the sweet aspects (yes, there are some!) of the pandemic we know and (don't) love.


Sarah and Carmen Anthony Sacco Does HIV Testing Contribute to Stigma?
Do people avoid HIV testing because they believe they're "not one of those people"? Blogger Sarah Sacco explains why pre-counseling, in which people are warned about what puts them at risk for HIV, is potentially causing two big problems: It might actually deter people from being tested again, and it might make HIV stigma worse in the process.

Mark S. King Calling HIV-Negative Gay Men: This Is Your Time
"I've lived with HIV for more than half my life, and people often praise me far more than I deserve, simply for surviving," writes Mark S. King. "You know what takes courage? Getting an HIV test every few months."

More HIV/STD Transmission & Education Headlines:


Activist Central

 NYC and Housing Works Launch re-fashioNYC

 Call to Action: Sign a Petition to Support Youth Participation in Global HIV/AIDS Decision-Making

 Action Alert: Condemn NY Post for Revealing Strauss-Kahn Victim Lives in AIDS Housing

 Tell Washington, D.C., to Fully Fund ADAP and Other HIV/AIDS Programs to Prevent Needless Deaths

 NMAC's ADAP Action Campaign: Get Free Flip Video Camera to Collect Stories