ON THE PERSONAL SIDE
Ibrahim: Curing Your Spirit of HIV
"While today's debate is escalating on how many more years we have before we see a functional cure to HIV, few have reflected on the issue of curing the spiritual scars that HIV leaves on an infected person," blogger Ibrahim writes. In this blog entry, he gives his take on spirituality and shares wise tips on how to accept and heal the emotional damage that HIV can cause.
RehabAdvisorDotCalm: This Must (Not) Be the Place
"This tale -- about my first seven days in drug treatment and in sobriety -- is painstakingly honest," writes Travis (not his real name), an HIV-positive person who recently completed a rehab program for meth addiction. He hopes others will learn from his colorful retelling of the horrible experience he had during his first (post-intervention) rehab stint at a supposedly reputable addiction treatment center.
Discrimination and Stigma: These Are the Stories (Video)
Blogger Maria T. Mejia has been flooded with messages from HIVers around the world whose lives have been battered by stigma and discrimination. She shared these people's stories in a recent video blog. "Not everyone is ready to come out of the HIV closet," Maria notes. "We are here for those who do not have a voice."
Is It Normal to be Forced to Notify Partners After Testing Positive?
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)
"I got a letter from someone at health and prevention services. Apparently this guy wants to meet with me in person to discuss whether there is anyone I need to anonymously notify. I became positive in a monogamous relationship with my partner who is positive. It's pretty clear where and how I got it. I'm no Blanche Devereaux. ... I don't know if I'm just being overly paranoid, but it makes me feel like I have to 'register' or something. Is this just a normal thing that happens when you're positive? Am I just being paranoid?"
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HIV NEWS & VIEWS
Sarah Sacco: Is HIV Just Another Chronic Disease?
"Like HIV, diabetes left untreated is fatal. Really, we can all relate to one another. Our stories share a common thread -- we speak the same 'language' of the sick. In these ways I think that HIV is just like any other disease. And yet ... " Blogger Sarah Sacco struggles with the debate over whether HIV should be treated just like any other chronic disease, or whether it should still be seen as a "special" illness all its own.
HIV/AIDS Organization Spotlight: Aid for AIDS of Nevada
In Nevada, the number of new HIV cases has been increasing every year -- by a total of 27 percent from 2004 to 2008. As Jennifer Morss explains, Aid for AIDS of Nevada is, and has long been, the state's leading HIV/AIDS service organization -- and whatever the future may bring, it "will always be what our clients need us to be."
First in Fig Newtons, Last in Routine HIV Testing: Nightmare in the Bay State
"Bury one's head in the sand long enough and one emerges, when it's time to come up for air, with nothing but a wicked case of sandy head," Ed Perlmutter writes. "And just because public health, health care and HIV/AIDS service organization officials do not discuss the thousands of undiagnosed HIV infections in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not mean the infections do not exist."
More News & Views Headlines:
As of July 7, 8,655 people living with HIV remained on waiting lists across 13 U.S. states, all of them on standby for lifesaving medications. Now more than a year old, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) crisis shows no sign of ebbing.
Last week, advocates gathered in Washington, D.C., for the ADAP Advocacy Association (aaa+) annual conference, where they recommitted themselves to the struggle to get HIV meds to those who desperately need them. Some of our bloggers and partners attended and covered this important event:
HIV/STD TRANSMISSION & EDUCATION
Two New Studies Support Use of PrEP for HIV Prevention Among Heterosexual Men and Women
In a dramatic turnaround, a pair of major studies suggests that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) -- the use of HIV meds by HIV-negative people to help prevent infection -- may work quite well in heterosexual people, reducing HIV infection risk by half or more. The findings stand in contrast to a study earlier this year that appeared to find no benefit in PrEP use for women, but they complement other findings that have shown benefits from PrEP use among gay men.
United in HIV: Why Black America Needs to Stop Blaming Gay African Americans
"This 'don't ask, don't tell' policy in our community is unhealthy and it is killing our brothas," Rae Lewis-Thornton writes. In her blog posting, she discusses why it's critical to stop blaming "down-low" men for the HIV rates among black women and how homophobia is negatively impacting the African-American community.
More Headlines on HIV/STD Transmission & Education:
David P (From College Park, Md.) on "Calling HIV Negative Gay Men: This Is Your Time"
"Our disease-focused public health and academic sectors have remained so focused on resolving, 'What's wrong with gay men to cause them to get infected with HIV?' that they have forgotten to determine, 'What's working right for sexually-active HIV-negative gay men that keeps them uninfected after two decades of screwing in an epidemic?'"
Read the rest of David P's comment and join the discussion on this article!
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 front lines of the fight against HIV/AIDS. Here's a sampling of articles we've recently added to the site.
New Viral Load Technologies: Potential for a Real-Time Virologic Mess
"We have told our patients that one of the goals of HIV antiretroviral therapy is to reduce the viral load to the lowest level possible. In other words, the goal is to get to 'undetectable,'" Bethsheba Johnson, G.N.P.-B.C., A.A.H.I.V.S., writes. "But what happens when the lowest level of quantification changes for a patient that has been previously undetectable?"
How You Can Help Your Patients Who Are Running Out of HIV Treatment Options
Pipeline HIV medications such as dolutegravir and ibalizumab hold the tantalizing promise of new hope for people with extensive HIV drug resistance, but neither is far enough along in development to warrant an expanded access program. How can doctors get their hands on these drugs if their patients quite literally need them now? Nelson Vergel, B.S.Ch.E., M.B.A., knows a way.
The HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project: Building Capacity to Improve Care for Mental Health and Substance Use
Amidst the intense focus on the physical health of HIV-positive people, it is easy for health care providers to lose sight of the mental health challenges that people with HIV often face. Enter the Spectrum project, which "aims to build the capacity of mental health workers to effectively address the complexities of mental health and substance use disorders experienced by individuals living with HIV/AIDS in our communities," as David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., explains.