HIV News & Views, July 21, 2011
July 21, 2011
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Timothy Brown and Nelson Vergel After the Cure: Getting to Know Timothy Brown, the "Berlin Patient"
When Nelson Vergel recently met Timothy Brown, the only person to date who has been cured of HIV, he found a man conflicted about his past and his future. "He told me that it is amazing that a country which was not his motherland [Germany] cured him; and now his home country cannot support his continuing struggle to strengthen his health." In this blog entry, Nelson recaps his talk with the "Berlin patient" about how his life has unfolded since he was cured.

Rae Lewis-Thornton Rae Lewis-Thornton: What Kind of Caregiver Are You?
No matter how "good" or healthy she looks on the outside, Rae Lewis-Thornton never feels "normal." And she's long since grown tired of people assuming that, because she looks more or less OK, she doesn't need any help. "Think about how you really caregive to that person you love," she writes. "Have you dismissed what they have told you about their health because they look good? Is it denial because to consider the real health issues is too much?"

Ellisya  Ellisya: The Day I Was Pronounced Dead
"I remember the day I found out I had HIV felt like the day I was pronounced dead, but instead I came alive." An orphan and rape survivor from Malaysia, Ellisya became a mom at age 16; when she was 21, she and her daughter tested HIV positive. In her new blog on, Ellisya begins to share the details of her life in hopes that others can learn from her experiences. "In a world that's full of ignorant people," she writes, "life is about fighting. ... No matter how long it takes, one day our fight might help the next people who have to live with HIV."

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In Shock: My Grandfather Has HIV
(A recent post from the "My Loved One Has HIV/AIDS" board)

"On June 27, my grandmother called and told me [my grandfather] had bone cancer. Then on June 30 she tells me he has bone and lung cancer. Then today, July 14, I find out that my grandmother lied, that he in fact has HIV. I understand her fear of telling everyone the truth. I am angry she lied to me, that she felt she had to. But I understand why she did. My grandfather won't talk about it with anyone. He just says he is on meds to make him comfortable, and so that he can put weight back on. I dont know any details about his disease since they won't talk about it with me. I just want to hug him and tell him I love him. I don't know what to do. I feel so badly for him. Thanks for letting me vent. I don't know where else to go."

 -- Sourire

Click here to join this discussion, or to start your own!

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 HIV Treatment: It Goes Both Ways
A major HIV research conference, IAS 2011, just concluded this week in Rome. The story of the conference was the hubbub over pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP -- that is, the use of HIV meds by HIV-negative people to reduce their risk of infection. But the chatter about PrEP is only half the story: Research here also focused on how HIV treatment -- started early and accessible to all -- could have an even bigger impact on the pandemic.

 Bone Problems in HIVers: Will the Real Culprits Please Stand Up?
Over the past couple of years, it's become increasingly clear that people with HIV are at a greater risk than HIV-negative people for developing bone disease (or of having a bone break) as they age. The question is: Why? A new study presented at IAS 2011 may provide a small step forward in getting answers to this question.

Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

image from the July 2011 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Blue Bathroom Blues," 1999
Frederick Weston

Visit the July 2011 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "I Don't Have a Clue ...," is curated by Aaron Krach.


Canadian Judge Rules That HIV Is Not a Death Sentence in HIV Criminalization Case
Another day, another HIV criminalization case, but this case actually had a shocking outcome -- in a good way. A judge in Ottawa, Canada, has rejected attempted murder charges against a man accused of knowingly transmitting HIV, stating that HIV is no longer an "automatic death sentence."

Aless Piper Aless Piper: The World's Homophobic Response to AIDS Persists
"Our politicians continue to make decisions based on the assumption that HIV/AIDS will not and does not happen to upstanding citizens, them, or anyone they know," a frustrated Aless Piper writes. "Sadly, homophobia continues to inform the world's response to the AIDS epidemic and LGBT community. ... But, as Larry Kramer said, AIDS has a tough time breaking people's hearts."

Maria T. Mejia Maria T. Mejia: It's OK Not to Be an Activist (Video)
"Not all people are prepared to come out of their HIV closet because others want them to. ... And it's not because they don't want to fight for the cause," Maria T. Mejia writes in her latest blog entry. As she gently admonishes people who feel that all HIVers should publicly stand up for themselves and their community, she offers words of encouragement for HIV-positive people who aren't activists.

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Mico (From Washington, D.C.) on "Am I Undatable Because I'm HIV+?"

"I am in my early 50s and I would rather date a man nearer to my age than someone 20 years younger than I am. I think it is best to be up front with your status. HIV is part of who we are, if we have HIV. To not disclose from the beginning shows something in us -- whether we don't want to risk and face rejection because as humans, we want that connection with another; or because we feel it is private, when it is not private if we are going to date."

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


Jeannie Wraight Should HIV Meds for HIV-Negative People Be a Priority? And Other Questions
"Groundbreaking results of two large pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) studies may lead to a new prevention option to reduce HIV transmission," AIDS treatment activist Jeannie Wraight writes. But "with so many people living with HIV in need of [antiretrovirals], is PrEP, regardless of its effectiveness, a strategy currently worth entertaining on a local or global level?"

 Study Finds That Vaginal Infections Make Women More Likely to Transmit HIV to Men During Sex
A University of California-San Francisco study has found that a common vaginal infection increases the likelihood of an HIV-positive woman transmitting the virus to a man during unprotected sexual intercourse. Researchers found that men were three times more likely to contract HIV from their female partners if the women also had bacterial vaginosis in the three months before the men became infected.

all hands in HIV Prevention for People Who Inject Drugs: Time for a Global Change
It's been a year since the Vienna Declaration was signed at the International AIDS Conference last summer. The declaration was supposed to spearhead a new push to change the way our world thinks about, and treats, injection drug users. Carol Strike and Adrian Guta from the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange discuss the history of the statement, what's currently not going right in our treatment of drug users, and how harm reduction strategies can reduce HIV transmission risk.

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