August 16, 2011
Here is a quick look at a few HIV/AIDS stories recently reported in the media:
Condoms-in-Porn L.A. Ballot Initiative Petition Effort Underway (From the Los Angeles Times)
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced that it has pledged to collect the required signatures to implement a citywide ballot measure that will ask voters whether condoms should be required as a condition of getting a permit to film in the city. They must have more than 40,000 signatures by Dec. 23 in order for it to be placed on a June ballot.
This initiative comes almost a year after Derrick Burts, aka Patient Zeta, tested positive for HIV and turned the adult film world on its head. Yet, HIV infections in the porn industry are not a new phenomenon. In 2004, Darren James, who was unaware of his HIV status, unknowingly infected three actresses. Twenty-two performers are reported to have tested positive for HIV since James' diagnosis, including a female performer who tested positive in 2009.
To address the issue, the Los Angeles Times interviewed three major players in this drama: AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein, Burts and James. In the video below, Burts sets the record straight about where he contracted HIV and talks about why testing for HIV isn't enough to keep porn stars safe -- they need to be required to wear condoms.
Massachusetts Readies for 25 Percent Funding Slashes to HIV/AIDS Services (From the Boston Globe)
Massachusetts' Department of Public Health announced last week that roughly $4.3 million would be cut from the state's annual AIDS prevention budget -- that's almost 25 percent of the state's entire funding. The prevention programs that are rumored to be cut are condom distribution to schools, colleges and health facilities; needle exchange for IV drug users; and education specialists who focus on MSM.
Why are these cuts happening? The Boston Globe reported that the CDC is shifting funding:
The CDC is taking money from states like Massachusetts with lower rates of HIV infection to focus its resources in states, including many in the South, with high or increasing rates. New regulations will also significantly restrict the way Massachusetts can spend its federal HIV prevention dollars, a change that will compound the cuts. It will require the state to shift money from community-based programs that aim to prevent further infections to clinic-based HIV testing and programs targeted to people who are already infected.
We are "ensuring that money actually follows the epidemic," Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said during a recent press conference.
Advocates Question Shift in CDC HIV Prevention Funding (From the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance)
HIV Cure -- NIH Funding Will Back More Research (From YourStory.org)
Virginia Camp for Girls at Risk of HIV Aims to Boost Self-Esteem (From The Baltimore Sun)
Gaps in NYC's Housing Program Leave Tough Choices for People With HIV (From the Gotham Gazette)
Heterosexual HIV Rates Higher Among Poor and Unemployed (From Medpage Today)
Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
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