August 24, 2011
Here is a quick look at a few HIV/AIDS stories recently reported in the media:
Florida HIV Disclosure Laws Only Cover Heterosexuals, Will Stay That Way Says Appeals Court (From The Michigan Messenger)
To some, HIV criminalization laws are outdated, stigmatizing and scientifically inaccurate (i.e. saliva doesn't carry HIV). But depending on how you look at it, how Florida defines sex in its HIV criminalization law is somewhat homophobic. Only heterosexuals can be prosecuted under the law, because sexual intercourse is defined as penetration between a man and a woman.
The Michigan Messenger reported that recently a Florida appellate court upheld this law while overturning the conviction of a woman found guilty of transmitting HIV to her partner.
The judges found that because the law referenced "sexual intercourse" that it could only be applied to heterosexual activity since intercourse is only defined as "the penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ." They overturned the woman's conviction.
The ruling has already had an impact on a case in Treasure Island, where the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's office threw out a case against a gay man charged with failing to disclose his HIV-positive status to his partner of four years.
But his former lover says that doesn't change the fact that the man had failed to disclose his HIV status, reports 13 News.
"I found out after we broke apart that he was, in fact, HIV positive for 20 years," the alleged victim said. "It's harmful to somebody's health and you're putting other people's life at risk. And you can't play God."
It's unknown whether any LGBT organizations are going to speak out against this law and demand that the rigid definition of sexual intercourse be changed, especially given how the LGBT organizations well versed in HIV/AIDS issues oppose HIV criminalization laws in the first place.
Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Crafts New Ballet to Recognize HIV/AIDS Epidemic (From Rolling Out)
To pay homage to Alvin Ailey -- who died of AIDS on December 1, 1999 -- and the 10 first-place winners of the Bristol-Myers Squibb 2011 REYATAZ "Fight HIV Your Way" contest, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will create a new dance for World AIDS Day.
Rolling Out reported:
The new ballet titled "Home" will be choreographed by Rennie Harris and will live among the more than 350 ballets in the repertoire. A retired Judith Jamison, who graciously carries the title artistic director emerita since her retirement this past June, says, "To dance this situation, to choreograph these wonderful short essays and photographs that were reflective of their lives is a fabulous idea."
Artistic director Robert Battle concurs: "With his unique and contemporary perspective, Rennie Harris will bring to the stage these stories that must be told and ought to be recognized. The collaboration will be a celebration of many lives, and a driver of understanding and acceptance for those touched by HIV."
Jamison continues: "When [Bristol-Myers Squibb] approached us with this idea, to choreograph these wonderful short essays and images from these 10 winners that is reflective of their lives, whether they are living with HIV or doing something about HIV, is fabulous."
Ed Perlmutter: 2011 "Fight HIV Your Way" Contest -- I Won Third Place (From "An Accidental Activist" on TheBody.com)
Maine to Lose a Third of Its Federal HIV Funding in 2014 (From Maine Public Broadcasting)
Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced that the state will lose 25 percent of its HIV prevention funding -- now it's Maine's turn. According to Maine Public Broadcasting (MPB), the state will lose one-third of its federal HIV funding in the next few years.
Maine is bracing for the loss of a third of its federal funding for HIV?AIDS, as the feds target scarce dollars to urban states with high caseloads.
Maine was facing immediate cuts, but Maine Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Sheila Pinnette successfully appealed the decision, according to Capitol News Service.
But Pinnette warns that the cuts are coming. "What's the impact? Well, our priority for the state of Maine is to continue to do HIV testing," she says. "We feel that it's very important to continue carrying out the practices we have over the last 10 years, such as target outreach, HIV testing and continue to strengthen our partnerships."
Pinnette says Maine's strategy has paid off: She says the state is expecting only about eight new cases of HIV/AIDS to be diagnosed this year.
HPV Vaccine Protects Women Against Anal Infection (From Medpage Today)
Right-Wing Conservative Talk Show Host Wants Gay Bars Closed, Claims They "Spread AIDS" (From the Right Wing Watch)
Bronx AIDS Services Marks 25th Year of Caring for HIV-Positive New Yorkers (From the New York Daily News)
Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
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