Jurors today heard opening statements from the prosecuting attorney. The State alleges that Johnson exposed 2 to HIV without their knowledge and that they subsequently became infected. The State also alleges that Johnson attempted to expose or exposed 4 others without telling them that he was HIV positive.
I am providing a summary in an effort to keep everyone in the loop. Jury selection kicked off around 9:45 a.m. on Monday, May 11. There were 51 prospects in the jury pool. Half men, half women. One African American female and the rest were white.
Fresh off of the heels of civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri in response to the death of Michael Brown, Jr., the nation was left with the question of whether black lives matter. Institutional systems such as local government law-enforcement education and so forth had proven that black lives did not matter as much as white lives. Unfortunately more young men of color have lost their lives senselessly at the hands of law-enforcement over the last several weeks. As we speak, Baltimore is experiencing civil unrest as their response to the death of Freddy Gray is beyond palpable; the demand for justice is being heard.
Recently, communities of color have ignited a movement that has taken the world by storm in the wake of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases. The problem being highlighted is one that goes back to the very foundations of our country: racial inequality. As I have been at various protests and demonstrations, including many in St. Louis and Ferguson, I have tried to figure out what this means for the HIV/AIDS movement, considering that communities of color are disproportionately bearing the burden of new infections. The irony of the situation is not lost on me; even as much as I want to help address inequalities within the communities of color, I must do so while considering my place in the movement.
There are a lot of considerations that go into a decision to start medications for HIV. It is true that the earlier that a person starts medications, the better the long-term outcomes. I am a realist, however, and I understand that not everyone is ready, willing or able to start medications as soon as they are diagnosed. Inevitably, I come into contact everyday with newly diagnosed individuals who are considering this very question. Here are five points that I would like people to consider when talking about HIV medications.
My name is Aaron M. Laxton. I am an award-winning International HIV/AIDS activist. I am a social worker, a writer. What I want you to know, however, is that I am also a survivor of intimate partner violence (IPV). Intimate partner violence can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, sex, gender or orientation.
By now, Ferguson, Missouri has gained international attention. Being a 4th generation-resident of St. Louis, I wish the attention was for reasons other than police brutality, riots and the death of an unarmed teenager. Last night, day seven of the movement, I decided to venture down to Ferguson. For those of you who are unaware, Ferguson is in St. Louis County, located about 15 minutes north of downtown St. Louis.
I sit waiting at a coffee shop in the Central West End at the Washington University in St. Louis Medical School. This meeting, like most these days, are spent working on strategic planning for implementing PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), a one-pill-a-day drug regimen that has been shown to be up to 99% effective in preventing HIV infection. People slowly trickle into the working group and we start to address the task at hand. Who could benefit the most from access? Believe it or not, it is not those who are waging a moralistic attack on whether or not it should be used. For the most part, it is not even the people who will read this article or who are on social media. That is because the people who could benefit the most from PrEP are limited on resources. The young, black male who has sex with men or the Latino ages 13-24; that is who are falling casualty of this absurd power struggle.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a proven concept. Regardless of whether opponents want to admit it or not, "bio-medical prevention" IS the key to reducing new-HIV infections in the highest-risk groups where previous risk-reductions methods have failed. Today, thanks to new research and science, we have a new method that can help those who are at the highest risk. We do not need more data; we do not need more trials to look at efficacy and safety ... PrEP is already a PROVEN concept. Anyone who says otherwise either doesn't know how to read data, is pushing their own agenda, or they are simply regurgitating the views of other people who have no clear understanding of the topic.
Let me take a second to debunk a commonly held myth: "Meth is not fun or pleasurable." That simply is not true, in the beginning. The fact is that there is something about the experience of using meth that seemed attractive to me. The truth is that there came a point where it became far too much work to achieve the same high that you had the first time I used. This is commonly referred to as "chasing the high" not to mention the toll that my body paid in the process of that futile mission. This mission could best be described as "my love affair with meth."