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5 HIV Stories We're Talking About: From Charlie Sheen's Fake Cure to Miss Universe

February 4, 2016

Whether it's Charlie Sheen and the latest fake cure or Miss Universe, HIV continues to have a long cultural reach. Here are five HIV-related stories making waves in mainstream media that we're discussing.

quack doctor

When It Comes to Charlie Sheen's "HIV Cure" Doc, "Maverick" Is Just Another Word for Quack

Warren Tong, senior science editor: Just the latest in a long line of natural cures for HIV that don't work. I hope people living with HIV don't actually take him seriously.

Myles Helfand, editorial director: I think most won't. But I'm unhappy that the irresponsible media coverage of Sheen's life with HIV gives the entire community a set of new wrongs to right. It's hard enough battling existing stigma without prominent media figures stoking the fire.

JD Davids, managing editor: Once I learned that Maher promoted the late HIV denialist Christine Maggiore's book, it was all over for me.

How Shkreli's Turing Pharmaceuticals Sought to Placate the HIV Community About Its Drug Price Hike

Warren: It's really hard not to get angry about this level of unapologetic greed.

Myles: I wonder how much of the claptrap quoted in this article Shkreli actually believed, and how much was just internal spin to get people on board with his brutally selfish, antisocial scheming.

JD: The quest to game the HIV community and buy off dissent through tactics like program support is an industry-wide phenomenon. If we had adequate public funding for HIV programs, groups wouldn't have to scramble for drug-company dollars. And if all drugs (across the board, not just in HIV) didn't cost so much, there'd be more public funding for, well, things like HIV programs. It's the vicious cycle of profit-driven health care.

whiskey in glass

Even Moderate Alcohol Intake May Harm People With HIV

Warren: Contrary to previous research, "everything in moderation" appears not to apply.

JD: Hmm ... maybe this isn't the last word on the subject. The study was just in men, by the way.

Becky Allen, site director: I guess women with HIV should never drink at all then.


People Are So Desperate for PrEP They're "Cheating" The NHS

Warren: PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) works! Just give everybody access already.

JD: NHS is cheating people who are taking the initiative to do what they need to do to get a deeply effective HIV prevention tool, forcing them to "clinic hop." Shameful.

Miss Universe to Push HIV Awareness After Crowning Blunder

Warren: The Philippines, home country of Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, reported a 22% increase in new HIV cases last year, so it's especially important to get people there tested and on treatment.

Myles: I can't believe I'm saying this, but the Miss Universe pageant may actually end up having a beneficial impact on the world.

JD: I'm going to start a band called Crowning Blunder.


Follow Warren on Twitter: @WarrenAtTheBody.

Follow Myles on Twitter: @MylesAtTheBody.

Follow JD on Twitter: @JDAtTheBody.

Follow Becky on Twitter at @allreb or visit her on Tumblr.

Copyright © 2016 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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