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Press Release

For World AIDS Day, and Every Day, Turn to TheBody.com

Gain the Voices and Perspectives of the HIV Community

November 29, 2017

Each year on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day provides an important opportunity to draw attention to the continuing HIV/AIDS pandemic -- recalling its history, exploring its current state, advocating for the best ways to address it, and ultimately, bringing it to an end.

This World AIDS Day, TheBody.com offers unique stories and perspectives, just as it has each day of the year for over two decades as the anchor platform on the medical, social, political, and personal aspects of HIV/AIDS.

"This has been an incredible year for people with HIV, their communities, and families," notes Kenyon Farrow, senior editor of TheBody.com. "The stories we've collected for World AIDS Day reflect ongoing struggles to protect and expand health care, as well as to end stigma and discrimination. They also highlight the ways in which people with HIV celebrate themselves, foster community, and influence art and culture all over the world."

TheBody.com's writers, editors, and experts are poised to assist with media inquiries, content syndication, and other opportunities to contribute to accurate, up-to-the-minute, and incisive dialogue and news on HIV issues. And, as the days after Dec. 1 unfold, TheBody.com's World AIDS Day spotlight will feature emerging data, reports, and reflections on this year's commemorations.

For background, additional information, or to arrange interviews with TheBody.com's authors, editors, and experts, contact JD Davids: jdavids@thebody.com / 646-431-7525.


Featured World AIDS Day Stories on TheBody.com

PrEP cartoon

I Couldn't Get PrEP, and Now I'm Living With HIV

By Giuliani Alvarenga, contributor

I'd been using Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), an HIV prevention pill also known as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) that's been proven highly effective. The drug has been U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved since 2012, and I started taking it in 2015. At the time, I was unemployed and didn't have health insurance, so my supply came from friends who had prescriptions and, on several occasions, from a former partner who was in the "bottle business," selling HIV meds on the black market. For nearly a year, I managed never to miss a dose. ... Then, in early 2016, my connections dried up.

Just a pill a day can prevent HIV, say campaigns touting the remarkable advance in HIV prevention. But, despite the shiny ads for PrEP that have popped up in cities and across social media apps for gay men, getting Truvada might actually be harder than it seems, especially for young gay men of color without insurance.


Activists

This Is Exactly How HIV Activists Disrupted Congress to Save Health Care

By Tim Murphy, contributing editor

I spoke with Flynn and Benjamin about the sleep-deprived, adrenaline-charged madness of pulling together day after day of mass arrests, of their most exultant and despairing moments -- and, most importantly, of why they need you to keep your eyes on the real prize: universal health care.

This year, hundreds of people who flocked to Congress for mass arrests to defend health care were organized by three veteran AIDS activists, reports Tim Murphy, who interviews the organizers about the tricks of their trade and what they've got in store for 2018.


Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson, HIV Disclosure, and the Coercive Nature of Plea Bargains

By Victoria Law, contributing editor

On Sept. 21, 2017, Michael Johnson, a former college wrestler, entered a no-contest plea in the St. Charles Circuit Court in Missouri. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, which includes time served for the four years he has already spent behind bars. Johnson was arrested in 2013 and charged with non-disclosure of his HIV status to six sexual partners. Johnson said that he had disclosed; the prosecution argued that he hadn't and that one of Johnson's partners later tested positive for HIV.

In a trial rife with racism and homophobia, the young black gay college student was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He appealed and, in April 2017, the state supreme court upheld his right to a new trial. ... If he had taken his chances at a new trial, Johnson risked a 100-year prison sentence if another jury of twelve found him guilty.

"Michael Johnson's story is only one of countless examples of the coercive nature of plea bargains," notes Victoria Law, contributing editor to TheBody.com. "Over 90% of convictions (94% at the state level and 97% at the federal level) are the result of plea bargains. Like Johnson, each person was faced with the very real threat of years, if not decades, behind bars if they took their chances at trial and [they] chose not to take that risk, even if it meant some time in prison and a permanent felony conviction on their record."


The cast of Merce

The World AIDS Day Anthem We Really Need Has Just Arrived

By Mark S. King, contributor

Achieving a cure for HIV infection may or may not be within our reach anytime soon. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, a world free of HIV stigma, where HIV-negative people offer love and support to their HIV-positive brothers and sisters, is my World AIDS Day wish for all of us. "Your Cure" is a charming step in that direction.

The popular HIV community blogger Mark S. King got his start at TheBody.com and introduced us to Charles Sanchez, creator of Merce, a zany-yet-moving online musical comedy about living with HIV. Today, Sanchez is one of our contributing editors, and Mark brings us this piece sharing a more serious, choral Merce moment on the power of love between people of different HIV statuses.


Globe with red ribbon

Clients Can Handle the Truth [HIV Undetectable = Uninfectious]

By Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE), content partner

Thousands of HIV organizations around the world are adding a new message to their World AIDS Day campaigns this year, and it is turning decades of HIV prevention messaging on its head. We can now say conclusively that a person living with HIV who takes treatment and maintains an undetectable viral load does not transmit the virus to their sexual partners.

In the history of HIV, 2017 might be remembered as the year that "U=U" broke, given the sharp increase in recognition that people who are virally suppressed on HIV medication are not at risk of transmitting HIV through sex (known as "undetectable = untransmissible," or "U=U"). The Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE), one of many HIV organizations with whom TheBody.com partners as content providers, brings us a searing piece on the topic.

In 2018, TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com will engage in a partnership with the International Association of Providers in AIDS and Prevention Access Campaign to offer provider training curricula, information, and personal stories about U=U.


Liberty Bell

Why Philly's New District Attorney Matters to People With HIV

By Ronda Goldfein, Esq., TheBody.com Q&A expert

Career civil rights lawyer Larry Krasner's election represents significant change for Philadelphia, and it gained national attention. Detailing Larry Krasner's work to defend a woman facing 30 years' imprisonment for alleged non-disclosure of HIV status, Ronda Goldfein, Esq., the executive director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania -- who also answers questions for TheBody.com's Q&A forum on HIV-related legal issues -- is optimistic that he will help send the message that HIV criminalization only perpetuates the stigma fueling the epidemic.


Related Stories

World AIDS Day Could Mean More Than Telling Prisoners to Get an HIV Test
A Student's Guide to World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day 2017



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