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November 28, 2007

In This Update
  • World AIDS Day 2007 at TheBody.com
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV in the News
  • HIV Transmission & Testing
  • HIV Outside the United States
  •   WORLD AIDS DAY 2007 AT THEBODY.COM

    TheBody.com's World AIDS Day center is home to a host of event listings, personal stories, podcasts and much more commemorating World AIDS Day this Saturday, Dec. 1. Visit our World AIDS Day home page for a full listing; here's a taste of what the center has to offer:


    Things to Do: Dozens of Ways to Be an Activist
    Discover a gaggle of ways you can make a difference in the fight against HIV, some without even leaving your computer. Send an e-card to spread HIV awareness. Learn about how to tell the U.S. government how you feel about its HIV-related policies. Browse advice on how to plan your own World AIDS Day event.
    Things to Hear: The Voices of HIV and Activism Today
    Listen to (or read transcripts of) first-person stories from HIV-positive people in the United States. Hear World AIDS Day messages from HIV activists throughout the country. Tune into radio broadcasts on a range of HIV-related topics, from common myths to what it's like to live with HIV in Ukraine.
    Things to Know: Empower Yourself
    Refresh your memory on how HIV works -- and how to answer questions other people may have about HIV. Learn the ins and outs of World AIDS Day, and stay up to date on the latest news.
    Things to See: Videos, Photos, Posters and Artwork
    Look into the eyes of HIVers in sub-Saharan Africa or HIV-positive youths in the United States. Educate yourself with animated videos explaining how HIV works and how HIV drug resistance develops. Download posters and flyers to display in your workplace or community center.

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      LIVING WITH HIV

    An Unlikely Father-Daughter Duo Grows Up With HIV
    It sounds like something out of a cable TV script: Michael Kearns is a white, middle-aged, gay, HIV-positive activist; his daughter, Tia, is an African-American he adopted when she was just a baby. But this story is far from fiction; it's about how the power of love can overcome any obstacle, be it race, sexual orientation or HIV status. "As offbeat as we are -- unorthodox, unconventional, whatever -- we love each other," Kearns says. (Web highlight from the Los Angeles Times; free registration required)


    HIV, Hep C & Me: A Coinfected Man's Story
    Hepatitis C treatment was not easy on Donald Lynch. Looking back, he says, "This is what kept me going -- the knowledge that I could and would beat this virus." A recovering drug addict who turned his life around after his HIV diagnosis in 1996, hep C treatment proved to be a huge challenge for Lynch. But despite sometimes-debilitating side effects and his concerns, as a former injection-drug user, about injecting hep C meds, he rose to the occasion -- and ultimately won his battle against hep C. "The fact that I might be able to beat hep C just overruled whatever side effects the meds had in store for me," Lynch says.

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      HIV IN THE NEWS

    In-Depth Info on Where U.S. Presidential Candidates Stand on HIV-Related Issues (PDF)
    Where do the candidates for the upcoming U.S. presidential election stand on HIV? This comprehensive, issue-by-issue report from Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) has all the answers. The report includes a quick reference chart on key HIV-related issues, as well as a detailed breakdown of what the top eight Republican and Democratic presidential candidates have proposed and stated.


    Proposal on HIV and Immigration Is a Disappointment, HIV Activists Say
    New HIV immigration rules proposed by the U.S. government are actually more restrictive than the current rules, many activists say. A year after President Bush promised to make it easier for people with HIV to visit the United States, the government finally proposed the new regulations. However, under the proposed new rules, foreign visitors with HIV would still be banned and need a special waiver to enter the country; the waiver process would just be more efficient. In addition, several HIV organizations say the new rules may make it harder for some HIVers to enter the United States, especially if they hope to live in the United States permanently. (Web highlight from the Washington Blade)

    Among the many people seething over the proposed regulations is outspoken journalist Doug Ireland, who posted this entry to his blog on the issue.

    The Department of Homeland Security is inviting public comments on the proposed regulations until Dec. 6. To read the full proposal and submit your opinion, click here.


    As HIV Meds Fight the Virus, Drug Companies Duel Over Profits
    The truth about HIV treatment is that, although most of us view HIV meds as lifesavers, on Wall Street most people see them as dollar signs. HIV meds are a multibillion-dollar business -- and that business is in the early stages of a massive power shift, as drug companies emerge with cutting-edge meds and patents expire on old stalwarts. Which companies stand to win or lose the most in the fight over profits from these miraculous little pills? In this article, experts gaze into the financial crystal ball. (Web highlight from CNNMoney.com)

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      HIV TRANSMISSION & TESTING

    Washington, D.C.: One in 20 Is HIV Positive
    One in 20 residents in Washington, D.C., is HIV positive, according to the city's top HIV official -- the same HIV rate as in all of sub-Saharan Africa. A new report from the Washington, D.C., health department provides an array of bleak statistics, including the fact that 80 percent of all recent HIV diagnoses have been among African Americans. The report also drives home just how little HIV remains a "gay disease": 37 percent of all newly diagnosed HIVers in the United States' capital city got the virus through heterosexual sex, compared to 25 percent through sex between men.

    After the report's release, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and the new director of the city's HIV/AIDS administration pledged to reinvigorate the fight against HIV. At this point, their plan mainly consists of increasing the number of free condoms and working with the district's hospitals to get rapid HIV testing into every emergency department.

    To read a PDF of the complete Washington, D.C., HIV/AIDS report, click here.


    Florida: Land of Sun, Fun and ... HIV?
    Many people might think of Florida as a nice vacation spot, but underneath its sunny exterior, the state has a raging HIV epidemic. Florida is home to the third-highest number of HIVers of any state in the country, and the second-highest number of HIV-positive children. Leaders in Florida have been accused of failing to respond to the urgency of the epidemic. Bishop Lewis White of United Deliverance Church is one of a precious few who have spoken out about the need for education and prevention. When he hands out free condoms, he says, "I'm promoting life. I'm here for a purpose, not to judge you on who you have sex with."


    More than Half of U.S. OB/GYNs Still Use Opt-In HIV Testing for Pregnant Women, Survey Says
    Although federal recommendations urge U.S. doctors to provide opt-out HIV testing to pregnant women, more than half of U.S. OB/GYN doctors still use an opt-in approach, according to a new survey. Opt-in testing means that the pregnant woman must request a test (and sometimes sign a consent form), whereas opt-out testing means that the woman has to say something only if she does not want an HIV test. Most OB/GYNs do recommend HIV testing to all their pregnant patients, the survey found, but some are unclear about state requirements for recommending tests, which may differ from federal recommendations.

    Many U.S. state laws for HIV testing run counter to new federal recommendations by requiring things like pretest counseling and informed consent. States have made little progress in changing their laws to allow for routine testing, according this recent report published in the online journal PLoS One.

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      HIV OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

    The New UNAIDS Report: Where Did 6 Million HIV Cases Go?
    In its latest report, UNAIDS' estimate of the number of people living with HIV declined by 6.3 million. Is that huge drop a sign that the epidemic is finally receding, or a hint that there's something funny about the numbers UNAIDS is giving us? This analysis by the International AIDS Society explains the reasons behind the dip in HIV cases worldwide and surveys the state of HIV in 2007.

    To read the full UNAIDS report, which details HIV/AIDS figures globally and in specific regions, click here.


    In Kenya, HIV Positive and Still Sexy
    "You can have your sexuality ... you don't have to lose it because you have HIV; you just have to be responsible," says 28-year-old Florence Anam, an HIV-positive advocate in Kenya. When Florence tested positive, she says she stopped dressing attractively and lost interest in sex. Back then, she says, she was just waiting to die. But Florence emerged from that difficult time and rediscovered her sexuality -- and now she's one of many HIV-positive Kenyans speaking out. HIV advocates met recently in Mombasa to discuss how rethinking sexuality, sexual violence, stigma and self-esteem can help fight Africa's HIV pandemic. (Web highlight from PlusNews)


    New HIV Cases in Europe Up Dramatically Since 1999
    A new report shows that HIV rates are rapidly increasing not just in many developing countries, but in the developed nations of Europe as well: In European Union (EU) countries, the reported number of new HIV infections has doubled since 1999, according to a report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). In non-EU areas of Europe, the situation is even worse. According to the ECDC director, these numbers probably only show the tip of the iceberg: Estimates suggest that almost one-third of people living with HIV in Europe are unaware of their status.


    The C-Word Finally Comes to Italian TV
    An HIV awareness ad filmed last week will be the first advertisement shown on Italian TV to include the word "condom." In the past, pictures of condoms or vague slogans were used, but the word itself was never seen or heard. The taboo on saying "condom" seems odd in a country that shows scantily clad women in TV ads, but Italy, home of the Vatican, is still under the sway of the Roman Catholic Church, which condemns the use of condoms. (Web highlight from Reuters)

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    Also Worth Noting

    Art Benefit in NYC
    Postcards From the Edge:
    Dec. 1-2, 2007

    Postcards From the Edge
    Every fall in New York City, Visual AIDS holds its hugely popular "Postcards From the Edge" benefit, and this year's event is fast approaching! On Saturday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 2, people who come to James Cohan Gallery in Manhattan can view and purchase any of more than 1,000 original, postcard-sized works donated by many talented artists -- some of whom are widely known! Each postcard costs $75; all benefits go to Visual AIDS.

    To learn more about the 2007 "Postcards From the Edge" benefit, including info on how you can get a sneak preview of this year's postcards, click here!

    Connect With Others
    A
    t The Body's Bulletin Boards

    I Lied to My New Flame; How Do I Make Things Right?
    (A recent post from the
    "Living With HIV" board)

    I am a gay male, 28 years old and have been HIV positive for three years. ... Two weekends ago I went to visit a friend in Florida. While there, I ended up meeting a guy that I really connected with. I went home with him on that Saturday night after being out at a bar. We had unprotected sex (he was the top, I was the bottom). He did not question my status and I did not disclose. ...

    On Monday I left Florida. ... I received a text message from him that said, "I know it's a little late but we didn't use condoms and didn't talk about status ... I am neg." I responded to his text by saying, "It's okay, I am neg too," which is quite possibly the worst lie I have ever told to anybody. ... I am so ashamed of myself that I not only lied but also put him at risk. ...

    He is actually coming up to visit me in New York City for three days the second weekend in December so that we can have some "quality" time together. ... I know that I have to tell him the truth when he gets here, but I'm so afraid of how he's going to react. ... Part of me wants to tell him now, before he makes the trip up to NYC, but another part of me wants to wait until he gets here so that we can have the conversation in person.

    Please let me know your thoughts on this situation. ... This is the first guy who I've had very strong feelings for in a very long time and the feeling of rejection from him would quite possibly crush me.

    --ffrbel

    Click here to join this discussion thread, or to start your own!

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the November 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Land of the Free Home of the Brave," 1992-1994; Joe De Hoyos
    Visit the November 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Mnemonic Provocations," is curated by Mario H. Ramirez.