• NEW FEATURES AT THEBODY.COM
Condoms With Your Porn: TheBody.com Interviews an Unusual HIV Educator
You're in a porn shop -- but you're not there to buy Blazing Saddles: Hardcore Version. You're there to meet up with a man you don't even know, and the two of you plan to have sex like bunnies back where nobody can see. Except there's someone who knows what you're up to! A man passes by, hands you some condoms, and teaches you about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Brian Datcher is that man: An HIV educator who is HIV-positive himself, Datcher's job is one that few people even know exists, but it's a critical part of efforts to stop the spread of HIV in the United States. Read or listen to this eye-opening interview with Datcher in TheBody.com's newest podcast series, HIV Frontlines -- U.S. Edition.
BodyBlog: An HIV Fighter Tells Her Personal Story
"I always thought that I would be the singer of a rock 'n' roll band, or at least marry the singer of a rock 'n' roll band," muses Terri Wilder. Instead, one day in 1988, Wilder came across a brochure announcing a workshop on HIV. She hasn't looked back: Although she's HIV negative and started out with no personal ties to HIV, Wilder has spent the past 18 years fighting the HIV epidemic in the United States. TheBody.com is proud to host her new blog, which provides an up close look at what it means to work at the forefront of efforts to battle HIV and provide support to people living with HIV.
• LIVING WITH HIV
The Real Scoop on Recreational Drug Use and HIV
What's wrong with using recreational drugs if you're HIV positive? As this fact sheet from AIDS InfoNet explains, recreational drugs don't always get along with HIV or HIV treatment. For instance, both alcohol and crystal meth can interact badly with certain HIV meds, and using ecstasy while you're taking protease inhibitors could even be fatal. Make sure you get the scoop so you can keep yourself healthy and safe.
For more information, browse TheBody.com's collection of articles on recreational drugs, which includes information on interactions with HIV meds. You can also check out TheBody.com's collection of articles on interactions between HIV meds and other prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements.
Find Local HIV Support and Services at TheBody.com's ASO Finder!
Are you HIV positive and trying to find services in your area? Maybe you could use a case manager, a support group or some legal assistance? Whatever help you need, TheBody.com's ASO Finder is a good place to start. Hundreds of U.S. HIV service organizations are searchable by zip code and type of service offered, so you can find exactly what you need where you need it.
Live outside the United States? Click here to browse listings of HIV organizations around the world.
If you work for a U.S. HIV organization, make sure it's listed in TheBody.com's ASO Finder!
• HIV IN THE NEWS
Woman Misdiagnosed With HIV Gets $2.5 Million
A woman who was misdiagnosed with HIV has been awarded $2.5 million in a lawsuit against her doctor, who prescribed her HIV medications for nine years even though she was not positive. The court found that Audrey Serrano's doctor never ordered confirmation tests for her, in spite of the fact that treatment monitoring found no HIV in her blood.
• HIV & HEPATITIS
Questions and Answers for HIVers Just Diagnosed With Hep C
Hearing you have hepatitis C on top of HIV may send a rush of new questions racing through your head. Naturally, you're going to want to know what hep C is, how it may interact with HIV and how it will affect your life. This article starts with the essentials, and looks ahead, explaining what newly hep C-diagnosed people need to do to keep their cool, protect their health and get the treatment they need.
Tips on Dealing With Side Effects of Hep C Meds
Compared to today's HIV treatment, hepatitis C treatment can be especially harsh. The list of potential side effects of hep C meds is daunting, and includes depression, anxiety, flu-like symptoms, weight loss, fatigue and anemia. However, the side effects of hep C meds are usually manageable, especially if you have the guidance of an attentive doctor and the support of friends and family. Read this article for an overview of hep C treatment side effects, as well as strategies for dealing with some of the most common problems.
The two articles above are parts of Treatment Action Group's Guide to Hepatitis C for People Living With HIV. Click here to read other articles from the guide.
• MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Creator of World AIDS Day Looks Back
In 1987, when Jim Bunn thought up World AIDS Day, he was trying to deliver a revolutionary message: Everyone needs to focus on HIV. Bunn, then a press officer at the World Health Organization, wanted to tell countries that weren't paying attention to HIV, "If you don't have the signs of the epidemic in your country yet, you will. ... You need to be prepared for it." Twenty years later, Bunn calls his invention a success. He believes World AIDS Day has forced countries to pay more attention to HIV and inspired activists to pressure their governments to respond to the pandemic.
$40 Million Worth of Art Will Be Auctioned to Benefit HIV Relief
Works by some of the world's most distinguished artists will be auctioned to benefit HIV relief programs in Africa this Valentine's Day. The Sotheby's auction, which will include more than 100 works inspired by the color red, is expected to raise at least $40 million for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. U2's lead singer, Bono, helped organized the fund-raiser, and Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Jasper Johns are among the contributing artists. Art donated for the auction will be on view at Gagosian Gallery in New York City from Feb. 4 to Feb. 13. (Web highlight from the International Herald Tribune)
• HIV TRANSMISSION
FDA Requires Warning That Nonoxynol 9 Can Increase HIV Risk
Contraceptives and spermicides in the United States that use nonoxynol 9 (N9) must now include a warning that N9 does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, according to new rules from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The rules come years after studies found that N9 can irritate a person's vagina or rectum, causing inflammation that can actually increase the risk of HIV infection.
Protein in Semen May Increase HIV Risk for Receptive Partners
Why does the receptive partner during intercourse carry most of the risk for HIV infection? The reason may lie in a common protein within human semen, which appears to increase HIV's infectiousness, according to new research from Germany. It's still unclear why the protein works the way it does, and the findings are a long way from providing a practical solution. However, researchers are attempting to determine how to block the protein or harness its power to fight HIV instead of help it.
Family Planning Could Lead to Fewer HIV-Positive Kids in Africa -- If U.S. Politicians Supported It
Republican politicians in the United States usually don't support family planning and birth control, even if they could prevent more kids in Africa from being born with HIV. The politicians say they choose to focus on issues more directly related to HIV, such as getting free HIV meds to pregnant women. However, while HIV meds prevented HIV in 101,000 children worldwide from 1999 to 2006, birth control prevented the births of more than 1 million HIV-positive babies, according to Family Health International. However, U.S. funding for family planning has been on the decline since 1996, when Republicans last took control of Congress.
• HIV OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
Europe Approves Atripla, First HIV Regimen in a Single Pill
More than a year after getting a green light in the United States, Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) has been approved for use in Europe. The three-drugs-in-one combo pill has been used in the United States since mid-2006. Much as it was in the United States, Atripla's approval has been hailed as a huge symbolic step forward in HIV treatment, not just because regimens have gone from 30 pills per day to one per day in the last decade or so, but also because it's the first case of three competing drug companies working together to produce an HIV medication. (Web highlight from BBC News)
HIV Creates Dilemmas for Married Pakistani Women
For too many women around the world, the biggest HIV risk they ever took was getting married. Infected with HIV by their husbands, these women must depend on those husbands because they fear rejection by their relatives. For example, take Nuzhat, a 22-year-old married woman living in Pakistan. She won't go for medical help because she's worried her family, which escorts her everywhere she goes, will discover her HIV status. Keeping her HIV secret and going without treatment has become an impossible burden. "I can't keep up a brave face any longer," she says. (Web highlight from Daily Times)
South Africa's New Anti-Rape Laws Allow Survivors to Demand HIV Tests for Attackers
South Africa is home to the world's highest HIV rates, and also has the tragic distinction of being known as the "rape capital of the world." South African lawmakers recently took a stand against rape, and HIV, by enacting new laws that advocates say will provide better protection to survivors of sexual crimes. Among other things, the laws will entitle rape survivors to force their attackers to get tested for HIV. Survivors will also get access to free post-exposure prophylaxis medications immediately after the assault, to reduce their risk of getting HIV.