LIVING WITH HIV
Dating Positively: The Art of Disclosure
How and when should you disclose your HIV status to someone you're dating? And, just as important, how do you prepare yourself emotionally for the reaction? Matthew Carter, a gay man who's been living with HIV for nearly three years, explores the pros and cons of breaking the news earlier versus later, debates whether mixed-status relationships are worth it, and discusses how to take care of yourself while trying to find love. (Article from Positively Aware)
An HIV-Positive Widow Finds Her Purpose
Two weeks after Evelyn Hernandez Valentino's wedding in 1993, her husband discovered he had HIV. Evelyn also tested positive, and within a few months her husband had died. She was a bride, a widow and a newly diagnosed HIVer in the same year, all at the age of 29. It's enough to make even the strongest person fall apart, but in the insanity of that year Evelyn found a new sense of purpose. Her faith led her to start her own agency, Working Wonders, whose goal is to educate women and youth about the risks of HIV. (Article from Positively Aware)
HEALTH ISSUES FOR HIVERS
An Unexpected Side Effect of the Sexual Revolution: Oral Cancer
Americans who were teenagers in the 1960s and 1970s, when oral sex apparently surged in popularity, have experienced a surprising result: an epidemic of cancers of the mouth and throat. Oral sex can transmit human papillomavirus (HPV), and researchers have found that HPV causes 6,000 cases of oral cancer in the United States each year, and rates are climbing, particularly among people with HIV. But there is hope that oral sex can be made a little safer: Some scientists say that giving both men and women the new HPV vaccine currently only recommended for females could wipe out HPV-associated oral cancers in both sexes. (Article from The Chicago Tribune)
Researchers Develop System to Gauge Kaposi's Sarcoma Progression Risk
If you've been diagnosed with Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), how likely is it that your KS will progress? A new scoring system developed by Swiss researchers may help answer this question. The system is deceptively simple: It's based on factors such as CD4 count and the stage of the KS tumor a person has. But if it becomes widely used, it could provide doctors with a useful new tool to help them figure out whether it's best for a person with KS to start treatment for his or her tumor. (Study summary from aidsmap.com)
You can read the abstract of this study in the May 31 issue of the journal AIDS.
Having a Hard Time Dealing With My Diagnosis|
(A recent post from the "Coping With HIV" board)
I was diagnosed six months ago and I am not OK. ... I got wasted for the first three to four months, and now I don't want to do anything. I am just having a really hard time dealing with the fact that I am poz. I am really emotional and teeter on the verge of depression. I guess I need some friends to talk to who have gone through it. My friends are not poz and they can empathize, but they don't get it, you know?
Click here to join this discussion thread, or to start your own!
HIV IN THE U.S. NEWS
Senate Fights Over Bill to Allot $50 Billion for Global HIV Relief and End HIV Travel Ban
Seven Republican U.S. senators are blocking a bill that would more than triple U.S. spending on global HIV relief over the next five years. The bill would also repeal a 1993 law that prevents people with HIV from traveling to the United States. Opponents of the bill say that they admire the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program President Bush created in 2003 to fight HIV in developing countries. However, they oppose such a dramatic increase in spending on the plan, and they object to loosening a rule requiring 55 percent of funds to be used for HIV treatment instead of prevention. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)
Although it's gotten less attention in mainstream media than the $50 billion in funding to fight HIV, an end to the U.S. HIV travel ban would also be a milestone. Click here for the latest on this issue. You can also read a recent Washington Times opinion piece written by two U.S. senators, Democrat John Kerry and Republican Gordon Smith, who introduced the legislation that would overturn the travel ban.
Activists Join Debate Over U.S. Senate HIV Funding Bill
Naturally, the fight over the Senate PEPFAR bill (see above) has inspired a passionate response from HIV activists. Some oppose the bill because it guarantees funding for abstinence-only sex education. But many argue that, despite its failings, getting the Senate bill approved before a major international meeting on July 7 is crucial. The United States needs to prove its own commitment to the cause in order to convince other wealthy countries to invest in HIV relief programs, they say. Politicians are taking notice: Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain have both promised to push for approval of the bill. (Article from Housing Works)
Activists are planning a rally in support of the PEPFAR bill -- and against Senate leaders who aren't supporting it strongly enough. Click here to learn more about the June 26 rally in Washington, D.C., as well as other ways you can get involved.
Lawsuit Approved for Woman Who Accuses Ex-Husband of Giving Her HIV
Am HIV-positive woman can sue her ex-husband for allegedly giving her HIV, a Los Angeles judge has ruled. Bridget B. has accused her ex of bringing HIV into the relationship by having unprotected sex with men and not telling her about it. "I just married my husband, and I wouldn't have married him if I didn't trust him," she said. "There was no reason to suspect him." The ex-husband had argued that the case shouldn't be allowed because Bridget didn't file her lawsuit quickly enough, but the judge ruled in her favor, so the case will go to trial in October. (Article from KNBC)
To Fight HIV Among African Americans, We Must First Resolve Centuries of Injustice, Advocate Says
Why is HIV so much more common among African Americans? And why, if we've known this for years, has nothing changed? "It is not a lack of resources," writes HIV-positive advocate Keith Green. "Rather, it is a lack of collective human will to sincerely address and correct the myriad of social ills that have impacted African Americans since there was such a population." In his latest column, Green points out the crucial connection between today's high HIV rates among African Americans and the scars caused by injustices that date back to long before HIV came to the United States. (Article from Positively Aware)
Transgender People and HIV: Why Crossing the Gender Divide May Put People at Risk
In San Francisco and Washington, D.C., a third of transgender women -- people who identify as female but were born male -- have HIV, studies have found. Rates of HIV among trans women in other big U.S. cities are similarly stratospheric. But why? And what can transgender people do to protect themselves and get the medical care they need and deserve? Read on for an in-depth exploration of the thorny issues that surround HIV risk, stigma and treatment among the transgendered. (Article from The Positive Side)
For more on transgender people and HIV, browse TheBody.com's collection of articles and resources.
Universal HIV Treatment Could Dramatically Cut HIV Rates, Researchers Say
Could the key to HIV prevention be HIV treatment? If a team of Canadian researchers is correct, providing HIV meds to everyone who needs it could prevent two out of every three HIV infections by 2030. The researchers used a mathematical formula to crunch the numbers, using the Canadian province of British Columbia as a test case. They estimate that, if every HIV-positive person in the province started treatment before their CD4 count fell below 200 and took their meds properly, HIV infection rates would drop 62 percent by 2030. (Study summary from aidsmap.com)
You can read the abstract of this study in the July 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
HIV THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
Getting HIV Meds to the People: The Brazilian Approach
How can a relatively poor country provide its HIV-positive citizens with the expensive HIV medications they need? Brazil's solution to this question has sparked controversy and admiration. On the National Public Radio program Tell Me More, the director of Brazil's HIV treatment program, Mariangela Simao, discussed her strategy for guaranteeing long-term access to HIV meds at prices her country can afford. She also explains how Brazil is joining other Portuguese-speaking countries in Europe, Asia and Africa in the fight against HIV. (Summary from kaisernetwork.org)
Vitamin Can't Be Touted as HIV Treatment, South African Court Rules
VitaCell is a vitamin supplement that's been marketed as an HIV treatment -- until now. A South African court ruled early this month that the maker of VitaCell vitamins must stop advertising the supposed anti-HIV properties of the product. The judge also banned Matthais Rath, the vitamin business mogul behind VitaCell, and his foundation from conducting unauthorized clinical trials. At least 12 people died from AIDS-related illnesses after relying on Rath's clinics instead of seeking actual HIV treatment, said Treatment Action Campaign spokesperson Nathan Geffen. (Article from Deutsche Presse-Agentur)
For Beijing Olympics, Volunteers Will Get HIV Awareness Training
"We hope that through [HIV awareness] training, Olympic volunteers ... will be better prepared to inclusively welcome all groups of people to Beijing during the games, especially those living with HIV," says United Nations Development Program Country Director Subinay Nandy. About 5,500 young volunteers for the Beijing Olympic Games recently received HIV awareness, prevention and anti-discrimination training from the United Nations, and another 100,000 were provided with HIV education materials. The organizers hope that Olympic volunteers will take their heightened HIV awareness beyond the Olympic Games and help educate their communities. (Article from Xinhua News Service)
Incredibly, while Olympic volunteers are being taught to fight HIV stigma, the organizers of the Beijing games are asking people with AIDS to stay home. The official Web site for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games says that foreigners with AIDS will be "prohibited" from entering China, as will people who have yellow fever, cholera, leprosy, tuberculosis or any sexually transmitted disease.
Keep Your Promises to Africa, Panel Implores Rich Nations
Eight of the world's wealthiest countries have promised to double their assistance to Africa to US$130 billion by 2010, but their contributions so far have been too slow to meet that target, according to an international panel of dignitaries and retired prominent officials. Although the Group of Eight major developed nations has taken steps to help African countries, overall they've done an inadequate job, the panel found. The panel also warned that skyrocketing food prices in Africa have set back progress in fighting HIV and poverty. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)