By now the more scientific highlights from the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in Melbourne has been digested and shared through your networks. There's always something unexpected -- and sometimes even encouraging, such as the new iPrEx study results showing, again, the efficacy of Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The evidence mounts.
This week, Gilead was targeted by hepatitis C treatment activists over the stunning price of its new hepatitis C drug, sofosbuvir (Sovaldi): US$1,000 per pill for each day of a 12-week regimen. Because the medication is both more effective and offers a shorter treatment period than previous therapies, activists see the drug as key to ending the hepatitis C scourge as we know it -- but warn that the price could keep that from happening. They took action here at the conference, and one of those events is in this video.
Try, if you can, to hold it together while hearing from a man from Nigeria who risks imprisonment simply by providing services to gay men; in his country, such a nefarious act is punishable by a decade in prison. Marvel at Wonder Woman, an Australian aboriginal drag performer who has taken on the mantle of a superhero HIV awareness figure. And hear the impassioned pleas of the disenfranchised -- including transgender people, those from remote locales of the planet, and those who feel as though they're still invisible even at the conference they're attending.
But nowhere was the mutual understanding of our shared commitment greater than when marching together during the activist event in the streets of Melbourne on Tuesday, July 22. We were a single community of people with HIV and our allies, and as we raised our placards and our fists, we understood one another completely.
While my video coverage will frequently illustrate the ways in which the plane tragedy still affects AIDS 2014 delegates and the Australian community, there is also a sense here that the massive conference is ready to march forward and address the task that always remains at hand: fighting HIV.
So little was yet known about the details of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy, but the loss was deeply felt in very tangible ways. Colleagues of the Global Forum had been lost in the crash. One of the scheduled speakers would not be giving her presentation; she had been on the flight.
When TheBody.com sent me to Vienna in 2010 for the International AIDS Conference, it was profound for me in more ways than one. I had found my calling as a video blogger, and I will never forget how exhilarating it felt to share the sights and sounds of the massive event with viewers.
May is National Masturbation Month -- Hurry, folks! Only a few days left to celebrate! -- and I will admit to feeling smug, because I have more experience with gay men masturbating than anyone else I know.
Maybe we should blame the criminal prosecutions of people with HIV on the mythical legend of Gaetan Dugas, also known by his slanderous nickname, Patient Zero. Dugas was a gay flight attendant from Canada who, according to Randy Shilts' 1987 book And the Band Played On, was among the first people with HIV in the United States.
There is a classic episode of Oprah from 1987 that can still raise my blood pressure. That year, the tiny town of Williamson, West Virginia, became part of a national discussion about AIDS when Mike Sisco, who had returned to his home town to die of the disease, dared to step into a public pool.