HIV News & Views, October 15, 2008 -
October 15, 2008
What's New at
News & Views Library
Change/Update Subscription

Also Worth Noting: Visit en Español

Medicamentos Contra el VIH: Cuándo Comenzar y Qué Tomar -- Una Guía Para el Éxito

Need a comprehensive, online HIV resource that's geared specifically toward Spanish speakers? Turn to en Español for Spanish-language fact sheets, personal stories and an "Ask the Experts" forum where Spanish-speakers can converse with a knowledgeable HIV physician!

Damaries Cruz HIV-Positive Latina Puts a Public Face on a Stigmatized Virus
Damaries Cruz is an optimist. "When I was diagnosed [in 1991 -- five years before the era of effective HIV treatment truly began] I had to find a way to turn this horrible thing, this negative thing, into a positive," she recalls. "I had a choice: I could sit there and cry and let this thing eat me alive, or I could just celebrate my life and beat it. That was my choice." Cruz is now a very public advocate: She and her mom are the stars of a newly released, Spanish-language media campaign called Soy (Spanish for "I am"), which features the personal stories of a diverse group of HIV-positive Hispanic men and women, as well as the people who love them. In this article, you can read our interview with Cruz and view a video from this groundbreaking campaign. (Article from

  On U.S. National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, Officials Urge All Latinos to Join the Fight
When it comes to HIV, Latinos are one of the hardest-hit ethnic groups in the United States: Though they make up 15 percent of the U.S. population, they make up 18 percent of the people living with HIV in the United States, and Latinos are getting HIV at three times the rate of white people. Stigma, denial and homophobia remain major obstacles to fighting HIV in the Latino community. On Oct. 15, U.S. National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, officials tried to call attention to just how important it is that all Hispanic Americans come together to help reduce HIV rates in their community. (Article from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


 Sex, Cellulite & Large Farm Equipment: An HIV-Positive Performer's One-Woman Show
River Huston is an HIV-positive comic, poet and sex columnist -- not to mention a former dominatrix and an "accidental" armed robber. She's brought together stand-up comedy, poetry and lecture in her one-woman show, "Sex, Cellulite & Large Farm Equipment: One Girl's Guide to Living and Dying." In this article, she shares a preview of the show, which she'll be performing in New York City on Saturday, Oct. 18 as part of the Women at Work Festival. (Article from River Huston)

 Finding Love Again, After Testing Positive and Mourning a Partner
The day after Kim Johnson was diagnosed with advanced HIV, his partner of more than 20 years killed himself. When Johnson found out, he was lying in a hospital bed, and many of his friends thought he wasn't going to survive either. But six years later, at 63, Kim has an undetectable viral load and lives with an HIV-negative man whom he adores. In this article, Kim reflects on being diagnosed with HIV, mourning his lost partner and celebrating the joy his current relationship has brought. (Article from Test Positive Aware Network)

Also Worth Noting: In Memoriam: Gene Copello, 49

Gene Copello

We mourn the death of Gene Copello, founder and executive director of The AIDS Institute, an influential Washington, D.C., HIV advocacy group. Gene founded the institute in 2003 and gained a reputation for pushing AIDS activists to come to consensus. "What was most remarkable about Gene is how he brought the community together," recalled Carl Schmid, The AIDS Institute's director of federal affairs. "We hope what he did, we can continue to do." Gene died on Oct. 6 after a long battle with kidney disease.

Terri Wilder Mourning -- and Raging Against -- an HIV Org's Demise
"My heart is breaking," writes Terri Wilder. "It is not breaking over a guy rejecting me ... but from the end of something amazing." In her latest blog entry, Wilder mourns the closing of an HIV organization to which she and many others devoted years of service -- a closing that she believes could have been prevented. She expresses her grief and anger by drawing a pointed comparison between HIV's effects on a human body and the havoc that a bad manager can wreak on an otherwise healthy organization. (Blog from

 What HIVers Can Teach Researchers About Stopping HIV
Forget about immunologists. Forget about sociologists. If researchers really want to prevent HIV from spreading, they should talk to "life-ologists," says HIV-positive researcher Bruno Spire, Ph.D. Spire is referring to people who actually live with HIV or are at high risk of becoming infected. In this wide-ranging discussion, he talks about life-ologists and offers his thoughts on how to get more people tested for HIV, the relationship between viral load and HIV transmission, and efforts to fight the stigma of homosexuality in Africa. (Article from

 U.S. Needs a Health Care Revolution, Not a New HIV Law, Advocate Argues
The Ryan White CARE Act is failing, says David Ernesto Munar, but activists shouldn't spend too much energy trying to fix it. Munar, a policy advocate for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, argues that now's the time to focus on the bigger picture. The best way to improve HIV care in the United States, he says, is to push for universal access to health care and a comprehensive, national strategy to fight HIV. (Article from Housing Works)

Munar's article was written in response to an editorial by Housing Works' Christine Campbell highlighted in our newsletter earlier this month. While Munar favors extending the Ryan White CARE Act, Campbell is all for making major changes to the law in 2009.


 A Wellness Checklist: Recommended Tests and Vaccines for HIVers
If you're living with HIV and you're committed to staying healthy, you already know you need to take charge of your health care. That includes making sure your doctor gives you all the lab tests and vaccinations you need. HIV expert Joel Gallant, M.D., has assembled this lengthy list of lab tests, exams and vaccinations that everyone with HIV should get. It's a great reference to take along to your next checkup. (Article from Test Positive Aware Network)

 When HIV Regimens Fail, Resistance Risk Appears Higher on NNRTIs Than Protease Inhibitors
Protease inhibitors and NNRTIs both work well against HIV, but there's a difference between them when it comes to drug resistance, a massive new study has found. In instances when HIV meds do fail, people who had taken an NNRTI were much more likely to develop drug resistance than those who had taken a protease inhibitor, the study says. In a way, the findings are not a big surprise: Researchers have long known that drug resistance is a bigger risk with NNRTIs than protease inhibitors. But the study also raises some new concerns about the types of drug resistance a person may develop when their NNRTI stops working. (Article from

 The Lowdown on HPV, the Most Common Sexually Transmitted Disease in the U.S.
Did you know that nearly half of all sexually active people -- gay, straight or otherwise -- have had human papillomavirus (HPV) at some point in their lives? HPV is a sneaky virus: Although people often experience no symptoms when they're infected, HPV can potentially cause cervical or anal cancer if left untreated. Furthermore, folks living with HIV are at greater risk for contracting HPV and developing these cancers, which is why regular screening is critical. This fact sheet provides more info on HPV risk, detection and treatment -- including special considerations for HIVers. (Article from Project Inform)

Want to check out more news, statistics and research on HPV? Browse's extensive collection of articles.

Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
How Can I Warn People That My Ex Has HIV?
(A recent post from the "My Loved One Has HIV/AIDS" board)

I ... didn't get HIV from my ex-boyfriend [even though] he didn't tell me [he was HIV positive] until after we had been together quite a while. ... Now I have found out he is on sex-swap sites and is not telling anyone he is positive. I tried to warn a woman about him, and she said I just sounded like a jealous ex-girlfriend, so I let it go. He isn't being responsible! What can I do?

-- honeybee55_1952

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


 Radio Show Accuses Magic Johnson of Faking AIDS
"I'm convinced that Magic faked AIDS ... Cause he's the only cured AIDS guy ever," said Langdon Perry of KTLK in Minneapolis, cohost of the radio program The Chris Baker Show. Perry's comments about former pro basketball player Magic Johnson, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1991 and is one of the world's most recognizable HIV-positive activists, instantly set off fireworks. Johnson himself condemned the comments, but he did not call for Perry and Baker to be fired. Instead, he said, "I'd rather they educate their audience." And so they will: KTLK apologized for its hosts' statements and announced it would air HIV awareness public service announcements. (Article from The Associated Press)

You can read a transcript of the on-air conversation that sparked this controversy by visiting this page from Media Matters for America.

 Enormous, High-Tech Scavenger Hunt Has Londoners Thinking About Dangerous Form of TB
A one-of-a-kind tuberculosis (TB) awareness campaign is sending Londoners into the streets with digital cameras and global positioning devices. Their mission: Hunt for 43 items that are hidden around the city and, once they're all found, use them to reveal a secret message. The object of the contest, however, is to draw attention to extremely drug-resistant TB, a difficult to treat, potentially deadly form of TB. Since TB is the number one killer of people with HIV worldwide and this especially dangerous form of TB is on the rise, activists are turning to more innovative ways to bring attention to the issue. (Article from

The hunt is on! To take part in the contest, or see how well London's puzzle masters are doing, check out the game's official Web site.

This unconventional awareness-raising project was inspired by photojournalist James Nachtwey. On the Web site for Nachtwey's XDR-TB campaign, you can learn more about the campaign against drug-resistant tuberculosis and see a beautiful, yet heartbreaking, exhibition of photos of people with XDR-TB.


 Jury Still Out on Whether Circumcision Protects Gay Men From HIV
Does circumcision reduce HIV risk in gay men as well as it does in heterosexual men? It doesn't appear so, according to a large analysis by U.S. researchers. The analysis of 17 studies throughout the world did find a slight decrease in HIV infections in circumcised gay men -- and an even larger drop among gay men who reported always being the insertive partner. However, the decreases were so small that they could easily have been due to chance, the researchers said. (Study summary from


 Could the Evangelical Church Undo Uganda's Gains Against HIV?
Uganda was once a shining example of how a developing country can successfully fight HIV. Experts cited open, frank discussions and nonjudgmental public education campaigns as reasons behind a huge drop in HIV rates in the 1990s. However, some worry that a growing Christian evangelical movement threatens to undo this remarkable success. In this blog entry, political commentator Anne Perkins worries about how the homophobic, stigmatizing, abstinence-only stance of many evangelist leaders could renew the cycle of HIV transmission in Uganda. (Blog entry from the Guardian)

 Dwindling Number of Medical Workers Threatens Lives in the Developing World
Africa carries a quarter of the world's disease burden but is home to a much smaller, and ever-shrinking, percentage of its health care workers. Wealthier Western countries have lured huge numbers of skilled medical professionals away from Africa, India and other developing countries with the promise of higher pay and greater stability. As a result, many people with HIV often linger unattended in understaffed clinics and don't get the care they need. There's no easy solution to the problem, some experts say; although it's important to give health care workers the freedom to live and work where they wish, this "brain drain" threatens the health and lives of many people in the developing world. (Article from The International Herald Tribune)

 Could South Africa's Next President Be as Ignorant About HIV as the Last One?
Jacob Zuma is the current favorite to take the place of Thabo Mbeki, who resigned from South Africa's presidency last month. Zuma is already pledging more decisive action against HIV than Mbeki, who tragically dragged his feet on rolling out a nationwide HIV treatment program -- and, for many years, even publicly denied that HIV caused AIDS. But while Zuma's words suggest he'll be an improvement over Mbeki when it comes to HIV policy, he's hardly perfect: In 2006, for instance, Zuma was accused (and acquitted) of raping an HIV-positive woman. During his trial, he said that he thought he could reduce the possibility of getting HIV from her by showering after intercourse. (Op-ed from PostGlobal)

How much do you know about HIV? Take's HIV Knowledge Quiz for a chance to win $100!