December 3, 2008
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HIV TRANSMISSION & TESTING

 Is It Ever OK for a Positive Man to Have Bareback Sex With a Negative Guy?
It's been one of the hottest topics in HIV this year: If HIV meds are keeping a person's virus undetectable, is it safe for that person to have unprotected sex? In this article, HIV specialist Daniel Berger, M.D., takes a practical, real-world look at the storm of controversy that has surrounded this question. He offers his take on what the science really suggests when it comes to unprotected sex between an HIV-positive man and his HIV-negative partner. (Article from Positively Aware)


 Meds for All: The Best Way to Stop HIV for Good?
If every single HIV-positive person on the planet started taking HIV meds as soon as they were infected, could the pandemic be stopped in its tracks? Researchers from the World Health Organization think so. They've just published a new study that used computer models to guess what would happen if everybody over the age of 15 got tested for HIV once a year, and then started meds right away if they tested positive. The computer predicted that new HIV infections would drop 95 percent over the next 10 years. (Article from The Economist)

What's your take on this story? Which do you think is more realistic: testing and treating everyone in the world for HIV, or developing an HIV vaccine? Share your thoughts at the bottom of this brief summary of the World Health Organization study!


 As HIV Spreads Among Older Americans, Advocates Speak Out
HIV "is not an illness about people in their 20s and teens," says Myron Gold. "This is an illness about every spectrum, from young to old." Gold should know: He's 67 years old and still going strong, despite being given six months to live when he was diagnosed with HIV back in 1993. Gold is now the vice chair of the Association of HIV Over Fifty in New York, where he fights for better awareness and funding for HIV testing and education among older people. It's estimated that 29 percent of HIV-positive people in the United States are over the age of 50. (Article from The New York Times)


Also Worth Noting: Get Creative!

Postcards From the Edge

Visual AIDS is still accepting submissions for its 11th annual Postcards From the Edge benefit, a major charity event featuring the sale of postcard-size artworks. But time is drawing short: The postmark deadline for submissions is Dec. 10!

Painting, drawing, photography, printmaking and mixed media are welcomed. Proceeds go to Visual AIDS, which provides support to HIV-positive artists throughout the country. Click here to find out how you can participate.

Are you an HIV-positive artist who's interested in becoming a member of Visual AIDS? Click here to learn more about how to join.

IN THE NEWS

 Could HIV Be as Old as Dinosaurs?
HIV came from monkeys ... right? Well, yes and no, according to new research. It's currently thought that an ancestor of HIV made the leap from monkeys to humans sometime within the past 100 years or so. But a newly published study suggests that HIV's origin may stretch back for millions of years -- and may have started out in other primates, such as lemurs, before ending up in monkeys (and then people). There's even an outside chance that HIV may have originated as far back as 85 million years ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the planet. (Article from the Guardian)

On a related note, the moment when HIV made that leap from monkeys to humans keeps getting older. The latest findings out of Africa suggest that the first human was infected with HIV around the year 1900, and the colonization of Africa helped spread the virus -- without anyone realizing it for generations. "The conditions [during the colonial era] were horrendous. ... People dying of AIDS would have been part of the background," explains anthropologist Jim Moore. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)


 Kentucky on Verge of Restarting ADAP Wait List
Kentucky's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) may be forced to restart a waiting list by next spring, state health officials warn. Kentucky's program is one of a nationwide network of ADAPs that provide treatment to low-income, uninsured and underinsured people with HIV. Kentucky was able to wipe out its ADAP waiting list in 2006, thanks to better efficiency and more federal funding. But the flow of cash into the program dropped heavily this year, and it's nearing the limit of the number of people it can afford to help. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)


 Transcript: President Bush Talks About "Freedom From Disease" on World AIDS Day
"I believe that it's not just freedom from tyranny that the United States must become involved in; I believe it's freedom from disease, freedom from hunger, freedom from deprivation," U.S. President George W. Bush said on World AIDS Day. Bush took advantage of his final World AIDS Day as president to accept praise for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and, with the First Lady by his side, to talk about his legacy and the global fight against HIV. While much of President Bush's foreign policy decisions have been criticized worldwide, the creation of PEPFAR stands as a success, having helped more than 2 million people gain access to HIV meds worldwide. (Transcript from the White House)

In the HIV community, of course, every day is World AIDS Day. Visit TheBody.com's 2008 World AIDS Day Center to learn more about what you can do throughout the year to increase HIV awareness and help the global fight against HIV.


LIVING WITH HIV

 Washington, D.C., Homeless Center Offers More Than Shelter to People With HIV
The intersection between homelessness and HIV is well known. At Joseph's House in Washington, D.C., some homeless HIV-positive people have found a home and much-needed support. Unfortunately, having HIV when you're homeless often makes it harder to consistently take HIV meds and stay healthy. As a result, although many Joseph's House residents are there to recover, some end up going there to have a safe, secure place where they can die. (Article from the Washington Post)


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Should We Be Responsible for the Ignorance of Others?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I'm here getting ready to start my day: World AIDS Day, a very interesting day for all of us affected and infected by this virus. Funny how the world recognizes this day but is still full of discrimination and stigma.

The other day I ended up in an argument with a neighbor. ... Sometime during the conversation, she told me that I was dying. We went back and forth, I was asking her if I looked like I was dying, and she was like, "Well, looks are very deceiving." ... She is young and ignorant -- I don't mean ignorant about HIV, but ignorant about how the world works. A part of me wanted to go back and tell her, tell her everything, tell her that I feel like everyone is dying, those infected and those that are not, but I mostly wanted to tell her that what happened to me could happen to her. I wanted to warn her, but I said, "You know what? I don't have to."

-- Barbdoll

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

Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the November/December 2008 Visual AIDS Gallery
"Untitled (drag performance)," 1990-1991; Hunter Reynolds

Why the curator chose this piece: "The 'caged beauty' imagery of this piece is a reminder that HIVers too often give in to the notion that our beauty as human beings is trapped by our serostatus." Visit the November/December 2008 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to learn more!
MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Where's the Cure? "Where's the Cure?" Campaign: Submit Your Photo, Add Your Voice!
"Where's the cure?" is a question that the HIV community has been asking for years. The HIV research organization amfAR has made the question the centerpiece of a striking new campaign that you can easily join. Simply display the words "Where's the cure?" in a creative way, take a photo of your message and add it to the online gallery before Jan. 31, 2009. You can also vote on which photos should be included in amfAR's Where's the Cure? book, which will be presented to President Barack Obama on April 30, 2009 -- his 100th day in office. (Feature from amfAR)

Need help making your "Where's the cure?" sign? Visit this page to download a sign template containing amfAR's logo, or take a photo using one of amfAR's ready-made signs, which are available in color or black and white.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to learn more about the search for an HIV cure, browse TheBody.com's collection of articles.


 Bid on Celebrity Memorabilia at LIFEbeat's 4th Annual Auction
LIFEbeat, which works with the music industry to raise HIV awareness and provide support for the HIV community, has launched its annual celebrity memorabilia auction! The auction, which takes place on eBay, features hundreds of rare and autographed items from stars in film, music, sports, television and theatre. You can also bid on once-in-a lifetime experiences, such as an opportunity to meet Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. The auction runs until Dec. 11; all proceeds go to LIFEbeat. (Feature from eBay)


HIV THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

 South Africa's HIV Treatment Delay Killed 365,000, Study Suggests
More than 330,000 adults died because South Africa's government dragged its feet for years before beginning to provide its citizens with HIV meds, according to Harvard University researchers. The study also said that the lives of 35,000 babies were lost because former South African President Thabo Mbeki delayed his country's rollout of HIV treatment. "I feel ashamed that we have to own up to what Harvard is saying," said Barbara Hogan, South Africa's new health minister. "The era of denialism is over completely in South Africa," she vowed. (Article from The New York Times)

You can read the full Harvard study (in PDF format) in the Dec. 1 issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.


 Number of People With HIV in Asia May Reach 10 Million by 2010
Unless Asian countries dramatically improve their HIV prevention programs, 10 million people may be living with HIV in the region by 2010. Throughout much of Asia, HIV is still concentrated among sex workers, injection drug users and men who have sex with men. However, Amala Reddy of UNAIDS warns that about 50 million women in the region may be at risk of becoming infected with HIV by their husbands or other sexual partners. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)



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