December 10, 2008
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THEBODY.COM'S "STRANGEST BUT TRUEST" CONTEST

 Vote Now: What Are the "Strangest but Truest" Questions of 2008 at TheBody.com's "Ask the Experts" Forums?
Wondering how ignorant people still are about HIV? At our "Ask the Experts" forums, we're sometimes amazed at just how far-out some folks can get in their paranoia over a possible HIV exposure. We scoured our "Ask the Experts" forums and nominated 10 posts we feel are the year's most bizarre. You have until Jan. 9 to cast your vote for the posts you think are the "strangest but truest" of 2008!


Orie, Sharon and DeahVIEWPOINTS

 People Young and Old Tell Their Stories About Life With HIV
Three HIV-positive people from very different walks of life are featured in our newest collection of first-person videos from The Positive Project:

  • Orie, who has been living with HIV for 24 years, looks back on how he coped with his diagnosis and shares his optimistic outlook on life.

  • Sharon, a 40-year-old Native American who has been HIV positive for three years, describes how she discovered she had HIV and offers advice for others struggling to come to terms with their diagnosis.

  • Eleven-year-old Deah, who has been living with HIV since she was born, reveals some of the good and bad experiences she's had when she reveals to others that she's positive.


 Philadelphia Extra Marks 19 Years Living With HIV
When the landmark film Philadelphia came out in the United States in 1993, AIDS was still very much a fatal disease -- in that year alone, more than 46,000 people died due to AIDS. Sue Kehler was among dozens of people with HIV who were in the movie, and recalls how the film inspired her to stop hiding her HIV status and leave her abusive fiance. Last month -- 19 years after her diagnosis, and with a CD4 count that's never dropped below 400 -- Kehler spoke at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania's 20th anniversary celebration, which also marked the 15th anniversary of the groundbreaking film. (Article from The Philadelphia Inquirer)


 A Chance to Get Inside the Head of the United States' Top HIV Prevention Official?
Blogging has become so ubiquitous that even U.S. health officials are getting into the game. Kevin Fenton, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the U.S. National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, even keeps a blog of his thoughts on HIV prevention and related topics. Anybody can read and comment on his blog entries, so hopefully this idea will provide an opportunity for people in the HIV community to respond directly to one of the most prominent U.S. officials in charge of HIV-related issues. (Blog from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


HIV TREATMENT & HEALTH ISSUES

Joel Gallant, M.D. Exclusive Interview: Joel Gallant, M.D., Summarizes Revised U.S. HIV Treatment Guidelines
Looking for an expert summary of the latest revisions to the official U.S. HIV treatment guidelines? Check out this exclusive interview with Joel Gallant, M.D., a prominent HIV physician/researcher and a member of the expert panel responsible for revising the guidelines. In this rather technical review, Dr. Gallant walks us through the updated guidelines and explains the importance of the new revisions. (Article and podcast from The Body PRO)


IN THE NEWS

 At Long Last, New York City Unveils Its First AIDS Memorial
It may be hard to believe, but until last week, New York City had no official AIDS memorial. This despite the fact that New York City is one of the U.S. cities hardest hit by HIV; AIDS has claimed the lives of about 100,000 New Yorkers since 1981. But finally, thanks to the tireless efforts of a group of HIV activists, a gently curving bench of black granite was dedicated in Hudson River Park in Manhattan on Nov. 30. "I can sail without wind; I can row without oars. But I cannot part from my friend without tears," reads a quote inscribed on the bench. (Article from The New York Times)


Also Worth Noting: Medicine Recycling

Aid for AIDS

Your extra medications are needed by many people with HIV. Organizations such as Aid for AIDS and the Starfish Project will pay for you to send them your extra meds for HIV and related illnesses, and then ship them to people in South America and Africa who would die without them.

If you have extra meds you don't need, please take a moment to learn more about Aid for AIDS and the Starfish Project, or click here for additional news and information about medication recycling programs.
HIV TRANSMISSION & TESTING

 Overall HIV Infection Rates Are Falling in United States, New Report Finds
People are becoming HIV positive in the United States at a rate 33 percent lower than they did in the late 1990s, according to U.S. researchers. The team of researchers reports that although the number of people who are diagnosed has hovered around 56,000 each year, the rate of infections has been falling overall. "For every 100 persons living with HIV today, five or fewer will transmit the virus to an uninfected person in a given year," said David Holtgrave, Ph.D., lead author of the study. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)


 Everyone Over 13 Should Get Routine HIV Testing, Prominent U.S. Doctors' Group Says
Another push for routine HIV screening has arrived, this time from one of the largest physician organizations in the United States. The latest guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP) call for all people to be tested for HIV as part of their routine health care starting at the age of 13 -- even if they're at very low risk. ACP's recommendations are similar to those of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which two years ago called for routine HIV screening in all health care settings. However, ACP's guidelines go even further, extending routine screening to people over the age of 64, as well as those who live in areas of the United States where HIV rates are extremely low. (Article from The New York Times)


 Microbicide in Development Fails to Boost HIV Protection in Women, Study Finds
Researchers are still trying to develop an HIV prevention tool that receptive partners can use to protect themselves during sex. Unfortunately, the latest research shows that one prevention tool in development has come up empty: A vaginal microbicide gel called Carraguard didn't appear to have any significant benefit in protecting women from HIV, the study found. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
How Do I Cope When I'm Haunted by Everyone I've Lost to HIV?
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

I'm still here. I'm still technically alive. I've lost a dozen friends and two lovers. I've tested negative every January since 1988. I thought I had the grief under control, but I've really hit the wall. The horror is playing out over and over in my mind. Every day is a tear- and snot-fest. ... For those of you that have been around here a while, poz or not, how do you cope with seeing so much that no one should ever see?

-- KMW1964

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

HIV POLICY & FUNDING

 ADAP Waiting Lists Are on the Rise Once Again, Report Says
Less than a year ago, waiting lists for U.S. AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) were virtually nonexistent. But as of Nov. 25, 53 people were going without their HIV meds because there were no open spots in their state's cash-strapped ADAP. ADAPs are a nationwide network of government programs that provide free meds to low-income, uninsured or underinsured people with HIV. The latest ADAP update report warns us that the current problems might be just the tip of the iceberg: The recession, policy changes and higher HIV testing rates are stretching some ADAPs to the limit. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)


HIV THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

 Gay Pride Parades Help Spread HIV, Moscow Mayor Says
Moscow's mayor has served up a stunning example of how homophobia and HIV ignorance are still alive and well. The mayor of Russia's capital city has announced that he will continue a citywide ban on gay pride parades because they "could turn out to be one of the factors in the spread of HIV infections," he said. If that comment were not misinformed enough, the mayor added that he felt condom use was not a reliable way to prevent HIV. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)


 Europe's Annual HIV Rate Has Doubled Since 2000, Report Finds
The rate of new HIV infections in Europe has nearly doubled between 2000 and 2007, according to a new report. The people who are most affected by HIV vary depending on the country, the report notes; for instance, in Eastern Europe, injection drug use is the main way HIV is transmitted, while in Central and Western Europe it's heterosexual sex. This makes regional HIV prevention efforts much more challenging, warns the report, which was issued by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization. (Article from The Associated Press)



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