March 12, 2009
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Also Worth Noting: In Memoriam: Shelton Jackson

Shelton Jackson

We at would like to take a moment to remember Shelton Jackson, an HIV-positive poet, author and activist who passed away recently at the age of 31. In this moving memorial, Todd Murray (a young HIV-positive activist himself and the executive director of Hope's Voice, an organization that raises awareness about HIV) pays tribute to his friend. You can also learn more about Shelton by reading's interview with him in our African-American Resource Center.

 Obama Plans to Void Potentially Discriminatory "Conscience" Rule for Health Workers
The Obama administration is on the verge of eliminating a Bush-era rule that some HIV advocates are concerned makes it easier for health care workers and insurers to discriminate against people with HIV. The so-called "conscience" rule, which went into effect in the waning hours of George W. Bush's presidency, protects health workers who refuse to provide treatment to a person because doing so violates their "sincere religious belief or moral conviction." (Article from the Washington Post)

 Obama Aims to Boost Domestic HIV/AIDS Spending in 2010
Despite the tough economic times, could things be looking up for HIV funding in the United States? President Barack Obama's proposed budget for 2010 includes an unspecified increase in domestic spending on HIV testing, prevention and treatment. Before reaching that horizon, though, HIV-fighting efforts in the U.S. have to get through 2009 -- and the budget for the current year isn't as promising. (Article from Washington Blade)


Kyle Kyle: Using Meditation and Prayer to Stay Focused
What's it like to be an American Indian with HIV? In this moving interview, Kyle recounts his journey and the many difficulties he's had adjusting to his new status. Kyle's interview is one of three in's latest collection of videos from The Positive Project.


Join the "Night of a Thousand Gowns" to Benefit HIV-Fighting Efforts Join the "Night of a Thousand Gowns" to Benefit HIV-Fighting Efforts
There's nothing like a sense of humor in these rough economic times! The Imperial Court of New York -- a New York-area group that raises money for HIV organizations and other social service organizations -- will host the 23rd Annual Night of a Thousand Gowns, an extravagant, irreverent, rollicking charity event. This year's benefit gala will take place on Saturday, March 21, in New York City. The ball and a silent auction will benefit LIFEbeat -- The Music Industry Fights AIDS and MCCNY Homeless Youth Services (Sylvia's Place). This is a one-of-a-kind event with more gowns, jewelry and wigs (on men) than anywhere else in the world! (Press release from the Imperial Court of New York)

Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Tips for Easing Neuropathy Pain?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

My toes are numb on both feet. I have been dealing with this for some time now. However, it's gotten worse the past few months. ... Is there anything out there that can cure it without surgery? I just received a prescription from my doctor called gabapentin [brand name: Neurontin] to take at night, but I'm concerned about possible side effects. Is there anything that works to slightly ease the pain? I'm having a hard time sleeping or even taking naps without it causing some discomfort.

-- Rivy

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


New York City HIV Advocates Mark Awareness Day for Women and Girls New York City HIV Advocates Mark Awareness Day for Women and Girls
Across the United States on March 10, HIV advocates, prevention experts and health officials marked National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. In New York City, for instance, Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) led a rally at City Hall to call for more attention to the issue of HIV among U.S. women. GMHC is also starting a social-marketing campaign that promotes female empowerment and HIV testing for women; the group placed posters in phone kiosks throughout East and West Harlem, as well as ads in Harlem newspapers. (Press release from Gay Men's Health Crisis)

 HIV in Older Adults "Surprisingly High," WHO Says
Rates of HIV in people who are 50 years old or older is "surprisingly high, and the risk factors are totally unexplored," reports the World Health Organization (WHO) in a new study. There has been little work to date exploring HIV risk among older people (including the potential impact of erectile dysfunction drug use), but the international WHO study did find that older people were less likely to practice safer sex than people under 50. This is especially concerning because studies have found that HIV disease may progress faster in older people, partly due to their age and partly because many doctors don't even think to test an older person for HIV, the WHO report says. (Article from

The full WHO report on HIV among people over 50 is available online.

 Video Documentary Aims to Educate Young Blacks About HIV
"When it fell in my lap, I just saw black," says HIV-positive artist and activist Monte Wolfe of his HIV diagnosis in 2004. Monte's personal story is one of several told by young African Americans in a video documentary called "Let's Talk About HIV/AIDS." The video includes hard facts as well as tips from a health educator. Along with this nitty-gritty information are the voices of HIVers and HIV-negative young people talking about how HIV has affected their lives -- and how they're responding to the epidemic. (Article from The Gazette)

Want to see Monte tell his personal story? Watch this clip from the video documentary. You can also order the video for your school, your organization or just for yourself.

Also Worth Noting: Rememberance: Martin Delaney

Martin Delaney

Activist and Project Inform founder Martin Delaney will be missed by many within the HIV community. The Eureka Valley Recreation Center in San Francisco's Castro District invites all who knew him to attend a civic memorial on March 14. Everyone is welcome to come celebrate Martin's life, beginning at 4:30 p.m. For those wishing to contribute, Martin requested donations be made to Project Inform in his honor.

 HIV Disease Progresses More Slowly Among People of African Descent, Study Finds
HIV-positive people of African descent appear to take longer to progress to advanced HIV disease than HIV-positive people of European descent, according to a pair of new studies. One of the studies, conducted in the U.S., found that long-term HIV nonprogressors were more likely to be African American than people whose HIV disease progressed at a normal rate. The other study, conducted in Switzerland, found that HIVers from Africa had dramatically lower viral loads and saw their CD4 counts drop far more slowly than HIVers from Europe. (Article from

 Study Links Acid Produced From Gum Disease to HIV Progression
Can gum disease worsen HIV disease? That's what a team of Japanese researchers is suggesting. They've found that an acid produced in the mouth when a person has diseased gums blocks a naturally occurring enzyme that helps prevent HIV from replicating. "Serious periodontal disease could lead to the development (of AIDS) among HIV-positive people," said Kuniyasu Ochiai, the author of the study. (Article from


Raven Lopez Growing Up as the "HIV Girl"
"Are we going to die like those people on TV?" was the first thing 6-year-old Raven Lopez asked when her mom told her she was HIV positive. Her mom's answer, of course, was "no" -- and 12 years later, both of them are still going strong. The going was tough at first for Raven; kids in her New York City school knew her as "the HIV girl," some teachers didn't want her to go on school trips, and classmates made fun of her. But Raven found a way to cope: educating the people around her. These days, she's up front with her classmates, friends and especially the boys she dates. "I will teach my peers about this until the stigma stops and until we find a cure," she says. (Article from ACRIA and GMHC)

Want to learn even more about Raven and her life story? sat down with Raven last year for this one-on-one interview, which is part of our African-American Resource Center.

 Guide to Caring for Teens With HIV
Growing up is never easy, but HIV-positive kids and teens face many unique challenges, such as possible stigma from classmates, decisions about who to disclose to (and how), and fear of rejection by their peers. To deal with these issues, HIV-positive teens need plenty of support from their parents and guardians. If you're one of these parents or guardians, check out this comprehensive guide, which sheds more light on the challenges faced by teenagers with HIV and the ways in which caregivers can help them through the rough spots. (Article from ACRIA and GMHC)