HIV TREATMENT & HEALTH ISSUES
An In-Depth Look at Body Shape Changes in People With HIV
LIVING WITH HIV
Body shape changes are among the most frustrating complications of HIV and HIV medications. Whether it's the gradual sinking of their cheeks or the sudden swelling in their midsection, some people with HIV have been largely forced to just grin and bear these problems, since there are few treatments available (and those that are available can be expensive). In the first episode of our freshly revived This Month in HIV podcast series, HIV activist and long-time survivor Nelson Vergel leads a discussion with Donald Kotler, M.D., who is an expert on metabolic complications and HIV. They'll fill us in on some of the latest updates on this important issue. (Article and audio from TheBody.com)
Recapping the Latest Research on Heart Disease and HIV
How big a problem is heart disease for people with HIV? Just as important is what's causing it: HIV meds, the virus itself, or both? Read or listen as David Wohl, M.D., walks us through some of the most important research on heart disease presented at a recent HIV medical conference. The conference included a few studies that may change the landscape of HIV care: One study, for instance, suggests that HIV poses a danger similar to that of traditional heart disease risk factors, while other studies highlighted new ways that doctors may be able to assess an HIVer's heart risk. (Article and podcast from The Body PRO)
Majority of HIV-Positive People in South Carolina Not Receiving Medical Help
Every study out of the U.S. South seems to show the same thing: If you're HIV positive and poor, you're unlikely to get the medical care you need. The latest evidence of this is a new study out of South Carolina, which found that up to 65 percent (if not more) of HIV-positive people in the state don't consistently access HIV medical care. The researchers recommend new, targeted programs to improve the situation. (Article from Journal Watch)
18 Years Later, The Real World's Pedro Zamora Still Inspires
MTV's The Real World is now in its 21st season, but after 17 years and dozens of cast members, none of them has ever been more "real" than Pedro Zamora. Zamora was an HIV-positive gay man who, in 1994, used the show as a platform to teach his generation about HIV. Zamora died shortly after his season ended. Now, 15 years later, his life story has become an MTV movie, and it continues to inspire. The film Pedro -- penned by the Oscar-winning writer of Milk -- first aired on MTV on April 1, but there will be several future airings, including 4 p.m. Eastern time (ET) on Thursday, April 2; 2 p.m. ET on April 3; and 3 p.m. ET on April 4. Check the show schedule at MTV.com for additional dates and times. (Article from the Los Angeles Times)
You can read more about the movie at the official Pedro site on MTV.com.
Feeling Isolated? Choices Abound for Getting Out! Next Up: Pasadena, Calif.
From events at HIV organizations to weekend retreats, lots of HIV-positive people are getting out and getting support. For instance, in the Pasadena, Calif., area on April 18 and 19, there will be a POZ Life Weekend Seminar, featuring a series of educational workshops on dating, disclosure, nutrition, health benefits, art therapy and much more. (Article from The Life Group LA)
The POZ Life Weekend Seminar is just one of a huge number of socials, weekly support groups, fundraisers and other events happening for HIV-positive people throughout the U.S. and in many countries around the world. For instance, check out our comprehensive listing of HIV retreats to see if there's one near you, or scan our extensive list of HIV organizations and see if a group near you offers activities that interest you.
I'm Physically Fine, but Psychologically ...|
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)
I tested positive a few months ago during a health check for a work visa. My visa was denied and I was left with no job, a plane ticket home, a lot of concerns, and a lot of questions from friends, family and co-workers as to what happened. ...
After a few weeks or so I finally cleared my head and faced my situation. ... Since starting HIV medications I thought that I would then possibly notice some health changes, side effects from the meds, or something, anything different. But I feel or notice nothing about my health that has changed. ...
But the real strain I am struggling with ... are the social and psychological issues. Keeping this secret inside weighs so heavily on me. Not because I feel like I cannot handle the challenges I will face personally. But more troubling is the heavy stigma that is attached to this disease and how my circle of friends and family may treat or feel different about me. ... Hurting myself is my own problem, but passing that pain on to others that love and care about me is unfortunate. I don't want to lose the ones I love most in my life and now I am afraid I will.
Click here to join this discussion thread, or to start your own!
HIV IN THE NEWS
Ads for Suspicious U.S. HIV/AIDS Charity Anger HIV Advocates; Was The New York Times Duped?
HIV TRANSMISSION & TESTING
It seemed innocent enough at first: an ad on the home page of The New York Times' Web site encouraging people to donate money to an HIV/AIDS charity called the Center for AIDS Prevention. But when people clicked on the link, they were taken to a Web site that, among other things, suggested that birth control pills were "the best way to have safe sex." Further investigation by reporters turned up a host of suspicious findings about the Center for AIDS Prevention, leaving many in the HIV community confused, angry and demanding that 1) the organization explain its actions and 2) the Times explain why it continued to allow the ads on its site. (Article from Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project)
Investigative legwork by the nonprofit journalist group ProPublica was a large part of the reason this possible scandal came to light. Check out ProPublica's recent article on the Center for AIDS Prevention to learn more about what its reporters found.
Ban on HIV-Positive People Entering the U.S. Is Still on the Books
Even though last year the U.S. government lifted a ban on HIV-positive people entering the United States, HIV remains on an official U.S. Health Department list of diseases you're not allowed to have if you want to come into the country. A new report from the New York HIV organization Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) provides an analysis of the annoyingly persistent HIV entry ban, including a closer look at its "devastating impact" on HIV prevention and stigma among immigrants, as well as an explanation of the obstacles that remain to a complete removal of the ban. (Press release from Gay Men's Health Crisis)
The full GMHC report on the impact of the U.S. HIV travel ban on public health and human rights is available online.
Despite Legalization in Michigan, Medical Marijuana Still Faces Opposition
Michigan is the most recent of 13 states to legalize medical marijuana, which is used by people living with conditions like cancer and HIV/AIDS. But the issue remains murky. For instance, although people in Michigan who win permits are allowed to grow marijuana, no one can legally sell those people the plants or seeds. In addition, medical pot users are not protected from discrimination, so they may still face stigma and can even be fired from their jobs for using medical marijuana. (Article from Chicago Tribune)
Prescription Savings Program Announces Expanded Access to Meds for Uninsured People in U.S.
Are tough economic times making it harder for you to pay for your meds? Together Rx Access, a program that makes prescription medications available at low cost to people with no insurance, is responding to the U.S. economic crisis by expanding the eligibility criteria for its program. Even if your salary has been too high in the past to qualify for such a program, you may now be eligible -- the company says that nearly 90 percent of uninsured U.S. and Puerto Rico residents will qualify for the program under the new guidelines. Enrollment is free for people who have no public or private insurance and don't qualify for Medicare. Together Rx features hundreds of brand-name and generic medications, including a range of HIV meds. (Blog entry from U.S. News & World Report)
For more info on this program, read this press release from Together Rx Access. In addition, if you are having trouble paying for your meds, there are other programs that can help you get your prescriptions for cheap -- or even for free. Take a look at TheBody.com's collection of articles on drug payment assistance, or ask our experts your questions at the forum on insurance issues.
Protein Grown in Tobacco Plant Could Result in Low-Cost Microbicide, Study Says
Tobacco has claimed countless lives since people first realized they could chew or smoke it. But researchers have found a use for tobacco that could potentially save lives. A study in Kentucky has shown that a protein found within tobacco plants may be able to inhibit HIV, and that it may be particularly well suited for development in a vaginal microbicide gel. Adding to the protein's appeal is that it apparently can be produced in large amounts cheaply, which may make it especially alluring for use in developing countries. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)