July 8, 2009
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Gary Bell Is Obama Failing Us on HIV, or Are Our Expectations Too High?
"It's a good news, bad news scenario." This is how Gary Bell, longtime HIV advocate and new blogger on TheBody.com, sums up his take on U.S. President Barack Obama's progress so far in fighting HIV. While he's disappointed with some of Obama's choices relating to HIV, he also acknowledges that the president is "playing with a shaky hand" as he deals with other major issues, such as a global financial collapse. What's your take on Obama's first six months in office? Read Gary's comments and then add your own! (Blog entry from TheBody.com)


Terri Wilder Eight Characteristics of Long-Term Survivors of HIV
If you've lived a long life with HIV, how much of that is due to your genes or plain old luck, and how much is due to specific character traits? Some researchers theorize that there are traits that set long-term HIV survivors apart. HIV advocate Terri Wilder decided to test that theory: She grabbed her video camera and interviewed three friends who are still thriving after many years of living with HIV. The result is her latest blog entry on TheBody.com. Give it a look and offer your own thoughts on what, if anything, may set long-term HIV survivors apart from the hundreds of thousands of HIV-positive people in the U.S. who aren't with us today. (Blog entry from TheBody.com)


Also Worth Noting: HIV/AIDS Bike Ride: Join the U.S. East Coast Trek This September
Register for Braking the Cycle, a 275-mile bicycle ride from Boston to New York to raise funds for HIV/AIDS services! Riders, many of them HIV positive, make new friends over the course of the three-day ride, and many participants return year after year. "Anybody who wonders whether lives are saved by these rides, they are, and I'm here to prove it," says one HIV-positive rider in this YouTube video from the 2008 ride.
HIV TREATMENT & HEALTH ISSUES

 A "Cultured" Response to HIV: Probiotics in Yogurt Could Hold Keys to Optimal Gut Health in HIVers
Yogurt may be a delicious snack for many people, but can it also raise CD4 counts and protect against some HIV-related infections? Maybe so, say some researchers. There appears to be a connection between yogurt consumption and gastrointestinal health, or "gut health" -- and that connection could be an important one for people with HIV. The evidence suggests that eating yogurt regularly can't hurt, and eating probiotic yogurt may be a great way to take care of your gut and your overall health. (Article from TheBody.com)


 Bone Problems Common Among HIVers; HIV Meds May Be Partly to Blame
Bone problems have quietly emerged as a major health issue for people with HIV, and HIV meds appear to be at least partly to blame, according to a recent study of 50 HIV-positive men in Europe. The study appeared to show that a regimen of Combivir (AZT/3TC) and Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) caused more bone loss than a regimen of Viramune (nevirapine) and Kaletra, but that both still had a negative impact on bone health. The findings add to a growing body of evidence that suggest HIV health care providers and the HIV community should start paying much more attention to their bones. (Article from TheBody.com)


 HIV and Diabetes: Minimizing Risk, Optimizing Care
Can having HIV increase your diabetes risk? Experts aren't sure: Although there have been a few major studies on HIV and diabetes, the results have been mixed, and it can be difficult to tease out specific risk factors. What is certain, though, is that if you already have HIV and diabetes, there are plenty of important steps you can take to manage both diseases. Check out this thorough overview for a rundown not only of research on diabetes and HIV, but also an outline of how to stay up on your health care if you're a diabetic HIVer. (Article from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation)


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
I'm a Muslim With HIV. Are You?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

Are there any positive Muslims out there? I just recently got diagnosed and would love to connect with others that understand our cultural/religious plight. Thanks!

-- detroitwoman

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

To do this, you'll need to register with TheBody.com's bulletin boards if you're a new user. Registration is quick and anonymous (all you need is an e-mail address) -- click here to get started!

HIV IN THE NEWS

 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Lawsuit Against Abbott Over Norvir Price Hike
Abbott Laboratories was not taking advantage of its monopoly on HIV "booster" medications to unfairly raise the price of Norvir (ritonavir), a U.S. federal appeals court has ruled. Abbott quadrupled the cost of Norvir back in 2003, setting off a wave of protests and a series of lawsuits. Abbott reached a $10 million settlement on one lawsuit last year, and additional lawsuits are still making their way through the court system. This decision, however, seriously hurts one of the major arguments against the price hike. (Article from Bloomberg)

For one analysis of what this latest news means, check out this blog post by business journalist Jim Edwards. You can also read a PDF of the U.S. federal appeals court's official decision online.


 New U.S. Global AIDS Czar Gets Down to Business
Newly minted U.S. global AIDS coordinator Eric Goosby, M.D., has hit the ground running. Within hours of his recent U.S. Senate confirmation, Goosby was reportedly on his way to Geneva for meetings with UNAIDS officials. Part of Goosby's job is to oversee the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which brings lifesaving HIV treatment and services to resource-limited areas of the globe. However, with more than 25 years working in HIV under his belt, Goosby knows that treatment access, while essential, is only part of the solution: "We're not going to be able to treat ourselves out of the epidemic, and prevention efforts will need to be continued and increased," he says. (Article summary from kaisernetwork.org)

Are you having trouble keeping track of all of U.S. President Barack Obama's many HIV-relevant appointees? Browse TheBody.com's collection of articles on U.S. government appointments that relate to HIV/AIDS policy.


 Who's Responsible for Confusing "HIV Cure" Supplement Ads?
Should a Web site be held responsible for running obviously fraudulent ads? That's the debate over a controversial ad that recently appeared on the Web site of the African National Congress (ANC) Party's Youth League. The site advertised an herbal supplement that claims it "may kill HIV" and will destroy "more than 95 percent of the virus." After the ad ran, the activist group Treatment Action Campaign received so many questions about the product that it has launched an investigation into the supplement. But the ANC says that its online ads are placed there by Google and it shouldn't have to take responsibility for monitoring them. (Article from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the July 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Letters From my Aunt Evelyn 'Anita Bryant,'" 1979; Barton Lidice Benes

Visit the July 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Writing Pictures," is curated by Javier Romero.
HIV TRANSMISSION & EDUCATION

 Just How Risky Is Oral Sex?
How risky is oral sex for HIV transmission? You're not the only one asking: It's one of the most frequently asked questions on many HIV/AIDS hotlines. Although it's hard to pin down exactly how risky it is, experts are certain that you can get HIV from performing oral sex on a man. (Receiving oral sex, however, carries little HIV risk.) Experts warn that there are a few factors that make oral sex more dangerous, like doing it when you've got bleeding gums, oral ulcers or another sexually transmitted disease. Check out this fact sheet for more info and prevention tips. (Fact sheet from the CDC)

To learn more about oral sex and HIV, check out TheBody.com's extensive collection of articles.


 HIV Risk Is Real for Lesbians and Bisexual Women, Report Reveals
The idea that lesbians face no risk for HIV is a pretty common one. But can that attitude itself be an HIV risk factor for lesbians and bisexual women? Although the risk of female-to-female HIV transmission is believed to be extremely small, many lesbians and bisexual women engage in other behaviors that can put them at high risk for HIV. These women are also less likely to seek health care than their heterosexual counterparts, which puts them at risk for late HIV diagnosis. An eye-opening new report from the Lesbian AIDS Project at Gay Men's Health Crisis explores these HIV risk factors and health disparities that affect lesbians around the world. (Press release from GMHC)

Want to read more about lesbians and HIV? Take a look at TheBody.com's collection of articles on the topic.


HIV THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

 High Court Repeals Anti-Gay Law in Delhi, India
Being gay in Delhi, India, is no longer a crime, according to a new ruling by the city's High Court. On July 2 the court declared that India's 149-year-old law against homosexuality "unconstitutional and arbitrary" within its area of jurisdiction, which is home to about 16 million people. The decision thrilled HIV advocates who feel that gay stigma has seriously hurt HIV prevention efforts. The International AIDS Society (IAS) applauded the move and urged the Indian government to take laws against homosexuality off the books nationwide. "Once discriminatory policies are abolished and stigma and discrimination are confronted, programs can be put in place to help and encourage those at high risk to stay free of HIV infection," says IAS president Julio Montaner. (Press release from the International AIDS Society)

The fact that being gay is a criminal act in many countries is an enormous stumbling block to HIV prevention efforts in those countries. TheBody.com spoke with people working in HIV in some of the world's toughest nations for gay men and asked the question: "What is life like for HIV-positive gay men in your country?" Read or listen to advocates' troubling responses.


 Global Recession May Undo Progress Made Against HIV in Poor Countries, Report Warns
The world's economic meltdown is threatening HIV prevention and treatment efforts in parts of the world where they're most desperately needed, UNAIDS and the World Bank warn. A new report breaks down how the global financial crisis already appears to be hurting access to HIV treatment in some resource-poor countries, and how many fear that tougher times lie ahead unless more is done to shore up HIV-fighting efforts. "This is a wake-up call which shows that many of our gains in HIV prevention and treatment could unravel because of the impact of the economic crisis," warns Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. (Press release from UNAIDS)

The new UNAIDS/World Bank report comes just a few months after the World Bank issued its own report warning that several countries in the developing world could see severe cuts to their prevention and treatment programs as a result of the global economic crisis. "People with AIDS could be in danger of losing their place in the lifeboat," said Joy Phumaphi of the World Bank.







Activist Central

 Sound the Alarm: HIV Is Not in Recession


 Take a Survey Addressing the Vocational Needs of HIV-Positive People


 Write to District Court Judge Bradley J. Harris, who sentenced a man to 25 years for not disclosing to another man he was HIV positive.


 Tell Congress to Make Health Care Reform Work for People With HIV/AIDS!


 Tell Abbott That We Will Not Accept a High Price for Their New Norvir!


 Tell CVS: Don't Restrict Access to Condoms!


 Endorse the International Declaration on Poverty, Homelessness and HIV/AIDS


 Speak Out Against the Syringe Funding Ban!


 Write a Letter to President Obama to Support the Action Plan for Rapid Scale-Up of Routine, Voluntary Testing


 Give Our Youth the Facts! Tell your senator to co-sponsor the REAL Act.


 ART Initiation at <350 -- Call on WHO and UNAIDS to Save Lives!


 Volunteer at a Camp for HIV-Affected Kids


 Congratulate Obama ... And remind him of his commitment to a National AIDS Strategy!