November 5, 2009
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Justin B. Smith Justin B. Smith on Being Public About Living With HIV
Not long after Justin B. Smith found out he was HIV positive, he got a video camera, launched a video blog and committed himself to becoming an agent of change. His inspiration came from U.S. President Barack Obama's use of new media to get his message out. Despite a few nasty comments, the overwhelming response to Justin's efforts has been encouraging and supportive. (Blog and video from

Also Worth Noting: U.S. HIV/AIDS Plan: Just One Week Left to Testify Online!
The White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) series of HIV/AIDS community discussions is sweeping the U.S.! You can still submit your testimony online until Nov. 13. You can also take a look at the list of cities to see if a meeting is coming to your area. The next discussions will take place in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Nov. 9, and in Jackson, Miss., on Nov. 16.

 A Closer Look: Living Longer With HIV, but Aging Faster
Do HIVers age more quickly than HIV-negative people? It's becoming increasingly clear that they do, but right now there are more questions than answers as to why. New York Magazine recently did a surprisingly in-depth review of what we know so far about aging and HIV, including personal stories and video interviews featuring people with HIV in their 40s and beyond. (Article from New York Magazine)

 Is It Time for a New Strategy for Managing Diabetes?
In the U.S., an estimated one out of every 10 people with HIV also has diabetes. But some say that the system in place to help diabetics manage their disease is out of date. That's why a panel of diabetes experts has proposed a new, more modern set of rules meant to help people with diabetes and their doctors better understand and treat it. (Article from Project Inform)

On, we've got an extensive library of articles, research and even recipes for those who want to learn more about living with diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

 Serious Health Problems Occur More Often (Though Still Rarely) With Epzicom Than Truvada, Australian Study Finds
Even though some HIV meds have been available for years, we continue to learn more about their potential side effects. The latest comes from an Australian study of mostly men who switched part of their regimens to either Epzicom (abacavir/3TC) or Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). Those who took Epzicom were found to be more likely to develop serious health problems, particularly heart disease, while those who took Truvada were more likely to develop low bone density. (Study abstract from the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases)

 U.S. Study Seeks Volunteers to Test Benefits of Testosterone Gel in Older Men
As men age, they become more likely to experience health problems such as anemia, heart disease, muscle loss and decreased sex drive. (Many of these problems seem to occur at younger ages for men who have HIV.) A new study is now recruiting men across the U.S. age 65 and older to test whether the testosterone gel AndroGel can help offset these problems. (The study is not specifically about people with HIV.) (Press release from Penn Medicine)

Also Worth Noting: Online Survey: Taking Vitamins & HAART? Take This Survey!

Have you ever used "complementary therapy" (such as vitamins, supplements or mind/body healing) to help manage your HIV? Do you wish there was more research on whether complementary therapies were beneficial to people with HIV? In an effort to spur research, longtime HIV/AIDS survivor and activist Nelson Vergel is asking HIV-positive people to take this brief, anonymous survey. The results will be presented at an upcoming HIV/AIDS meeting!

 U.S. Finally Eliminates HIV Travel Ban, Once and for All
After years of protest and miles of bureaucratic red tape, the last vestige of the U.S.'s 22-year-old ban on HIV-positive people entering the country is about to vanish. In a speech on Oct. 30, President Barack Obama announced that a formal rule eliminating the ban would go into effect in January 2010. The announcement came as he also signed into law a much-needed renewal of the Ryan White CARE Act. (Article from

What's the importance of this news for the HIV community, both inside and outside the U.S.? Bonnie Goldman,'s editorial director, offers her take on this landmark development in HIV/AIDS policy (and some other developments).

 Boxing Ref Sues Over Possible HIV Exposure in the Ring
A boxing referee in California is suing the State Athletic Commission for negligence after he was potentially exposed to HIV. Boxers in California are required to have HIV tests regularly, but the referee found out only after a fight that a boxer was HIV positive. He is seeking damages for "distress," even though he remains HIV negative. (Article from the San Francisco Chronicle)

 HIV Strain, Who's Your Daddy? Soon, a Computer May Know
A family tree for HIV? That's what a team of U.S. researchers is trying to create, with the help of the world's fastest supercomputer. Experts hope that by mapping out HIV's evolution into many different strains, they can pinpoint some common features that might be ideal targets for a vaccine. (Press release from the Los Alamos National Laboratory)

 Two HIV Drug Companies Officially Combine Forces in New HIV Venture
GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer Inc., two of the major pharmaceutical companies producing HIV meds, have launched a new joint company focused solely on HIV: ViiV Healthcare. Glaxo and Pfizer say the new venture will allow the two companies to share their resources and research, thus saving money and speeding up HIV drug development. Some HIV advocates were guardedly optimistic about the move. (Article from

Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
My Doc Says It's Up to Me Whether to Start HIV Meds. Should I?
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

"I'm a 36-year-old, new to this site and new to this world of HIV. I have a doctor that specializes in HIV. I was diagnosed five months ago and my last blood test (results are in today) said: CD4 320, viral load 26,000. This is the fourth blood test done; the viral load has come down a few thousand and CD4 has gone up by about 20. The doctor says it's up to me what to do as far as starting meds. I feel good -- a little low in the energy department and a couple of lumps on the left side of my neck, but otherwise I'm OK. It's just that I'm wondering if I'm doing my body more harm by not starting the meds or if I'm just putting off what could be more problems with side effects to these meds. What are your thoughts?" --david73
Click here to join this discussion, or to start your own!

To do this, you'll need to register with'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!


 79-Year-Old "Star Walker" Remembers 25 Years of L.A. AIDS Walks
"[There] wasn't much to do those days except watch your friends die," says Don Foley, 79. He was talking about 1985, the year he first participated in AIDS Walk Los Angeles (and the first time the walk was ever held). But he's had the tenacity to participate in the walk every year since, and he's an inspiration to all of us in the HIV/AIDS community. (Article from the Los Angeles Times)

Participating in (or just helping to raise money for) an AIDS walk is a great way to contribute to your local HIV organizations, many of which are sorely in need of financial help due to funding shortages. To find out more about AIDS walks near you, or to read additional information about AIDS walks, take a look at's collection of resources.


 Europe Proposes Plan to Get More People Aware of Their HIV Status
More than 2 million people are living with HIV in the European Union (EU) and its neighboring countries -- but an estimated 30 percent of HIVers in the EU and 70 percent of people in those nearby countries have no idea they're positive. How can health officials possibly change this? A new report proposes some answers. (Press release from the European Commission)

Activist Central

 Participate in the White House's HIV/AIDS Community Discussions on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

 Alert: Don't Let Dems Wimp Out on Opposing Abstinence-Only Funding

 U.S. Territories Separate and Unequal in Health Care Reform; How You Can Help

 Can't Make It to a White House HIV/AIDS Community Discussion? Provide Your Testimony Online for the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy!

 Urge President Obama to Lift the Ban on Federal Funding for Syringe Exchange Programs