HIV News & Views at Mini Update
November 17, 2009
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Enrique Franco Living Openly as a Gay, Positive Man in the Hispanic Community
The U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy got Enrique Franco discharged from the Army. It also, oddly, was the reason he found out he was HIV positive. As Franco explains in this moving interview, diagnosis turned his life upside down, but he's now standing tall. "This is my body, this is my life," he says. "I'm not going to stop living. I refuse to put my head down." (A new installment of's This Positive Life podcast series)

 Blood, Not Semen, Appears to Be Source of Sexually Transmitted HCV Among Gay Men With HIV
A growing number of HIV-positive gay men have been diagnosed with hepatitis C, apparently after getting it during sex. The question is: Does hep C get transmitted through semen, or does it get transmitted through blood? A new German study suggests it's blood and specifically points the finger at more violent sex acts, such as fisting. (Article from

 Good News and Not-So-Good News on HIV/Hepatitis C Coinfection
Having hepatitis C doesn't make HIV disease worse. That's the good news from a massive new study involving a total of more than 100,000 HIVers. However, the study also reminds us of the dangers posed by hep C infection itself -- and the importance of maintaining a healthy liver, especially if you have both HIV and hep C. (Article from

 Bill Aimed at Helping U.S. Needle Exchange Programs Could Hurt Most of Them, Advocates Say
A bill now moving through the U.S. Congress would lift the 20-year ban on federal funding for needle exchange programs, with one tiny exception: any program that operates within 1,000 feet of any place children congregate. That little caveat may spell doom for most of the U.S.'s existing needle exchange programs, advocates warn. (Article summary from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Confused about the debate over needle exchange? Catch up on recent developments with's collection of news and research articles about needle exchange programs in the U.S.

Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
In Denial, but Looking for a Connection
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

"I recently tested positive. I found out on Nov. 5 at a routine visit to my regular doctor. I did not suspect it at all (I guess no one expects to hear the news). I'm still partly in a state of shock/denial I guess, but I did go see a specialist. I get my next blood test results this coming Friday ... and my doctor and I will determine if I should begin treatment now or wait. ... I cannot tell anyone yet -- I have not even told my closest friends. I'm not ready to seek out any kind of support group yet either (I guess part of the denial), but would like to find someone to talk to -- another newly diagnosed person or someone that's been living with HIV for a while." --RandyNnyc
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!

 Can a New Anti-HIV Campaign Tame South Africa's Macho Men?
Attention, South African men: Your days as "hard-drinking, risk-taking seducers" are at an end. At least, that's what a new HIV prevention campaign hopes. It's trying to tear apart macho preconceptions and drive home the idea that the ideal South African man respects women, uses condoms and isn't afraid to go to a health clinic. (Article summary from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

A campaign like this is a welcome development in South Africa, which is home to more HIV-positive people than nearly any other country on the planet. Read more about HIV/AIDS in South Africa in's collection of articles on the topic.

 Top U.S. Universities Say They'll Fight Harder for Lower Drug Costs
Drug development often begins in a university lab. Discoveries made there sometimes lead to new medications and are licensed to major drug companies. Six major U.S. universities have vowed to use their licensing power to pressure drug companies into lowering their prices or allowing generic drug creation in developing nations, where many people still can't get affordable HIV treatment. (Article from

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Also Worth Noting: U.S. HIV/AIDS Plan: Online Testimony Deadline Extended!
The White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP)'s series of HIV/AIDS community discussions is sweeping the U.S. The deadline for submitting online testimony has been extended to Monday, Nov. 23, at 6 p.m. Eastern Time! There have also been some changes to the list of upcoming meetings -- please take a look, and follow the directions to prepare for the meeting of your choice. The next discussion will take place in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Nov. 20.

Also Worth Noting: World AIDS Day: What Can You Do, See, Hear and Know?

World AIDS Day 2009

Most of you who read this newsletter don't need World AIDS Day to remind you how important HIV awareness is. But it's the responsibility of each of us to be educators and activists. Use our newly launched 2009 World AIDS Day Center for inspiration as you decide how you can best observe this year's World AIDS Day on Tuesday, Dec. 1.