November 25, 2009
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ON THE PERSONAL SIDE

Tyler Video Central: The Rewards of Speaking in Public About Life With HIV
Can disclosing your HIV status feel as liberating as coming out of the closet about being gay? That's been 24-year-old Tyler's experience. Tyler, who was diagnosed less than four years ago, says that having a good support system is critical to having the strength to tell his story. His interview is one of three featured in our newest collection of first-person videos from The Positive Project. (Part of Video Central at TheBody.com)


 Laugh Lines: How Improv Comedy Helps People With HIV/AIDS
Laughter is the best medicine -- well, after antiretrovirals, anyway. That's the thinking behind Laughing Stock, a free improvisation comedy class in San Francisco that's specifically offered to people living with HIV and other chronic diseases. "It's about trying something new, rekindling creativity and imagination, and taking a step outside yourself," says Ann Feehan, the class coordinator. (Article from TheBody.com)


Michael Cerveris What Advice Would You Give to Someone Just Diagnosed With HIV?
We asked Tony Award-winning actor Michael Cerveris what advice he would give to someone just diagnosed with HIV. "I think the first thing someone should say is, 'I love you and you're not going to be on your own,'" Cerveris said. Listen to more of his words and those of many other HIV community members, and share your own thoughts! (Part of TheBody.com's World AIDS Day 2009 section)


Stand Up Harlem resident Stanley Biking Transforms Lives at a New York City HIV/AIDS Residence
"It's really freeing for me," says Joe C. "I feel healthier." Joe is talking about using the free bicycles that have been donated to him and other residents of Stand Up Harlem, an HIV/AIDS housing facility in New York City. For Housing Works, which runs the facility, the bikes are a new idea for how to help low-income, urban HIVers get the exercise they need. (Article from Housing Works)


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

World AIDS Day

Whether you're new to the HIV/AIDS community or a 25-year veteran, there's always more to learn -- and more knowledge to share. Check out TheBody.com's World AIDS Day section for some great ideas and resources, as well as information you can share with your community.
HIV TREATMENT & HEALTH ISSUES

 Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Seasonal Flu -- and How to Prevent It
Thanks to the H1N1 virus, coping with flu season has been top-of-mind more than usual this year -- particularly for HIVers and other people in high-risk groups. But what exactly is the flu, why are some people at higher risk, and what can people with HIV do to avoid it? This informative overview has the answers. (Article from Project Inform)

TheBody.com has plenty of additional information on seasonal flu, flu vaccines, and what it all means for people with HIV. Be sure also to check out our regularly updated index of articles on H1N1, also known as swine flu.


  Frequent Pap Tests Are Still Important for Women With HIV, Despite New Recommendations
New recommendations for cervical cancer screening (a.k.a. Pap tests), proposed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, suggest that most women can safely get tested less frequently. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these revised recommendations do not apply to HIV-positive women, writes TheBody.com's Editorial Director Bonnie Goldman. (Blog from TheBody.com)


 Aging and HIV: Author of New York Magazine Article Tells the Story Behind the Story
"Being an AIDS journalist makes me one of the loneliest journalists around," says David France. "Everyone thinks AIDS is over." That's why it was such a huge deal when an article France recently wrote about HIV and aging made it into New York Magazine. In a recent interview, France talked about the article and offered his thoughts on the growing number of "older" people with HIV in the U.S. (Article from Housing Works)

Weeks after it came out, France's New York Magazine article remains one of the most e-mailed articles on the magazine's Web site. You may remember it from our Nov. 5 newsletter; France's story proved to be one of our most popular newsletter items of the year.


 New Drug Interaction Warnings Issued for Norvir
People who take Norvir (ritonavir) should generally avoid using the asthma inhalers Advair and Serevent, as well as the pulmonary arterial hypertension drug Revatio, according to newly updated Norvir product labeling. The warning states that taking Norvir with one of these drugs could result in a serious, potentially life-threatening reaction. (Advisory from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

This is a good time to remind you to talk to your doctor if you're taking Norvir while also taking any erectile dysfunction drugs. The active ingredient in Revatio (sildenafil) is the same as in Viagra, and all of the drugs in that class (including Cialis and Levitra) are known to potentially interact with Norvir. This is why doctors tend to prescribe lower amounts of these drugs for people who are taking Norvir.


 U.S. Stimulus Money Goes to HIV Treatment Adherence Research
One million dollars of this year's U.S. economic stimulus money is being used to fund two studies that aim to help people with HIV improve their adherence to meds. One study will use cell phone text messages, while the other will examine a Web-based drug and alcohol intervention. (Article from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


Connect With Others
I've Infected My Family, and It's Tearing Us Apart
(A recent post from the "My Loved One Has HIV/AIDS" board)

"My heart is broken. I infected my partner and son. Daily I am living with these thoughts of shame, anger and disgust at myself. I had unprotected sex 10 years ago and thought, 'AIDS? Me? Not a chance!' I just thought it wouldn't or couldn't happen to me. And here I am today, having infected most of my family. My partner blames me, as do I. It's no one's fault but my own. Our relationship is beginning to flounder. We are angry, can't speak without arguing and this with two young children in the house. We need help. ... Are there any other fathers out there in a similar situation? ... I need to know there is some kind of light at the end of this tunnel." --Irish
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!


Take Action: Sign a Letter -- Encourage Obama to Fight HIV Stigma
Help fight HIV stigma all the way to the White House! HIV advocates all over the U.S. are calling for a summit between U.S. President Barack Obama and 100 HIV-positive community leaders -- and they need your help. Organizations and individuals should sign on to the letter by 3 p.m. Eastern Time next Monday, Nov. 30. The letter will be delivered to President Obama on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.
HIV IN THE NEWS

 Calling All HIVers: Support U.S. Health Care Reform That Helps People With HIV
The debate over how to overhaul the U.S. health care system has begun in the Senate -- and HIV/AIDS advocates want you to get involved by contacting your senators! The Senate's version of the health care reform bill includes a number of benefits for low-income HIVers, including a public insurance option, changes to AIDS Drug Assistance Programs and an expansion of Medicaid coverage. (Letter from Project Inform)


 HIV Advocates to U.S.: Send Your Money South!
"We have to have funding that follows the epidemic," said southern U.S. HIV/AIDS advocate Patrick Packer. Packer was the moderator for a White House-sponsored HIV/AIDS Community Discussion that took place last week in Mississippi. At the meeting, some advocates argued that federal HIV/AIDS assistance is not keeping up with galloping infection rates and a growing gap in HIV treatment coverage for low-income people. (Article from Housing Works)

Mississippi's HIV/AIDS community discussion is one of the last in a nationwide series of meetings being held by the White House Office of National AIDS Policy as part of its effort to get feedback on the creation of a national plan to fight HIV. The final meetings will take place in New York City on Dec. 4 and Caguas, Puerto Rico, on Dec. 14. If you live in either of those places, check out the details, register for the meeting and make your voice heard! You can also view videos of past meetings to see what they're all about.


TESTING/TRANSMISSION OF HIV & OTHER STDS

 Why Are Gay Men at Risk for HIV? Look Beyond the Obvious, Study Suggests
Can poverty, homophobia and HIV stigma be what's really driving the HIV epidemic among gay men in the U.S.? That's the assertion of Trista Bingham, M.P.H., Ph.D. In this article, she discusses the results of a recent study on HIV risk among gay men in Los Angeles, Calif. (Article from Gay Men's Health Crisis)






Activist Central

 Call on Your Senator to Support Health Care Reform


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


 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


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