December 17, 2009
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ON THE PERSONAL SIDE

Mark King as Anita Mann Drag and Gratitude: A Holiday Video Blog by Mark King
What better way to ring in the holidays than by dressing up in drag and belting out some tunes? Join Mark King -- and his alter-ego, Anita Mann -- for a very special new episode of his always-entertaining video blog. (Blog from TheBody.com)


Holiday Blues Eight Simple Rules for Managing Those Holiday Blues
Ah, the holiday season! A time for joy! A time for good feelings! A time for ... ah, screw it. Plenty of us in the HIV community feel no reason to celebrate during the holidays. If you feel this way and could use some coping advice, take a look at this list of eight simple rules for managing your holiday blues. (Article from AIDS Survival Project)


Matt Sharp The "Double Stigma" of Aging and HIV Among Gay Men
"Many of us were unprepared to reach 40, let alone 50 or 60," remembers Matt Sharp, a longtime HIVer and HIV/AIDS advocate. "Now we live, only to be stigmatized by our age." In this insightful article, Sharp reminisces about a life spent fighting for gay men's survival against HIV -- and growing older in an age-conscious community. (Article from ACRIA and GMHC)


Also Worth Noting: HAART Guidelines: Get Expert Analysis at TheBody.com

David Wohl, M.D.

This month, the official U.S. guidelines for HIV treatment were revised. Need a rundown of the highlights and what they mean for people living with HIV? Check out our one-on-one interview with David Wohl, M.D. (above), a member of the expert panel that revised the guidelines, or read through our summary of the major changes.
HIV TREATMENT & HEALTH ISSUES

 HIV/AIDS and the Brain
For many of us, few health problems are more disturbing than those that affect our ability to think and remember. Unfortunately, despite the huge successes of HIV treatment in reducing the long-term effects of HIV on the brain, people with HIV can still be at risk for developing cognitive problems, especially as they get older. Check out this detailed overview to learn more about the types of problems HIV can cause in the brain. (Article from San Francisco AIDS Foundation)

One of TheBody.com's veteran bulletin board users, ScotCharles, is a long-term HIV survivor who's coping with the slow approach of HIV-related dementia and other neurocognitive problems. Over the years, he's written some incredible posts and offered excellent support to other people with similar problems. Check out one of his recent posts or browse all of his posts to learn more about this remarkable man and join the online discussion!


HIV IN THE NEWS

 California's Budget Woes May Mean Trouble for ADAP
California is facing serious budget shortfalls in 2010, and advocates worry that the state's already-struggling AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) will get chopped to save money. According to the HIV/AIDS advocacy organization Project Inform, even if the state does maintain its current ADAP budget, it will likely fall $100 million short and might have to limit enrollment. (Article from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


 64-Year-Old Arrested for Not Disclosing HIV Status Before Sex
Conrad Billet called the police to have a woman removed from his home in Oklahoma City, Okla. In the end, he was the one who was arrested, after the woman accused him of having sex with her without disclosing his HIV status. This brief article on the arrest may be noteworthy as much for the ignorant comments people have left at the bottom of the article as for the story itself. (Article from News9.com)


Connect With Others
I'm Afraid of Stigma; How Do I Disclose My Status?
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

"I'm going on four years poz now. Found out at 23, and how life has changed. ... Thought I would die, never have kids, never find love or happiness. Now I'm doing well. I'm mostly happy, don't dwell on HIV and honestly hardly think about it at all. ... I've only told one person this whole time that I'm poz. (I mean, of course, I've told any past sexual partners and potential current ones, but no family or friends.) ... I know I shouldn't hide it and it's not that I feel ashamed. It's just hard with all this stigma. I'm in the Midwest and there isn't a lot of openness about HIV. So how do you deal with it?" -- livesinadream
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!


Also Worth Noting: Vote Now! TheBody.com's 2008 Strangest but Truest Poll
At our "Ask the Experts" forums, we're sometimes amazed at just how far-out some folks can get in their paranoia over a possible HIV exposure. We scoured our "Ask the Experts" forums and nominated 15 posts we feel are the year's most bizarre. You have until Jan. 8 to cast your vote for the posts you think are the "strangest but truest" of 2009!
TESTING/TRANSMISSION OF HIV & OTHER STDS

 Medicare Begins Covering Cost of Annual HIV Screening in U.S.
The U.S. Medicare system announced this month that it will cover the cost of annual HIV screening for any beneficiary who requests a test. The landmark move also covers annual tests for beneficiaries the system considers to have an "increased risk" for HIV, including men who have sex with men, pregnant women and people who have ever had sex with an HIV-positive person, bisexual or injection drug user. (Article from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


 Once-Promising Microbicide Fails to Protect Against HIV, Study Concludes
The development of a woman-controlled form of HIV prevention has been dealt a harsh blow: PRO 2000, a topical vaginal gel, proved ineffective in preventing HIV in the largest microbicide study ever. PRO 2000 had shown promise in smaller studies, but experts say those seemingly good results may have been due to chance. (Study summary from aidsmap.com)

Like several microbicides before it, PRO 2000 may now be destined for the HIV prevention dustbin. But the movement for an effective topical HIV prevention method persists, and there's still plenty of hope for some microbicides -- especially those that are based on HIV medications (PRO 2000 was not). Check out TheBody.com's collection of informational articles and opinion/analysis pieces for a peek into this fascinating field.


HIV THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

 Obama Earns a D+ in Fighting Global AIDS
U.S. President Barack Obama may have a shiny new Nobel Peace Prize and still hold the adoration of many throughout the world, but he clearly has a lot of work to do before he endears himself to global HIV/AIDS advocates. In a new report, the advocacy group Health GAP and other organizations gave Obama a measly D+ in fighting HIV/AIDS globally during his first year in office. (Press release from Health GAP)


 Unsanitary Health Care in Sub-Saharan Africa May Play Surprisingly Large Role in HIV Transmission
Dirty medical equipment and other unsafe health care procedures bear more blame than previously thought for the spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, recent research suggests. Although experts still believe that sex is the main way HIV is transmitted in the region, the new studies place fresh blame on unsanitary blood tests, vaccinations, blood transfusions and other procedures. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)


 Advocates to HIV Drug Companies: Everyone in the Patent Pool!
Will HIV drug companies and advocates agree to form a new patent-sharing system that could dramatically cut the cost of HIV meds in many developing countries? Discussions are heating up over the proposed system, which could give generic drug makers broad rights to reproduce many HIV meds that are currently too expensive for much of the world. (Article from kaisernetwork.org)






Activist Central

 Support Concrete and Specific HIV Prevention Measures in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy!


 Call on Your Senator to Support Health Care Reform


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