December 23, 2009
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fogcityjohn Coming Face-to-Face With Fat Loss (and Doctors in Denial)
"Too often, doctors allow their views to be dictated by what they think they know," writes fogcityjohn. Like many HIVers, John has lipoatrophy -- fat loss usually linked to HIV medications. But because John has never taken HIV meds, his doctors refused to believe he had lipoatrophy. Although he eventually got his doctor to recognize his condition, John explains his frustration: "They already 'knew' the answer, and they refused to be dissuaded by inconvenient facts." (Blog entry from

Rev. Doris Green From a Life of Violence to a Life of Prison Advocacy
"One day I looked around [in the prisons] and people were gone. They had died. I wondered, how could so many people be dead?" recalls the Rev. Doris Green, a prison minister in Chicago, Ill. The answer was HIV/AIDS. That revelation helped Green, who has overcome her own violent past, become a passionate HIV/AIDS advocate and a voice against HIV stigma, particularly among current and former inmates. (Article from Test Positive Aware Network)

 "What If They Lived?" A Former Dancer's Tribute to Those She's Loved and Lost to AIDS
"This was the theme of my young adulthood: Losing men that I loved as brothers, men that I worked with, argued with, shared dressing rooms with, sweated with, performed with," writes Teresa Wiltz. "There is a void in dance choreography because so many young men didn't make it out of the plague. ... I can't help but wonder, 'What if?' What if there were no AIDS? What if they'd all lived?" (Article from The Root)


 "Strangest but Truest" HIV/AIDS Questions of 2009: You Make the Call
We're nearly 30 years into the HIV pandemic, yet a shocking number of people in the U.S. and around the world don't know the first thing about HIV. You've seen some of that ignorance firsthand in our weekly Hot Topics newsletters, where we're sometimes amazed at just how little some people have learned about the virus. So, it's up to you: Which of our 15 finalists represents the most bizarre post from our "Ask the Experts" forums during the past year? You have until Jan. 8 to cast your vote for the "strangest but truest" post of 2009! (Survey from

HIV Management Today HIV Management Today: A New Podcast Series at
What do some of the world's top HIV/AIDS doctors have to say about the most pressing issues in HIV/AIDS care? We've got the answers in HIV Management Today, our newest podcast series at Although these conversations are meant primarily for HIV health care providers, anyone who's savvy about HIV terminology will find them useful. The first two installments focus on first-line HIV treatment and special concerns for HIV-positive women. (New series from

Holiday Blues: Eight Tips for Getting Through the Season
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.

 For Older HIVers, Exercise Plays an Even Bigger Role in Good Health
We know exercise often has excellent effects on your health. This is especially true for people over 50 living with HIV/AIDS -- a group that's one of the least likely to exercise regularly. Are you an HIVer over 50 who's looking for motivation and tips on how to stay physically active? Check out this overview by two HIV nutrition specialists. (Article from ACRIA and GMHC)

Want to read more about exercise and HIV/AIDS? Check out's collection of articles on the topic; or have your questions answered directly by fitness guru Nelson Vergel -- himself an over-50 HIVer -- at our "Ask the Experts" forum on exercise and nutrition.

 HIV Drug Interactions: An Introduction
As necessary as HIV meds are for most people living with HIV, they aren't always safe to take alongside some other medications, herbal supplements or even foods. Drug interactions can occur for a number of reasons, so it's best to be aware of the potential risks -- that way, you and your doctor can ensure you take the safest meds for you. Read this article for a refresher on why drug interactions occur and which types of drugs are most commonly associated with interactions. (Article from AIDS InfoNet) is home to overviews, news and the latest research on a wide range of potential drug interactions. Take a look at our drug interactions section to learn more.

 U.S. Study on H1N1 Vaccine Is Enrolling HIV-Positive Adults
HIV-positive people are on the priority list to receive an H1N1 vaccine, just as they are to receive the regular, seasonal flu vaccine. But the H1N1 vaccine is so new that researchers aren't exactly sure how much vaccine HIVers need to be fully protected. That's why the U.S. health department is now recruiting HIV-positive adult volunteers for a study on this year's H1N1 vaccine. (Press release from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease)

The H1N1 vaccine study for HIV-positive adults comes on the heels of separate studies announced earlier this year for HIV-positive children and pregnant women. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases published a frequently asked questions article on those trials, which explains more about why the studies are taking place and how they'll work.

Connect With Others
Poetry, Reflection and Season's Greetings
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

Still, thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

In this season of hope in a time of economic hardship, I wish all of you the peace of the moment and the promise of a better tomorrow. We are made of sterner stuff; and, we endure.

-- ScotCharles

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

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 A Personal Perspective on the Historic White House HIV/AIDS Meetings
For months now, this newsletter has highlighted a series of White House-sponsored meetings held across the U.S. to get people's input on what should go into a nationwide plan to fight HIV/AIDS. But what was it like to actually be at one of these meetings and hear people give their passionate speeches?'s own Olivia Ford was on hand at the New York City meeting on Dec. 4; here's her recap, which includes video clips. (Article from

 U.S. Ends Funding Ban for Needle Exchanges
First the HIV travel ban, now the needle-exchange ban: A 21-year-old rule barring the U.S. from spending federal money on needle-exchange programs went bye-bye this month. The move has thrilled many HIV/AIDS prevention advocates, who have long said that providing greater support for needle-exchange programs would reduce HIV rates by increasing injection drug users' access to clean needles, health care and addiction treatment services. (Article from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Reaction to the removal of the U.S. needle-exchange funding ban has been swift and jubilant in the HIV community. For instance, the HIV Medicine Association called the move "a crucial, lifesaving step forward for HIV prevention," while amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, said it was "thrilled that Congress has taken this crucial step to promote effective, evidence-based HIV prevention policy" -- but it also criticized the federal government for falling short on HIV/AIDS funding in other areas.

Also Worth Noting: We're on Facebook! on Facebook has finally caught the Facebook wave. Check out our new Facebook page, become a fan, follow our news feed and join our online discussions!

 New Widget Provides Health Care Settings With PEP Info
When and how should health care providers offer "HIV post-exposure prophylaxis" (PEP), or HIV treatment to people who were very recently exposed to HIV and want to avoid becoming HIV positive? A new resource may have the answer: A recently developed "widget" -- an easy-to-use, computer-based tool -- advises health professionals on best practices for giving PEP. In this interview, Antonio Urbina, M.D., of St. Vincent's Medical Center describes the widget's functions while detailing the finer points of PEP. (Article and podcast from

 "Graying" HIV-Positive Population Highlights Need to Expand HIV Prevention Strategies
As quiet as this fact is kept in the U.S., many people continue to have sex with multiple partners well into their golden years, and many others use injection drugs later in life. The silence on this issue may be one reason that so many people are diagnosed with HIV when they're over the age of 50. It's time for HIV awareness, treatment and care to do a better job reaching older adults; but how? This overview offers some answers. (Article from ACRIA and GMHC)

Want to read more about HIV/AIDS in older adults? Check out's extensive library of articles and personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS over 50.

Activist Central

 Arrests of HIV-Positive People Continue; CDC Must Act! Sign On!

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