January 21, 2010
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ON THE PERSONAL SIDE

Enrique Franco Enrique Franco: Breaking Free From the Labels That Bind Us
Everything was moving along perfectly in Sgt. Enrique Franco's military career. "Then," Enrique writes, "I met HIM" -- another U.S. Army soldier -- and the two men fell in love. In his first blog entry on our site, Enrique tells his inspiring story of overcoming gay stigma in the U.S. military and coming to terms with his HIV status. (Blog from TheBody.com)


fogcityjohn Fogcityjohn: The Tale of a Control Queen
Blogger fogcityjohn is not your average person with HIV. In fact, there's something that sets him apart from most people living with the virus: "my apparent ability to control the virus naturally," he explains. In his latest blog entry, John walks us through his unusual lab numbers and talks about what they might mean for him -- and for researchers' efforts to beat HIV once and for all. (Blog from TheBody.com)


Horace Horace: Sharing the Wisdom of 15 Years With HIV
"I chose to tell my story so that people can see ... many faces to the disease of HIV/AIDS," says Horace, a 45-year-old, African-American HIVer from Chicago, Ill. In this video, Horace talks about his struggles learning to adhere to his HIV meds, and shares his take on the best way to tell others you have HIV. (Video from The Positive Project)


Connect With Others
Two Years Later, It All Still Feels So Surreal
(A recent post from the "Women" board)

"I am 26 years old. I was diagnosed two years ago. Until now I have been in denial, wondering how this could happen to me. Luckily I have had two healthy children since then. But I don't know how to deal with it. I don't like taking meds, I still feel like it's not real. I honestly don't know what to do. My mom flipped out when she found out. I am scared and I feel so alone. I am afraid to tell anyone else due to the stigma of it. ... My case manager says my story is one that needs to be heard, but I am so afraid of being judged." -- deda

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Help HIVers in Haiti: Donate Your Unused Medications

Save Lives in Haiti

The New York-based organization AID FOR AIDS International is accepting donations of unexpired HIV-related medications that it plans to send to HIV-positive people in Haiti who need them. Learn more about what you can do to help!
PAYING FOR YOUR MEDS

 Little-Known Program Tries to "Bridge the Gap" for People on ADAP Waiting Lists
If you've been placed on a U.S. AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) waiting list and have no other way to pay for your HIV meds, where can you turn? Bridge the Gap, a special program based in Montana, is doing its part to help HIVers whose access to ADAP has been placed in limbo. (Article from TheBody.com)


 Maker of Reyataz and Sustiva Announces Enhancements to Co-Pay Benefit Program
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS), the maker of Reyataz (atazanavir) and Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin), has removed a $50 deductible from its co-pay assistance program. Started in April 2009, the program offers to wipe away up to $200 worth of co-pay costs on its HIV meds per month. (Article from TheBody.com)


HIV IN THE NEWS

Charles King U.S. HIV Activist Blogs From Haiti in Earthquake's Aftermath
"Sleep seemed impossible, but exhaustion overtook the images of the day," writes Charles King, head of the New York-based HIV organization Housing Works. "With the stars shining bright and the smell of charcoal from the fires of the night, we could have been on a camping trip in the countryside." But he wasn't: In the wake of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti last week, King traveled there to help provide desperately needed medical services and supplies to Haitians living with HIV/AIDS. King's blogs from Haiti are a stark, powerful and haunting reminder that this mind-boggling disaster is about people, not just news headlines. (Blog from Housing Works)

Learn more and find out how you can help HIV-positive people and services in Haiti by browsing TheBody.com's collection of articles and resources.


 Scottish Man With HIV Convicted of "Reckless Behavior" Just for Having Unprotected Sex
Britain is the latest country to find an HIV-positive man guilty of a crime simply for having unprotected sex -- even when the people he had sex with don't actually become HIV positive. The 41-year-old man was convicted on four counts of reckless behavior, but in only one of those four counts did the woman he slept with get HIV. (Article from aidsmap.com)


 Funding Woes Spur Postponement of Key U.S. HIV/AIDS Meetings for Minorities
"There are no other national forums that address ... two [of the] hardest hit populations in the U.S.," says Larry Bryant of the New York-based HIV/AIDS organization Housing Works. Bryant is lamenting the cancellation of two key HIV/AIDS meetings in the U.S. that were geared toward African-American and Latino health care professionals. The culprit: A huge funding shortfall largely caused by pharmaceutical companies pulling their support. (Article from TheBody.com)


 New Jersey Legalizes Medical Marijuana
Do the names "Platinum Headband," "L.A. Confidential" or "Strawberry Kush" ring a bell? If you live in New Jersey, they soon might: They're all types of marijuana, and it'll soon be legal to take them for medical purposes in the Garden State. On his last day in office, outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine signed a bill making New Jersey the 14th U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana. The bill takes effect in six months. (Article from Star-Ledger)

If you've got questions about how to sign up for New Jersey's medical marijuana program and how the program will work, take a look at this rundown of frequently asked questions answered by the Star-Ledger newspaper.






Activist Central

 Apply by Feb. 10 to Attend or Present at This Summer's AIDS 2010 Conference!


 End the Two-Year Wait for Medicare


 In California, ADAP Gets a Boost -- but HIV/AIDS Advocates Push for More Help


 Ensure HIV Care Is a Priority in Health Care Reform: Contact Your Senators and Representatives Today!