ON THE PERSONAL SIDE
Mark S. King: Facing Change
"Are you holding on to old items (and behaviors) that don't fit anymore? What's worth keeping in your life?" Mark S. King is packing up for his move to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. -- and as he sifts through decades of stuff, he's remembering painful parts of his past. In this reflective, slightly absurdist new video blog at TheBody.com, Mark talks about the reasons behind his move while musing on the things we carry with us -- and those we choose to leave behind.
Mark is one of many HIVers and advocates who'll be setting sail this fall on the annual HIV Cruise Retreat. The weeklong cruise, which is set to take place this October and is now accepting reservations, "will go far beyond the usual shuffleboard and sunbathing fare," say the cruise's organizers.
Philip D.: On the Day HIV Is Eradicated, What Will You Do?
When it finally happens -- when HIV Cure Day has come at last -- what will you do? In his latest blog entry on TheBody.com, Philip D. couldn't help but take some time to fantasize about what that glorious day will be like. "After visualizing dancing in the streets and perhaps having sex with anything that moved (just kidding, Honey)," Philip surprised even himself with his vision of where he's likely to end up on the day HIV is cured.
HIV TREATMENT & HEALTH ISSUES
CROI 2010 Wrap-Up: The Evolution of Antiretroviral Therapy
HIV research conferences such as CROI 2010 are a seemingly endless sea of numbers and clinical terms, which makes it all but impossible for many of us to understand what the heck all of that data actually means. Thankfully, we have people like Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H., to make sense of it for us. In this in-depth interview (which is geared mainly toward doctors), Dr. Gallant examines CROI 2010's key presentations on HIV medications and explains how they may alter the way we approach HIV treatment in the future.
CROI 2010 Wrap-Up: The HIV Drug Development Pipeline
In addition to his discussion on the future of antiretroviral therapy (above), Dr. Gallant also took some time to walk us through the major studies presented at CROI 2010 regarding HIV drugs in development, including the "quad" tablet, vicriviroc and a CCR5 inhibitor known as TBR-652. He also addresses one of the most challenging questions in HIV care today: What does the future hold for treatment-experienced HIVers?
Fogcityjohn: A Hundred Indecisions -- a Tale of Starting Meds
"How is a layman like me to make a decision on something about which the most knowledgeable doctors disagree?" In fogcityjohn's case, with a high (but dropping) CD4 count and a low (but detectable) viral load, the question of whether to start HIV meds had no clear-cut answer. So fogcityjohn sought one-on-one counsel from some of the brightest stars in HIV research; he shares their thoughts in his latest blog entry on TheBody.com.
Though effective HIV medications are a profound blessing where they're available, the decision to start taking HIV meds can often be a difficult one. It's such a pressing issue, in fact, that this month three of TheBody.com's bloggers chose to write about their experiences choosing, and starting, HIV meds. Fogcityjohn's blog entry above is the first; over the rest of this month, we'll highlight two other unique perspectives in this section of our newsletter.
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HIV IN THE NEWS
FDA Says It Will Revisit U.S. Ban on Blood Donations From Gay Men
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced it will re-evaluate its long-standing policy banning blood donations by any man who has had sex with another man since 1977. The FDA's across-the-board ban dates back to 1983, but for many years a wide range of advocates, doctors and politicians have derided it as ignorant and unnecessarily strict.
Mississippi Stops Segregating Prisoners With HIV
Mississippi will join 47 other U.S. states (sorry, Alabama and South Carolina) by integrating its HIV-positive prisoners with the general prisoner population, according to a statement from the advocacy group Human Rights Watch. The end to Mississippi's long-standing practice of separating prisoners with HIV will better protect their privacy and provide them with access to jobs, training programs and other services they'd been previously denied, Human Rights Watch says.
China Mulls Lifting Ban on Visitors With HIV
A Chinese health official said last week that discussions are underway to scrap the country's ban on visits by HIV-positive people who are not Chinese citizens. "Such a ban was put into effect in a time when we knew little about AIDS," the official, Hao Yang, said. "Now that we have realized it is unnecessary, it is time for us to lift it."
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HIV TRANSMISSION & AWARENESS
New Numbers Call Attention to Dramatically Higher HIV, Syphilis Rates Among Gay Men in U.S.
"While the heavy toll of HIV and syphilis among gay and bisexual men has been long recognized, this analysis shows just how stark the health disparities are," said Kevin Fenton, M.D., who heads up HIV prevention efforts for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His words come on the heels of a new CDC report showing that gay men are being diagnosed with HIV at a rate 44 times higher than other U.S. men and 40 times higher than U.S. women.
Free Female Condoms Are New Tool in Washington, D.C.'s Battle Against HIV
New York City may have been the first major U.S. city to develop its own brand of male condom, but Washington, D.C., may be trying to one-up the Big Apple on the HIV prevention front. The U.S. capital city is about to become the first in the country to distribute female condoms to its citizens, as part of an effort to provide women in the area with more control over their ability to protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
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