April 1, 2010
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ON THE PERSONAL SIDE

Vanessa Johnson Do You Have to Kiss and Tell?
"I came of age as a person with HIV/AIDS in an era where I was indoctrinated that it was my responsibility to disclose early and often," writes Vanessa Johnson, the executive vice president of the National Association of People With AIDS. But today, HIV is no longer a death sentence -- at least not in wealthy nations. And that new reality has Johnson reconsidering her take on disclosure.


Sherri Beachfront Lewis Sherri Lewis: My Journey From American Bandstand to AIDS Educator
Sherri Lewis started the '80s as a pop star, but her life was forever changed when she got her HIV diagnosis. In her latest blog entry on TheBody.com, she shares how she started her second career -- HIV educator -- and her philosophy: "[Educators] tell one friend, and that friend tells one friend, and so on. Instead of spreading the virus, they are spreading the message of prevention."


Tree Alexander Tree Alexander: A Change Like No Other
"Could I be like Bruce Willis in Unbreakable? Am I unable to get sick? Am I a superhero of some sort?" Tree Alexander had barely been sick a day in his life. So when he found out his partner was HIV positive, even though they hadn't always used condoms, Tree figured the virus had passed him by. He was not so lucky. In his first blog entry for TheBody.com, Tree writes about testing HIV positive at age 20 and switching careers from fitness trainer to HIV/AIDS advocate.


Poetry Month at TheBody.com
"These three NEW letters ADD greater weight than ANY others,
Changing everything.
Just three letters bring THE END.
I'VE learned other sets of letters.
WHY do these three stop me from finishing ALL else ..."

-- from "Three Letters," by Joseph Ohmer
Quill

April is National Poetry Month in the U.S., so all month we'll be posting selected submissions of poetry (like Joseph's, above) about living with, or being affected by, HIV/AIDS. Keep checking our Poetry Month at TheBody.com home page for the latest additions -- and to find out how you can contribute!


HIV TREATMENT & HEALTH ISSUES

Pablo Tebas, M.D. The Complications of "Aging" With HIV -- and How They'll Change HIV Treatment as We Know It
An emerging set of health problems has been lumped together under the phrase "aging and HIV": They include inflammation, cancer, bone disease and neurological problems. But when we take a step back and look at what we currently know about these problems, what does it all actually mean for people living with HIV and the clinicians who treat them? In this interview with TheBodyPRO.com, Pablo Tebas, M.D., offers up some answers.


Philip D. On His Second Anniversary of Starting HIV Meds, Philip D. Salutes His "Little Soldiers and Superheroes"
When Philip D. started taking HIV meds two years ago, the first few months weren't the easiest. "Physically I was doing OK," he remembers in his latest blog entry, "but emotionally, I was a mess." Four months into treatment and he was ready for a break -- until some timely advice helped change his outlook on the "little devils" he was taking every day.

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 was the first to share his experience, on March 17; Robert Breining offered his perspective last week. Philip D.'s blog entry above is the final one in this series.


More Headlines on HIV Treatment and Health Issues:


Connect With Others
My Wife Now Has HIV, Too; What Do We Tell Our Oldest Daughter?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

"My wife told me she's positive. I have been since '03 and thought we were doing things correct. How wrong I was. ...

"My oldest girl is at the age where sex is an issue, so I finally broke down and told her of my having HIV. She has been really supportive of me and very loving. ... Now, I don't know if we should mention her mom is positive. At the time we aired it all out she asked if mom was sick and at the time she wasn't. ... I really don't want to have her worry so much; it hurt her when I told her I was positive. ... Should we just wait and let things fall where they may?" -- alive2

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

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HIV IN THE NEWS

 Medicare to Cover Cost of Facial Fillers for Recipients With HIV
The U.S. government will soon begin to foot the bill for people on Medicare who need Radiesse or Sculptra to treat facial fat loss. The announcement could open the door to treatment for many HIVers with lipoatrophy who receive disability benefits in the U.S. (or who are over the age of 65).


 In a Moving Editorial, Desmond Tutu Pleads for All Faiths to Fight Sexual Discrimination
"The wave of hate that is underway must stop," says South African activist Desmond Tutu. "Sexual orientation, like skin color, is another feature of our diversity as a human family." In a recent editorial, Tutu suggests that ending homophobia is an essential part of effectively fighting HIV and urges politicians and religious leaders worldwide to fight the urge to exclude people on the basis of their sexuality.


More News Headlines:







Activist Central

 Sign-On and Forward "An Open Letter to Pharmaceutical Companies on the ADAP Crisis"


 Women Living With HIV: Take a Survey on Sexual and Reproductive Health Services


 Tell HHS That Black Women Openly Living With HIV/AIDS Should Be Represented on PACHA


 Action Alert: Tell Congress You Support a Permanent Fix to Ryan White Housing Policy!


 Volunteer Doctors and Nurses Needed in Haiti Through April 30, 2010