THIS MONTH IN HIV
Restarting the Conversation: HIV/AIDS in the United States
The HIV/AIDS epidemic rages on in the U.S., but many people remain utterly clueless. For the HIV community, this is one of the great conundrums of our time: How do we make HIV relevant again?
Enter The Other City, a stark, honest, up-front film about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Washington, D.C., where infection rates rival those in some developing nations. The film premiered on April 26 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In our latest edition of This Month in HIV, we caught up with director Susan Koch and co-producer Jose Antonio Vargas to talk about the documentary, the people they met while filming, and how they hope the movie might help fix the lack of HIV/AIDS awareness that runs rampant, like an infection itself, among the U.S. public today. (Image courtesy of theothercity.com)
ON THE PERSONAL SIDE
Mark S. King: My Mom and Me, Through HIV and Back Again
Parents can sometimes be more a source of stress than of support, as many people with HIV can attest. But the way Mark S. King's mom Anne sees it, when people tell their family they're HIV positive, "they need love and support more than ever." In this Mother's Day video blog, Mark's mom speaks frankly about standing by Mark and her other gay son, Dick, throughout the HIV epidemic.
Raw Emotion: Fogcityjohn on Why Gay Men Bareback
"The emotional need that drives men to bareback must be so powerful that they will literally risk their lives to satisfy it," muses fogcityjohn. In this frank, thoughtful blog entry, fogcityjohn fuses research with his own perspective as a gay man in an effort to tackle one of the toughest issues in the HIV prevention community: why some gay men, even in an HIV-conscious world, choose to have sex without condoms.
Enrique Franco: Exercise Isn't Just for Meeting Hot Guys
For Enrique Franco, working out started off as an Army routine -- and a way to attract guys with his rippling muscles. But all that metal-pumping gradually evolved into something much more fulfilling. "Reward yourself with energy and a sprinkle of life," Enrique urges. "I'm doing it because I want to feel good about my body and feel good knowing I am empowering myself and not the HIV."
"A glimpse of the Eternal from wooden steps, / On an upward path back to the world, / Steps I was forced to sit upon, forced to enjoy, / For lack of strength that had not quite returned"
-- from "Anastasia's Steps," by Terry Delonas (part of Poetry Month at TheBody.com)
HIV IN THE NEWS
Robert Breining on the ADAP Crisis: It's Time to End the Wait
"My counts are undetectable for the first time, and I owe this change to ADAP -- AIDS Drugs Assistance Programs," writes Robert Breining. He knows just how lucky he is: Hundreds of people in the U.S. are on ADAP waiting lists, unable to receive the HIV medications they need. So Robert has joined the activist ranks, sending a message to President Obama: "End the wait."
China Officially Lifts Entry Ban for HIV-Positive Foreigners
Just months after the U.S. lifted its own long-standing ban on HIV-positive people from other countries, the most populous country in the world has followed suit. China said its decision to permit the entry of HIVers stemmed from a greater knowledge about HIV and the realization that the ban didn't do much to prevent the spread of HIV within its borders.
Will Health Care Reform Really Help People With HIV?
"When President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 into law this March, health advocates and people living with HIV/AIDS alike hoped that the final bill would provide sweeping improvements in health care coverage for all," writes Andrea King Collier. Her verdict? "While the law does not specifically address the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS ... many provisions will improve and expand care."
More News Headlines:
Twelve Hours Later: Newly Diagnosed and Completely Numb
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive " board)
"I'm pretty much in a state of shock still. When I saw that check mark next to the 'positive' box, my heart sank. Body went numb. Adding insult to injury, my best friend was waiting outside for me at the clinic today. In short, I've been numbed down to my little toes. I couldn't bear to look into my friend's eyes with a straight face and not cry. Boy did I cry. Cried with him for several hours at that. ... Floored. Literally. Is it wrong that I'm not bawling in my corner right now? I don't know what to do next. How to deal with it. I'm 24, turning 25 this coming November. Just very confused. Maybe from shock? Please help." -- NumbedDown
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HIV TRANSMISSION & AWARENESS
Black Women, Sexuality and HIV: Breaking Taboos
"It all goes back to the original stereotype -- that Black women are 'hos,'" says sex therapist Gail Wyatt, Ph.D. Wyatt is no shrinking violet when it comes to talking about black women and sexuality: In this interview to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the U.S., she talks about the persistent stigmas HIV-positive African-American women face, as well as the link between sexual trauma and HIV risk.
Put a Ring on It: Upgrading to FC2 Female Condoms
Female condoms have long gotten a bad rap, with many women reporting problems with comfort, fit, noise and price. But a new generation of female condoms may be turning those negatives on their head: Meet the FC2, which is now being distributed free in a few U.S. cities.
More Transmission/Awareness Headlines: