HIV News & Views, September 30, 2010
September 30, 2010
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Rae Lewis-Thornton A Voice for the Voiceless, a Face for the Faceless: Rae Lewis-Thornton on Facing HIV/AIDS in Public
"AIDS disrupted my world and shattered my dreams into a million little pieces, but God picked up those pieces and reshaped the direction of my life," writes Rae Lewis-Thornton,'s newest blogger. For Rae, that direction meant going public -- very public -- about her HIV status: She's been in magazines and on talk shows, and even won an Emmy for her activism.

Philip D. Got Self-Doubt? For the Next Eight Weeks, Philip D. Invites You to "Get Mindful"
"I was not just becoming my own worst enemy, I was getting quite good at it," Philip D. writes of the depression that followed his HIV diagnosis. If you, too, battle inner voices of self-criticism and shame, Philip invites you to learn along with him as he starts practicing "mindfulness" -- a kind of meditation that some mental health professionals agree can help people retrain their brains away from self-judgment.

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Join the Conversation

Brian E. (From Peterborough, Ontario, Canada) on "Laying It Bare: Gay Men and Unprotected Sex in the Age of HIV/AIDS"
(Comment posted Sept. 6)

"I have to agree with the bloggers who say that sex is primal behavior. Intellectual discussions about barebacking completely miss this very important fact. Many men do not use their brains when they have the opportunity to get laid. It is that simple and that tragic. No amount of talking about barebacking from an intellectual perspective will alter the fact that many men turn off their thinking brains when they want to f*** or get f***ed."

Read the rest of Brian E.'s comment and join the discussion on this article!


 Studies Highlight Vitamin D Deficiency and Possible Risk Factors in People With HIV
New study results testify to how common vitamin D deficiency is among HIV-positive people (not to mention the general population) and provide insight into some of the risk factors. But they still leave us with a burning question: What role do HIV and HIV medications play in low vitamin D levels?

 Study Finds Early HIV Treatment May Improve Long-Term Response to Other Infections
HIV-positive people who begin taking HIV meds soon after they're infected may have stronger immune responses to other illnesses than HIV-positive people who begin treatment later, a new U.S. study has found.

 Will the START Study Answer All Our Questions About When to Begin Treatment?
The HIV medications available today are better than ever before -- they're more effective, easier to take and have fewer side effects. Yet the question remains: When is it best to start treatment? This article from Test Positive Aware Network checks in with five experts about a massive study that hopes to provide real answers.

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Connect With Others

I Just Learned My Son Is Positive; What Do I Do?
(A recent post from the "My Loved One Has HIV/AIDS" board)

I just found out yesterday that my 26-year-old son is HIV positive. I am scared and I think somewhat in shock. What do I do now? How do I help him the most? I would love to hear from other parents. -- scaredmom

Click here to answer scaredmom, or to start your own discussion!

To do this, you'll need to register with's bulletin boards if you're a new user. Registration is quick and anonymous (all you need is an e-mail address) -- click here to get started!


 ADAP Drought Update: The Sprinklers Are on, but the Water Pressure's Low
In July, the U.S. government gave $25 million to several state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) to help end their waiting lists and ensure that low-income HIVers get the medications they need. But where did that money go, and why are there still more than 3,000 people on waiting lists nationwide? reports.

 Could Republicans Save State ADAPs While Democrats Founder?
Two Republican U.S. Senators have introduced legislation to help struggling state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs by using money from the federal economic stimulus package that was signed into law last year. But as Positively Aware reports, Democratic lawmakers -- who the HIV community generally regards as the stronger backers of HIV/AIDS assistance -- have yet to sign on to the proposal.

 What Makes a Good HIV/AIDS Advocate?
"I've had advocacy on my mind a lot lately, and what it really means to be an advocate," begins HIV/AIDS journalist, activist and treatment educator Jeff Berry in Positively Aware. Berry explains that it isn't just about what good advocates should do -- educate themselves, listen, persevere, stick their necks out -- but also about what advocates shouldn't do if they want to be effective.

 The U.S. HIV Travel Ban Is Dead ... or Is It? Some HIV Advocates Aren't So Sure
The 2012 International AIDS Conference will be held in the U.S., in large part because the country now allows people with HIV to enter freely. But some advocates are concerned about how many HIVers will actually be able to attend. The reason: As this article from Housing Works explains, the U.S. still doesn't allow drug users or sex workers into the country.

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Jay S. Jay S.: Put an End to Your Fears, Stop Googling, and Go Get Tested
"Typing 'HIV' into Google for the first time was a terrifying experience. The Internet can be a scary place -- especially for a hypochondriac like myself," writes Jay S., a reader of In this article, Jay shares how he finally stopped relying on the Internet and his own twisted logic to assess his risk for HIV, and instead finally got himself tested.

 One in Five Gay and Bisexual Men in U.S. Cities Have HIV, Report Finds
A study of men who have sex with men (MSM) in 21 major U.S. cities found some mind-boggling results: Nearly one in five MSM were HIV positive, and a staggering 44 percent did not know it. Black MSM were at especially high risk: They were both more likely than other ethnic groups to be HIV positive and more likely to be unaware of their status.

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Activist Central

 500,000 Signatures Before Sept. 30: Sign a Letter to Further the Fight Against HIV, TB and Malaria

 Join a Facebook and Twitter Campaign to Fight NY Gov. Paterson's Rent Cap Veto!

 NIAID to Host Public Meeting on Future HIV/AIDS Research Networks

 Action Alert: Say NO to Abstinence-Only Sex Education

 President Obama: Address the ADAP Crisis!

 NMAC Asks for Your Help Ending S.B. 1070; Promoting Comprehensive Federal Immigration Reform

 Action Alert: Help Homeless AIDS Activist Get Into Housing Today