HIV News & Views, January 6, 2011
January 6, 2011
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Marvelyn Brown Marvelyn Brown: Life Is Not a Fairy Tale
"I found the man I thought was Prince Charming, but the relationship did not work out. And he gave me HIV," writes author and AIDS activist Marvelyn Brown. She discusses how she has forced herself to learn healthier and more realistic attitudes about men, how her self-esteem and confidence have been bolstered over the years and how she now refuses to settle in relationships just because she is HIV positive.

Robert Breining A Holiday to Remember: Robert Breining's Christmas Proposal
Blogger and HIV activist Robert Breining woke up this Christmas to find an engagement ring in his stocking, courtesy of his partner Joe. He writes, "I had a flashback to when I was first diagnosed in 2001. ... I remember thinking I was never going to find a partner to spend my life with and I would be alone forever. ... This proposal was a milestone I thought I would never experience."

take home a postcard from the edge

Postcards from the Edge
If you'll be in the New York City area this weekend, why not check out more than 1,500 pint-sized pieces of art? Visual AIDS, a nonprofit organization devoted to assisting HIV-positive artists and archiving their work, hosts its annual Postcards From the Edge benefit on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9, with a special preview party on Friday, Jan. 7. Read more about the event and take a look at how much creativity can be packed into a 6" by 4" space!


 Denial of Health Care for HIV-Positive Florida Inmate Raises Discrimination Questions
Thanks to her mother's love and tenacity, Betsie Gallardo, a young, HIV-positive Florida inmate dying of cancer, has won a long battle to live her final weeks in a hospice rather than a prison cell. But some wonder if she'd still be in prison at all if she didn't have HIV. News editor Kellee Terrell discusses this ongoing story.

Aless Piper HIV/AIDS in Hollywood: Why Can't It Be the Straight Guy (or Girl)?
"Does Andre Charles (RuPaul) have AIDS? People on the Internet Movie Database want to know. Apparently he's been looking a little gaunt," Aless Piper writes. "But I'm wondering why, 20-some-odd years into this epidemic, it's still the prime suspect when a gay man gets, or is suspected of being, ill."

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hiv in poetry

Postcards from the Edge People learn to deal with HIV in any number of different ways: For some, writing poetry provides release. Over the past few months, some of our bloggers and readers have shared poems they've written that tackle some of the most deeply emotional aspects of living with HIV. (You can also see many more in our poetry archive.)

Michael A. Kehoe: I Have HIV
"I will share with you my desires but not my disease; my dreams but not my desolation."

Brandon Lacy Campos: H-I-Me
"I know that there is a responsibility for disclosure / But somewhere it was decided that raw riders got to blame others / For riding without a saddle"

River Huston: Donald
"On the seventh day I went to a movie / It had a happy ending / I was angry because I know the truth"


Nelson Vergel Health Guru Nelson Vergel Goes Head-to-Head With Mark King's Fridge
"Letting the HIV fitness and nutrition expert take over my kitchen seemed like a good idea at the time," Mark S. King laments. In the first of a two-part video blog,'s own Nelson Vergel raids Mark's refrigerator -- trashing his beloved junk food, demystifying "low-fat" labels and giving simple, valuable eating tips along the way.

 Can Women With HIV Take the Pill (or Other Hormonal Contraceptives)?
For women who are living with HIV, avoiding pregnancy (or the side effects of severe periods) may not be as easy as popping a birth control pill. As this article from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation details, the use of hormonal contraceptives can raise some red flags (some warranted, others not) about potential health problems and interactions with HIV meds.

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Connect With Others

Are My Body Fat Changes Side Effects of Atripla? What Can I Do?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV " board)

"I have been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for approximately two years and I'm noticing slight body fat changes -- specifically, accumulation around my abdomen and thinning in my legs and butt. I also had a baby one year ago. Perhaps I'm wrong in assuming the changes are because of the Atripla? Has anyone else experienced body fat changes associated with Atripla? If so, did you find any remedy?"

 -- pozmarie

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Dr. Bob Frascino Dr. Bob: Common Condom Complaints and Papal Pontifications
"I'm amazed at all the things that can go wrong when trying to suit up before a dive into the love canal of your choice," writes Bob Frascino, M.D.,'s resident safer sex expert. He's talking about condom use, of course -- including what he dubs "the world's greatest condom catastrophe: Pope Benedict XVI."

 Transforming Our Approach to HIV Prevention and Treatment
While transgender men and women appear to be at a heightened risk for HIV, there is very little reliable research available about this community. In this Achieve article, Raquel Sapién and Robert Valadéz highlight some key facts about transgender people and HIV/AIDS -- including what data are out there, what factors make transgender people more vulnerable and how antiretrovirals may interact with hormone therapy.

More HIV Transmission & Education Headlines:

Activist Central

 Let 2011 Be a Year of Action! Ask Family and Friends How They'll Join the Fight

 Act Now: No Airtime for Killer AIDS Denialist

 Demand That the CDC Reach Out to Transgender Youth

 Call on Peruvian Authorities for Justice in Murder of HIV/AIDS & Gay Activist