ON THE PERSONAL SIDE
Damaries Cruz: Deciding to Start Treatment After Nearly 20 Years of Living With HIV
When Damaries Cruz was first interviewed by TheBody.com in 2008, she was a well-known HIV educator in Florida. She seemed to be doing all right health-wise after 17 years of living with HIV, despite never taking HIV meds. But then her health took a turn for the worse. In this update interview, Damaries talks about the dangers of delaying treatment.
This Positive Life Video Series: An Interview With Richard Brodsky
In 1997, Richard became HIV positive after having unprotected sex in an extramarital affair with a man. Despite his infidelity and diagnosis, he and his loving wife of 30 years, Jodi, stayed together and their relationship persevered. The couple talks to us about the importance of love and forgiveness, being in a serosdiscordant relationship, and the foundation they started to support AIDS orphans in Africa.
Kevin Maloney: One Year Living With HIV and Hepatitis C
"Treatment was not a walk in the park, but it was also NOT as bad as I read about online. I had a lot of fatigue and anxiety. During interferon treatment I could barely leave my house because my anxiety was so bad, and I was just so fatigued." Our new blogger Kevin Maloney talks about dealing with his twin diagnoses of HIV and hep C, overcoming substance abuse and coping with the harsh realities of hep C treatment.
He said his test had come out OK,
it's hard to believe people lie,
--From "Be Safe, Not Sorry," by Justin
To mark National Poetry Month in the U.S., we're posting our readers' poetry submissions about living with, or being affected by, HIV/AIDS!
Anything you write is fair game. Pieces can be literal or abstract, serious or funny, short or long (but hopefully not too long) -- whatever you want. Select poems will be featured on our site and in e-mail newsletters all this month. Click here for more detailed information on how you can submit your poem (anonymously, if you'd like).
HIV NEWS & VIEWS
Maria T. Mejia: I Am Not an Ugly Scorpion!
"When I first saw it, it caused me anger, fear, shame! It made me feel so weird. ... And you know why? Because it looks nasty, dirty." Blogger Maria T. Mejia is talking about her reaction to an HIV/AIDS awareness ad that depicts people living with HIV as scorpions. Maria discusses how these types of ads further perpetuate stigma and can deter people from disclosing their status.
HIV, Music to Your Ears (Literally!)
Have you wondered what HIV sounds like? Well, you're about to find out. Alexandra Pajak carefully studied the different types of HIV DNA and assigned musical pitches to each individual strand. The result of her work: a 17-track, 52-minute symphony entitled Sounds of HIV. Warren Tong talks with Pajak about how the album came to be, and offers a couple of excerpts for your curious ears.
Thomas DeLorenzo: Why "the Gays" Need Planned Parenthood Too
"Planned Parenthood is much more than abortions. It teaches us to become responsible, sexually active adults. It educates us to have healthy, fulfilling relationships that produce healthy children that grow up to be adults," writes blogger Thomas DeLorenzo. Amidst continued clamoring among conservatives to remove federal funding for Planned Parenthood, DeLorenzo shares his own life-changing experiences with the organization.
More News & Views Headlines:
Recently Diagnosed. How Am I Supposed to Feel?
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)
"I tested positive on Jan. 4. I'd like to think I'm doing well, but sometimes I'm just unsure. My doctor thinks I worry too much, which I probably do. Yet I feel alone in the idea of how I'm supposed to feel. My family is great, but I'm just confused about my emotions. I'm 32, outgoing, good looking, funny and scared. I wish I knew how others recently diagnosed feel. I think if I could compare myself to what others are thinking and feeling, it could help me."
Click here to join this discussion, or to start your own!
To do this, you'll need to register with TheBody.com'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!
HIV TREATMENT & HEALTH ISSUES
HIV Treatment: Even When You Think You Should Wait, It's Probably Time to Start, New Research Suggests
Two newly published studies suggest that even when it may seem like starting HIV treatment would have little benefit, the opposite might be true. Paul Sax, M.D., summarizes these counter-intuitive findings and ponders whether the "when to start" dial should be moved even earlier than it is now.
Heart Tips for HIVers: How to Keep Your Ticker Tocking
Since research suggests that people with HIV may be at increased risk for heart disease, it's important for HIVers to cut down on possible heart risks whenever they can. True, you can't control factors like your family history. But this article from the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange outlines some factors you can change.
Dr. Bob: B-Tripla and a Bluey on Bondi Beach
"It's been three years since the last new antiretrovirals hit the market. ... The good news is that a new NNRTI is on its way to pharmacy shelves very soon." Bob Frascino, M.D., returns from his vacation in Australia with a hilarious and informative blog on a new HIV medication on track for U.S. approval in the near future.
More Headlines on HIV Treatment and Health Issues:
Anna (from Tennessee) on "I Am"
"Reading this, I was filled with sadness, but also hope, and most of all, admiration. I cried before I made it to the end, not out of sadness, but because the human spirit still manages to amaze me. When we are at our lowest, we still somehow find the strength to carry on. Maybe because we have no other choice or maybe because the alternative, giving up, is unacceptable."
Read the rest of Anna's comment and join the discussion on this article!
HIV TRANSMISSION & EDUCATION
Ed Perlmutter: A Turning Point for Routine HIV Testing in Massachusetts?
"Last week's hearing was momentous. It was the moment the dialogue changed and the moment I changed the dialogue, and I will remember the day and the moment with clarity for the rest of my life," recalls blogger Ed Perlmutter. He writes about his testimony at a hearing where he made his case for a bill that could increase routine HIV testing in his state of Massachusetts.
Not So Fast: United Nations Corrects Media on "Zero New Infections" Goal
In last week's newsletter, we mentioned that the United Nations had set a goal of zero new HIV infections worldwide by 2015. But it turns out the Associated Press, which first reported on that goal, erred in its reporting: Although the United Nations does want to ultimately reach zero new infections, it says that doing so within four years was never its mission.
More Transmission & Education Headlines:
FEATURED ON THEBODYPRO.COM
What TheBody.com is to HIV-positive people, HIV-affected people, activists and the general public, TheBodyPRO.com is to HIV health care professionals. TheBodyPRO.com seeks to inform and educate doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, prevention/treatment educators, mental health professionals and others who work on the front lines of the fight against HIV/AIDS. Here's a sampling of articles we've recently added to the site.
Bethsheba Johnson: Where Are the Clinical Trials That Focus on HIV-Affected Women?
"As I look back over the recent past in HIV research, I am impressed at what advancements we have made, yet disturbed at what little we know and have done regarding HIV prevention and treatment in women," writes Bethsheba Johnson, G.N.P.-B.C., A.A.H.I.V.S. In her latest entry, she discusses the few large female-focused HIV studies that are currently ongoing.
David Fawcett: The Healing Power of Being Present
Sometimes, the best thing we can do for our patients or clients is just to listen to them, explains David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.: "Practicing acceptance of, as well as curiosity about, that patient in front of you can keep the experience grounded in a way that not only benefits the health of the patient but the satisfaction and resilience of the clinician."