ON THE PERSONAL SIDE
Rae Lewis-Thornton: Never Suffer in Silence
"I lived in silence for years as an abused child, and that silence led to my silence around my HIV status as a secret for years," writes Rae Lewis-Thornton. In this blog entry, Rae describes a typical struggle from her childhood and questions the code of silence in many communities when it comes to "family business" such as abuse.
My Name Is Autumn, and I'm Learning to Live With HIV
"I am a transgender woman living in rural Arkansas. I'm NOT, nor have I ever been, a sex worker, escort or anything of the sort. I don't use IV drugs and I'm not promiscuous. Just the recipient of a shit storm of bad luck," writes Autumn Preusser. She started keeping an online journal several days after her diagnosis; in it, she candidly shares her experiences as she adjusts to life with HIV.
Justin B: Terry-Smith: Rape, Violence and What I Can Now Say About "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
"I felt alone; even though I had many friends I couldn't tell them about this. I couldn't even tell my superior about it. Why? Because of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy." In this heartbreaking video blog entry, Justin B. Terry-Smith reveals that he was raped, and later became part of an abusive relationship, during his time in the U.S. Air Force. Unfortunately, back then, asking for help would have led to his discharge.
Don't tell me I can't
because I will.
Don't tell me my limits
because I have none.
--From "Don't," by Chad
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
Q&A With Rep. Maxine Waters, Legislator and AIDS Activist
The key to improving HIV/AIDS policies in the U.S. is to have politicians who passionately advocate for the cause. One such politician is Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). The Black AIDS Institute's Nick Chiles sits down with Waters to discuss how the country's ongoing health care reform might impact the HIV community -- and how she's trying to advocate for the community on Capitol Hill.
White House Releases Further Plans for National HIV/AIDS Strategy; HIV/AIDS Activists "Cautiously Optimistic"
Amidst pressure to slash the federal budget, "President Obama's proposed FY 2012 budget drew some praise from AIDS advocates for its modest funding increases to federal AIDS programs," writes political columnist Rod McCullom. The budget includes detailed plans to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
Upcoming Changes to U.S. Disability Benefits: How to Prepare for the Future
While many people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. rely on disability benefits, there is a growing trend of people who are not eligible for disability because of outdated standards. Thanks to health care reform, this all may change for the better in 2014. Project Inform's Julie Cross talks about the three most important things that you should do before those changes go into full effect.
More News & Views Headlines:
Music That Helps Me Be a Fighter
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)
"When things start looking a bit bleak or I feel a bit down, I play "Heart of Steel" by Manowar at full blast and sing along as loud as I can. It helps a hell of a lot. If this can inspire just one person out there, I'd consider this post a success. Community support is invaluable, but at the end of the day, you need to believe in yourself and your own strength to get through this."
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
Nelson Vergel: U.S. Must Remove Barriers to Lipoatrophy Treatment Access
The good news: Medicare now covers facial filler treatments for HIVers with lipoatrophy. The bad news: Because Medicare doesn't reimburse doctors enough to provide the service, "access to these products has gotten worse, not better" since the Medicare approval, treatment advocate Nelson Vergel writes.
Paging the Tooth Fairy: Good Dental Care Is Critical
Everyone knows it's important to brush their teeth, but for HIVers, dental health is even more critical. As this article from the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange explains, there are links between oral health and overall health, which include potential impact on cardiovascular disease and inflammation. Read up for some warning signs that you may need a dental checkup.
More Headlines on HIV Treatment and Health Issues:
HIV TRANSMISSION & EDUCATION
PrEP Ineffective for Women? Study on Truvada for HIV Prevention Is Unexpectedly Cut Short
A clinical trial investigating the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection among women has been cancelled after early results suggested the approach would be ineffective -- even though another major study last year found PrEP was effective among gay men. The findings are likely to make clinicians much more reluctant to prescribe Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) to HIV-negative women at potentially high risk for HIV.
More Transmission & Education Headlines: