April 26, 2011
Here is a quick look at a few HIV/AIDS stories recently reported in the media:
To address the fact that African Americans are at higher risk to die from heart disease and that antiretrovirals increase that risk, researchers put together a healthier lifestyle program geared toward African-American mixed-status couples.
Their results were promising.
By analyzing data from 275 couples who participated in eight weekly two-hour sessions, researchers found a positive change in lifestyle would reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases. The healthy lifestyle changes they noticed were higher consumption of fruits and vegetables, lower consumption of fatty foods, an increase in prostate cancer screenings for men, an increase in mammograms for women, and an increase in physical activity.
What's even better was that some of these healthier behaviors lasted longer than just the eight weeks -- they saw improvement from six to 12 months after completion of the program.
"Accordingly, this study is important, demonstrating that [intervention] that teaches skills caused positive changes on multiple behaviors linked to chronic diseases in African-American members" of this group, the researchers wrote.
Just another example of why it's important to have a holistic approach when addressing the whole health of people living with HIV.
GLBT Democratic Caucus Blasts Florida for Mishandling ADAP Money (From The Florida Independent)
Just last week, The Florida Independent reported that Florida's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) funding issues are not just being caused by budget problems, but are also the result of the state mishandling funds.
A federal report leaked to the newspaper indicated that salaries for employees whose work is not related to ADAP were paid with ADAP money; the state missed out on opportunities to recover millions of dollars in pharmaceutical rebates; and it was deficient in sending certain paperwork that was crucial to assessing need and acquiring funding.
In response to this report, Michael Rajner, legislative director of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus, told The Florida Independent that an in-depth investigation should be launched, because this "is unacceptable."
"This federal report will help individuals to become involved, and really understand how this impacts them," Rajners says. "For the almost 4,000 people on the Florida ADAP waiting list, the question is: Was the ADAP funding deficit really a funding shortage? Could it have been averted? Could we have mitigated the impact and have a 1,000-person wait list?"
Does the Documentary Let's Talk About Sex Communicate the Right Messages to the Right Audiences? (From RH Reality Check)
There's been a lot of talk lately about the need for comprehensive sex education in this country and the lack of resources for young people to make educated and informed decisions about safer sex. To further that conversation, Scarleteen's Heather Corinna has written a nuanced film review of the documentary Let's Talk About Sex for RH Reality Check. While she appreciated the attempt of the film, in the end she was critical of the approach and the intent.
The documentary, which was produced by Advocates for Youth, was directed by James Houston. Houston, as Corinna points out, is not a safer sex educator. He is a fashion and beauty photographer whose take on this complicated issue left her disappointed. She was particularly critical of the unrealistic portrayal of the parents featured; the lack of voices from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth; the inability to critically address gender issues; and the film's dissing the Internet as a place for teens to find quality sex-ed information.
She wrote, "I confess, though, that I found more in the film that bothered me or disappointed me, and plenty of moments where it felt like something so-so could have become fantastic if this all hadn't been so brand-new to the filmmaker. I think if it hadn't been so new to him the film would have had more nuance and sensitivity and less simplicity and black-and-white thinking than I found it to have. Ultimately, despite my strong desire to love this movie, I've got more critique to offer than waves of my proverbial pom-poms."
Read the entire review here.
HIV Kids Growing Up Well, Study Finds (From Bloomberg Businessweek)
To Save HIV/AIDS Drugs Funding, Will Sara Feigenholtz and Heather Steans Have the Midas Touch? (From The Huffington Post)
After 3 Years, Massachusetts Sex-Health Website Becomes Anti-Abortion Rights Target (From The American Independent)
Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
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