HIV News & Views, May 5, 2011
May 5, 2011
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Chakena Chakena: Growing Up Taking Meds (Video)
Chakena was born with HIV, but she didn't find out about her status until she was 7, when she asked her family why she had to take so many pills every day. Now 20, Chakena talks in this Positive Project video about growing up positive, understanding HIV better as she's grown older, and her evolving appreciation of the importance of adherence.

Jeannie Wraight Jeannie Wraight: From Addict to Activist With 3 Easy Letters
For Jeannie Wraight, heroin provided an escape from the crushing pain and suffering she saw in the everyday existence of everyone -- and everything -- around her. But since her HIV diagnosis in 1995, Jeannie has found a new way to apply her empathy: as a passionate international HIV treatment activist. In the debut of her new blog on, Jeannie shares her journey from hard-core dope fiend to hard-core advocate.

Justin B. Terry-Smith Justin B. Terry-Smith: 4 Ways Disclosure Has Helped Me
"Since getting diagnosed as HIV positive in 2006, I have made it a priority to be open about my status," Justin B. Terry-Smith writes. And although at times that public disclosure has been difficult, on balance he feels his life is better for it. In his latest video blog entry, Justin outlines four ways his life has improved since he chose to be "out and proud" about his HIV status.

'poetry month @

quill"We shared our symptoms and our sympathies and spoke of philosophies as remedies.
We exposed our fears and our vanities while revealing our proclivities and disclaiming our tendencies."

--From "Am I HIV?" by Donald

To mark National Poetry Month in the U.S., many of you submitted original, creative works about living with, or being affected by, HIV/AIDS. This year's submissions, which run the gamut of emotions -- from exultation to despair and back again -- are on our Poetry Month 2011 home page for you to peruse and digest.

Our deepest thanks to everybody who participated in Poetry Month this year, as well as all of you who have read these poems and, hopefully, found they spoke to you.


 HIV and Heart Disease
Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death in HIV patients. Visit to make changes to improve your heart health and overall wellness. You can live a longer, stronger life with HIV and keep your heart healthy, too. Did you know people living with HIV often share some common issues that affect cardiovascular health? They include higher triglyceride levels, not enough good cholesterol, chronic inflammation, smoking, atherosclerosis, kidney failure and diabetes.


montage o' moms Word on The Street: The Joys and Challenges of Motherhood
In honor of Mother's Day on May 8, we asked mothers throughout the U.S. who are living with HIV/AIDS the following question: What is the greatest joy, and the greatest challenge, of being a mother to your children? Dear It Isn't Tacky for Women to Have Condoms; It's Called Being Empowered
A woman owning condoms shouldn't be looked at as a turnoff, even though Black Eyed Peas frontman apparently feels otherwise, our news editor Kellee Terrell writes. "I won't be taking outdated and irrelevant advice from I have no intention of throwing out my overflowing stash of condoms and lube for the sake of appearing 'respectable' for any man."

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Connect With Others

I've Become the Third Corner of an HIV-Positive Love Triangle
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

"I have a three-year-old with my partner, who is married to another woman. The hard part is: I don't know how to talk to him about my diagnosis. From what I've heard, he and his wife have been on meds and living with HIV for a while, but he has never said a thing. ... I don't know what step to take next. Emotionally, I need to talk to him. I need to confront him, but I don't even know how to do it. And then I don't know the route our relationship might take after that. Please help."

 -- chickenwing

Click here to respond to chickenwing, 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!


Nelson Vergel Is There a Future for HIV-Positive People in "Deep Salvage"? (On
"I consider many of us who have been struggling with multiple drug resistance to be wounded soldiers from a time when we were recruited into studies we joined out of desperation to access a new drug," writes Nelson Vergel in our HIV Care Today blog on "Even if we seem invisible due to our lower numbers, we are still here -- and we absolutely hate to be discounted as disposable in the current era of largely successful HIV treatment."

 Initiating HAART at High CD4 Count Increases AIDS-Free Survival, Study Finds
Newly published results from a huge international study found that HIV-positive people who started antiretroviral therapy with a CD4 count no lower than 500 had a somewhat lower risk of progressing to AIDS or dying than people who waited until their CD4 count was 350 or lower.

 HIVers Face More Complications With Facial Filler Bio-Alcamid, Study Finds
At a conference late last year, a Canadian study reported that about one out of every five people who received the facial filler Bio-Alcamid experienced infections where they received injections, Project Inform reports.

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Join the Conversation

John-Manuel Andriote on "With Friends Like These: Dr. Monica Sweeney's Gift to the Religious Right"

"Thank you for continuing to shine the spotlight of truth on Dr. Sweeney's homophobic campaign. ... I know of only a few short-lived public education campaigns that have attempted to build gay men's self-respect and build on our resilience. Yet that is the approach that prevention researchers and educators I've interviewed say MUST be supported if we are ever going to see a real drop in the outrageously high number of gay and bisexual men of all races in America who become infected with HIV each year."

Read the rest of John-Manuel Andriote's comment and join the discussion on this article!


 Black Gay Men Think "Masculine" Partners Are Less Likely to Have HIV, New Study Suggests
Young, black, gay men tend to prefer being in a relationship with men they perceive as "masculine" -- and often incorrectly assume that those masculine men are less likely to have HIV, according to recent research. Kenyon Farrow explores this new study, and discusses how misogyny and jaded notions of black masculinity are impacting HIV rates among black MSM.

Theresa Mack, M.D., M.P.H. What to Do If You've Been Exposed to HIV
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), if taken correctly after exposure to HIV through risky activities like unprotected sex or needle sharing, can greatly reduce the odds a person will become infected. This handy article from Black AIDS Institute gives a quick overview on what PEP actually is, how it works and other key information.

 A Closer Look at San Francisco's New Approach to HIV Prevention
Given its long history of leading the way in HIV treatment and prevention, it's no shock that San Francisco, Calif., is among the first U.S. cities to launch an aggressive campaign to follow through on the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. In this brief video from, Grant Colfax, director of HIV Prevention and Research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, shares key details of the city's plan to reduce its HIV rates.

More Transmission & Education Headlines:


Activist Central

 ACRIA Partners With New York Academy of Sciences for Educational Symposium on May 16

 Webinar: The National HIV/AIDS Strategy -- What It Means for Black America

 Facial Lipoatrophy Treatments for HIVers: Sign a Petition to Help Remove Barriers to Access!

 Sign a Birthday Card for Health Care Reform!

 Choice in HIV Prevention -- Let FDA Look at the PrEP Data