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HIV/AIDS News Digest: May 17, 2011

By Kellee Terrell

May 18, 2011

Here is a quick look at a few HIV/AIDS stories recently reported in the media:

Magic Johnson Opens Up to Newsweek About Living and Surviving With HIV (From Newsweek)

Almost 20 years ago, basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson announced to the world that he is HIV positive. In "I Survived," Johnson opened up to Newsweek's Allison Samuels about the challenges of living with HIV for the past 20 years, how it impacted his family and the importance of being adherent to his meds.

On whether he thinks about the day he publicly disclosed:

"I don't look back that much at all, and I don't spend a lot of time on regrets. I do regret putting my family and my wife, Cookie, through that entire experience and having to deal with certain things. But that's really the only regret I have."

On being the healthy poster boy for HIV:

"I'll hear people say every so often that having HIV must not be so bad -- just look at Magic and how well he's doing. I'm blessed that the medicine I take really worked well with my body and makeup. It doesn't work like that for everyone. A lot of people haven't been as fortunate as I have."

On dealing with his diagnosis in the beginning:

"I would say hands down, the first five years were the most difficult for me. That was before advances in medicine, and I was still struggling with my career. It wasn't the way I wanted things to go. It took me a while to figure out I needed closure to get unstuck. I was just stuck."

Two Ohio HIV/AIDS Organizations Merge to Survive the Economy (From

Starting on July 1, 2011, the Columbus AIDS Task Force (CATF) will be merging with ARC Ohio, the AIDS Resource Center Ohio. After a yearlong assessment, CATF and ARC Ohio concluded that both organizations would benefit from a merger. In a written joint statement, the Board Chairs of both agencies called the merger a "proactive, strategic and sound business decision."

The newly merged organization will become the state's largest AIDS service organization and will provide services to nearly three-quarters of the state. "I think without a merger, we would have survived. But what I would like to do is excel a little more than just survive," says Peggy Anderson, CATF's current chief executive. She says the organization simply wasn't prepared for the economic downturn.

Current clients from both CATF and ARC Ohio shouldn't see any changes in programs or services.

Watch the NBC4-Columbus news segment below:

Baton Rouge Has Second-Highest AIDS Rate in the U.S. (From Shreveport Times)

For the second year in a row, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that Baton Rouge has the second highest rate of AIDS in the U.S., next to Miami.

According to 2009 data, per every 100,000 people in the Baton Rouge metro area, 30.6 have AIDS -- in 2008, the rate was 40. Experts admit that the number has gone down, but there is still much more that needs to be done.

"Baton Rouge has hovered around in the top 10 for years and we have been second in the nation for a couple of years now," said Timothy Young, executive director of the HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two Inc. He added, "The thing that is alarming is we still are having problems reaching the most at-risk population, young black men."

Other HIV/AIDS Articles in the Media

Aid for AIDS International Founder, Jesus Aguais, on Homophobia and LGBT Issues (From Americas Quarterly)

Why HIV Treatment Needs 10 Times Its Current Funding (From The Atlantic)

"Stop AIDS" Program Spreads Prevention Message (From Miami Herald)

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