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September 8, 2004

In This Update:
  • HIV Disclosure
  • Life With HIV
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Problems
  • Sex & HIV Prevention
  • U.S. AIDS Policy & Activism
  • HIV/AIDS Outside the U.S.

    Tips on Disclosing HIV Status to Dates
    It's probably the most terrifying moment for anyone who's HIV positive and dating: Telling the person you care about that you have HIV. How, and when, should you do it? Social worker Michael Mancilla offers advice for anyone who's jittery about disclosing their HIV status to an HIV-negative partner.

    HIV Negative and Dating Someone Who's Pos? Advice on How to Tell Others
    You're HIV negative, but you're dating someone who's positive. You have no problem with that -- but how will your family and friends react, and what's the best way to tell them? In this column, psychologist J. Buzz von Ornsteiner provides advice to an HIV-negative woman who's faced with that exact question.

    Looking for More Info on HIV Disclosure?
    The Body's collection of articles features advice from experts and personal perspectives from people who've been there. We've also got plenty of news and information regarding confidentiality and disclosure laws in the United States.

    If you want to connect directly with people who've been in your position, make sure to stop in at The Body's Bulletin Boards and share your thoughts!



    Sorry, Doom-and-Gloomers, But It Doesn't Always Suck to Live With HIV
    Living with HIV has its ups and its downs, says Chicago AIDS advocate Jim Pickett -- so why do so many people in HIV prevention feel the need to make life with HIV sound like a living hell? "Can we do HIV prevention and be honest?" he asks. "Can we show the bad, and the good? The perty, the fugly and the just plain boring? Can I tell you about my life, and tell you about how happy and healthy I am, even though I'm positive?" (Web highlight from HIV Stops With Me, a social marketing campaign)

    A Story of Support and Survival: One Man's HIV Roller Coaster
    Len Greenough has ridden the HIV roller coaster since the early 1990s. A gay man with AIDS, he watched his soulmate pass away and then descended into a deep drug addiction while his CD4 count dwindled to virtually nothing. Finally, as he neared death five years ago, an intervention by two great friends brought him back from the precipice. Now, happy and healthy for the first time in more than a decade (his CD4 count is 700, and he's in a devoted relationship), Len tells his story of survival.



    Early Viral Load Test After Starting HAART May Help Predict Treatment Success
    Your viral load level one month after beginning HAART may predict whether you'll have an undetectable viral load after six months of treatment, according to a study by British and German researchers. As a result, early viral load testing could help doctors spot potential problems with your regimen before your health starts to suffer. (Web highlight from aidsmap.com)

    Research Update on What Makes Drugs Tick
    What makes an HIV med work, or fail to work? How do other drugs interfere with an HIV med's ability to fight the virus? How much does a person's own physiology play a role? Researchers are continually searching for answers to these questions. At a recent conference in Rome, Italy, they met to discuss some of their latest findings. Talented writer Mark Mascolini provides this recap.



    When Your Gas Runneth Over
    Feeling gassy? Both HIV and HIV meds can cause it, and the results can sometimes be downright embarrassing. Thankfully, there are several different types of supplements and over-the-counter medications you can take to help keep your gas bottled up. The executive director of AIDS Treatment Initiatives, Guy Pujol, provides a rundown.



    Study Ties Teens' Sexual Activity to Sexual Content on TV
    Teenagers who are exposed to a large amount of sexual content on television are twice as likely to have sex as teenagers who have a minimal amount of exposure to such programs, according to a new U.S. survey. Television may "create the illusion that sex is more central to daily life than it truly is and may promote sexual initiation as a result," lead researcher Rebecca Collins said. "When they're watching it for three hours a day, it really does become their social world. Those characters are people they identify with and pay attention to."

    Will an HIV Vaccine Work? That Depends on the Neggies
    We may be a decade or more from seeing an effective HIV vaccine reach the market, but essential research is being conducted right now that will set the groundwork for those vaccines. Much of this research won't get far, though, without HIV-negative people to test potential vaccines and educate themselves about them. Edd Lee of Test Positive Aware Network explains the pivotal role that HIV-negative people play in the development of a vaccine for HIV.



    AIDS Activists Grab Headlines at Republican National Convention
    Among the most visible protesters at last week's Republican National Convention in New York were HIV/AIDS activists, who spent much of the week yelling, holding up banners or removing their clothes in an effort to bring national attention to their cause. Here's a rundown of some of their most notable efforts:

    • Days before the convention even began, 11 members of ACT UP/New York were arrested for demonstrating while naked outside of Madison Square Garden, where the convention eventually took place. The activists "dropped trou" (and everything else) while calling for George W. Bush to "drop the debts" of African countries to help free up funds for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs.

    • ACT UP/New York also managed to get inside the convention itself on Sep. 1, when 12 activists were arrested after interrupting a speech by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. The advocates stood on chairs, blew whistles and chanted "Bush kills" and "Bush lies" when Card began speaking.

    • About 200 AIDS advocates protested the Bush administration's HIV/AIDS policies in New York City's Grand Central Station on Sep. 2, the same day President Bush accepted his party's nomination for re-election at the convention. Housing Works, the New York AIDS advocacy group behind the protests, compiled this online photo album of its actions.

    • The ACT UPers took loads of pictures and compiled video coverage of their many peaceful protests throughout the week. Their Web site carries extensive, multimedia coverage of those protests; one video clip appears to show a convention attendee kicking one of the activists who protested inside Madison Square Garden after she had been pulled to the ground.

    • New York Newsday profiled the meticulous efforts by Housing Works and other advocacy groups to prepare for their protests during the convention. Planning was so detailed, in fact, that the organizations decided in advance which of their members were going to be arrested.

    Urge President Bush to Declare His HIV/AIDS Platform
    During the presidential primaries, nearly all of the major candidates (including John Kerry) responded to a platform from AIDSVote.org, a nonpartisan effort to ensure that whoever is elected in November provides true leadership in advancing the fight against AIDS in the United States and throughout the world. George W. Bush, however, still has not responded to the platform. Use this form to urge the president to detail his stance on the HIV/AIDS pandemic!



    U.S. Policies Cause More Child Deaths Worldwide, Advocates Say
    U.S. policies concerning sex education and reproductive health services abroad are contributing to childbirth- and abortion-related deaths as well as the global spread of HIV among women, attendees of the Countdown 2015 conference in London said on the final day of the meeting. Marcella Howell, director of Advocates for Youth, said that the Bush administration is "burying its head in the sand" by endorsing an "ideologically driven abstinence-only-until-marriage program that leaves young people with little information" to prevent HIV and unwanted pregnancies.

    India's Progress Against HIV Remains Slow
    Khousalya Periaswamy knows how far India has yet to go in its efforts to fight the spread of HIV; she's seen it first-hand. In this interview, Periaswamy, the president of India's Positive Women's Network, explains why HIV treatment is still so hard to come by -- and why many women and children are still not getting the care they need.

    Unethical Studies Threaten Safety of Indian Patients
    Lack of access to HIV care is only one problem the Indian government is struggling to deal with. A recent series of unethical, and in some cases illegal, clinical trials in the country has fueled concern among some experts that research is progressing at the expense of people's human rights. In one case, more than 400 women who were unable to conceive were unwittingly enrolled in a trial to test the ability of an anti-cancer drug to induce ovulation.

    Image from the September 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    Untitled, 1992;
    David Wojnarowicz
    Visit the September 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's new collection of art by HIV-positive artists.

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