• LIVING WITH HIV
The Delicate Balancing Act of Mixed-Status Relationships
"Living with HIV is damn difficult and painful -- and it adds to the complexity of a relationship," writes an HIV-negative South African woman in this heartrending first-person story.
When her boyfriend, Thabo, tested positive six months into their relationship, he became petrified of infecting her. But she loved him and believed that together
they could manage his HIV. Then, in a moment, everything changed: His condom broke during sex, and she took a round of post-exposure prophylaxis meds. Their relationship grew much more complicated;
it was her turn to become paranoid and uncertain. Eventually, Thabo decided to walk away from the woman who adored him -- and the only person who knew his HIV status.
She was heartbroken, but on some level, she also understood. "My heart goes out to those who live with the virus," she writes. "No matter how educated each one of us can be, no one
can imagine what it is like to live a fully sexual life while infected, or [to be] involved with those who are." (Web highlight from Sunday Times, Johannesburg)
• HIV NEWS & VIEWS
Larry Kramer Calls for New "Nuremberg Trials" to Document "Real History" of HIV
When AIDS activist Larry Kramer was invited to speak at a special "AIDS at 25" panel discussion hosted by the New York Times, the newspaper probably had no idea that Kramer would blast
the paper itself for "its own huge role in allowing this plague to progress." And that's not all Kramer said: as always, he was blunt and provocative. Read his prepared remarks for this
discussion, and you're sure to discover things you haven't heard about AIDS, including the assertion that HIV found its way into the gay community through an injectable hemophilia treatment
containing blood product, and that the first cases of AIDS in America were not in gay men but in heterosexual women. (Web highlight from The Petrelis Files)
Chicago Tribune Highlights HIV-Positive Athletes in the Gay Games
Among the nearly 12,000 athletes who attended last week's Gay Games in Chicago, Ill., was basketball player Steve Harrington, a Massachusetts resident who was diagnosed with HIV in 1990 and thought
at the time that "I just knew that in five years, I'd be dead." Now 51, Harrington just finished up his fourth consecutive Gay Games -- an event that's held once every four years. Harrington
is one of many HIVers from throughout the world who traveled to Chicago for the Games; the Chicago Tribune interviewed several of them during the week's events.
How did this year's Gay Games go, you ask? Check out outsports.com for extensive coverage, or read
this analysis in the Chicago Tribune (free registration required). You can also read additional profiles of HIV-positive
Games athletes in this article from Test Positive Aware Network.
Community Angered by Firing of Popular Director of South Florida HIV Organization
In 1995, HIVer Sheri Kaplan founded the Center for Positive Connections in Florida, hoping to provide a support network for straight HIVers. This week, she's looking for a new job. After more than
a decade leading the agency, one of the larger HIV support organizations in Miami-Dade County, she was fired on July 17 after the executive board voted unanimously to let her go. Kaplan said she
was unaware of any problems with her performance, and that the reasons for her dismissal were unclear. The board's chairman said the firing "was made strictly to fortify the future of the
organization." Members of the HIV community and local officials did not react well to the firing, and some agency clients planned a protest. (Web highlight from the Miami Herald)
• HIV TREATMENT
A Full Regimen in a Single Pill: What's the Big Deal?
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Atripla (tenofovir/FTC/efavirenz) earlier this month, it marked the first time that drugs from two different classes were combined in a
single pill. But beyond that, why is Atripla's approval such a big event, especially considering the three drugs in the pill have already been around for years? In this article, reporter
Bob Roehr provides a few more reasons why Atripla's approval is a watershed moment in HIV treatment. (Web highlight from the Bay Area Reporter)
For more on Atripla, visit The Body's collection of articles and other information.
• HIV POLICY IN THE UNITED STATES
U.S. Government Is Still Failing Its Poorest Citizens, AIDS Activist Writes
Twenty-five years into the epidemic, AIDS activist David Salyer is still fuming over the failure of the United States to truly address its HIV epidemic. "Our government-sanctioned complacency
is leading to rising infections among women, teenagers and even the AARP generation," writes David Salyer in this biting opinion piece. "Our government cunningly deflects attention away
from the ... disproportionately high rates of infection and death in our communities of color by constantly dwelling on the plight of poverty-stricken Africans. It's bad over there; we get it.
But poor and disenfranchised Americans don't have it much better."
Bush to NAACP: "We Must Not Avert Our Eyes" From HIV
For the first time since taking office in 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush addressed the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). His 45-minute
speech included several references to HIV, both at home and abroad. Acknowledging that HIV disproportionately affects blacks in the United States, Bush pledged to create a domestic program aimed
at combating HIV and said that his administration hopes to work with the NAACP to launch a nationwide effort aimed at increasing access to rapid HIV tests. In an editorial, the Los Angeles Times called
Bush's speech "pedestrian" and said, "If that's all he wanted to say, did he have to wait five years?"
To read HIV-related excerpts of President Bush's address to the NAACP, click here.
Gay Doc Likely to Replace Drug Company CEO as Head of U.S. Global AIDS Efforts
U.S. President George W. Bush has nominated Dr. Mark Dybul, a gay physician, to become the new chief of the United States' global efforts to fight HIV. If his nomination is approved by the U.S. Senate,
Dr. Dybul would officially replace Randall Tobias, a business executive who was named Pharmaceutical Industry CEO of the Year in 1995. Dybul, by contrast, is an active clinician and researcher who has
long worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He's been the acting head of the U.S. Global AIDS Office since Tobias stepped down.
For more on Dr. Dybul and his nomination, you can read this Washington Blade article or this
brief bio at the U.S. Department of State's Web site.
• HIV TRANSMISSION
Gates Foundation Doubles HIV Vaccine Funding to Half a Billion Dollars
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a new wave of grants totaling $287 million to fund the development of an HIV vaccine, which will bring the foundation's total donations to HIV vaccine
efforts to $528 million. The foundation hopes that its new round of grants will also trigger a major shift in the way vaccines are developed: Rather than giving money to far-flung, independent research
teams throughout the world, the grants aim to bring the world's researchers together to share resources and collaborate on creating more effective vaccines.
Most Young Assault Victims Don't Finish Their Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Meds, Study Finds
Researchers in Boston, Mass., have found that young women who are victims of sexual assault don't usually finish their prescribed 28-day course of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
to help prevent HIV infection. Only 38 percent of study participants who were given PEP returned for a follow-up visit, and only 15 percent completed the full course of medication. The Boston
team said that young sexual assault victims should still be offered PEP, but added that more must be done to ensure adherence: "Patient education and a comprehensive follow-up system
with extensive outreach and case management are necessary to encourage post-exposure prophylaxis adherence and return for follow-up care among adolescent sexual assault survivors," they
highlight from MedicineNet.com)
Sensitive Sleuthing Helps Cut Infant HIV Rates in Florida
We all know how important it is for HIV-negative people to get tested -- especially pregnant women, whose babies may be at risk if the womens' HIV goes undiagnosed. But in the United States, stigma and
fear still keep far too many women away from HIV testing centers -- especially in minority areas of south Florida. That's why Florida started a special program called the Targeted Outreach for
Pregnant Women Act (TOPWA), which uses subtle outreach methods (including fliers and confidential meetings) to help women of child-bearing age get access to HIV prevention and testing, as well as pregnancy
assistance. Since TOPWA was passed in 1998, rapid HIV testing, HIV medications, Caesarean deliveries, and other medical interventions have helped reduce the number of HIV cases in children under age two
from 113 in 1992 to four in 2004.
• HIV OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
HIV-Positive Saudis Pushed to Society's Sidelines
Imagine that you're not only HIV positive, but that you also have to provide for two wives and eight children. That's the reality of daily life for B. Muhammad, a Saudi man who lost his job after
his manager found out his HIV status. Mr. Muhammad is one of several HIV-positive Saudis, interviewed by Al-Madinah newspaper, who say they are ostracized because of ignorance about how
the virus is spread. Saudi HIVers often face abandonment by their families and the sole responsibility of caring for HIV-positive children. "Living with such a disease in Saudi society is
like living in an open prison. ... Many people that carry AIDS are really innocent of any wrongdoing and most of them are victims of other people's misdeeds," says Shareefa Muhammad. Shareefa
was divorced by her husband after testing positive -- and is pretty sure he's the one who infected her. (Web highlight from Arab News)
A Silver Lining on South Africa's Very Dark Cloud: New Infection Rate May Be Leveling
It's astonishing when a 30 percent HIV infection rate among pregnant women is considered good news. But in South Africa -- one of the focal points of the global pandemic -- that's exactly the case.
A new survey released by the South African Department of Health shows that 30 percent of pregnant women were diagnosed with HIV in 2005, which is only a slight increase over 2004. In addition, the overall
HIV rate among teenagers was down from 2004 to 15.9 percent. "This is encouraging to note," said Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, "but a great deal of work still needs to be done
to ensure that new infections no longer take place at all in South Africa." Overall, the survey estimated that 5.54 million South Africans were living with HIV, compared to previous estimates, based
on outdated calculation methods, of 5.7 to 6.2 million.
Canadian Musicians Release Benefit Single for Africa's AIDS Epidemic
Some of the biggest names in the Canadian music industry have joined forces to release a new HIV benefit single, "Song for Africa," which is now playing on Canadian radio. Featuring artists from
bands such as Billy Talent, Big Wreck and Big Sugar, "Song for Africa" was produced to raise awareness of the HIV epidemic in Africa and call Canadian citizens to action. However, with the XVI
International AIDS Conference in Toronto only weeks away, the artists and producers involved are now expecting a much bigger impact: A music video of the song is slated to play during the conference's
opening ceremony. "It's
our chance to show that we are at the forefront of finding a solution to the devastating emergency [of Africa's HIV epidemic]," producer Darcy Ataman said. "This is a moment in history to help
create a tipping point for AIDS and Africa." Proceeds from the album will go to help Free the Children's mobile health unit in Kenya.
Click here to listen to the full-length single. You can also visit
the Free the Children Web site to learn more about the organization benefiting from the single.
NBA Players Take Basketball, HIV Education to Teens Throughout World
Since 2001, dozens of National Basketball Association (NBA) players have taken part in "Basketball Without Borders," an outreach program that travels around the world to teach teenagers how to
play basketball -- and protect themselves against HIV. This summer, the program will hold camps in China, Lithuania, Puerto Rico and South Africa. "We can make a real difference and there are so many
people who need our help," said Marcus Camby, who plays center for the Denver Nuggets. He's one of several current NBA stars who headed to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for a camp earlier this month. (Web
highlight from NBA.com)
Also earlier this month, young Europeans and basketball stars gathered in Vilnius, Lithuania, for the European camp; The Baltic
on hand to cover the event.