Posts Tagged ‘prevention’

As of 2013, AIDS has killed more than 36 million people worldwide (1981-2012), and an estimated 35.3 million people are living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history.So ThePoz+Life is calling for everyone to join us on November 29th at 1:00 PM EST via Google Hangout, YouTube, or ThePozLife.com for, ThePozLife: Nationwide Call to Action for World AIDS Day! For this to be successful we need you to share with your social networks, organizations and other news platforms.
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Original post from Buzzfeed.com.  Check it out here


 

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Michael Weinstein, president, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, speaks in Los Angeles, Feb. 14, 2013. Bret Hartman / AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation

 AIDS Healthcare Foundation, one of the world’s largest HIV/AIDS healthcare organizations, announced Friday it is rolling out a campaign to highlight concerns it has over the use of a daily pill for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection as a public health strategy against the spread of the virus.

The organization will run advertisements with information from studies about adherence to the pill’s daily regimen in several publications within the next week.

The pill, marketed as Truvada by Gilead Sciences, has been shown to reduce HIV infection when taken daily as directed along with using condoms and was recently recommended for populations at high risk of HIV infection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

But AHF cautions individuals who may be interested in taking PrEP, community organizations, and public health officials in government against the widespread use of the PrEP pill for HIV prevention efforts, saying people will fail to take the pill every day as directed for the drugs to work.

“The bottom line is that people won’t adhere and take the pill,” Michael Weinstein, president of AHF, told BuzzFeed. “That’s what studies have shown. If this catches on as a public health strategy, that means there are going to be people who will take Truvada irregularly and some will be infected, and some develop drug resistance.”

AHF cites studies showing that due to issues with adherence among people taking the drug in clinical trials, PrEP efficacy is about 50%, Weinstein said. Because of this, he said “a government-sanctioned widespread scale up of PrEP appears to be a public health disaster in the making.” Additionally, there is no research showing PrEP’s effectiveness as a public health strategy, he told BuzzFeed.

The AHF campaign comes just months after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state’s new strategy in its fight against HIV/AIDS, which includes increasing access to Truvada through the state’s Medicaid program and its own public information campaign to raise awareness about PrEP — in addition to identifying people who may not not know they’re HIV positive so that they are linked to treatment, and working to ensure that people who are HIV-positive are getting the care and treatment they need. AHF condemned Cuomo’s inclusion of PrEP in the plan.

But New York public health officials are not alone in considering PrEP as part of HIV prevention strategy.

In May, the CDC issued clinical guidelines on PrEP to prevent HIV transmission, saying that if taken daily as directed along with using condoms, it is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infection. The government health agency recommended that doctors with patients at high risk of infection should consider PrEP as part of their HIV prevention strategy, including regular HIV and STD testing and condom use. In July, the WHO announced a similar recommendation, saying men who have sex with men should consider PrEP as an additional method of preventing HIV infection. These recommendations, according to AHF, were “misguided.”

Advocates at GMHC, an HIV/AIDS healthcare and advocacy group in New York City, agreed with AHF’s point that adherence to the drug is crucial to it being effective in protecting people from HIV, but said that discouraging people to consider PrEP is problematic.

“The only disaster would be to stop encouraging people to explore taking PrEP if they are at high-risk for contracting HIV,” said Anthony Hayes, GMHC’s managing director of public affairs and policy, in a statement to BuzzFeed. “The fact is adherence is key to any drug regimen, including [antiretroviral drugs], and we are not going to tell people who are HIV-positive to stop taking ARVs because some do not practice strict adherence.”

Hayes said GMHC disagrees with the position that PrEP should not be included in public health strategies. “We believe more people should explore being on PrEP to reduce the risk of contracting HIV and it should absolutely be included in the strategy along with comprehensive education that includes emphasizing that adherence is key to effectiveness.”

Weinstein said that AHF is not alone in its reservations about PrEP, as many doctors and people in general question using it. With that, he emphasized that the conversation around PrEP has shifted from suggested it be used along with condoms to using it instead of condoms, which he said will expose people to other STDs such as syphilis, among others. People have become “cavalier” when it comes to STDs, he said.

Fewer than 10,000 prescriptions have been written for Truvada to be used as PrEP, the CDC said when it announced its recommendations. It’s price tag, at about $1,300 per month, is also a factor in access, although insurance plans cover it and there are assistance programs, such as one through Gilead.

Despite the campaign, Weinstein said AHF is not opposed to individuals and doctors considering and ultimately moving forward with using PrEP. “We don’t tell our doctors not to prescribe it or doctors in general not to prescribe it,” he said. “But as for a public health measure, you have to look at the data from the studies. This is not a question of my opinion.”

Here is the advertisement:

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AHF / Via aidshealth.org

 

 

 

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Nova Salud put on another amazing event as myself and other individuals who are affected by HIV took time out of their schedules to model amazing clothes by Juan Jose Saenz-Ferreyros and his line Ferreyros Couture Company.  Thank you all who came out to give back to Nova Salud as they continue to provide excellent services to the Northern Virginia region.  Also, a huge thank you for all the sponsors and O Mansion for making this event happen.    

 

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For more information on Nova Salud click here.  

 

Thank you to all the men from the R3VNG campaign (with APLA Health and Wellness).

 

The LGBTQ community has seen many facets of resistance to marginalization but perhaps the most imperative and poignant was the unapologetic grassroots activism of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power). An international, direct-action, and advocacy group, ACT UP works to impact the lives of people with AIDS and was created in response to the AIDS Crisis. I am involved in this work because as a queer person, my history is intertwined with this struggle. The late 80s and early 90s witnessed rampant homophobia and stigma surrounding AIDS that thwarted research and funding. Such antagonisms from an apathetic, stingy government and pharmaceutical companies killed a generation of what could have been the mentors and role models for my queer generation. My initial inspiration for prevention work came from the lessons of this despicable period of US history and recognizing that today, much progress remains in terms of eliminating stigma and providing equal access to care and prevention for those living at the bottoms of stratification. When I entered the harm-reduction world, I was unaware of the many other facets of myself, the struggle for an AIDS free generation, and queer liberation I’d discover.

AID Atlanta, the largest AIDS Service Organization in the Southeast, was the first work environment that welcomed “all of me”.  Growing up in the South with multiple oppressions (I am queer, Peruano-Americano that was living in an agricultural, white, and small town) I learned the heaviness of prejudice and hate. So, I was grateful to enter an organization pivoted around harm-reduction as an intern. Eventually, I became a full-time employee, serving as a Program Coordinator. During my time there, AID Atlanta colleagues inspired me to understand and embrace my lived experience (all of them).  I had the wonderful opportunity to work with amazing community members that are still constant reminders that there is no such thing as “a single life issue” (thanks Audre Lorde).

The resilience I gained from experiencing interlocking oppressions made me proud to call myself a sero-negative (a person without HIV), fierce ally for those living with HIV and an advocate for prevention and care.  HIV stigma operates similarly to other oppressions in the gay community. Every time one writes “clean” or “white only” on dating/hook up sites, entire communities are slandered as ‘other’.  HIV rates increase in the communities and areas that experience the most oppression and lack resources. Therefore, because I’m young, Latino, Southern, and a man who has sex with men – health departments tell me I’m in a high–risk category. While this might be true in terms of where new infection rates are multiplying, what such labels lack is the impetus necessary to change the conditions that put me at risk (i.e. poverty, racism, and stigma surrounding HIV).

There is interconnectivity between transcending risk factors, combating new infections, advocating for comprehensive health-care, and fighting for community space that embraces each aspect of identity. All are necessary for an AIDS free generation. ACT-UP served as a rage against hetero-cis-patriarchal hegemony that silenced the very existence of HIV. Today, that same silence is echoed on the faces of those not represented in white media and all who experience internal and external barriers to seek testing or treatment. It is now the responsibility of this generation’s activists, to advocate for HIV prevention, obliterate stigma, and dismantle oppression on all levels.


 

 

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– Edric Figueroa is a queer, first generation Peruano-Americano with organizing roots planted in the Dirty South (ATL!). He has worked in and volunteered with traditional AIDS Service Organization’s as well as community organizing efforts for over four years. Currently, he works to empower young people at a youth-led, social justice non-profit, Seattle Young People’s Project and is part of the Youth Scholar Steering Committee for 2014 United States Conference on AIDS. Transformative justice, the process of recognizing oppression as the root cause of all forms of injustice and creating personal, community-based and beyond alternatives to such- is at the core of all the work Edric does. –

 

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  So let us face it, there are many pros and cons when it comes to collaboration; however, to continue the winning war against HIV&AIDS it is essential to our victory. When communication and opposing visions clash, it creates an environment where every time you correspond with one another it is like walking on ice. Communication is essential to the success of any relationship and if there is a not a system to ensure everyone at the table has a way of knowing what is going on (including being able to provide feedback on changes) then all hell will break loose.

  There is an unseen benefit to this because when done correctly and in a manner that is consistent collaborations can be very useful. Apart of the Northern Virginia HIV Consortium Prevention and Education Committee is a perfect example. Nechelle Terrell, Chair of the committee has shared with me that this creates an opportunity for many organizations to work together across their service areas and jurisdictions. Like many community-based organizations across the nation, we are seeing a decrease in available resources. The prevention and education committee utilizes its members to ensure that events have the ability to have additional support from other agencies. In addition, successful best practices and experiences help to ensure organizations struggling to meet certain populations or communities where they are at have some assistance. Resources and talents to better meet the needs of a community (or even audience) are shared and work together to achieve a common goal.

  As the creator and only person behind Pozlifeofpatrick, I hit a roadblock a year after operation. I was working full-time, going to school full-time, and then taking on more blogging and traveling request than normal. The blog ended up being more of an object of stress in my life. This changed I met two other amazing guys at the Young Black Gay Leadership Initiative’s (YBGLI) 2014 Policy and Advocacy Summit where we agreed to combine our blogging, video, and social media skills into one to create something new. The creation of ThePozLife has received great response from the community. We share responsibilities, which give me the ability to focus more on school and work, but most importantly, we are bringing our specific personalities, skills, and attributes together in our partnership rather than competing for the same or similar audiences. This solidarity and ability to work together shows something that we have forgotten about.

   When the Normal Heart came on TV, I sat up and watched every minute of it. Like that movie, How to Survive a Plague and IMG_9249_1even Paris is Burning they all had one common denominator. They were able to work together for a common mission. Today we must be able to place our egos aside and focus on the work for the good of progressing and eventually winning this war against HIV. When we continue to have opposing ideologies about PrEP, HIV Criminalization, and what organizations are not doing we are only hurting ourselves. We must be able to come together in solidarity and work towards a common goal.  On top of working as a team we must be able to have each other’s back and not be willing to let injustice happy to our fellow brothers in sisters who are also trying to make a difference in our communities.   Now our paths to the goal may be in different forms like demonstrations, policy, blogging, education, and prevention however we all must be at least somewhere on the same page.

 

 

Yours in the struggle,

Patrick R.  Ingram

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RECENTLY I HAD BEEN struggling with my career decision, doubting whether or not the work I am doing is affecting change. There are few young African American men who have sex with men (MSM) in Columbus who are in key positions in the field of HIV prevention, policy and advocacy or who have a desire to mobilize the African American MSM community. I often felt alone and without support in my struggle, but all that changed on April 2 when I became part of the Young Black Gay Men’s Leadership Initiative (YBGLI). I dedicate this column to them.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced an alarming 48 percent increase of new HIV cases among young African American MSM between the ages of 13 – 29. As a result, the National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition assembled five dynamic young gay leaders to strategize to address the need for increased peer-based community mobilization and activism in combatting the HIV epidemic. In the spring of 2012 the five leaders created the YBGLI.

The initiative is led by an organizing committee of  young black men who have sex with men (YBMSM) under the age of 30 with professional backgrounds in research, community mobilization, policy and advocacy. Membership consists of young African American gay, bisexual, and/or same gender loving men from different areas of the country. The initiative’s mission is to address the issues disproportionately affecting their peers, particularly related to HIV prevention, care and treatment, through leadership mobilization and policy efforts.

In 2012 the YBGLI hosted its first Policy and Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C. Fifty-three African American MSM came together to discuss the HIV/AIDS epidemic and different ways they could contribute to the fighting it and to address other disparities within the MSM of color community. Members also participated in discussions on research, policy, advocacy, leadership, health disparities and mobilization.

I applied to and was accepted to attend the recent 2014 YBGLI Policy and Advocacy Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. The summit was one of the most inspiring, motivating and educational experiences in my life. I was surrounded by like-minded men who shared the same passion I have for mobilizing YBMSM to become mentally, physically and emotionally empowered. It was so refreshing since it was so different from what I have experienced in Columbus or in Ohio.

This year’s summit also included 58 of the most passionate and determined YBMSM. We were chosen to be a part of the summit based on the work they were doing and the potential we had to become better leaders within their communities. We gathered to discuss HIV/AIDS, policy, advocacy, Obamacare, the African American church and homosexuality, stigma and ways we can mobilize our communities. To be able to be in a room with so many diverse and inspiring men was simply amazing.

From the moment I stepped onto the plane to Atlanta, I knew my life would change. Prior to attending the summit, I was struggling with the fact that there are very few African American MSM who are open about their sexuality to look up to as leaders in Columbus, and I was continuously looking for others like myself who I can look up to for advice, affirmation and lean on for support. I now know that I am not alone. It is empowering to have a group of supporters throughout the nation who I can call on and look up to. I no longer struggle; instead, I am stepping up to be one of the few YBMSM leaders in my community. My passion for the work I do was reignited by the summit and I left knowing that the work I am doing is needed and supported. No matter what challenges that I have or will face, I will never give up.

Great work by Venton Jones and the Aids.gov team! Check out http://blog.aids.gov/2014/04/swallow-a-pill-for-hiv-prevention.html for more information

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Save the Date! 

Community Educational Training on PrEP April 22nd!

The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) will host a community education training on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) this April 22, 2014 from 9am-4:30pm at Washington, DC’s DENIM. We’ll provide the most current and accurate information about PrEP, its efficacy, and how it can be an important tool to help young gay men stay HIV-negative. As new infections continue to rise among young gay men of color, we’ll discuss the unique opportunity PrEP presents for young gay, bisexual, and same-gender loving men. These trainings will also allow participants to engage with PrEP educational videos and cultivate skills to better implement and/or replicate the educational videos for a particular community.

Topics covered in the training include:

  • Interacial_Gay_Couple.jpgCurrent landscape of HIV for young gay men
  • Biomedical HIV prevention
  • PrEP, access, and the Affordable Care Act
  • Comprehensive prevention
  • PrEP risk and benefits
  • Health literacy for both providers and patients
  • PrEP and stigma

Location: DENIM
6925 Blair Road, NW
Washington, DC  20012
http://www.uhupil.org/denim

Click here to RSVP! 

So remember when I said I was going to involve more individuals and their stories on HIV, LGBTQ issues, or anything they want to sound off about?  Well National Black HIV AIDS Awareness Day is here and I am proud to present to you a blog by my friend and colleague Kemisha.  

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ImageBefore I became involved in the field of HIV/AIDS, I thought I knew all there is to know about it.  I knew it was something you could get through having sex or by IV drug use and it was something you wanted to avoid. I believed that if you did have it meant that you were being reckless with your body and did it to yourself. I always saw it as you made a mistake with your sexual activity and now you have to deal with it.  I was fortunate enough to go to schools, especially a high school where comprehensive sexual education was taught. I will say that even though I knew the do’s and don’ts of sex, that doesn’t mean that I always made the best decisions for myself. Yes, I knew that HIV/AIDS was something that was really out there but I also felt as if it was something that would never happen to me. I had that feeling of being invincible, a feeling that I think a lot of teenagers had at that time. When I think back to that time frame I will say that I did take a lot of risk. I wasn’t running around having sex with multiple partners but the person I did chose to have sex with, we never had the conversation about our sexual history. We never asked each other “have you ever been tested for HIV”, “when was your last STD screening”. It was more like we just believed that if there was something to be told that the person would say it.  Now that I look at it, that is a scary thought. By not choosing to ask those questions and trusting that person with my body, I was taking a chance with my body and my life every single time.

When I went to college, I started as an Athletic Training major and loved it. Two and half years into the program I realized that I no longer had the passion for it, I wanted to change my major but still be involved in Health. My professor recommended the Health Promotion program to me. It was there in that program I became very interested in HIV/AIDS. I began volunteering with the Wellness, Alcohol, and Violence Education Services (WAVES) office at George Mason University. The first program I helped with was the HIV/AIDS awareness week and from there I became hooked.  I took a class called Interventions on Populations at Risk. I chose to do and intervention for high school teenagers geared toward sexual education to help lower the high rates of teen pregnancy. After that course I had to take a course in Research Methods, I took the information I gathered in the previous class and took it a step further for this one. My final research paper for undergraduate degree was based on whether sexual education courses had an effect on the actual sexual activity of teenagers.

In order to complete undergrad I needed to complete 400hrs of a health related internship. The first internship was all set and ready to go and at the last minute the organization lost the funding to host and intern. I then came across Fredericksburg Area HIV/AIDS Support Services (FAHASS). They decided to take me on as an intern and it was a perfect fit because this was the field I definitely wanted to work in. While interning here I learned so much information that I didn’t know.  From understanding what exactly HIV does once it’s inside your body, to what the experience of having an HIV test done is, even an understanding and different out look on what its like for people living with HIV. I have learned about the services people that are living with HIV are eligible for that I had no clue about before interning here. My eyes were opened to so many things that I had no idea of; it showed me that there is always more to learn and not everything on the surface is the whole story. It allowed me to see that everyone’s story is different and you cant generalize people in the same category.

I was fortunate enough to receive a part time position with FAHASS and then eventually a full time position as a Prevention Specialist after my internship with them. I now do testing under the Care and Prevention of the United States grant (CAPUS). This specifically focuses on African Americans and Latinos. Now that I am out there in the field-testing, it is eye opening. In the rural community of Fredericksburg that I work in, I have seen how uneducated people are on the topic of HIV. Some people have no idea what HIV even stands for and it amazes me that this happens especially when there are so many resources for them to receive that information and begin to process and understand it. It feels good when I am able to give people information on HIV and see that they are interested in what I am saying. They are learning and becoming informed about it. I can only hope that they are passing on this new knowledge to others because it is something that needs to be shared with others.

Every day I learn something new being with this organization and it is only growing my knowledge base of HIV/AIDS. If I do not know something I have no problems asking questions because I believe that the more I know the better equipped I am to help educate people about HIV/AIDS and give them the tools to help make better decisions for themselves.  Eventually my ultimate goal is to help work on the different HIV/AIDS initiatives in the Caribbean. They are doing the best they can with what they have now and I commend than for all their efforts but I feel that more could be done. They really need to break into the communities and push outreach and testing and having those conversations but it is very hard to do that when there is still such high stigma associated with HIV and such strong stances against things such as, homosexuality. These walls need to be broken down in order to effectively provide the best outreach, prevention and care services to the people of these islands and their communities.

Kemisha is currently the prevention specialist at FAHASS, and just like many of us in prevention is continuing to learn more about the field every single day.  If you are interested in sharing your story with Pozlifeofpatrick.com email pozlifeofpatrick@gmail.com