Why getting tested could help your community

Posted July 1, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Commentary, Prevention

 From the Huffington Post

One of the biggest misconceptions about the AIDS epidemic in the United States is that it’s over. This belief is also part of why the disease is so dangerous — and why campaigns like this week’s National HIV Testing Week are so necessary.

Nationally, 1.2 million Americans live with HIV or AIDS and about 50,000 more are diagnosed with HIV each year. But for a more complete view of the virus’ impact, localized data is telling. Philadelphia has a citywide HIV infection rate that’s five times the U.S. national average, and the infection rate in one of the city’s southwestern neighborhoods is comparable to rates in Sierra Leone and Ghana.

A full two-thirds of new HIV infections occur in just 3 percent of U.S. counties, according to newly released statistics from AIDSVu, a data project developed by researchers at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health that maps data about the disease using information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. census. These counties are found in both cities and rural areas, but they have one thing in common: a lack of resources.

Continue reading.

Study links homophobia with gay and bisexual men not seeking HIV-prevention and testing services

Posted June 30, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Features, Prevention, Research

A Yale University study of 38 European countries’ attitudes about homosexuality has uncovered homophobia was associated with gay and bisexual men not seeking HIV-prevention services, HIV testing, and disclosing their orientation to doctors.   The authors believed their study highlighted a dangerous trend: One where men who live in more homophobic countries were not only becoming less knowledgeable about HIV treatment, prevention, and resources, but also that this demographic seemingly had more opportunities for sexual activity through “hook-up” mobile applications and websites, a Yale University statement pointed out.

For their study published in the June 19 issue of AIDS, investigators used data from the European MSM Internet Survey (EMIS), a questionnaire that delved into gay and bisexual participants’ HIV-related knowledge, behaviors, and healthcare use.

Continue reading on hcplive.com.

AIDSVu releases updated interactive online maps

Posted June 25, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Community, Features

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Click on the map to see the AIDSVu interactive maps

 AIDSVu releases its annual interactive online maps that show HIV prevalence data for 34 highly-impacted U.S. cities, including for the first time Birmingham, AL, updated state- and county-level prevalence data, and year-by-year new diagnosis data for 2008 to 2013. HIV testing and treatment locator maps include, for the first time, housing opportunities for persons with AIDS, and also show NIH-funded HIV prevention, vaccine and treatment trials locations.

It’s National Testing Week…and Pennsylvania is the place to get free testing

Posted June 24, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Commentary, Community, PMS Matters, Prevention

 From theweekender.com

By

AR-306249997Get a load of this: There are 721 people known to be HIV-positive or diagnosed with AIDS in Northeastern Pennsylvania. For Ken Zula, executive director of Wyoming Valley AIDS Council in Wilkes-Barre, the more alarming number is 6.06 percent. That’s the chunk of the population in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties infected with HIV or AIDS, he says.

The naked truth about how close to home the disease is to our area is perhaps more discomforting when adding that AIDS.gov reports 1 in 7 people infected with HIV don’t even know they have the illness. Knowing that, it’s basic math to apprehend thousands of people throughout NEPA could be walking around with HIV, unenlightened of their status. They’re clueless that they may be passing HIV to other people. They could pass HIV to you. Since National HIV Testing Week is June 21-27 in the United States, Weekender is encouraging NEPA to get tested and know their status. Getting tested is quick and painless.

Continue reading.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) publishes updated guide to practicing safer sex

Posted June 9, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Features

 Press release from the HRC

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, in collaboration with Whitman-Walker Heath (WWH), released an updated guide to practicing safer sex that includes essential tips to minimize the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The guide, “Safer Sex,” an updated version of the first edition released five years ago, is written for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, covering topics ranging from basic facts about HIV and STIs, and the importance of practicing safer sex, to the role of new HIV prevention regimens including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or “PrEP.”

The pocket-sized publication is the latest collaboration between the HRC Foundation and WWH, building on their shared commitment to securing the health and well-being of LGBT people in the nation’s capital and beyond.

“It’s a fact that many LGBT people don’t see themselves, or their relationships, discussed in mainstream sexual health resources,” said Jay Brown, the HRC Foundation’s Director of Research and Public Education. “With rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections on the rise among young people and in communities of color, HRC and Whitman-Walker remain committed to providing crucial health and wellness information in a way that is medically accurate, culturally competent, and judgement-free.”

Read more on the HRC Website.

HIV risk among young gay, bi men tied to societal issues

Posted June 8, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Features, Research, Stigma

From Reuters Health

Participants were recruited from the New York City area between 2009 and 2011 and were 18 or 19 when they entered the study. At that point they were all HIV-negative. Over the next three years, 43 participants became infected with HIV. About a third of black, Hispanic and mixed or other race participants became HIV-positive during the study, compared to about 7 percent of white participants. People who described themselves as being in low to average social and economic groups were more likely to become HIV-positive than those in higher socioeconomic groups.

Also, the authors found, young age at first sexual experience with another male was tied to an increased risk of becoming HIV-positive, compared to a first encounter at an older age. “The bigger point here is that it’s just too simplistic to (blame) everything on race,” Halkitis said. “We’re trying to get at the reason that’s happening. This paper starts to point to it.”

The researchers point out that social and economic status is closely tied to race in the U.S. People with lower social and economic status likely live in areas with more poverty, less access to healthcare and more untreated sexually transmitted infections (STI), they write. They also point out that young gay and bisexual men may not be properly educated about STIs, and their heterosexual parents may not be equipped to educate on those topics.

“I think that one way we can begin to address this issue is through comprehensive sexual health education,” said Jason Coleman, an expert on HIV and STI prevention at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Read the full article.

H.I.V. treatment should start at diagnosis, U.S. health officials say

Posted May 28, 2015 by administrator
Categories: Features, Health Alerts, HIV care, Research

From the New York Times

People with H.I.V. should be put on antiretroviral drugs as soon as they learn they are infected, federal health officials said Wednesday as they announced that they were halting the largest ever clinical trial of early treatment because its benefits were already so clear.

The study was stopped more than a year early because preliminary data already showed that those who got treatment immediately were 53 percent less likely to die during the trial or develop AIDS or a serious illness than those who waited.

The study is strong evidence that early treatment saves more lives, the officials said. Fewer than 14 million of the estimated 35 million people infected with H.I.V. around the world are on treatment now, according to U.N.AIDS, the United Nations AIDS-fighting agency. In the United States, only about 450,000 of the estimated 1.2 million with H.I.V. are on treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is another incentive to seek out testing and start therapy early, because you will benefit,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, which sponsored the trial. “The sooner, the better.”

Continue reading on the New York Times.


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