Archive for December 2013

Sharp increase in rates of unprotected sex among gay and bi men

December 18, 2013

Federal health officials are reporting a sharp increase in unprotected sex among gay American men over the last decade. The same trend has recently been documented among gay men in Canada, Britain, the Netherlands, France, and Australia.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of men who told federal health investigators that they had had unprotected anal sex in the last year rose nearly 20 percent from 2005 to 2011. In the 2011 survey, 33 percent of men who were HIV positive but unaware of their status reported having unprotected anal sex.  This was more than twice the rate reported in men who knew their HIV positive status.  The survey also found that a third of the men interviewed had not been tested in the past year.

As a result, the CDC is urging gay and bisexual men to get tested for HIV. Regular testing allows people who have HIV to know their status, get life-saving treatment and care, and prevent HIV transmission to others. Call 1-800-CDC-INFO or visit http://www.hivtest.org/  to find free, confidential HIV testing locations near you. Some locations have rapid testing, so you can get results on the spot.

To find out how to prevent HIV infection, go to the CDC Website: (http://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/HIV.htm ).

You can also find more HIV and STD information on our Website: www.m4mHealthySex.org.

To subscribe to Health Alerts, send an email to rgy2@pitt.edu with the word “subscribe” in the subject line.

World AIDS Day 2013

December 8, 2013

President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Health and Human Services deliver remarks in observance of World AIDS Day 2013.

Obama announces new funding for HIV/AIDS research

December 4, 2013

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Monday announced a boost to funding for research into HIV/AIDS prevention and pledged up to $5 billion to support an international effort aimed at combatingU.S. President Barack Obama applauds his audience during an event held in observance of World AIDS Day at the White House in Washington HIV/AIDS.

Speaking at the White House to mark World AIDS Day, the president said the United States would contribute $1 for every $2 pledged by other donors over the next three years to support The Global Fund, an international financing institution that fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Obama also said he would redirect $100 million into a National Institutes of Health program to research a cure for HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS. “The United States should be at the forefront of new discoveries into how to put HIV into long-term remission without requiring lifelong therapies – or, better yet, eliminate it completely,” Obama said at an event attended by Secretary of State John Kerry and software magnate Bill Gates, whose foundation has pledged up to $500 million for The Global Fund.

Continue reading on Reuters online.

HHS celebrates improved wellbeing of people living with HIV

December 3, 2013

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) honors World AIDS Day 2013 and celebrates the improved wellbeing of millions of people around the world living healthy and full HIV-positive lives. As the care and treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS has expanded so has the number of people living long HIV-positive lives. As of 2012, nearly 10 million people throughout the world were receiving antiretroviral therapy Exit Disclaimer, vastly improving their quality of life and reducing the number of early deaths due to the disease. And recent changes to the World Health Organization’s treatment guidelines are expected to substantially increase the number of people qualifying for treatment.

Widespread access to HIV medications and treatments, principally through PEPFAR and the Global Fund, has changed the course of HIV infection from an acute and deadly infection to a chronic disease requiring long-term care management. While this means a diagnosis is no longer a death sentence, it also means health systems now need to be prepared to address the long-term care needs of those living—sometimes for decades—with HIV.

Continue reading at AIDS.gov.

President Obama issues proclamation on World AIDS Day

December 2, 2013

From WhiteHouse.gov….

AIDS Day Ribbon on North PorticoEach year on World AIDS Day, we come together as a global community to fight a devastating pandemic. We remember the friends and loved ones we have lost, stand with the estimated 35 million people living with HIV/AIDS, and renew our commitment to preventing the spread of this virus at home and abroad. If we channel our energy and compassion into science-based results, an AIDS-free generation is within our reach.

My Administration released the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy in 2010. Since then, we have made significant progress in strengthening scientific investments, expanding effective HIV/AIDS education and prevention, and connecting stakeholders in both the public and private sectors. At the same time, advances in our scientific understanding have allowed us to better fight this disease. We know now that by focusing on early detection and treatment, we can both prevent long-term complications and reduce transmission rates. To build on this progress, I issued an Executive Order in July establishing the HIV Care Continuum Initiative, which addresses the gaps in care and prevention, especially among communities with the greatest HIV burden. And this November, I signed the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, lifting the ban on research into the possibility of organ transplants between people with HIV.

My Administration remains committed to reducing the stigma and disparities that fuel this epidemic. Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will require health insurance plans to cover HIV testing without any additional out-of-pocket costs. It will also prohibit discrimination based on HIV status and eliminate annual benefit caps. Under this law, we have already expanded Medicaid for working class Americans and banned lifetime limits on insurance coverage.

Our work to end HIV extends far beyond our borders. This is a global fight, and America continues to lead. The United States has provided HIV prevention, treatment, and care to millions around the world, helping to dramatically reduce new infections and AIDS-related deaths. This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a powerful bipartisan effort to turn the tide on this epidemic. Through PEPFAR, we are making strong global progress and are on track to achieve the ambitious HIV treatment and prevention targets I set on World AIDS Day in 2011. Because country ownership and shared responsibility are vital to a2 strong and sustained global response, we launched PEPFAR Country Health Partnerships, an initiative that will empower our partner countries as they progress toward an AIDS-free generation. In the next few days, my Administration will host the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s Replenishment Conference to enlist new partners, leverage American funding, and increase our collective impact against these diseases. With continued United States leadership, strong partners, and shared responsibility, we can realize this historic opportunity.

Continue reading on WhiteHouse.gov.