Archive for December 2015

F.D.A. ends ban, allowing some blood donations by gay men

December 22, 2015

From the New  York Times

gay men can donate bloodFollowing up on a preliminary recommendation it made a year ago, the Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that the agency would scrap a decades-old lifetime prohibition on blood donation by gay and bisexual men.

The agency continued to bar men who have had sex with men in the past year, however, saying the measure was needed to keep the blood supply safe.

Gay rights groups considered the lifting of the lifetime ban a major stride toward ending a discriminatory national policy, but had wanted blanket bans for gay men to be removed entirely. Donations should be considered on an individual basis, critics said, as some gay men — like some heterosexual men and women — are at far higher risk of H.I.V. infection than others.

GMHC, the advocacy group formerly known as Gay Men’s Health Crisis, harshly criticized the 12-month delay. Kelsey Louie, the group’s chief executive officer, said it “ignores the modern science of H.I.V.-testing technology while perpetuating the stereotype that all gay and bisexual men are inherently dangerous.”

The Food and Drug Administration enacted the lifetime ban in 1983, early in the AIDS epidemic. The virus that would become known as H.I.V. was discovered that year, and no way to test for it in donations existed.

Now, however, tests can tell whether donated blood contains the virus in as little as nine days after the donor has been infected. The “window period” — during which a unit of donated blood might test negative but still infect the recipient — is the reason for continuing time-based bans on people who engage in various kinds of high-risk behavior.

Read the full on the New York Times.

Gay/bi men are 2% of population but 67% of all new HIV infections in 2014

December 9, 2015

From Reuters Health

HIV still on the rise among gay menNew strategies to reduce risky sexual behaviors among young gay and bisexual men with human immunodeficiency virus may be needed to reduce new infections, according to a new study.

Researchers found that most young gay and bisexual men with HIV don’t have the virus suppressed by medication, making them more likely to infect others, and more than half reported recent unprotected sex.

While medications for HIV and access to those treatments improved over time, lead author Patrick Wilson said addressing unemployment, education and mental health is also important.

“I think we have to take a multipronged approach,” said Wilson, of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

Gay and bisexual men represent about 2 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for about 67 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV in 2014, according to the HIV Surveillance Report released on Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (see Reuters Health story of December 6, 2015 here).

The steepest rise in HIV diagnoses between 2005 and 2014 was among young gay and bisexual men, with increases ranging from 56 percent among young white men to 87 percent among young black and Latino men.

Continue reading.

Pitt Men’s Study medical director, Dr. Ken Ho, talks about PrEP

December 4, 2015
Pitt's Dr. Ken Ho

Pitt’s Dr. Ken Ho

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to inform patients and health care providers of a new, anti-viral pill that they estimate can drastically reduce the risk of infection.  Here to tell us more about this treatment and discuss why it hasn’t been adopted by clinicians in the region are Dr. Ken Ho, an HIV specialist at the University of Pittsburgh and Jason Herring, director of programs and communications at the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force.

Listen to the broadcast on Essential Pittsburgh 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR station.

Video: Living with HIV

December 2, 2015

Michael Rizzi, a 21-year-old YouTube personality widely known for his “strange addiction” to the exclamatory word “yaaaaass,” is taking a more serious note in a recent project.  In the video “Living With HIV Stigma,” Rizzi spoke to five men and one woman who are HIV-positive about the social hurdles they face on a daily basis. Take a look…