Archive for the ‘Features’ category

HRSA awards $2.36 billion in grants to help Americans access HIV/AIDS care and medications

October 19, 2017

From HIV.gov

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced [yesterday] approximately $2.36 billion in Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grants awarded to cities, counties, states, and local community-based organizations in fiscal year (FY) 2017. This funding supports a comprehensive system of HIV primary medical care, medication, and essential support services to more than half a million people living with HIV in the United States.

“The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program plays a critical role in the United States’ public health response to HIV,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. “These grants will ensure that the most vulnerable Americans living with HIV/AIDS will have access to the necessary care and treatment needed to improve their health quality and medical outcomes.”

HRSA oversees the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which is a patient-centered system that provides care and treatment services to low income people living with HIV to improve health outcomes and reduce HIV transmission among hard to reach populations. The program serves more than 50 percent of people living with diagnosed HIV infection in the United States.

Read the full article.

UNAIDS warns that HIV-related stigma is preventing people from accessing HIV services

October 5, 2017

GENEVA, 3 October 2017—UNAIDS has released a new report showing how stigma and discrimination is creating barriers to accessing HIV prevention, testing and treatment services and putting lives at risk.

The report, Confronting discrimination: overcoming HIV-related stigma and discrimination in health-care settings and beyond, was launched by the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, during the Human Rights Council Social Forum. It shows that people living with HIV who experience high levels of HIV-related stigma are more than twice as likely to delay enrolment into care than people who do not perceive HIV-related stigma.

“When people living with, or at risk of, HIV are discriminated against in health-care settings, they go underground. This seriously undermines our ability to reach people with HIV testing, treatment and prevention services,” said Mr Sidibé. “Stigma and discrimination is an affront to human rights and puts the lives of people living with HIV and key populations in danger.”

Read the full article here.

PATF changes name to reflect expanded services

August 30, 2017

From the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force

As of September 26, 2017, Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force will be Allies for Health + Wellbeing! The name change follows a period of significant expansion for the agency and is in keeping with feedback given by current and potential clients. The new name also pays homage to the agency’s founders.

announcementIn 1985, the volunteers who formed the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force were truly allies fighting against HIV/AIDS on a number of fronts. They fought for the dignity, rights and humanity of those were dying of AIDS. They fought against rampant discrimination and fear. These allies fought to prevent HIV transmission by disseminating accurate information to the community and by offering free anonymous screenings.

Today, we continue to be on the side of people living with HIV, working with them to maximize their health and quality of life. From primary medical care to housing, to a food pantry and, soon, onsite mental health services, Allies for Health + Wellbeing delivers integrated services with a holistic approach. We have also expanded services for those at risk of HIV, including Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), treatment for sexually transmitted infections and viral hepatitis, as well as primary medical care.

With a new name comes a new logo and a whole new brand image. Our new brand image will be unveiled at a launch party on September 26th.

New injectable antiretroviral treatment proved to be as effective as standard oral therapy

August 6, 2017

From Science Daily

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) intramuscularly administered may have the same effectiveness as current oral treatments. This is the main conclusion of the Phase II clinical trial carried out by 50 centers around the world — 9 in Spain — to which the team of Dr. Daniel Podzamczer, principal investigator of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and Chief of the HIV and STD Unit of the Infectious Diseases Service of Bellvitge University hospital (HUB) has contributed. The results of the trial, published by the journal The Lancet, pave the way to the implantation of all-injectable antiretroviral therapies with a lower frequency of administration, which would imply a significant improvement of the quality of life of HIV patients.

Read the full article.

Health insurance agency apologizes, reverses Truvada policy after HIV activists push back

August 6, 2017

From NBC News

Following outrage by HIV advocates after UnitedHealthcare sent a rejection letter to a patient seeking Truvada — denying him due to his “high risk homosexual behavior” — the insurer announced Friday it is changing its policy for the daily HIV prevention pill “effective immediately.”

“We apologize for the insensitive language appearing in the letter and regret any difficulty it caused. We have corrected our letters, removed the prior authorization requirement for Truvada and members can fill their prescription at the network pharmacy of their choice,” a spokesperson for the company wrote in an email to NBC News Friday night.

Image: Daily Antiretroviral Pill Found To Protect Healthy From AIDS TransmissionBottles of Truvada are displayed at Jack’s Pharmacy on November 23, 2010 in San Anselmo, California. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The monthlong controversy started with a pre-authorization denial letter sent to Thomas Ciganko, a New York man whose physician prescribed Truvada for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). While the rejection came as a surprise, the stated reason was the real shock.

“The information sent in shows you are using this medicine for high risk homosexual behavior,” the letter, dated July 11, 2017, read. In the same paragraph, however, the letter listed an approved reason for taking the medication “to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV-1 infection in adults at high risk.”

Read the full article on NBC News online.

How the HIV/AIDS crisis redefined the concept of family

August 3, 2017
From the Washington Post

When the HIV/AIDS crisis emerged in the 1980s, New York became its epicenter. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, more than 25,000 people had died of AIDS-related complications in the city by the end of 1990.

The Museum of the City of New York is presenting an exhibit on how city residents coped with AIDS.

The epidemic didn’t just create patients; it also turned New Yorkers into caretakers. “AIDS at Home: Art and Everyday Activism” at the Museum of the City of New York explores how.

Using art as a lens, the exhibition chronicles the emotional and personal effects of the epidemic. As activists took to the streets to demand research, funding and recognition, much of the response to the crisis took place behind closed doors.

As people struggled to learn how to care for their loved ones and community members, the exhibition argues, they also redefined the concept of family.

Read the article here.

AIDS deaths are on the decline thanks to medications but increasing drug resistance poses a danger

July 23, 2017

The world has made major progress in the fight against AIDS — an epidemic that over the last four decades has killed 35 million people — as increasing numbers of people gain access to life-saving treatment and the number of deaths each year fall dramatically. But there have also been setbacks, most significantly growing resistance to the drugs.

The latest statistics came out this s week in two reports, one by the United Nations AIDS agency, the other by the World Health Organization.

Here’s the epidemic today, by the numbers.